Friday, April 22, 2011

Clinton Lake 30 Mile... Marty's Road Trip Race Report

Marty's Race Report....  Road trips are always fun, but what makes them all the better is when you share it with a bigger group (road trip of one = no fun) And there is no better group to share it with than a bunch of LPTR folks!

So, Friday night (waaaaay back on March 25th) Hans, Christine, Joel and I headed down to Clinton Lake for a 30 mile race in Hans’ van (which also doubles as a toaster. Really. Hans related the story of how much bread he has carried in the back, and if you’ve seen his van, you would agree with me. If he had a sun roof, he’d even have a place for the bagel to pop out. Anyway).

So we drove down to Clinton Lake, had dinner on the way (at which Hans ate his weight in catfish, and Christine ate a piece of lettuce) and get to the lovely Wye motel. Clean and cheap, and if you discount the fact that Joel had to heat his room with a hair dryer (really he did) very comfortable.

Clinton Lake is a small race, with about 200 people running either a 10 mile (1 loop) or the 30 mile (3 loops) race. Of the 125 people in the 30 mile race, there were 84 finishers; I suspect that being a loop course encourages ‘some’ people to sign up and run a variety of distances, without regard to an official finish (oh yeah, like me for instance)..

The day of the race was overcast and chilly (37 F), but still had a hint of Spring in the air. The wind was a little brisk at times, and being run around a lake, could bite a bit on one side (of the lake that is, and your face for that matter). So we get started at 7:30 am, a half hour ahead of the 10 miler racers. The first section is up a bit of a road hill, and then heads off into the woods for some nice single track. The race course is undulating but nothing that significant in terms of elevation; it’s much like our own Kettle Moraine in that respect, except without any rocks. The dirt was soft, and it was easy to build speed down many of the long gradual inclines. The uphills were usually short and steep and power walking was the order of the day for many of these.

So my race. I went into this one undertrained, but feeling like I had gotten my long runs in to do at least most of it. I wanted to avoid going into the season of running feeling beat up from too much hard racing (like last year).  I planned on running at least two 10 mile loops, with a late decision on whether to do a third one or not. I ran well for the first lap, coming in at 1 hour 42 minutes for a 10 min/mile average. Starting the second lap I was feeling pretty good and liking my chances of doing all three. …. Finished two laps ……and then started my little self talk about what to do next, keep going or be happy with a 3:25ish for 20 miles (and I was currently in 4th place in my AG and 15th overall). In the end I decided that 20 was good for the day, and a warm van, food drink and a book were called for. Officially my first ever DNF, but one of choice not injury or necessity.

Joel ran really well on the day, winning the race overall in an exciting race with the top female athlete Kelsey Jones. Joel worked hard at keeping her in sight through out the first two laps, and finally saw his opportunity to pass her with less than 1 mile remaining in his race. Christine previously had held the Clinton Lake 30 mile record, until Kelsey Jones on this day ran it in a smoking 4:04:25, one minute and 20 seconds behind Joel’s winning time of 4:03:04. Joel then proceeded to walk into the lake where he soaked his legs in some chilly water! Brr…

Christine coming off recent injury ran the first two loops at a good pace, coming to the start area around 3 hours for the first 20 miles. She then waited around 20 minutes for a friend of hers to come in and ran her third lap with him for a finish time of 5:10, good enough for 13th overall, 4th female overall and first in her AG. (I couldn’t find any pics of Christine. She must have outran the cameras).

Hans ran well, as he and I leap frogged all day, he looked strong. The third lap was a bit of a struggle for Hans, as he had skipped the mid course aid station on all three laps, and had not taken any S caps during the race. It was an easy thing to skip given the temperatures of the day. So his third loop he gutted out and still finished in 6:05, good for 43 place and an AG award.

We stayed for the awards ceremony and some food after the race. Nice to see the LPTR’s receive their awards for a races well run. Awards and finishers medals were unique hand made clay fired items: Joel received a nice serving platter, and Christine and Hans received mugs, and the finishers medal was a small leaf medallion.

Trip home uneventful, good conversation, story telling and kibitzing. I drove the toaster to give Hans some leg recovery time. Nice race and I recommend it as a good warm up spring race for any LPTR’s next year.

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