Thursday, June 30, 2011

Western States 100...(Part 2)

Robert Wehner's Race Report...
As mentioned in my pre-race report, I stood on the starting line of the WS100 with no idea of how far I would get, but was looking to have a weekend of adventure.  The WS100 lives up to it's reputation as the grand-daddy of 100 milers, with the organization and volunteers (and hype) to give all the runners everything they could need and more.  The course takes you into stunning wilderness, and there were times you just had to stop and take in the views.

The start features a 4+ mile climb to the high point of the course, and we had snow starting about 3 miles up; after that the trail was mostly snow covered for the next 12 miles.  The snow was pretty firm (postholing wasn't a problem), but the surface was very uneven, so it was hard to get into a decent running rythym.  There were also a number of icy hillside traverses, where a slip would mean a long slide down the mountain.  Near the end of this section, we had our first stream crossing; the water was flowing fast, cold, and deep!

Up to the mile 20 AS we had had mostly shade, but now the trail was more open, and the sun began beating down on us.  For me, a pattern started to emerge, where I found myself passing people on the uphill portions.  As for my foot, so far so good.  Even with the temps warming up, I was enjoying the drier air; a nice break from the typical WI humidity.  Rather than just relying on gels, water, and sports drink, I found myself being able to eat a variety of food at the aid stations (something I usually didn't do).

There was a long climb up to the mile 31 AS, and I arrived at the AS feeling good; weight was okay (your weight was checked at about a dozen spots along the course).  During the next section, I started to notice more of a problem with the downhill parts.  I still passed people going uphill, but pain in my right leg/foot was slowing me down on the downhills.  Thinking back on it, I had had trouble most of the race with stability/balance in my right foot, and this started to affect the tendons in my lower leg and ankle.  Everything else was still feeling pretty good, and I was happy with my overall pace.

This started to change after mile 43 though.  The next section went down into a deep canyon, and then climbed out up to Devil's Thumb.  I got slower and slower the further down the trail went, and was passed by many other runners.  The only bright spot now, was that I was still able to move uphill well; by the time I got to the Devil's Thumb AS, I had caught many of the runners who had passed me.  As the canyon portion of the course continued, so did this pattern; slow on the downhills, strong on the uphills.

Approaching the Forest Hill AS (mile 62) provided a boost, as Sally and Chloe met me there.  They had been able to check on my progress via the website, but this was their first chance to see how I looked after 15 hours on the trail.  It must have been okay, as they didn't seem to be too worried.  While I had started the day not sure how far I would get, at this point there was no doubt in my mind about continuing on.  I had a bite to eat, changed out my shirt, grabbed my head light, and headed back on out on the trail.  A half hour later, it was dark and the site-seeing stopped for the night.

The next few miles continued downward, so I continued to struggle a bit.  One new issue was that now everytime another runner passed me, there was also their pacer to let by; I seemed to be the only runner without one.  I have nothing against pacers, but after awhile, this started to get annoying.  We hit a section of trail that was more rolling, and I was able to get into a better running rythym, eventually getting by everyone that had passed me the last few miles.  One pacer even started pacing me, not realizing that I had passed his runner (who was behind him).  I waited a few seconds before I told him "I'm not your runner".

Even though I was having trouble with the rocky sections and downhills, overall I was happy with my progress.  Looking at my watch and doing the math, I felt if I could just keep going, I would be in between 6 or 7 in the morning (25-26 hours).  Before I knew it, I had arrived at the American River crossing (Rucky Chucky).  With the deep snowpack this year, they would be rafting runners across, and their set-up for this was impressive.  An AS on each side, and dozens of volunteers to help you get in and out of the raft.  I grabbed a grilled cheese sandwich and headed straight for the raft; had dinner while crossing the river!
After the river crossing, I had the first feelings of deep fatigue hit me.  It was 1.6 miles to the next AS, all uphill on a wide gravel road.  Not having a narrow single track to follow proved difficult, and I found myself weaving back and forth on the way up.  Having only about 20 miles to go kept my spirits up though, so I headed back onto the dark single track and was able to keep a steady pace going for the next few miles.

As I was approaching the mile 85 AS, I stumbled and felt the pain in my right foot/ankle shoot up.  There was a short downhill into the AS, and I could barely get down it.  This AS was a medical check point, so the first thing was the weigh-in; no problem there.  The volunteers asked what I needed, but the pain in my leg prevented me from being able to ask for anything.  At this point, I didn't know what was going to happen, or what I should do.  I was thinking about just walking out, when I decided to sit down and look at my leg.  The flexor tendons on the top of my ankle were inflamed, swollen, and sore to the touch.

When a volunteer asked again about getting me anything, I mentioned my leg problem, and she indicated that there was a PT and Doctor at this AS.  So I walked over to their area and mentioned the problem.  They had me sit down, put my legs up, and we started discussing options.  The plan was to have the PT do some massage on the tendons, and then try some taping for support.  While they were working on my leg, I felt light headed and queasy; I must have also started to go pale, because they realized something was happening to me.  My blood pressure was dropping, so they moved me over to a cot, elevated the legs, and wrapped me in blankets.

They ended up keeping me there for an hour, until my BP was back up and they were sure I could continue on.  I didn't feel too steady as I was leaving the AS, but I couldn't fathom dropping out at mile 85.  I also couldn't grasp how long it was going to take me to finish; I still thought I only had 4 hours or so to go.  As the next few miles went on though, it started to dawn on me how slowly I was moving.  Other runners were coming up on me, passing, and disappearing quickly.  I tried to figure out what my pace was, but could never come up with a number I felt was correct.  Was it 20 minute miles? Or was it 25-30 minute miles?  If it was taking me 30 minutes to cover a mile, then I didn't have enough time.

This uncertainty (and the pain in my leg) continued on hour after hour, and the mental strain started to become just as bad as the physical strain.  My pace was a slow, stilted walk, and the other runners and their pacers continued to come and go.  Even as I approached some of the final aid stations, I started to feel panic that I wasn't going to make the 30 hour cut-off.  How could I have put myself through this misery if I was going to come up short?  Finally, after reaching the second to last AS, the panic started to abate.  I had 1:50 left to cover the last 3.3 miles, and I was able to walk it in to the finish in 29:32.  It had taken me over 6 hours to cover those last 15 miles, and if I had known that while I was laying on the cot, I don't think I would have been able to continue.

I had always thought about the WS100 as a one-time race for me.  But I am thinking hard about wanting to give it another shot when I'm 100% trained and ready for a tough 100 miler.  Entry into the lottery for next year starts in November...

PS - The defending champion at Western was Geoff Roes.  Coming into this race, he had run (8) 100 milers and had won 8 times.  In his first race with me as an entrant, that steak ended (he DNFed).  Perhaps the LPTR can think of me as the guy who took Geoff Roes out.

 Sally and Chloe hiking the first section of the course

Thursday, June 23, 2011

San Juan Solstice 50 Mile - 2011

Brad's Race Report...   So how do you follow up a tough Kettle 100?........You head out to Lake City, Colorado and do a 50 mile mountain run, that’s how. With 4 days of hiking and hanging out at the Mocha Mouse and Packer Saloon, that’s right the “Packer” Saloon. Not named after the Green Bay Packers but filled with Green Bay stuff since the owners are from the LaCrosse area. We were ready to hit the mountains.

Because of high snow levels, dangerous stream, now river crossings and miles of post-holing the race organizers were forced to alter the course.  We weren’t going to go up as high in altitude but we were going to get to do a lot of climbing no the less.  The start in Lake City at 8670 ft. topping out at 12,193 ft. at the highest peak.

The race got underway; at 5 a.m. with about a mile of road through town we hit the Waterdog trail and started the 4 mile climb to Vickers Ranch. Let the heavy breathing begin. The climb went well, the race was still pretty clumped together so I went up with plenty of company.  Coming down from Vickers is where it get it gets interesting, so soon in the race. I followed the obvious trail but a little ways into it, it didn’t seem right. My suspicions were correct when I saw about 20 people coming down the trail towards me.  Turned back down the trail and got back on track. Luckily it wasn’t a lot of time lost.
Going the correct way we got into some nice single track for maybe a ½ hour trucking along and again I’m stopped because a group of people are standing there and coming back up the trail. AGAIN we missed a marker someplace. Back up the hill and to the spot that we missed. Again only a few minutes lost. Just had to regroup and not push it to make up lost time. I can see missing a marker if you’re following one or two people but when you’re behind 20 people, how can you do that. Oh well.

Because of the reroute we had to hit a long road section. Some Hwy, gravel road and jeep road. Funny how the flattest section of a mountain run can be the hardest. Even though it was road we still had some incredible views. Running along a raging river and then running around Lake San Cristobal with a view of the mountains in the background. Pretty sweet. A bit more road and then finally back to single track and the longest climb of the day to over 12,100 ft.

Not sure but I think it was a 6 mile climb to the peak.  Still moving along well I finally reached the peak, 12,193 ft. This for me was a huge boost. Coming from Wisconsin and being able to run above tree line was a huge rush. You couldn’t slap the smile off my face. Feeling good and actually catching people I reached the mile 33 aid station.
Seven miles to the next aid. Was watching my time and realizing that a PR was definitely possible I ran everything I could. What I figured to take 1 1/2  to 2 hours took me about a 1hr 10 minutes. In this section there was another climb. The cool part of this climb was when on the way up Dakota Jones and Scott Jurek was coming down hooting and hollering. A couple of high fives and I had a “this is so frickin cool” moment.  Reached mile 40 feeling great.

From here there was just one more aid station, mile 46 and Vickers Ranch again. The climb to Vickers last year hurt, a lot, but not this year. This climb was short and was still catching people, some flat and then the start down to Vickers aid station.
Got in and out of there in a hurry because my time was way ahead of last year. It was now a 4 mile down and into town to the finish. There are some really steep parts to this decent so I had to use some caution even though I was amped up to finish. Finally coming out to the trees I could see Lake City below, but still seemed so far away. Finally to the bottom and into town, it was time for that final push to the finish.

Reaching the park and feeling strong, Dakota Jones was the MC and announced my name and mentioned this was my 3rd finish and a mid-western to boot.  My finishing time of 12:22:57 was a bit better than my 13:33:09 of last year. UNBELIEVABLE!
If you EVER get a chance to get into the mountains, DO IT. It will be an experience you won’t soon forget. Lake City if one of the coolest, friendliest, cleanest places I’ve ever been to. I’m counting the days that I can go back.

Not to mention Julie also had a great race, knocking about 40 minutes off her time from last year, finishing in 13:10:31. Not bad for a couple of Skonies.

184 starters, 158 finishers
Brad 12:22:57 58th place
Julie 13:10:31 82nd place

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Western States... Tale of a Two-Time Loser...

Robert Wehner's Pre-Race Report...

It was supposed to be 2009.  After not getting selected in the entry lottery for the Western States 100 in 2007 and 2008, 2009 was supposed to be the year; that was their 2-time loser rule.  But forest fires in 2008 canceled the race, and led them to modify the entry process going forward.  The 2008 runners gained entry in 2009, and the 2-time losers were split up between 2010 and 2011.  They also eliminated the 2-time loser rule, so I'm part of the group that is the last of the 2-time losers.

We decided to make the WS100 a part of a 2-week vacation, spending the first week in the Squaw Valley/Lake Tahoe area prior to the race, and then camping in UT and CO the second week on the way home.  The drive out here went well; a little over 2,000 miles in 31 hours.  The only issue was the "cankles" we developed; both Sally and I got them; best not to sit that long and not elevate/move your feet from time to time!

The King and Queen of Squaw Valley
We're enjoying the time out here, doing some hiking and biking (and a little running) while also relaxing (and eating).  The snow levels they had this winter were the highest in a long time, and there is still a deep layer at the top of the mountain and parts of the course (the ski resort is planning on being open for skiing on the 4th of July weekend).  They've already made plans to modify part of the race course and move some of the aid stations affected by the snow.  The race should be an adventure!

The start and first segment of the Western States 100
It's kind of strange having someone else dictate to you when you can do a race, as opposed to you deciding for yourself, but that is the reality for the WS100 and other events like it.  So you bide your time and keep yourself prepared, to make sure you are ready to go when your time comes.  That was the case for me, up until about 2 months ago.  During my final build-up preparing for the IA50, a foot injury struck, and I was on the sidelines for 5+ weeks.  I was able to start some light, easy running about 3 weeks ago, and have made some progress.  Enough to decide that I'll be on the starting line this Saturday morning; how far I get this weekend remains to be seen...

View of Lake Tahoe from the Rim Trail

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Kettle 100 Mile: Some like it Hot.

Hot is good for chillies.  Hot is great for ironing.  Hot is the preferred temperature for a shower.  Hot is not so great for running a 100 miles.  

Heat was the story of the day as temps hovered around 90 degrees while runners crossed the famed meadows twice with no cloud cover.  Even current Kettle 100 mile record holder, Zach G., ran 4 hours slower while managing to win again.

