You know you are in a small town when the proprietor of your motel isn’t available because he’s out driving the local school bus. Oh, and he’s the local judge too. (I wonder what he’d do if he got a speeding ticket?) Ah, Chetek! Summer home of thousands of fisherman, pockmarked by little lakes, and edge-lined with the Chippewa Moraine.
Yes, the Moraine, much like our own Kettle Moraine, and created a millennia ago just so we could run the hilly deposits of gravel where the glaciers decided to stop their encroachment from Canada, leaving behind eskers, kettle lakes…. Oh wait; this is a race report, not a geology lesson. But, it is fascinating to learn about the area that we love so well. If you ever get to this race, check out the marvelous geological display at the DNR station, which is also the race headquarters. This north end of the Ice Age Trail is no less beautiful than our southern end, and maybe even a little hillier.
So this race is held on the Ice Age trail, just south of Chetek in the town of New Auburn. 20 something of the LPTR crew were on hand, with various plans of using this race for the Ice Age 50 build up, three first time Ultra runners and those of us just out there for another great day on the trails.
Me? I was there to run, and run hard. Deb V asked me if I had any plans for my race, and my response was “yes, and it’s gonna hurt”. This year, I wasn’t running from something (like work related stress or a failed relationship), wasn’t running to something (like another race), I was just running. And there was no reason not to give it my best shot. And that means finding the line between too fast, and not fast enough.
So the first mile went by, and I felt a tug on my waist pack from a runner. Joel. Crap. I guess that means I started out too fast. Yes, 8 minutes for the first mile might have been a little optimistic. But hey, I got caught up front with the speedy guys at the starting line; I had no intention of keep that pace up all day. I did however want to hit the turn around by 2:30 or so, and then keep it going to see if I could hang on for a 5:15 or so: my ultimate goal being to go under 10 min per mile overall.
The out and back course was dry, and the day was a cool 46 and overcast: great day to set a PR. As I approached the 12 mile mark or so, I saw guys coming back at me. Holy cow. A blazing day! In fact, later I discovered four guys went sub 4 hours and all broke the course record. As Kevin G told me: “Yeah, I went 7:30 for the first mile, and I was in 20th place”.
As I ran the out portion of the course it was hurting a little. Running with people always makes that easier: as usual, I shared a few miles with Jodie T, and a few other runners too. I hit the turn around at 2:31 and change, so I was right on plan. I was running all the up hills, but as usual I was having trouble maintaining speed on the down hills. I actually suck at those. I think my brain sees the obstacles and causes me to step in front of them instead of OVER them. Give me enough obstacles and I’d probably go backwards.
So headed for home, I get just past 20 miles and it’s starting to hurt. I got passed a few times, and passed a few people as well, but mostly held my spot. One guy clearly in my AG went by me, but he was looking strong. He stopped and asked me if I was OK, catching me at a spot where I stopped to collect myself. I said, “Yeah, while the wheels aren’t come off, there are definitely a few lug nuts loose”.
I gutted out the last 9 miles, even clocked a few more 10 minute miles in the last five which were marked. Given the fact that my training for the last two months has been marginal, I was happy to clock in a 2:53 second half for a total of 5:24:28, good enough for 7/33 AG and 51st overall. For me, a 20 minute PR and very close pace to my Clinton Lake 30 mile time last month (5:09), on a more technical and hilly course.
Other notes of noteworthiness. Marcel and Jodie designed the current Race logo (above), and got a shout out at the start from Race Director Jeff Allen. Christine broke the course record on a twisted ankle running a 4:35, and Joel won his AG with a solid 4:30. Raul, Dave F, and Ben P all ran the Ultra distance for the first time; Ben clocked a stellar 4:50 in his debut.
Thanks to my travel mates, Jodie T, Marcel, Jose J and Raul for a great road trip!
|The Chippewa LPTR's...|
|Two stragglers who didn't make the group photo...|
Results for LPTR: