Sunday, May 29, 2011

My not so "Solo" Ice Age Solo 50 mile...

Mary Gorski's Report...

I called it a "Solo Ice Age 50" but it was anything but a solo effort.  

Flashback two weeks to when the "real" Ice Age 50-mile race was held.  I showed up at the race site a sniffly, coughing mess with a virus that had snuck into my body just days before.  I had lots of advice:  "If you don't have a high temperature, run the race, you'll feel better;" "Go ahead and run, it will 'burn' the bug out of your body;"  and "Once you get going you'll forget that you're sick."

And so I toed the race line, and then I coughed all over it.  

The first mile or two actually wasn't that bad.  I didn't forget that I was sick, but I started to think that perhaps I could do the full Ice Age. That thought lasted for about two miles. Slowly I moved from the back of the pack to the "way back" of the pack.  I felt lousy, and when I came into the aid station, I unpinned my number and handed in my race chip.  


A few days later, while cleaning up after my personal little pity party, I finally took a look at the race shirt.  Jeff Mallach, race director, had put together a winner -- a 30th anniversary long-sleeve tech shirt.  I'm not overly nutty about the unwritten rule of not wearing a shirt from a race one did not finish.  I could wear this.  After all, I had done nine previous IAT races.  But I got to thinking that it might be good to earn the right to wear this one.  

Surely in two weeks I would be done coughing up all those loogies; I would feel like myself again?  Might as well go and run the course.  And so "Mary's Most Excellent Solo Ice Age 50" was born.  The Li'l Mister earned a "Husband of the Year" nomination for agreeing to crew for me the whole day but I thought that both he, and I, could use a little company.  I sent an email to a couple of runners' lists in the area and let them know of my plans.  "Come out to run or jeer -- would love to have some company."

One of the first to respond was Badwater Bonnie Busch.  She had done the real Ice Age, but thought that she could use the extra miles as she built up for her next Badwater effort in July.  Bonnie wins the award for longest distance traveled -- she came up from Iowa the night before, stayed the full day, and then drove the three-plus hours home.  Wow.

Although it was an unofficial run, I was sticking with the official rules.  Start time would be 6 a.m.  The Li'l Mister and I, along with Dewey the Wonder Dog, pulled into the parking lot around 5:30.  What a difference from race morning two weeks earlier when the lot was packed with runners and volunteers busy with pre-race chaos.  Instead, we had the lot to ourselves.  Although a few people said that they'd start with me, I wondered if anyone would really rouse themselves for a 6 a.m . run on a holiday weekend.  

But then Bonnie pulled into the lot, and Brad and Audrey, and Gardar, and Pat (did anyone else know that "Gorman" actually has a first name?), and Deb, and Cathy and Marty (who had DNFed Ice Age at mile 17 with the same bug that I had).

At about 6 a.m. I hit my stopwatch and we were off.  Weather was similar to the real Ice Age -- overcast, 50s to 60s and humid.  Thankfully, my body was NOT similar to the one I started with at Ice Age.  A few loogies still made their way out on to the trail, but overall I felt pretty good and was enjoying the chatter of the early miles.  As we neared the end of the Nordic loop a few more friends came out on the trail -- running legends Tom and Lorraine (I just ran my 20th Ice Age) Bunk, Paul Gionfriddo, Kris Hinrichs, John Rodee and other TPs.  We stopped and chatted, and again congratulated Lorraine on her FANTASTIC 20th Ice Age finish at the age of 70.  She is my running idol.  

I was so grateful for the people who had come to join me and I had visions of everyone staying together.  All About Mary -- being an only child I was thrilled that so many friends had come out for ME!

We chatted and stopped now and then and chatted again.  People took pictures and we chatted some more.  

By the time we got to the end of the nine-mile loop it was about 1:50 on the clock.  Pat asked me if I was staying with the rules of the race –– meaning, did I plan to do the course under 12 hours?

"Well, yeah, of course," I said.  "If I'm going to do it, I might as well do it right."  

As we mingled in the parking lot, picking up new runners and refilling our supplies, I started to do a bit of math.  If I wanted to actually do this under the 12-hour time limit, I had to get moving.  

"Ok, let's go!" I yelled.  

It was like herding cats.

"HERE I GO!!!!"

I was SO GRATEFUL for the herd of cats who had come to join me, but I needed to get moving.  And so I did.  And like my own cats when I have a can of open tuna in my hands, the herd started to chase me me down the trail and we were off again.

But as we moved toward Highway 12 (17+ miles) the herd split apart.  Some turned back, having time constraints.  Others had less compulsive mileage goals for the day.  Marty escorted me to Highway 12 and as we made our way to the "aid station" he reminded me of the time.  "You know, you are going to have to keep moving if you really want to get in under 12 hours."  Marty had to head back and I hemmed and hawed, trying to decide what to do.  Wait for the rest of the herd or get moving.  Thankfully, the Li'l Mister made the decision.  He kicked me in the butt and told me to get going.  And so I did.  

I got to Rice Lake and headed back north.  About 10 minutes later I saw what was left of the herd running toward me.  The tomcats decided to go to the turn-around while Bonnie said she would turn early and run with me.  It was great to have company again.  I always have the voices in my head, but an external voice is a wonderful break from the incessant bickering that seems to go on between my ears.  Bonnie and I talked about her Badwater prep, work travels, and other chatter.  

Back at Highway 12 I looked at my watch.  There were almost six hours on my chronograph and I was only about halfway through the 50 miles.  Although I don't posses much in the way of higher math skills, I can usually do multiples of two.  Two times six equals 12.  Criminey!  I had no room for error!  No room to just walk it in.  I had to get my buns moving and run the same pace for the next 50 miles as I did for the first.  It wasn't a record-setting pace, but the idea of an even-split 50-mile run scared the heck out of me.  Bonnie decided to crew with Dave for a bit and once again I was kicked out of the Highway 12 aid station.  

Speaking of scared, on the morning of my Mary's Most Excellent Solo Ice Age 50 I was more nervous than I had ever been before the real race.  I decided to let others know of my plans in hopes that a few would come out to keep me company but by doing so, I let A LOT of people know that I planned to run 50-miles all by myself.  The logical part of my brain realized that if I DNFed people probably wouldn't think of me as an absolute failure in life, but the illogical part of my head (the MUCH LARGER part) agonized over the scenarios of explaining another DNF.  Another big-mouthed idea that fizzled.  Nice try Mary.

With the latter thoughts in my head I picked up the pace as I made my way back up the trail.  At Duffin Road I saw the L'll Mister, Bonnie and our friend, Tom Chopp, who came out to help cheer and crew in the second half of the run.  What a lift if was to see them for a few minutes before heading back into the woods.  Up the hill to Confusion Corner and full-speed ahead to Young Road where Bill Thom of was there with his camera in hand.  He was to keep me company from Young to the Emma Carlin turnaround and back.  

Just what the doctor ordered.  By the time I hit Young Road my energy was gone.  Worried that I wasn't going to make the 12-hour cut I "sprinted" (a very relative term here) to Young.  Bill asked how I was doing.  "I felt pretty good until I saw you," I said, realizing only AFTER the words fell out of my mouth how awful they sounded.  But being an incredibly understanding guy, he knew exactly what I meant and started feeding me a steady dose of encouraging words, telling me that I looked much better than I did and that I'd finish under 12 hours without a hitch.  Like a junkie I mainlined his optimistic comments and kept moving.  

Heading toward Horseriders' Camp, Bonnie ran up the trail toward us.  She did this at several of the aid stops and I began to think of her as the bird that signals to sailors that land is near.  Once I saw Bonnie, I knew that another shot of Coke was close at hand.  Feeling woozy at this point, the Coke and a smile was the only fuel that seemed to be working.  

On the way back to Young Road I saw a blond giant in a hydration pack on a hill.  "Did someone order a German?" yelled Cobbie Behrend.  A fellow Lapham Peak runner, Cobbie had come to keep me company during my last miles.  We stopped briefly at Young to refuel and say "hi" to Kris and Kevin Setnes.  Another pair of ultrarunning legends, they lived just up the road and saw our make-shift aid station.  

"What's going on?" said Kevin as I popped out on the road. We quickly explained my nutty event and then I looked at my watch.  "Sorry, I've got a tight schedule, got to go!"

Cobbie entertained me on the way in with my favorite running pastime -- singing silly songs.  By the time we rounded the corner and headed into the finish we had just made up a wonderful number about flour.  Funny how less than 24 hours later I can't remember a thing about the song beyond the theme.  Cobbie?

Coming into the finish I broke a TP ribbon, received a shirt as a finisher's award, and then flopped on the deck. My finish time?  11:50.  Ten minutes to spare.  

I was exhausted.  Much more so than after any "real" Ice Age finish.  Although I had wonderful support the whole way, this "solo" run was much more difficult for me than any organized 50-miler that I had done.  There really seems to be a significant difference between doing an organized event and doing an "unofficially organized" one.  I can't put my finger on what it is, but it was much different.

