Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bighorn 50 Mile - Jodie's Report

Race Report from LPTRunner, Jodie Taylor...

Well, where should I start?
I have been looking forward to this race since last December when Sean Meissner told us that the Big Horn Ultra was the most scenic race he’s ever done. From a guy, who travels all over the world to run Ultras and win them, I think that says a lot!

My plan was to have a good race and not have to race the clock to the finish line. I’d maintain a steady pace and focus on my form to have better endurance.  I’d drink Perpetuem the first half, take shot bloks and S-caps,  and then switch to water the 2nd half and eat a Justin’s almond nut butter to get to the finish line within 14 hours or less.

This is what actually happened…

Super loud coal train sounding off its horn…I woke up thinking it’s my alarm. Nope, only 12:30am…back to sleep.

2:30am, wake up!

At 3:15am, we were on our way to the high school in Dayton, where we caught the school bus to take us to the other side of the Big Horn mountain range.  When we finally reached Porcupine Ranger Station, it was 30 something degrees and I had butterflies, not in my stomach, but in my hands!

I love how casual the start of a trail race is, no corrals of people with specific times from previous races, we all just gathered around and started running when the race director said go! 

Marcel pretty much took off from the start, Jose was somewhere behind me and soon caught up. I can’t remember how many miles we ran together, I was pretty much just in awe of the scenery, trying to take pics when I could and trying not to get stuck in the giant mud puddles.  Jose eventually got ahead of me; I wasn’t going to try to keep up with him on the up hills. Up hills take a lot out of me, so I have to make up my time on the down hills. Well not long after, I came to a shady pine tree section with a couple of trees in the middle, do I run down the left side or the right side? “When in doubt, go right,” that’s what my hockey coach always said. So what did I do?  I went left and in a flash, my ankle turned under and I heard a loud pop! Now I’m freaking out in my head, because that’s the sound I heard when I blew out my knee.  I guess this happened somewhere between miles 12-14, not really sure.

I kept moving forward slowly to walk off the initial pain. So many thoughts were going through my head. First they were all negative as more and more people were passing me and asking if I were ok. Finally, after an hour and 4 minutes of wallowing in self-pity I suddenly thought, “Jodie, you’ve been looking forward to this race since last December.  You did lunges around the track at work every Monday for these mountains, while everyone at work thought you were crazy. You came all this way to see what Sean was talking about…just keep going till you’re stopped by something else!”

After that my ankle didn’t feel as badly as I thought it was going to feel , or else it was just numb, either way, I had to get to the next aid station on foot, unless they sent a cowboy on a horse.

When I reached the aid station I asked if anyone had athletic tape and this burly man in his Stetson had told me he had some duct tape or ½” wide medical tape. I opted for the duct tape, but it wouldn’t unstick to itself on the roll. Thus I had to go with the ½” wide medical tap, which I taped over my muddy socks the best I could.  I looked at my watch and saw I had an hour and 5 min. to reach the next aid station that was only 3 ½ miles away. No problem!

Listening to the raging river below was exhilarating and motivating. When I finally saw the river, I wanted to stop and take pictures so badly, but I kept telling myself to keep moving, because I was now racing the clock.

I made it to the aid station with 30 min. to spare! I guess that meant I had to keep going. I refueled and then headed up the longest climb. 

After staring at the ground for a long time walking uphill, I was startled by the swiftness of a female elk running away from me. She stopped for a brief moment and stared at me, then took off again. I started to hike some more and then I heard some crazy animal sound that I couldn’t place.  I scanned all around me and saw nothing. As I was frozen in my tracks, I thought to myself, is that what a male elk sounds like? The race director’s advice was, if you encounter an elk make sure you get a tree between you and him. What?! Really? And where were all of the other runners? Did I miss a turn from staring at the ground too long lost in thought? A few steps further…oh it’s just a pack mule! Hahaha! Hey, I’m from the Jersey suburbs, how would I know what an elk or a mule sounds like?

I made it to Bear camp aid station at the top of the mountain and refilled my pack with water. According to my plan, after halfway, I wanted to switch from perpetuem to water and that’s what I did. Finally, I was able to get 2 ibuprofen, I don’t know how much they helped but I was now on my way to reach Dry Fork aid station before 4:00pm.  I don’t remember much after this aid station, did I zone out? Was I just super focused on making the next cut off time?

Eventually, I could see the Dry Fork aid station off in the distance…on top of another mountain! And the people all looked like little ants slowly walking up the hill. I had hoped to make it there by 3:30pm but arrived at 3:40. About 10 yards from the top, I heard Jose yelling out to me.  For a split second I was happy to see him, but then it crossed my mind that he should be way ahead of me and I got all crazy.  Instead of saying “hi” I yelled, “JOSE! WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING HERE!  Nice, Jodie, real nice, yell at your friend in front of everyone!  Jose was great, he found my drop back, he refilled my hydration pack. Meanwhile,  I must have been in a panic.  I started downing too many things I don’t normally ingest during races all at once – 5 hour energy drink, Justin’s nut butter, ibuprofen and now Heed. What is it with me and Heed? What’s ironic is that I had just finished telling this other runner that I keep my refueling regimen simple…apparently, I lost my brain and did totally the opposite!!!

We left the Dry Fork aid station and as soon as we started jogging, I began to feel nauseous. I drank from my hydration pack and felt even sicker. OMG! I’m a dumb dumb! I told Jose to put Heed in my hydration pack!  I finally asked Jose if I can have ½ of his water, since the next aid station was only 5 miles away. He was awesome and gave me half of his water.  I couldn’t jog much at this point, so I said goodbye and didn’t see him again till the end, which is good because I probably would have yelled at him if I saw him waiting for me up ahead.

I reached the next aid station again a half hour ahead of the cut off.  I decided to drink a cold cup of 7up thinking that might settle my stomach. Umm…bad idea.

I left  Lower Sheeps Creek AS feeling refreshed for 3 minutes, crossed the creek to head uphill…again. OMG! This was extremely steep.  I guess that’s why they call it “up shits creek,” because that’s where I found myself.  As I started hiking up, the nausea started setting in again and I felt dizzy. Not Good. Every 10 steps I’d sit down on the side of the trail, left room for people to pass and hoped there wasn’t a rattlesnake nearby. They said if you get bit by one to just lay in the trail and wait for help…great.

When I reached the top of the mountain (I’m guessing it was around mile 40), I leaned over in the grass and hurled everything I ate at the Dry Fork aid station.  Thankfully no one was around to watch me in all of my shining glory at the top of the mountain.  I felt so much better, but also very weak.  I slowly walked down the steep trail and finally sat on a rock to take a moment.  Just like Marcel had a face off with a moose, I had a face off with a Mountain Ground Hog. Yup, he looked me right in the eye, squealed and took off down the trail. Did I look like death or something?

A few moments later, this runner and who I thought was a pacer came down the trail. He told the other runner to keep running as he stopped to ask me how I was feeling. I said, are you her pacer? He said, I’m a safety runner. Um…Ok, I’ve never heard that before but I’ll go with it.  He looked like a long time ultra runner, a mountain man with a small silver feather earring and well-tanned weather beaten skin. The lines on his face looked like he had many stories behind them.  I told him my ankle was busted and I threw everything up.  Ha! Nice introduction.  He gave me an E-cap and a B12 and told me to drink my water and start running, that everyone still has a chance to make it. He gave me another E-cap told me to take it in 2 min. when I heard him yell down to me.

I can’t believe I took pills from a stranger!  So now I’m running down the mountain. I don’t know where this energy came from, but I kept running all the way to the next aid station without stopping.  I was super psyched to see the aid station as it was only 7:10 and the cut off is 7:30. Then after talking to them I found out the aid station with the 7:30 cut off time is 2.2 miles away. Crap! And there goes the wind knocked out of my sails again for probably the umpteenth time that day. I started walking fast as the other lady Lisa went flying past me and the Safety Runner caught up to me and told me to start running again.  But then we hit another uphill and I said, “uh…the uphills make me want to vomit.”   The clock struck 7:30 and I haven’t reached the last aid station.

The other runner, Lisa and I walked the rest of the way to the last aid station at mile 46. We arrived around 8:00. We asked for a ride to the finish line, which was still 6 miles away, but Lisa’s friend, Miles told us we had to start walking to the finish. I don’t know what conversation took place, but I’m assuming Miles did not want to wait for them to pack up the aid station to then take us to the finish line. So he said he’d run back and get the car to pick us up. Lisa and I started walking and chatting. Soon a pick up truck with a young Wyoming couple drove by as Lisa put up her thumb to hitchhike.  They stopped and we jumped in the back and that’s how I made it back to the park! I can’t believe I hitchhiked too! What happened to my street smarts from living in Brooklyn?

It’s not over for me, I will have to return to the Big Horns finish what I started!

Congratulations to Marcel, Jose and Robert for their great accomplishments! It was an excellent trip to Wyoming and back! I can’t wait for more!

(Note:  I later discovered, Miles Krier is an accomplished ultra runner and coach! I’m thankful he helped me get my ass off the rock and run down the mountain.)

Bighorn Trail Race - 2012

 LPTRunner Marcel Uttech's 50 mile race report...

I had been looking forward to getting back into the mountains for a trail race since Hellgate of last year. There is nothing as humbling as the ocean until you experience the mountains, and doing ultras ensures you will see a lot! Piling into Roberts van along with Jodie and Jose, I was excited to head West.
We drove all through the night and by dawn we were already spotting antelope here and there among the vast rolling hills of Wyoming. Every gas station stop there were cowboy hats and shot glasses for sale, and signs for local rodeos all over. We stopped to eat breakfast at a place called Donna’s where I got to witness this rancher pull out his .380 up on request of the table of people next to us, and promptly show off the laser sighting on the nearby wall- much to the glee of the little girl who was filling her face with pancakes…ah, the Wild West.
Sheridan is a pretty neat little mountain town. With the Bighorns looming in the distance, mountain adventures are close by and there are some neat cafes in town. The one we found online was called Lulu’s, and it had plenty of organic eats and a coffee bar- nice place to frequent!
The remainder of the day was filled with me working on homework, which I so joyously got to bring along, and the others relaxing while sounds of a nearby train filled the mountain air. (Coal train, which we found out, loved to blast its horn multiple times a day, and night. Thank God the window didn’t close all the way otherwise I would have missed this haunting wail numerous times)
On Friday it was all about Robert, and he seemed relaxed and ready to go! We went with him to the pre-race briefing, where it was nice to hear about the trail and where all the fresh water for drinking was (we found out later that some of these marked ‘pipes’ coming out of the ground were considered unmanned aid stations and those are what he was referring to) this place would also be the finish, so of course I was already envisioning myself staggering over the line…there was a good sized creek right nearby, perfect for rinsing off and soaking legs afterwards! (duly noted)
When it was time to see Robert off we went to the 100 mi start, and got a little taste of the scenic views to come…this place was just awesome. Jodie got some good pics with her nicer camera as my phone could not do the place justice…
With Roberts race underway we realized we were next and the rest of the day was spent pondering that realization, oh and me joyously working on my homework, thankful that there was internet so I could submit it before the race the following day. Last thing I wanted to do was to worry about my sociology essays for 50 miles…
Saturday morning came and we were up at 2:35 am. Awesome time to be awake, because you realize that you are heading into the mountains and all day you are going to be exploring new trails! We were all pumped and ready to go. We had to get on buses at the high school in Dayton, and then had about an 90 minute or so bus ride up the mountain. With the sky starting to lighten, it was awesome being able to see the surrounding mountainside, and in between ear pops we scanned the hills for elk…
Just about to Porcupine I spotted about 12 or so elk on the side of a hill grazing- that was pretty neat. Of course the people sitting across from us tried to see but they were on the wrong side of the bus for this so they missed it. It pays to know where to sit, or just get lucky like I did. This was now the land of snow and sage, and the temps were dropping. We got up around 8500’ to the Ranger Station and then unloaded. This was the start, and it was cold! It was strange to see snow, and frosted roofs and grass. It felt like Wisconsin in a way, except for the thin oxygen part. I didn’t really notice this much until we started running and gaining elevation to around 9000’ or so, where I could tell I was losing my breath frequently and having to slow it down. This was fine, since there were snow banks to maneuver and post hole through anyway and muddied creeks to cross. (Many shoes tried to bail out of the race at these creek crossings, good thing mine are trained to stay put)

Single track into the woods and the mountain exploration began…I kept a pretty decent pace going, walking most of the uphills and just trying to focus on good form and relaxed running. The miles went by like the clouds, mostly unnoticed and seamless. The aid stations were like little encampments set up in the woods, with horses tied nearby and fires crackling. They were hard to leave, but there was more to see! And miles to go! I met people from all over, and many times had to stop and just take it all in. There were meadows covered in sagebrush and wildflowers, and thick forests of pines and rock. Raging rivers and little mountain streams. By mile 34 I was still feeling good, and felt fortunate to be out there soaking it all in. A few miles after this I was making my way through a sagebrush meadow by myself when I saw a rather large dark colored animal ahead...”What the hell is that?” I thought and then it raised its head from where it had apparently been feeding and I saw that it was a MOOSE! The first moose I had ever seen in the wild! I would have loved to see the look on my face, perhaps something of a mix of ecstatic joy and pure terror? I looked for a way around, since he was standing RIGHT on the trail. Nothing but sage brush covering hidden rattlesnakes I presumed…and nowhere to take cover in the event of a sudden charge. Hmmm…pretty tired to play tag with the moose so I decided to just make some noises so he was aware of me being there (wouldn’t want to startle the ol’ boy) so I made some noises by clearing my throat loudly at which he perked right up and started staring. I wondered then if those noises had resembled the sounds of a challenge??? More feelings of uneasiness as the stare-down continued…My camera! I got my camera out and started taking some pics while I wondered how long this was gonna take…finally a hundred miler came up behind me. “Oh great…” he said. “ Well at least it’s not a female with calves, they get pretty aggressive”… he was from Colorado, where this is a little more common. Upon seeing my reinforcements arrive the moose wandered a bit off the trail finally (bout 20’), and we edged past talking soothing words like “We’re just going by now, take it easy now…” then once I figured he was cool with us I took off.
The remainder of the race was spent with me reliving the moose encounter in my head and how cool that was to see. Coming up on the last mountainside descent I saw a guy that had been trailing me for awhile gaining on me slowly…I figured time to gain some ground so I just ignored my screaming quads and just pounded down the mountain…my next mile was a 8:02 and I passed everybody I came across on the way down. Felt great until the bottom and the trail flattened out…6.25 more miles to go on trashed legs! Run walk Run was the recipe to get me to the finish. Coming out on the road there was only 3 miles to go, all pea-gravel road. Some of the caring neighbors had hoses laid out front that you could spray yourself as you went by! So COOL! Huge thanks to them!
I managed to keep my spot those last 3 miles, averaging 13 minute miles and just keeping forward progress…upon entering the park I made one last surge and had a strong finish with a time of 11:48. Was given the finisher vest and headed straight to that cold creek – HEAVEN! I washed up and Robert found me, carrying his chair and all smiles. I was glad to hear his race went well…We plopped down and waited for the others at the finish line.

I asked Sean Meissner during our Hellgate trip last year what the most scenic race he had ever done was and he had told me Bighorn. If I were asked that same question, I would have the same answer. This is an amazing race held in a beautiful part of the country. You get a chance, get out there and do it. TOUGH course, but worth it all…

Marcel, Jodie and Jose

Monday, June 18, 2012

Sam's and Julie's Wild Stag...

At 6pm on Friday night, June 22, the Wild Stag will be held in the southern Kettle Moraine State Forest.  Both  the race start and post race festivities will be held at the D.J Mackie Shelter. Master of the trails, Tom Bunk, has laid out a 10k loop.   Run one loop or as many as you like, and then come back and hang out.  Bring a dish to pass for the pot-luck feast and some malted re-hydration if it suits you.  We have reserved the shelter overnight - so you have the option to bring a sleeping bag and stay over-night in the shelter or camp out in the parking lot.

Please RSVP with Angela  if you plan to come and let us know if you are intending to stay overnight or not.

 Please don't bring gifts, your gift is taking the time to be there and share the night with Julie and Sam.  

Hope to see you there!!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Kettle 100 Mile - 2012: How is it that bumble-bees can fly?

Kevin Grabowski's Kettle 100-mile Race Report...

Prologue:  Kettle 100-mile, 2012:  Some things are hard to explain.  For example, it’s only recently that engineers and scientist were able to explain why a bumble-bee can fly despite puzzling aerodynamics.  Another natural phenomena is equally troubling:  Matt Patten’s 100 mile PR at Kettle is a good 20 minutes faster than mine!?!?   Huh?!!? J

This would be my 5th 100-mile finish in eight attempts if all went well.  In the previous 4 years, I have managed to complete Kettle 100 twice, Superior Sawtooth 100 once, and Pinhoti 100 once.   My last two 100 attempts ended in DNF (Kettle 2010 & Sawtooth 2011), and I was definitely anxious to avoid three-in-a-row in the DNF department.   Somehow it becomes easier and easier to indulge that voice that invites you to sit down or to go home… So, any time goals aside, my first goal was to finish. 

That being said, I am always hoping for a personal best for time.  This is a tricky goal with 100’s because the many variables that contribute to success or failure in any ultra are magnified in a century run.  Handling and managing the weather, hydration, electrolyte balance, fuel, pace and fitness are all tougher and more complicated as the distance gets longer.   Focusing too much on a time goal instead of paying attention to the details that will ultimately get you across the line with a finish can cause problems.  This was largely my undoing in my two previous 100 attempts.  Once my time goals seemed out of reach, I got the “ I-don’t-wannas”.   Once this happens, my dedication to manage other problems as they arise diminishes quickly.

My limited experience at 100 milers has also shown me that it is not how fast you go, but how slow you don’t go.  Any gains made early by a slightly faster pace are hugely un-done by extended “death-marching” later in the race.  Sounds like sage advice from a semi-experienced ultra-runner, right?  Somehow, these are things I forget when the race begins…

At least for 2012, I had a distinct advantage over years past in that my wife, Allison, had agreed to crew for me!  It was sooooo much easier not to have to obsess about drop bags and how much of what I might need when.  All I had to do is put it all in one portable pile and it would be available at each crew accessible point.  Awesome!!  Thank you Allison!!!!!

I had a new fuel source I would be trying out during the race (I know, you are supposed to test stuff out before a race, but it’s a 100 – what could go wrong!?!).  I would be relying on Naked: Blue Machine.  This is a fruit based smoothie like drink that contains only fruit purees.  Each 16 oz. bottle contained 27 blue-berries, 3 black-berries, 3 ½ apples and 1 banana.  I was hopeful that the fiber in the drink would help slow the release of the carbs, giving me more steady energy throughout.  I had tried it in on some long-ish runs with success, so I figured it would work great.

Another good sign was that the weather was really excellent; sunny skies and temps below 80 with a slightly cool breeze across the prairies. 

Only one variable could trip me up now: the space between my ears… Off we go!

The Report:  Of course, I ran too fast at the beginning.  Easy to do when the 100k and 100-mile relay runners take off and we are left to our plodding 100-mile pace.  The weather was just so nice.  The pace seemed soooo easy…

The Blue-Machine was tasting excellent, but trouble was building right away.  Just after Horseman’s aid-station (12 miles?) I had to duck into the woods for a few minutes.  By the time I got to Emma Carlin where Allison was waiting, all I wanted was some Desitin and an actual bathroom.  The Blue-Machine was making me “shoot” smurfs (you can thank Paul Heil for this visual).  Somehow, I convinced myself this was a temporary set-back and took off  in 20th place with a new supply of Blue-Machine.

I adjusted my pace and pulled back a little.  Not enough, but a little anyway.   At the 50k mark I was in 12th place and definitely ahead of where I expected to be time-wise, so I pulled back a little more.  Two more smurf-shooting adventures later and I was running low on TP.  Apparently eating bushels of fruit during an ultra is a bad idea.  Who would’a thunk?! 

By the time I made it back to Emma again (50 miles), I no longer had to worry about slowing down.  I was beginning to lag and my colon was no help.  At this point I abandoned the Blue-Machine and switched to another un-tried fuel source – Kefir.  This is a thick drinkable yogurt with active cultures that almost instantly settled my stomach.

Unfortunately, from Emma to the Tamarack aid-station continued to be a real low spot.  My stomach still didn’t feel sick, it just felt full.  I had kept drinking water and Kefir despite the fullness, but I wasn’t paying attention to how many s-caps I was taking.  By the time I got to the Gorski’s oaisis, I was in real trouble.  Fortunately this aid-station was packed with veteran help.  Christine Hinrichs, Mary and Dave Gorski, Cathy Diamond and Jim Blanchard (just name a few!) – they all accounted for a lot of years of experience.   I was craving salt and tried a few potatoes with salt on them before just dumping the salt in my hand and licking it off (Ug… we know where those hands have been in an ultra…)

Jim Blanchard claims this wasn’t his advice and won’t take credit for it, but I swear it was him that encouraged me to stop fueling with kefir & switch (temporarily) to Mountain Dew and take an s-cap every 10 minutes until my stomach felt better.   This was my new plan and I stumbled out of this 55-mile post making slow time and feeling pessimistic.  I ended up taking nearly 10 s-caps over the next 3-miles as well as 10oz of Mountain Dew.  The fullness in my stomach subsided and I started to feel great again!   I was able to run the last two miles into the 100k point at a reasonable pace.

Once there, Allison, Robert, Marty, Joel and Sandee all kept me company while I got set to head back out, locked into 10th place.  I was feeling excellent.  The next 16-17 miles were my favorite of the whole race - Not because of the terrain, just because I was feeling so good this late in the race.  I was passing people and having to tell myself to hold back. Heading into Hwy 12, I had moved into 6th place and was absolutely chomping at the bit.  Allison (who we all know to be far smarter than me) kept encouraging me to eat something other than Mountain Dew.  I refused - the water, Mountain Dew and S-caps thing was working and I wasn’t about to mess with it.

This lasted a grand total of about two more miles.  It had just started to get dark enough to turn on my headlamp halfway to Rice Lake when my energy started slipping.  The trail turns technical here as well which didn’t help my rhythm and by the time I got to Rice Lake I was feeling low again.  I still was convinced that Mountain Dew would save me (Why?!?!) and made the turn to head back to Hwy 12. 

During this section I really started struggling.  I was walking any incline.  If water could flow down it, I was walking it.  Mentally I was okay and still believed that this would pass.  I was starting to see other runners on the out and back and it hurt to be staggering along.  I made to Hwy 12 in 7th  place, but things were not good. 

Leaving Hwy 12 I tried to sustain a run for a bit.  I just felt exhausted.  My legs actually felt okay, but I had this deep-in-the-core tired that I just couldn’t shake.  It felt good to walk and I started noticing logs that were on the side of the trail here and there.  I looked at my watch while I sat on one and just shook my head.  Any time ahead I had been just a few miles ago was hemorrhaging  away quickly.  I felt pretty powerless to stop it and started walking again, hoping to catch fire again…

I didn’t run again for 15 miles.  I’m pretty sure I sat on every available log between Hwy 12 and Nordic.  I spent 10 minutes talking and snacking at both Bluff and Tamarack aid-stations.  Once the time goal was gone, I was in no hurry.  It was a beautiful night and I was going to finish. 

With about 3 miles left, Jeff and Jeff (two LPTRs’) pulled up.  They looked pretty happy to walk a bit this late in their 38 mile run and I was really happy to have the company.  We laughed and talked for another few miles before they began their run into the finish with a ½ mile to go.  By now I felt much better, but I figured if I had walked this far, there was no reason to run it in. 

That changed with a couple of hundred yards to go.  I looked back and saw a head-lamp closing fast.  I figured it was probably a relay runner but I didn’t like the idea of giving away a potential place in the 100-mile just in case I was wrong, so I started to jog.  I looked back again and he was coming even harder?!?  Huh!??! CRAP!!!  I started to run faster.  One more check back – He wasn’t letting up!  DAMN!!! I had to actually sprint it in to stay ahead of him. 

The “him” turned out to be Matthew Condron and staying ahead kept me in the top ten.  Somehow, after charging out of Nordic in 10th place hours ago, passing people and then blowing apart and walking the last 15 miles, I still ended up in 10th?   - Strange but true. 

So… I would like to say I learned something – (and under more reflection I’m sure I will find I did) - but I see most of my mistakes out there as obvious and avoidable ones that I should know enough to handle by now.  But that is part of the lure of the 100 – they are a puzzle to figure out and take some will to finish.  I look forward to running more smartly the next time, which at this writing will be the Superior Sawtooth 100 mile in September.  

In the end, I was just happy to have a story to tell… hope it was worth the read...

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Kettle 100 Mile - Angela Barbera's Race Report...

Race Report from LPTRunner Angela Barbera...

I enjoy reading others reports. It is great to see what their high and low point was, what they ate, what they thought of etc etc. I am amazed at how the author can remember so much – from every flower identified on the trail to their split at a certain rock. Amazing !! My running reports are just not that specific. My head only remembers butterflies, light colors, full moon, the sounds of frogs and generators, fuzzy conversation, lovely volunteers, and the support of friends.

But I will do my best to write a “report” ….

I do remember that the weather was absolutely beautiful and I had a great time talking with friends through the first miles and then through the meadows. I made it to Scuppernong ahead of schedule feeling great and was so happy to see Jim, Deb, Lorraine, Tom, Kris and many others. They all made me feel good and I was pushed back on the course. I saw Sam at Emma Carlin who helped me fill up my water bottles made me feel good about my running and I was on my way again. 

It was during the patch between Horseriders and Bluff Road that my stomach suddenly decided that it did not like drinking the mixture which has served me well for a couple of years. I had less than 8oz of water that I rationed until I made it to Bluff. From that point until I reached Confusion Corner going out to Rice Lake I felt awful. I was barely moving at 30min per mile. Melinda who picked me up at Nordic was wonderful and supportive…even holding back my hair when I tossed my cookies…or maybe not, that part is kind of cloudy. But magically the soup, the soda, the S caps the special Mary aid station food, whatever it was.. must have suddenly clicked in because at Confusion Corner I started to “run” and then talk and then laugh and I was glad that I was right there with Melinda on a beautiful night in the woods.

The rest of the race was fantastic and beautiful and we shared the trails a long long time with Logan and his pacer Nick. Jose joined our party at Tamarack and Melinda pushed us through the final 5 miles. I was amazed at the 7 minutes miles that we were running. Ok, maybe not 7 but it felt like it. My thanks go out to all the volunteers who assisted all day and all night and to the wonderful wonderful race directors Tim and Jason who do everything they can do to enable each runner to complete their goal. Kettle 2012 was a wonderful success!!

(Editior's note: I had to add this photo of Angela getting her plaque for First Place Senior Masters!
Congrats  Angela and great job keeping her together Mel!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Tina's KM 100 mile Top-Ten...

A little something from LPTRunner Tina Heil...

 It’s interesting being back at work after a weekend of running 100 miles. There are a few like-minded individuals who dish out the high-fives, but mostly people just shake their head and ask “why?”  These are the same people checking out the size of my legs (not as swollen as post-Sawtooth), blisters on my feet (only a couple pre-existing that were made a bit worse) and my walk (in my opinion, nearly normal). They ask if I had any problems during the race to which I answer to my closer friends, “only a case of the trots for 90-ish miles…. It could’ve been worse!” I try my best to describe why I love doing this, but swollen legs, blood blisters, limps and trots don’t really sound like a fun time to most people. So, in an attempt to convince others that I really did enjoy running 100 miles last weekend, here is my top 10 of KM100:

1.  Seeing my family and friends at different checkpoints and (better yet) hearing their cheers before I even saw them;

2. Familiar faces and laughs of fellow runners and volunteers;

3. Running through the night with one of my besties;

4. Renewed energy after the first Red Bull at Hwy 12;

5. Seeing the moon change throughout the night;

6. Hearing the birds begin to chatter at daybreak;

7. Running the last 14 miles with my husband who constantly told me I looked amazing… even when I had a case of the heaves;

8. The feeling of accomplishment reaching Tamarack Aid Station for the last time;

9. Knowing how blessed I am to be able to do this and strongly believing there was something “bigger” helping me through the race;

10. Realizing that I’m stronger than I thought I was.

Perhaps the endorphin/endocannabinoid levels are still elevated and I will feel differently after a while? Regardless, I will always happily remember my first KM100 and will be forever grateful for the experience.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Kettle 38 Mile "Fun-Run"?!

Race Report from LPTRunner Alison Wiedmann...