For 2011, the LPTR crew had 6 entries in the 100 mile with Julie, Angela, Brad, Joel, Craig and Cobbie.  Ultimately, the heat KO'ed Joel and Craig at 100k and Cobbie around 50 miles.  

Brad saved the men from a two year shut-out by hanging tough to finish the race and place in the top 20.  Julie and Angela were the only LPTR's to finish the 100 mile both this year and last as conditions were tough in 2010 as well.  Both finished first in their respective divisions, and Julie followed last year's overall win with a strong runner-up performance!

Lots of LPTR entries in the 38 mile Fun Run made for familiar faces on the trails throughout the night!  

LPTR's also showed out to pace, crew and volunteer.  Special thanks to the Bunk's and Gorski's for putting in very long hours to make the race happen!

Marty put together this quick view table from the posted finish results...

Official Results can be found HERE.

Below is a collection of Reports from the group...

Julie Treder's Race Report...

Be careful what you wish for…

I ran a portion of the Ice Age 50 this year with one of the great race directors of the Kettle 100, Jason Dorgan.  We were chatting about the weather for the upcoming race… and Jason was saying he was putting in some good words for a dry year this time around, since there have been a few wet ones in the past.  We asked for a dry year… but we forgot to also request a cool year.  DARN IT!!  Hopefully I’ll remember next year… dry AND cool!!

There was absolutely NO breaking in period to the heat!  The temp was a humid 78 when I pulled into the parking lot… at 5AM!  By mile 2, I was soaked through… and nothing was going to dry out for the next several hours.  Time to get used to being hot and soggy!

No real plan going in to this race.  My only goals were to:  1) make it to 50K with Brad to witness the mandatory dance that Lorraine was forcing on him in order to get aid, and 2) make it to 100K in good spirits in order for Kevin to make ALL his waiting around worth it… and get to pace a runner and not a weepy pile of sweat.

These races are just a who’s who of ultrarunning legends.  You hit an aid station and you are waited on by the sports finest… always with a smile, a motivational comment, and a handful of food and drink.  How can you not love being out there?!?!

OK, OK, get on with actually talking about the race and not just gush about your love of ultrarunning. 

On to the highlights and lowlights…

  • Mile 8:  Just past Confusion Corner, running along the single-track heading toward Horsemen’s Ranch… leading a pack of Brad, Craig, and another fine runner.  Next thing I know, my foot kicks a root and sends me sailing across what felt like 100 yards on my belly.  The perfect baseball slide.  Who skins up their stomach on a trail run???  After emptying out the trail contents from my shorts and dusting the mud and blood off, I decided to take the tail end of the pack.  Good thing, because within another quarter mile… the same exact frickin’ thing happened!  Splayed on the ground… argh!!  Luckily, that was the end of my acrobatics for the remainder of the race.
  • 50K point:  I hit goal #1.  There was music ready for Brad to shake it.  Hey… Lorraine’s orders!  No aid until you bust a move!  Amazingly, the guy did his little jig to the cheers of the crowd… or were they groans???  Kevin had our drop bags all ready for us to grab our stuff and go.  Huge help!  Tom helped me fill up my drink mix.  Kris was trying to get me to eat any of the food on the table.  Lorraine loaded me up with the biggest ice chunk you can ask for around me neck!  (It actually lasted me the whole way to the next aid station!)  It was tough to leave that place…
  • Meadows… SUCK!!  They get me every frickin’ year!  I know most of it is mental… I always go into them with dread.  This section consisted of lots of walking, a bit of cursing, and a good wash down in one of the streams.
  • Emma Carlin aid station:  Felt like CRAP!  No energy, low spirits, and trying to manage the heat.  I was treated like a queen there though.  Kevin making sure I was still mobile.  Marty handling my super sweaty camelback while I tried to come around.  Sam loading me up with ice and dousing me with ice water.  The crew was trying their best to help to come around… which was a huge mental boost!  Another tough aid station to leave!
  • Meeting up with Fun Run’rs:  How cool was it to see LPTR well represented in the Fun Run… Todd, Jose, Marcel, Melinda, Aaron, Jim, Deb, Chris, and Annie.  All with good words to say as Brad and I tried to make it back to Nordic before it got too dark… we didn’t have any lights with us.  Oops!
  • 100K:  Goal #2 reached.  Made it back to Nordic in good spirits.  Although poor Kevin had to hang around for an extra 3 HOURS before we finally rambled in.  Kevin… you are a trooper!
  • Final 38:  What a relief that nightfall brought.  The temps cooled a bit, a sliver of a moon was out, the stars were out in full force… just a beautiful night.  Helped to rejuvenate me a LOT.  Kevin did a great job of keeping me awake through this tough section of the night for me… when sleepiness tends to sink in.  It was constant chatter, some singing (NOTE:  If you want to hear Brad sing, feed him some 5-hour energy drink!), and three physics questions which I failed at answering correctly… failed miserably.  We rolled into Rice Lake, with Kevin ready to relieve his pacing duties… and hand the reins over to Jeff.  One small problem with that idea… no Jeff!  Just as Kevin was wiping away his tears at the thought of having to escort Brad and I to the finish… Jeff comes out of the shadows, with his energy elixir for me – V8!  Chug, chug… and we were off!  You can’t beat Jeff’s stories.  He definitely kept me entertained… and kept us on pace, moving along at a pretty good clip… well, as good a clip as you can get at mile 90 of a 100-miler.  What a great person you have who would take such a crappy shift to run… from 3AM to 8:11AM… and with a smile.  Thanks Jeff… you’re the best!
  • Finish:  Brad and I were welcomed to the finish by Timo… crossing the line in 26:11.  Struggles?  Ooohhh yeah!  But well worth it all.  I couldn’t ask for a better way to spend the day than with the greatest friends you can ask for!  Thanks for running every step of the way with me, Brad… what a huge help!!
Thanks to Timo, Jason, and Ann for putting on such a great event… year after year!  All the aid station workers who spent their day taking care of us runners… Mary, Paul, Christine, Robert, Kris and Kevin, Fred, Tom and Lorraine, Kris and John, Bill… I know I’m missing soooo many others!  The ever-supportive crew that came out to cheer, help out, and take pictures… Rick, Marty, and Sam.  And two of the best companions you could ask for, taking on the thankless job of pacing… with no complaints.  Thanks a million, Kevin and Jeff!!

Angela Barbera's Race Report:

This was the 7th year in a row that I have laced up my shoes to battle Kettle100. The trails won twice, I have finished four times – I needed a finish this year no matter what. If I was smart I would have signed up to run the 100k – but I have never been known for my smarts and besides I had a willing pacer in Marty!!

I left my apartment thinking I would need a long sleeve shirt since it was 4am walked outside and gasped – it was warm!! Today was going to be hot.

Took off at an easy pace and chit chatted with the girls that I only get to see a couple of times a year. I had to check my bottle tops in my fuel belt thinking they were leaking….NO, it was because of the high humidity that I needed to wring out my skirt on a regular basis. A new friend Dan that lives nearby and regularly runs the trails surprised me by meeting up with me around confusion corner and running to Emma Carlin – time went by quickly.

After that I was out in the meadows and lost consciousness until sometime today so I only have random thoughts.

Great to see the runners coming back from Scuppernog. Joel looked great, darn he makes running look so easy. Craig was not feeling well and I think  zapped me with some of it. Julie and Brad looked stong – 30 minutes to Scuppernong – good to know. I limped into Scuppernong not feeling well. Stomach was fighting against me. Sat in a chair … Marty and Kevin were my pit crew and had me back on the trail in no time.  Waved at Cobbie – he was looking warm but tough
Back in the meadows again – HOT!! So many times I thought and said out loud to anyone standing at the unmanned Aid stations that I loved Timo and Jason. WOW!!! Ice…lots and lots of ice. Not sure how they were able to have enough for everyone…even us in the back! Ice in the bottles and bra, a swig of soda and I was off again.

Little by little I got closer to the point of meeting up with Marty for pacing. He met me at Bluff Road and the party officially started. Mary Gorski’s aid station was wonderful…she is always willing to throw in humor with any requests. Lots of LPTRs out on the trails – could tell the fun runners when they passed in the dark…they just smelled so good! Saw Julie, Brad and Jeff coming back to Hwy 12 – those guys were moving very well! More ice, bug spray…and little by little got closer to the finish. Marty amazingly put up with me for over 14hours with no sleep – always willing to humor any of my requests. Not sure if we will be seeing him much at Lapham in the future...

It was a great time – I am only sad that I will need to wait another year for the next Kettle 100 party.  My hat off to the Timo, Jason and all of the volunteers it was a blast!!