So as I wrote in the beginning, I called this a "Solo Ice Age" but it really was anything but a solo effort.  I am so grateful to the many friends who came out to support me, and especially to Dave, my L'il Mister, for being such a good sport and traipsing after me all day.  He truly lived up to the definition of "CREW" -- Crabby Runner, Endless Waiting.

And now I'm going to go and put that 30th anniversary Ice Age shirt on.  Gosh darn it, I didn't earn a finish buckle for doing the actual event but I sure did earn the right to wear that shirt!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ice-Age 50: The Race-Report Buffet

Overheard the quote of the day from a runner only 2.4 miles from the finish and anticipating the end… "I can smell the barn from here!!!"   And his buddy’s reply - “…Um… I think that’s you…”

The 2011 Ice-Age 50 is in the books!  This years addition marked the race's 30th anniversary and our very own Jeff Mallach followed up last year's stellar debut as race director by selling out all events for the first time in the history of the race!  Angela Barbera served as this year's Volunteer Coordinator, doing an incredible amount of work to recruit and manage the support personnel.  No performance out on the course could rival their efforts - Thanks Guys!!

Once again the IA50 was included in the Montrail Ultra Cup series, ensuring some deep talent and Western States 100 births for the top two Male and Female finishers.  The LPTR crowd helped fill the field with an amazing 36 entrants in the 50mile, 50k and half-marathon.  Official Results can be found here: RESULTS

Marty K. put together an Excel chart showing the club results for a quick-view...

Numbers rarely tell the real story, however, so posted below you will see a collection of race reports from some of the LPTR's themselves.  Lots of good reading - Enjoy!
(Joel Lammers):

I’ll get to the point.  It was one of the toughest IA 50’s I had ever run.  I’m not sure if it was the high humidity, the fatigue from the 3 races I had run in the month and a half prior, I was having a bad hair day or I was just getting old.  Whatever it was, I just never got comfortable all day.  I was holding things together pretty well until mile 37 (Horse riders) when I started to loose energy and experience very sore quads.  I was also being harassed by Kevin and Robert so I figured I better keep moving.  The trip out to Emma Carlin and back took me about 10 minutes longer than it normally does.  I returned to Horse riders (43 miles) ready to give up and just walk the rest of the way.  The harassment again ensued so I drank some coke and other fluids, ate some cookies and gulped down a couple more Succeed Pills.  I left the aid station and decided to pull my head out of my ass and run.  At that point some of my energy returned.  I actually passed some guy with 3 miles to go.  When I hit the finish it was a big relief.  I took my shirt off and the large group of chicks appeared to congratulate me on my 10th place finish.  I then went to the medical tent to sit down and get away from the media and my adoring fans.  After about 15 minutes I emerged and greeted the public.  The rest of the day was spent eating, drinking, listening to the band and talking all my good friends and acquaintances.  A special thank you to Jeff & Angela and all the other LPTR’s who helped with the run.  Because of their hard work, I was forced to run 50 miles and walk like I had a stick up my butt for the next 2 days.     

(Melinda Pedersen):

Today’s Ice Age 50k was the most amazing experience. I arrived early to watch the 50-milers finish their first loop. Jose met up with me and we went to my car to grab my fuel belt. He asked if I had any S-caps and I said, “oh yeah, I need those.” He was my little reminder of what to bring.

Jose and I decided to run the first half together. Within the first half mile, I met Sam who ran with us. He had a lot of energy! Right before the start, I had decided to take my little camera. I took a couple of pictures, but they didn’t turn out well with the motion. Sam said I was like a tourist.

My fuel belt was packed full of gels and a mini Clif bar, and Sam mentioned it looked like I had a picnic. I told him if he got hungry he could grab something! I ended up ditching the mini Clif bar and the camera at Horseriders.

Going down a hill before AS #1 at about mile 11.5, I tripped, but luckily caught myself. The rocks sure would have hurt. My left ankle was sore and my laces seemed a bit loose. However, as I kept running my ankle felt a bit better.

At mile 13 I took my first “rest” stop and ate a quarter size PB&J sandwich. This by far was the best tasting PB&J I’ve ever had! I tried tightening my laces, but the chip was in the way and I needed to head out for our first loop since Sam and Jose were ready to go. As we continued, I couldn’t stop thinking about the PB&J and was looking forward to another one! I bet the PB&J was what got me through the next 9 miles!

During our run, Jose realized that he left his drop bag for mile 17, but only to discover that he dropped it for the 50-mile route. He was planning for his refuel items. I spared him a gel and away we went. We hit the next AS 5 miles into the loop and I grabbed another PB&J and some HEED.

At about mile 21, we stopped at the AS Jose named, the “Lemonade Stand.” He dumped a cup of water over his head and called it a shower. He took off running up the hill and stayed ahead of Sam and me until we caught back up at the next AS. One of the kind volunteers refilled my bottles while I was holding it. I was shaking from running and she shaking from the cold while pouring. We both laughed.

While eating a PB&J sandwich, a fellow runner from the half came up and asked what I thought about the 50k. I couldn’t say much and nodded since I just stuffed my face with a yummy PB&J sandwich. He asked what mile I was on and I showed him my GPS of 22 miles. He seemed so kind and all I could do was nod! He mentioned how he plans to enter the 50k next year.

During the second and final loop I was refueled with my PB&J sandwich and ready to go! I officially became “loony” and a cheerleader for Sam and Jose. I started singing “it feels so good.” I was loud and encouraging at the same time! As we came upon other runners, I was surprised I didn’t frighten them, because I shouted “HELLO!” I was in the best positive, loony mood! Sam said “whatever it takes” and just enjoyed running the race with other people. His goal was to get under 6 hours.

When we hit the marathon mile marker according to my GPS, we had a bit of our own celebration. People must have heard us from miles away ;-)

Now to the 27th mile and our last AS before the “Lemonade Stand.” I swear I heard them say we were the last ones to get this AS. This meant to me, we were slow and not many were behind us. I grabbed my PB&J and took a shot of HEED. Off I went, SLOWLY up the hill waiting for Sam and Jose to catch up. They were taking their time.  Jose yelled, “there goes Melinda.” I didn’t see Sam yet. I kept going and started running. I thought for sure the two would catch up. I kept looking behind and on a straight away I saw them, and yelled, “come on boys.” I thought about slowing down to finish with them, but something inside of me wanted to give all my energy to the last 4 miles.

Within the last half mile, I met up with Raul, who has run with LPTR one time. I saw him a couple different times on the course. He was walking up the last bit of hills as I was running. I said to him, “let’s race!” He smiled. Then when we saw the finish, he says “come on let’s go.” As soon as I started to sprint my fuel belt fell off at the same time one of his bottles fell. We took off together and he almost missed crossing the mat. I yelled “finish, finish” and he jumped over the cones. We completed the race with the same time.

I absolutely love that I am part of LPTR! 

(Steve Poulter):

What does one say about a 50 mile race that takes them 11 1/2 hours to complete.  This was my fourth ultra, after running 3 50K's starting with IAT 2010, I feel that I have started to learn what it takes to train for and complete long distance.  I love it.  It pushes me and turns me inside out.  However, the 50 miler schooled me on Saturday, and what better way to learn than from the IAT50 this year.  Unbelievable, LPTR people everywhere, what an awesome day.

I could detail out my race, but you have been there and done that.  You could go back to my race report from Glacial last year and the story would be similar.  What really sticks with me 3 days later are those brief but crazy moments in time during the race, and that's what I want to share.

Just as a baseline, my goal for the day was to finish before the cutoff.  I didn't have any clue what to expect past the 50K mark other than it would be hard, and try to break me.  It was awesome to absorb the calmness and joy of Deb as she trucked along, encouraging and giving advice on the basics.  Marcel took me totally off guard, usually running fast, he was moseying along and plodding slowly uphills.  He had the game plan, he was working the plan and banking the reserves.

My planned walked breaks had me passing and being passes by many people.  As we left Nordic and started out to Rice Lake, I once again caught up to Marcel.  We ran a couple miles behind a steady pack onto the single track.  It's here that I started to get to know those around me without even talking to them much.  When you run for hours with people, you see their struggles.  My feet hurt, but that guy looks like he has an IT band issue, and that girl has KT tape on both knees, someone else talked about a stress fracture and having to train in the pool.  OK, we are all hurting somewhere here in the back of the
pack.  Just keep moving.

Things got difficult on the way to the southern turn around.  My pace dropped off and the lows started in waves.  I followed a small group down into the woods for the loop / turn around and we all went left
instead of right.  Luckily the trail was only 1 wide and the oncoming runners got us back on track with only 100 foot error.  Coming out of the loop, I ran into Tom and Loraine, they were doing great, inspirational.    I was behind a guy who at one point jumped off the trail in excruciating pain.  I stopped to check on him, he said he thought he re-injured his left arm rotator cuff.  If you saw the guy finish in 11:35+ with a serious left lean, that was him.  The pain in his arm pulled him sideways, I'm not sure how he kept going.  He ran through it, amazing (or stubborn).

