To be honest Ive been excited for Chippewa for a while. The reason being with over two dozen LPTR's going I knew it was going to be one big party! Also my Grandparents living less then 45 minutes away from the start I knew I just had to run the race.
I left Friday night right after school and headed up for the 3 hour drive to my grandparents house. I started to wonder where everyone else was staying. A dream came to my head of a bunch of guys huddled in a car trying to stay warm with a blow dryer! I just laughed and hoped everyone was somewhat comfy the night before the race. I didn't get much sleep with falling asleep at 11 but it was nice catching up with the family once again.
I woke up around 5:30-from a early wake up call from my dog-Star. After a couple peanut butter jelly sandwiches I started to get ready. Right before we were about to leave it started down pouring. After grabing some warmer clothes we headed off for the 45 minute drive. I truly didn't mind the rain as I wasn't expecting any amazing time anyways. After about a half hour we found out we were going in the wrong direction..Through a series of messing with the gps we finally found the right address. I started freaking out hoping that I could still have a dropbag even though arriving 15 minutes before the start. I was glad to see by the time we arrived the rain stopped, I even wondered if it rained at the start..
Arriving at what seemed to be a nature center I was glad to see the drop bags outside. Quickly moving I saw so much familiar faces and already knew this was gonna be a fun time! The packet pickup was very simple with including just your bib, timing chip, and a shirt. After scrambling around I started talking to a lot of the people from Zumbro; some racers, volunteers, and even pacers. Everyone headed over to the race start where the RD was giving a very welcoming pre-race talk. After a couple laughs we were off and running.
Right away we cruised down a hill and out into the Ice Age Trail. It was so nice to re-catch up with some runners from Zumbro to see how everyone was feeling. For the race I just planned on starting out slow and slowly pushing the pace depending on how I was feeling. Through out the first 5 miles or so it was so nice to meet a lot of volunteers from Zumbro. It was so nice to personally thank each of them because without them I don't know what I would have done. I caught up to my pacer from Zumbro, Andrew. I was so glad to be seeing him again and running with him at a more upbeat pace.
I started feeling really good and headed off to try and catch some of the LPTR's since I was hardly seeing anyone! After passing by a couple people I caught up to Marcel-the creator of the Logo for Chippewa(: While running with Marcel we both caught up to The Ron Bero. It was just as I pictured..A couple of LPTR's cruising on the Ice Age just like always. By this point I couldn't believe that we were almost at the turn around!-Since it was a out and back course.
I was really worried going into the race of having a out and back course on single trek trails, but I turned out to be completely wrong! Making our way to the turn around the top 4 guys came flying through at a course record pace. It was nice seeing John Storkamp up in the lead-he truly deserves it. I was excited to start seeing more and more LPTR's as I crept closer and closer to the turnaround. Kevin, Christine, and the speedster Joel came by not to far apart from each other. I reached the turn around and grabed some FRS and some larabars and headed off to try and make up some ground.-2:20 turn around
I started to really push the pace to try and catch up to one of the LPTR's. After what felt like a REALLY long time I finally reached aidstation 4(well really 6 but you get the point) After a couple of thank-yous I headed right out. Slowly but steadily I was passing people which helped the confidence up but couldn't seem to catch anyone I knew. My pace was slowing down but I still truly thought i was a rocket and was flying. After reaching aidstation 3, shortly after I caught up to Kevin near a road crossing.
At this point in the race being a little out of it, I thought I must have taken a wrong trail or something. I was seeing Kevin but didn't pass Joel or Christine. After he explained to me about himself getting lost we made it up the gravel road. Both of us feeling lost I luckily spotted the trail; right before we were about to pass it. I was happy to just stick onto Kevin since we did seem like we were going fast; but not as fast as I truly thought.
After talking about Ice Age 50 with Kevin we arrived at aidstation 2. I couldn't believe aidstation 2 was 7 miles away! Im going to get like 5 hours. I couldn't believe how much I had slowed down. After meeting up with a person at A2, all three of us were headed off. None of us could believe that for how much we slowed down no one was passing us...Just then Ron Bero FLEW past us! It seemed like he was sprinting. I made a joke-Mann I gotta stick with Ron! Well that joke turned into reality.
Next thing I knew I took off after Ron and told him I was just going to try and stick with him. Within a couple of minutes of what seemed to be a crazy pace, the pace started to feel normal again. Ron told me he was going to put in his headphones which got me psyched! I was already listening to music but at such a low volume I could hardly hear it. After cranking up the tunes we were headed off. Just like that we both cross a bridge and see mile 5. Yes! I knew that aidstation wasn't 7 miles away(:
I just completely zoned out and just watched Ron's feet, hoping to see the next mile marker soon. Right before the last aidstation Ron pulled to the side and I passed him hoping I could keep the same speed without him. Arriving to the aidstation I headed off right away after being told no one was in front of me. Oh well I thought-I could still get a faster time. After passing the Front runner trailer/nature center I was pumped! I must be less then a mile away...Reality hit and came the 2 mile marker and off went me deeper into the forest. After what seemed to be an eternity I arrived at the meadow/field and saw 2 other runners way in front me. Passing the mile marker I realized, The hill...for the past mile I completely forgot about the hill that goes up the finish. Reaching the hill I came to a walk and tried to catch up to the guy in front.
THE SIGNS! while power walking up the hill I just wanted to throw my water bottle at the series of signs that mocked me while walking. Finally I reached the top of the hill and tried to sprint to the finish. -4:42
I was so glad to be done! After grabing some clothes(since I was only wearing short shorts, and shoes) I sat down with some food. The race was a lot harder then I thought it was going to be and was glad to see many others finish. The post race party was such a blast it was a hard time to leave.
The atmosphere was just awsome. The RD handed out age group awards while also handing out a collage of photos from the trails. Front runner(I think) was handing out some free pairs of Scott shoes-sadly none was in my size to try on but was still an amazing thing I thought. While meeting some new faces it was such a blast to re-meet a lot of people.
I couldn't believe how much hard competition was at this race! With that hard competition came 2 new course records! Rasmus Hoeg - CHAMPION - 3:51:27! New Course records for the boys. Along with 3 others breaking the old course record. Christine Crawford - CHAMPION - 4:35:52! New course record for the girls. -With a sprained ankle! Hopefully she'll be better by Ice Age so she can kick my you know what(:
The race was a very well organized event. The course markings were very good and along with the aidstations being very close together. The aidstation always had heed and water and the manned aids had gels along with loads of food. The post race was awsome with a ton of food and 3 different soups that seem to be bottomless. I don't know how much times I saw them refill the soups! The race, like many ultras had the so called ultra-vibe of amazing, caring, laidback runners and volunteers.
Also, CONGRATS to everyone else that finished; not everyone can run 31 miles. Hard core congrats to everyone who completed their first ultra. Thank you so much to the RD-(sorry never caught your name!) and thank you to all the volunteers who made it happen. Congrats to all the 10k finishers, most of you ran a lot faster then I could have. And all that matters is that your getting out there and enjoying the true beauty(: