Race Report from LPTRunner Nick Wied... It is just running everyone can do it, some are fast and others slow. But there are a select few that can really embrace the suffering required to run for a long time. One of the reasons I love ultra-running is that it is a challenge. Most often the challenge is 90% mental and 10% physical. This mental challenge, the willingness to suffer to persevere, is one of the reasons I went from racing 5 miles to 50 miles. The other reason was my love for and need to connect with nature. Well with that in mind I decided to step, way, outside my comfort zone and attempt to race an early spring road ultra, the Mad City 50K. For me this would mean running at an extremely uncomfortable pace, for a long time, in circles, on pavement, fully clothed, and in some really cold weather.
The Mad City course for both the 100K (USATF National Championships) and the 50K is the same.A 10K loop around Lake Wingra in Madison, WI.This is a faster course with the men’s 50K CR a stout 3:03(Zach Bitter) and the 100K 6:56 (Michael Wardian).Do not let the times or the fact that it is pavement fool you; each loop has an elevation gain close to 1200ft.That is right around 6k of vertical gain for the 50K and 12K for the 100K, not too shabby for a fast “flat” WI course.The RD Tim “Timo” Yanacheck creates an environment befitting a National Championship race.There are two aid stations; one at the start/finish and another right before the 4 mile mark.Timo’s dedication to the race and its participants allows the runners to focus solely on running.
Focus is indeed what I should have been doing right before the start of the 50K.After jogging to warm up I ran into Eric Senseman, the eventual 50K winner, and we began to catch up.Well the next thing I heard was someone stating that they called 30 seconds to the start of the race.So as I ran to drop my sweatshirt the race started.My first thought was, “What the hell, how do you miss the start of a race you showed up an hour early for!”Followed closely by, “Oh well I have 31 miles to catch everyone.”Well it is just another challenge, right?The 10K loop rolls out pretty quickly around the lake to right around mile 2ish where the first bigger hill is.This hill is runnable, as they all are, but taking them too fast early on will really fatigue your legs.From there the path follows the lake past the University’s arboretum and up the other large hill near mile 4 right before the 2nd aid station.From this aid station you run downhill following the lake to zoo.From there you have a quick flat shot to the start/finish to start your next loop.
It is sometimes tough to remember that this is an ultra when you are running 10K loops, since you can so easily wrap your mind around that distance.I was taught this lesson at mile 29 right as I passed the backside aid station for the last time, when my left hamstring seized due to fatigue, now that’s a challenge!Up until that point all of my miles had been consistently in the 6:40-7:00 range.Well not mile 29 that was near 17:00, but what can you do when you can’t really walk, but wait for the cramp to relax.As soon as that happened I pushed back into the 7:00 range and finished the race for a total time of 3:51:38 and a 7th overall.“Timo” put on a fabulous race, and really made running on pavement in 28 degree, windy, weather enjoyable.I would highly recommend the 50K as a spring tune up race to prepare for an Ultra summer.
Speaking of making you feel awesome, my friends who run shorter distance races always ask me what kind of swag (gifts) you get for running “crazy” ultras.Well Timo and his fabulous sponsors do not disappoint, the bag I received at check in was jam packed.Plus there was a huge bonus!I was a little fatigued after the race so I was not quite sure what the giant box I received along with my medal and plaque contained.Well it was a giant box of dark and milk chocolate truffles, 60 of them, NOW that’s SWAG!I love chocolate so I had my final challenge for the day, for this one I would need to enlist the help of my two little girls though!