Sunday, November 18, 2012

Whispering to myself...

Race Report from LPTRunner Troy Malinowski...

Thinking of Tina and Cassie’s successful runs in the south, I decided I would run a southern race and use it as a motivator. 

As many know, it seems I never race, as I am usually training for the next goal or event. For the past two years, I have had a goal to become LPTR runner of the year breaking Julie’s 2010 completion of 942 miles. But life seems to take away the time needed to train and attend the many races needed. And my 143.17 miles so far this year was going to limit LPTR-ROTY this year again.

I am registered for a marathon and a half in January. I can train for that. And I could never start early enough for the Badgerland 24 Hour FX. But I have said for the past three years, I will not run it again.

With this all in mind, I signed up for the Whispering Pines 50K.

So, as the event approached, I scheduled my trip. Well, that schedule went out the window quickly and next thing I knew the event was a day away.

I left Wisconsin and the temperature was thirty-seven degrees. I drove and southern Illinois and Missouri brought temps of fifty-six. I was thinking the temperatures will assist my running and deter the local runners with the cold temperatures. Then, as I am nearing the event, a rain storm moves across and suddenly the temperatures spike to seventy-seven. And it is humid.

I arrive, check in and as the sun rises, toe the line. We begin to run and I am attempting to find my place on the single track trail. I find it, but the heart rate is a little high. I tried to slow some, but am being pushed as we are still grouped together. After a short time, we all found our places and ran steady. After the second aid station, the trail serpentines and we continually passed each other within arm’s reach as we climbed a hill sideways. As we approached the third aid station, we came within one hundred yards and the trail turned away, then back, then away, then back and within 25 yards we ran away and did a wiggly loop for the next mile. We were within one hundred yards of the aid station seven times and not passing the station. After reaching the third aid station, we crossed the road and about 200 yards later were headed full throttle down a steep hill for the next three quarters of a mile and back into the start/finish area after completing the first ten miles.

The 50K was three loops that started with two big rolling hills (like Magic Carpet ride and the Wall, placed together) into single track to Aid Station 2 at three miles, then snake-like for next four miles into Aid Station 3 and downhill into single track for last three miles. And these ten miles in a straight line were 1.6 miles apart total.

After the first loop, I came in and thought it could be a PR day. But after hitting the hills on loop two, much of the energy was gone. And at about mile 16, I was starting to dread the day and being on the trail. I was thinking about Michael’s comment to my Glacial 50 report, {the trail was telling you to} “spend more time and I will be kinder to you”. At this time, Charley Pride’s “I don’t think she’s in love anymore” came on. And it was certain the trail didn’t love me at that time. And the feeling was mutual. As the temperatures rose into the mid-eighties, I just kept trying to move forward. At this point, I experienced a first; the inside of my nose was sweating. And as I finished the second loop, I had lost thirty minutes and the PR day definitely ended.

I started loop three energized to finish with the mind set of only ten miles to go. How many ten milers have we ran over the years? This was going to be easy, at least mentally. And off I went and tackled those two hills. As I approached the hills, Charley shuffled back onto the IPod and sang ”The Easy Part’s over now” and the hardest part was going to be those hills and they were. With the energized attitude gone, I drudged forward and lost another fifty minutes on the last loop.

The race was mentally a challenge in the heat. But overall, the event was well run and the aid stations great. The trail had challenges with little technical spots.

I am happy it’s accomplished. With this I have firmed up my 2012 LPTR-ROTY with the accomplishment of 1054 miles in 24 hours. And I’m glad as Charley sings “The snakes crawl at night”. But then again, maybe this would have taken time off my finishing time, as I would have been screaming down those trails.

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