Marty Kanter-Cronin: Bring on the Night 

Angela likes to run in the dark. She really does. And that is saying something, because usually the time for her to do that is after she has been running all day. Bone gnawing tired, naught to focus on but One. Foot. In. Front. And she does it well, relishes it in fact.

I like eventide running too. Ever since I did one of those relay events back in ‘05. I drew the latest of the late, running 10 miles at 2 am on a sultry summer night. It felt wild, intimate. It was a darkness coursing in my veins. A dragon’s hot fire breath that did not burn, but was a passion forge.

So I jumped at the chance to be Angela’s running companion for the Kettle 100. I joined her at mile 54, running 1-1/2 miles out to the Bluff Aid station to be her pacer for 46 miles over 14 hours. And the evening wore on, beautifully. We ran through the evening, into the night, into the dawn.

What do you call those magic hours between Midnight and dawn? I’ve heard names for them. Witching hours, Dead hours, Graveyard hours, Small hours, Wee hours. Middle of the night hours. Do you know what time it is hours where the hell have you been mister hours. Mischief hours. Dark hours. Yes. I like that one.

Most of us rarely see them, and if we do we are usually roused from a deep slumber, and anxious to return to the same. Or maybe we have seen them from a slightly (or not so slightly) inebriated state. The altered consciousness deadening the experience to the point where awareness stops at the next barstool.  Might be up, but not ‘here’.

On those rare occasions when we are present for them, in a wide awake state, or in an active state… wow, they can really be something. Even better, when we are with someone, sharing the experience. What a magical thing those dark hours can be.

Angela and I. We ran. We walked. We talked. Of many things, books and drama queens and pirates, of family and kings. We sang, we solved the world’s problems. We laughed with an orange moon in a burgundy sky. Yeah, when your passion for life needs a transfusion, shoot it full with the red wine of dark hours, run all night long.

A race for time, for place, is to anticipate its end. Pursuit, competition, a goal, these are things we do as runners. That’s not what this Kettle 100 was about for me. Not ever close. A race report? Not really. To discuss details hacks hunks of the magic out of it. Dissect anything and it loses animation; becomes a shell of an egg, the bird long since gone.

Thanks Angela, for a wonderful adventure, for the magic of the dark hours, for your companionship on a starry, starry night.

Cobbie Behrend's Race Report:

I'm going to skip to when things started falling apart... mile 29.  

I haven't been sleeping much the previous week, about 4-6 hours a night.  Friday night was a good night and I ended up getting 6 hours.  

This is the only thing that I can attribute to how I felt at mile 29.  I ran for a while with my eyes closed I was so tired.  Beth Simpson-Hall gave me a no-doze, and I took half of it.  It didn't make any difference.  I pulled into Scuppernong, and laid in the shade of a tree and had a 20 minute nap, waking myself up with my own snoring from time to time.  I felt better when I woke up.  

Then the second problem surfaced.  Improper footwear.  I haven't bought trail shoes in over a year, and so was running in the sneakers I used to wear when I first started trail running.  However, my feet were swelling due to the heat, and there wasn't enough room in the toe box for my two smallest toes.  It was painful to put my shoes back on after changing socks.  

Another oversight is that my socks were older, and that I wasn't adequately prepared for the hot conditions with socks at every drop bag opportunity (no drop bag at emma, and no light at emma which would have been a problem if things had gone better).  This resulted in several nasty blisters. My feet also seem weaker.  The tendons on the outside of my right foot started bothering me shortly after emma (47.4), which slowed my pace to a crawl.  It felt like I was walking on a chunk of wood.  

As I write this, early Sunday morning, I have no muscle soreness, but my feet are still shot.  For the last two miles walking up to horseriders (50.5) I ended up taking my shoes off, which at least made the blisters less noticeable.  I dropped at horseriders camp after about 14.5 hours.  

My Run
By Craig Swartwout

I started the run.
It was hot in the sun.
I got the runs...
and then I was done.
; ) 

Chris Aul:  Race Report,  Kettle 100 – 38 Mile Night Fun Run

I arrived late and didn’t really have my head in the game which probably worked in my favor because I hadn’t really come to grips with how long this run was going to be.  So, I decided to just put one foot in front of the other until it was done.  And that’s exactly what I did for my FIRST ultra and my FIRST night run.

The night aspect was really cool.  I really enjoyed running with my head lamp and handheld flashlight.  It was as if all runners were travelling through a tunnel in the night lit only by their headlamps.  It was also interesting to see the headlamps dancing like fire flies through the forest and across the fields.  For a while, I ran by myself and kicked on some trance and  basically lost myself in the moment, dodging rocks and winding up and down hills.

For the first 22 miles or so, I had the fortune of running with a group of LPTRs Marcel, Melinda, Todd, and Jose. We also ran with Jodie Taylor who would later turn out to be an excellent pacer.  For the first 10 miles we joked and laughed but also knew that at some point we would resemble the 100 Miler Zombies we were occasionally passing.
After exiting the Nordic Trails which were 30 feet across and resembled Lap ham Peak, we enter narrow single file trails which I was not expecting.  The trail, which may have been a portion of the Ice Age Trail was narrow and often treacherous. I was shocked that we were running on trails that thin particularly at night.  Several times I came very near to taking dives after tripping on some sneaky jutting rocks and I clipped my arm on a couple of trees while taking sharp corners.

The aid stations were phenomenal though I’ve heard they always are at the Kettle 100.  Early on I enjoyed fruit and hammer gels but later I started eating candy and beef soup.  Finally on the return route I was drinking Mountain Dew and Coffee, and eating Marty’s grill cheese sandwiches.

Around mile 28 or so much of our 5-6 man wolf pack of LPTRs and friends began falling behind and Jodie Taylor took off with a consistently strong pace.  I fell in behind her and just thought that if I keep up with her, this damn long run will be over and my aching pains will be over.  I knew at that point if I started running by myself it would be all over.  Jodie had a real get-er-done attitude between 2am and 4am in the morning.  I told her I felt like walking and she told me I didn’t, I believed her.  When I was looking for a seat at the last aid station she barked the order not to sit down, I obeyed.  She got me to mile 36 before I let her go on without me.  The pain in the hips and lower back really couldn’t be held off any longer.  Each jolting step down the hills was enough to make me want to quit altogether had I not been so close to finish line.  In the end I was able to cross the finish line at 8 Hours and 13 Min or 4:15 A.M. while it was still dark out.  

Ultimately it was a great success and I truly feel a part of LPTR now that I can share stories about an ultramarathon.  As Marcel and Jose noted as we were taking off from the race, I’ve now entered a new level of competitive running.

Marcel Uttech:  38 Mile Fun Run 2011

We had a good group this year doing this event, I believe there was six of us, so of course Todd dubbed it the “six pack”. 

By the turnaround everyone began to run their own race and the six pack was loosely spread out over the 38 miles of trail. Jodie Tayor was doing this as her second ultra this year, as was Melinda. Melinda had also done a marathon the weekend before! Hardcore! Is she taking after Brad and Julie? And the one taking the big leap was Chris Aul- this was his first. Sweet way to cross over man, under the cover of darkness!

All I wanted to do was break 9 hours this time. I knew I was starting in rough shape after I had been roofing all day and was already pretty beat up but I figured, I felt so good at the 50 miler, this is only 38? How bad could that be? Ha-Never again…

I started out feeling pretty good, talking and trotting along with everyone else. However by mile 12 I felt like I was on mile 25. I knew I had better slow it down and really take care of myself otherwise I was really gonna be  a hurting unit. 

It didn’t really matter, because I was just aching through the last 10 or 12 miles. Ankles and knees were just extremely painful, glad I managed to hobble it in for a finish! Batteries were dying in the headlamp AND the flashlight…brand new ones too. That was a good time with 5 miles to go-maybe an old package?

As always, it was great to see all the 100 milers out there, especially the ones I’m familiar with! GO LPTR! Such a motivator seeing those people out there. Even when I am hurting, I look at one of those runners and I’m like, man, suck it up! That guys on like mile 85!

This was a great time again, I just cannot believe how amazing the aid stations are! Volunteers were great, and the weather (that night) was perfect. Big congrats to all those who were running in that heat! Just be glad that the horseflies are still MIA…

Monday, June 6, 2011

Kettle 100 in Pictures...

If a picture is worth a 1000 words... then here's a really long report!  

Sorry about the lack of chronology here...Photos from many sources.  Special photo credits go to Mary Gorski and LPTR "Illinois" Rick with many of these great shots!

One of my non-ultra friends saw the photos and commented..."Is this a race or an all-day Buffet?!? Seems like they are mostly eating!?!"  

Should be some great stories... I will post actual reports as more come in...

Congratulations All!!