It seemed to take forever to get back to confusion corner.  I was so looking forward to seeing the front runners again for encouragement.  Climbing up that crazy rock covered hill to the lookout point, I came
across Joel cruising back to the finish (3 left for him, a crap load for me).  I don't ever see Joel in discomfort, not that he was, but he said it was a hard day.  Looking back the humidity was crazy, sweat wouldn't go away, and it was taking a toll on everyone.  As I made my way to Horseriders, I was in a deep low.  Walking for long segments, totally empty, trying to calculate what needed to happen to get me there.  The miles ticked away slowly and more LPTR folks ran by, Dehart, Brad, Julie, Ron (you were tearing it up Ron), Craig.  I laugh when I think of Craig passing me by, he was looking great, but I was death warmed over, head down.  I raised my eyes but that is all, I think he saw it and didn't know what to do.  It was funny looking back.

Horseriders is where it turned around, Brothergrub to the rescue.  Staggering into this aid station I was greeted by Kevin.  He jumped into action like a maniac, "What do you need? Where is your drop bag?,
What are you eating?"  He helped me layer on another shirt, as my slow pace kept me cold.  Then the golden advice: eat cheap carbs.  I went for the M&M's after eating PB&J and pretzels all day.  As I headed out to Emma the sugar kicked in and I felt alive again.  Why didn't I do this earlier?!?  I cruised to Emma, saw Angela again who was great with a big smile and encouraging words.  I filled my pocket with more M&M's and headed back to Horseriders where I found myself again greeted by Kevin and the guy running in VFF's.  This guy had so much salt/sodium on his face you could have scraped it off and filled a cup.  I read his race report later and he had a serous salt issue that day.  What was hilarious was Kevin, not being bashful of making fun of anyone, asked me if I need salt.  If I did I could just lick the dude's face.  He just looked at Kevin like "what?".  Guess you had to be
there, I laugh out loud just thinking about it.

It was all downhill from there, except the parts that go up.  Hitting the last AS with less than three miles to go, I came across a couple in which the guy had some serious leg issues.  He was in serious limp,
he wanted to quit.  His wife yelled at him to keep going for the 3 miles.  I was able to give him some encouragement.  They finished together not far behind me.

Making the final turn towards the finish, I saw Robert again watching the runners.  I told him "I DID IT" and picked up my pace with a strong run through the finish.  I was greeted, handed my buckle and
gave it a kiss.  Angela, Todd, Joel and Christine were there tocelebrate.  I'm still on a high from the finish.  I plan on holding onto it until....I register for my next race.  See you on the trails.

(Jose Villegas): 

Hi, Jose J. Villegas (a.k.a. Jeff Mallach @ the Chippewa 50k who was a slacker and did not do a race report, but had a great race for my first Ultra and had a blast)
Now, I can do my first official report as a LPTR member!  One year ago from this past Saturday was my anniversary.  So, I now have 2 Ultras under the belt and thousand more to go.  Well, I feel good now about this running stuff since I jumped in it doing 6 some miles w/ Todd & Marcel!  Not knowing what a mile felt like yet alone doing 5 more!  Awesome group here, can’t thank enough for the LPTR members for making me feel like a champion no matter what level you are!  Huge thanks to my lost brother Marcel, Amen brother.  I’ve become twisted steel – Dave D.  Salsanator by Mary G. & many more nicknames that are still being whipped up!

The Ice Age Race was more of a mental race then my first one that I did 3 weeks ago. Probably because I was Jeff Mallach.  No, this is what really happened.  First, Marcel picked me up and we were doing good in time.  We missed a turn in Eagle killed about 5 to 8 minutes.  Time was ticking and we got to the parking lot and parked.  Now we are down to about 10 minutes before Marcel’s race starting at 6.  We both had our drop bags walked by the truck threw them in the Ryder truck.  Got our tags and with in minutes Marcel was in stride for his 50 miles.  Me who signed up for the Aid Station before my race (50k) was not thinking and start to walk to this aid station, no wait I was late so I started to run like 2 miles worth!  Then I started to think, I really don’t know where this aid station is.  I had left the printout at home.  I now was 30 minutes late.  So, I called Angela, as I was walking back to the car!  Yeah, she said go over to Tamarak Rd.  I did make it there thank God I drove there!  Got to see most of the 50 milers come by the Aid Station.  It was great being there for the 45 minutes that I served.  Came back to start my race… met up with Melinda.  This would be her first Ultra and I told her that I would run the first half with her and she agreed on that plan.  In reality she kicked my butt on the second half!  I guess my mind started to think wrong when I started to realize the truck took my drop bag for the 50 miler’s!  My mind was in a slump when I wasn’t going to see my bagL  I had that bag prepped up for Go time at the halfway point!  My secret juice that I had secretly hidden in that bag.  Well I still made it thru, ran 96% with Mel and 100% with Sam.  He was a hoot to run with, well Mel too til she ran away from us. 