This craziness started back in October.  I heard through a mutual friend of Todd’s about a group of runners that run at Lapham Peak on Wednesday nights.  I thought- that might be nice to have someone to run with and meet people. Little did I know what I was getting myself into!  I arrive and see about 20 people all looking very hard core! I heard foreign words like ultra runner, drop bags, and s-caps. (A little intimidating for a 5k/half marathon runner!) I quickly learned this hard core, talented group of runners is also very supportive and encouraging of one another and enjoy a good time!
Over the next few months I looked forward to Wednesday nights.  Getting a good run in (more hills than I ever wished for), meeting new people (some I met more than once- “Hi, I’m Kevin!”) and enjoying the night! During these months I also watched my black loop time shrink, got some 5K PRs and ran my first trail race. And most Wednesdays someone would in a subtle or not so subtle way, ask when my first ultra would be or mention an ultra coming up. And so I started to wonder- is this something I could do? With this in the back of my mind, in February I ran part of the John Dick 50K- 19 miles, the farthest I had ever run! I realized the difference between road and trail races, the WONDERFUL encouragement LPTRs give eachother on the trails and the fun you can have!
And so that brings me to a week and a half before the Kettle Fun Run.  Todd of course has been mentioning the fun run since the day after John Dick.  I must have had a good run that Wednesday night and feeling adventurous or just plain gullible.  But somehow Todd convinced me with only running 19 miles previously I would be able to run 38 miles. (In case you aren’t a math person-that’s twice as far!) So, that weekend I signed up! Looking back, it’s probably good I only had a week to worry and question my decision!
Race day arrives and I try to rest and eat well and pack (but what do I really need?) Todd picks me up and we head off…I realized I didn’t even know where we were running! We arrive at Nordic and get situated and I see some familiar smiling faces. Before I know it, it is 7:42 and Todd, Brian, Dave, Raul and myself are off running.  After a mile or so, the nerves are gone and I’m enjoying the run. Friendly faces, good conversation and great weather!
Gradually the miles go by, the aid stations come and go, and Todd makes as many new friends as miles he’s running. (It’s too bad he’s so shy!) We eventually reach the turnaround and sit down for a bit! The rest of the run will be uncharted miles.
As we head back the miles become longer, the hills become taller, the rocks and roots become bigger and my pain tolerance reaches new heights. (Nutter Butters do seem to help take your mind off the pain for a bit.)  I was “tormented” by talk of squishy beds waiting at home and magic trolleys that take you back to the start. I also reached new milestones- first marathon, first 50K, first 38 miles all in one night!
Looking back at this crazy night, I know I would not have been able to do it without the support and encouragement of these 4 fellow LPTRs! I know I would be hard pressed to find other runners that would wait (probably quite awhile) at the one mile mark so we could cross the finish line together. And so today I want to say THANK YOU

Monday, June 4, 2012

I'm not sure what it was... Kettle 100 Mile - 2012

Race report from LPTRunner Ron Bero as copied from his blog:

It wasn't the schedule.  I was ahead of schedule.  The schedule allowed for some pretty slow sections.  Even at the end, that wasn't the end, except it was, I was ahead of schedule.

It wasn't the weather.  It was cool and breezy - perfect-ish day to run (I did sun-burn the back of my head however since I got my hair cut "special" for the race, since it's always hot that day - except it wasn't.  And, the hair-cut was extra special since my barber, who weighs at least 300 lbs and has had open heart surgery, hurt his back over memorial day weekend (imagine that) and his daughter was there and she's not all that good with the clippers).

It wasn't my conditioning.  I've put in plenty of miles.  I was actually passing people on the second 50K.  One guy that was waiting for his runner (he would be pacing someone for the evening) kept saying that I looked great.  And actually, relatively speaking I did.

It wasn't my stomach, really, relatively speaking.  I ran some with Logan.  At the 100k point he looked awful - White and awful.  I was having trouble eating.  The Gu wasn't cutting it, but I was able to get watermelon down - best watermelon I have ever had.  And oranges.  Some sandwich squares.  But I was bloating.  Drinking lots but feeling dehydrated.  Nothing an hour of walking couldn't have cured though.  I would have been fine.

I was tired though.  I started noticing the benches along the trail and envisioned me sitting in them being at peace with not moving.  That's actually been happening all spring.  I've noticed large rocks here and there on some of my runs.  There are days when the sun is out and I just want to sit down.  But I didn't and I don't because I was training for the Kettle 100.  Is that when it started?

I didn't sleep well the night before last.  I had night sweats and had to get up 5 times even though I only had 2.5 beers between 5:00 and 9:00.  I think it was just stress.  A very major internal conflict.  I can imagine a cancer patient, trying to sleep the night before they are to go receive their first chemo treatment.  One side of their brain saying you have to do this and here is why.  The other half, the half that holds their soul, the half that holds the self that is still a child and needs to be taken care of saying but I don't want to, I'm too scared.  Now, running a hundred is not like having cancer - do not even begin to think that I would equate anything in my life to that (and if you've no idea why I'm adding this qualifier, go talk to a cancer patient) - but the conflict I was having over running 100 miles was the same as described above.

The conflict.  In 2007, I decided I wanted to run 100 miles.  And I did - I was 45.  I had magical moments with my brother and sister and sister-in-law.  I felt alive.  Kathy was still in cancer treatement-ish but was there to support me.  I was surrounded by family and love and accomplished what I set out to do.  In 2008, we had storms and I quit at the 100K and that bugged me.  So, I took a weekend from my family and went to Superior.  I had Kathy's cancer hat and when I wanted to quit, I kept thinking - no - this is way easier than chemo and there is no way I can take a whole weekend from my sick wife and family and not do what I set out to do.  So I did.  In 2009 I did Kettle again.  Kathy and the girls were there and I honestly have no memory of being at the 100K point and going out again.  I remember it was cold and I remember Kathy was there at all the stops and I remember that I was pretty happy.  In effect, perhaps, I ran the perfect 100.  I quit at Vermont because Kathy was there with the RV and I didn't want to run anymore.  I was sick or was hurt until fall 2011 when I went to Superior again.  At mile six I decided I had no interest in running 100 miles.  I quit at mile 43.

My friend Kevin signed up for Kettle.  So I did too (kids - peer pressure never goes away).  2 weeks ago, running in the hot hot sun.  I got the idon'twannas.  I considered asking to be taken off the list.  but I didn't.

