LPTRunner Christine Crawford's 2012 Chippewa 50k race report...
I don’t get much time to train during the week so I decided to get ready for Ice Age 50 mile I would sign up for three 50k’s in one month then add two 20 mile training runs on two separate weekends. I was averaging about 20 miles of running during the week and in the end averaging 45 miles per week for the past two months. Good enough. Many of the LPTR’s spoke of Chippewa Moraine and it just happened to fit in my schedule.
Having to work late, Joel and I didn’t take off until 5pm. Of course I had to wait while Joel concocted dinner on the go. Elbow Mac, olive oil and parmesan cheese, shaken, not stirred in a Tupperware container. With Tupperware in fist, we took off for the fine town of Bloomer where we stayed at the Bloomer Inn and Suites and ate just across the way at a truck stop bar. Turns out, we were the only ones in the bar that resided in Wisconsin so Joel did his best to welcome the drivers/workers and explain what cheese curds were.
After a restful evening we headed to the start which was a nice place to start a race. The welcome center was warm, had flush toilets and plenty of things to play with. The group took some time for pictures; we headed to the start and after a round of applause for the incredible Helen Lavin and an even louder cheer for the LPTR’s we were off! I did my best to run slowly and carefully down the initial ¼ mile hill at the start so as not to blow out both quads at once. I quickly passed several people just as we entered the single track and the second mile of the run. What a beautiful course. All single track, nothing but hills so no chance to get a rhythm going but I enjoy such courses. I ran early with Ron then he decided to slow down a bit and I thought about doing that too since I didn’t know how my legs would respond having run Double Chubb the previous weekend (in the end, they felt fine and I had some fatigue only in the last five miles). I joined a group of guys who were running my pace but after eight miles, they proved to be stronger so I backed off; then I was alone which was awesome. I got into the zone feeling good and then suddenly, a root came up and grabbed my foot sending me sailing down a hill. I don’t know exactly what happened but I did remember hearing a little “pop” in my ankle. I’m not going to lie, it hurt and I was stunned. I got up and limped for a few seconds then did a soft jog then took off again and the pain slowly went away so I thought I was good. I could feel a little pain once in a while as I ran downhill but otherwise felt fine. I made it to the 10 mile aid station and as I ran through, felt something in my left shoe (I injured the right foot). I thought maybe I picked up some trail debris but I was too lazy to take the shoe off and investigate and eventually that foreign object embedded itself in my big toe. That hurt too but that pain went away as well so all was good!
I was waiting for the rest of the LPTR’s to catch me (Joel) but that didn’t happen until the turn-around. I latched on to Joel and Ben (who was running his first ultra and doing an outstanding job) and I commented that they were running really fast and I doubt I could keep up with them and Joel said “you were running faster before!” and I thought well, yeah, for 15 miles but now I want to slow down. He threatened to be upset with me if I let the second place girl pass me since she was close to me at the turn-around. That was all I needed so I stopped complaining and held on. I switched places with Ben and he commented that he was happy to look at someone’s behind other than Joel’s and it was even better that it was a girl. THANKS BEN at 42, I’m open to any such compliments.
We continued on but eventually lost Ben. With seven miles to go, I lost Joel. I couldn’t hold his pace anymore and had to take a few walk breaks to catch my breath. I was also holding back on the downhill’s so as not to fall again and re-injure the ankle. As I exited the trail, I looked over my shoulder finally to see who might be behind me. No one, so naturally I slowed down. Joel had promised any LPTR who could run up the ¼ mile hill which we ran down at the start would get $5.00. Joel put his money where his mouth was and ran up the hill. I did not, there was no point! In the end, I went from 32nd place to 20th place which was awesome. As soon as I stopped running, I knew something was wrong with my ankle. The volunteers quickly got me some ice and wrapped my ankle. My ankle grew to the width of my calf by the time I got home and was worse by Sunday and the other thing in my left shoe which stabbed me in the big toe was another toenail which came loose during the fall! Gross. Since Chippewa, I’ve been actively and aggressively repairing my sprained ankle. I would attach a photo but it’s really icky.
I plan on returning next year if possible because the event was so well organized the volunteers delightful and the course is beautiful. It was wonderful seeing so many LPTR’s out having strong races.