So,  after being a nervous wreck for 2 weeks and not getting any sleep the night before, I show up at 6:00 AM to run the kettle 100 and I am a nervous wreck.  We start and we start too fast.  But I am fine.  By mile 40, I'm tired etc (see above) and I realize, I just don't want to do this anymore.  I finally don't and really don't care (I actually knew this last september at Superior, but apparently forgot).  I can see my friend Joel, piloting his pontoon boat saying in a slightly slurred and at the same time over enunciated way "I just don't have the desire"  and at the same time, my other friend Dave saying - "I am no 100 mile runner."  As I noted, I have the conditioning, and as the guy above noted, I look fine so I pretty much decide to just finish out the 100K.  It is quitting, but It kind of isn't.  But is is.  And that's OK.  I'm 50.  I like running marathons and 50k's and 50 miles and even Voyageur 50 which takes 11 hours.  I just do not need to run another 100.  If I want to stay up late and feel magic and alive and loved by my family - I'll take them up to the boundary waters and we'll stay up late, siting on a rock outcropping in the middle of a lake, looking up at the stars, wondering what we're doing here but knowing we're here with whom we're here and we're all in it together and each of us is taking care of each other.

So what was it?  Another chapter of my life closed yesterday.  I'm looking forward to what the next one will be.  

Kettle 100 - 2012

Race Report from LPTRunner, Christine Crawford...

I was excited for Kettle Moraine 100 as I hadn’t run 100 miles since 2007.  My excitement soon faded as I came down with some sort of weird sickness the week before which didn’t let up and I was in bed resting up on Friday hoping I would feel better by the morning.  As the alarm sounded at 4:30 my energy was up but I was feeling flat; not excited or nervous for Kettle, just blah. 

The weather was perfect and I managed to run a very strong 50 miles but as I approached the Emma Carlin aid station my stomach felt a bit off.  I couldn’t tell exactly what was going on or what I needed.  I wasn’t over-heating, I was drinking plenty, I wasn’t bloating like I normally do, my legs felt like I had not even begun to run but there was something going on that had me worried. On a positive note, my dad came out to see me and that lifted my spirits!  I continued on and when I reached Tamarack (mile 58) I mentioned that I had stopped eating and didn’t feel right.  I stood at the aid station trying to figure out what I needed to feel better and decided one of Mary Gorski’s cookies might do the trick.  I walked for a bit and made it to mile 63 in eleven hours.  

I quickly changed shirts and cleaned up and once again stared at the aid station table as Robert coaxed me in to taking some nourishment.  I decided on a handful of animal crackers and took off running hard.  I believe I ran the five miles in about 45 minutes and promptly sat down at the Tamarack aid station.  Jim Blanchard and the rest of the crew did their best to help me with my tummy problems and at that point I had a bought of dry heaves just before entering the aid station.  After sitting for about 10-15 minutes and managing a few calories I thought I would walk for a bit and let things settle down but the moment I rounded the corner out of the Tamarack aid station, my guts unleashed and to the shock of the inbound runners, I was bent over in the bushes heaving like a big, sick dog.  After the first round I thought I would start to feel better and I was on my way to rebounding.  I continued to walk and then another round only this time it was pure bile.

             I finally made it to the Bluff aid station but had been dry heaving and my insides hurt.  I sat down at Bluff for what turned out to be a solid 40 minutes watching other runners skip in and out.  I was able to take in some broth but began to get cold.  The volunteers wrapped me in a blanket and continued to place cups of hot broth in my hand.  I looked desperately for a familiar face to help me out but didn’t see anyone who knew me well enough to assess the situation as I was a bit out of sorts.  All at once, Sam was kneeling in front of me with asking all the questions an experienced ultra runner and crew person should ask, offering comfort and support.  Another familiar face came through the aid station, my friend Eric who was running the relay with a group of my very good friends from Illinois.  I told Eric I was getting cold, I had no light, I couldn’t hold down food or water, my guts hurt but I still wanted to see if it would pass.  He told me he would walk with me to Duffin road and that sounded like a good plan but if I didn’t feel better, I would be stuck without a light, shivering, sick and another 4.2 miles until the next manned aid station.  Sam told me he would do his best to make it to Duffin to check on me but in reality, I had no solid plan.  As I began my power walk with Eric, the nausea would not subside.  I didn’t know what I would do if Sam was not at Duffin to pick me up other than wander to Hwy 12 another 4.2 miles.  It wasn’t Sam’s responsibility to look after me, I didn’t have a crew, I was on my own making my own decisions however Sam probably knew better than me that I was in trouble at that point and he did come out to find me on the trail and help me into his car to take me back to Nordic.  I had to shut it down.  There was no way to turn things around. 

            I’m very appreciative of the care and help I received from friends and volunteers.  It seems my last two events have not gone to plan and I’m not sure why.  One would think after nearly 100 ultras, there would be fewer variables with nutrition, training, etc. but clearly, ultras don’t always go as planned - but maybe that’s another reason we participate in these events?  I don’t know, I haven’t figured that out either.