All in all, I enjoyed the after party, food and all the LPTR’s that were there!  I love this group… Thanks to Jeff and Angela!  And all else that was involved as runners and volunteer workers, this race rocked!  To the next race,  I believe is the Fun Run on the 4th, for me at least.  Marcel said it was a 38 miler night run!  I have my drop bag ready!

(Tony Cantrall):
I was sooo happy to be able to do my first 50 miler at the LPTR’s “Home” race, the IAT50.  How cool is it that we had 36 runners out there at this race?  Then if you add in all the volunteers that are part of the LPTR’s and were out in force helping to make this such an awesome race, it was just a phenomenal experience. 
I really liked being able to see all of the fellow LPTR’s on the out and back portions and being able to say Hi and wish them luck.  I had run on most of these trails before so I knew most of the course and what to expect from the trail.  What I didn’t know is how my body or mind would react when I tried to push it 20miles farther than I have ever run before! 
 What a great day for a run.  It was hard knowing what kind of pace I should try and hold early on so I just ran as easy as I could force myself to and tried to enjoy the course and the experience.  Got to run with Brad and Julie early on in the Nordic loop but I could soon tell they were going to be running faster than I thought I could hold so dropped back a little and just settled in to a nice easy pace.   
I made it through to about the 30.5 mile aid station before any serious thoughts of dropping out started creeping into my mind.  I was starting to really feel the soreness in my feet and my legs and I was dreaming up excuses of how I could justify that I had to drop out – an injury would be the easiest to explain why.  The only thing was I wasn’t really injured.  Sure I had some major soreness in my right ankle and my right hamstring was as tight as a piano wire, but I could still keep moving, still keep jogging/running/walking. 
So I thought, I’ll just run to the next aid station - and that would be around 34 miles – I could say I ran farther than I ever had before.  When I got to that aid station I mulled around eating and drinking a little and tossing around whether I should drop.  Was I really injured or just tired and sore?  How could I face everyone if I didn’t finish?   
I decided to give it a go to at least the next aid station and would decide there.  Didn’t feel the greatest during that stretch, had my first good trip and fall along the way stubbing my big toe significantly, and was now really mentally and physically drained by the time I got to the Horseman’s aid station.  I had pretty much made up my mind to drop out, not because I couldn’t make it, more because my mind had kind of checked out and said “I don’t want to go through the pain anymore”.
 I was starting to gather up my drop bag and I had an “intervention” by fellow LPTR’s Robert Wehner and Kevin Grabowski.  They basically saved my race.  They offered to help get me anything I needed and convinced me that all I needed was to start pounding calories into my system and I would be fine.  Kevin especially hit home when he talked about how the idea of dropping may seem like a great idea at the time, but that I would be absolutely kicking myself the next day for dropping out.  Boy was he dead on. 
 I got a bunch of calories ingested and started out to the turnaround point at Emma Carlin and started to feel much better within about a mile.  I got in with a group of 3 other runners and we held a tight pace-line the whole way to Emma and back to Horse-riders.  They all grabbed a quick refuel and started out on the last 6.5 mi to the finish and I didn’t want to lose that train so I took off with them. 
 My re-fueling started to run out and I had to drop off the pace line about a mile or two later.  But now there was only about 3-4 miles to go and I knew I could finish this thing.  I had kinda hoped for a sub-10 hour finish but I was really pretty ecstatic just to know I was going to finish.  I crossed the finish line with a sprint down the last quarter mile and smile on my face.   
I met so many great people and got to run with a lot of them for at least a portion of the race.  Those were some of the best parts of the race was running with new people and getting to know them a bit and hear a little about where they were from, how many ultra’s they may have done, what they have on tap next, etc…   Thanks again to all the volunteers for making this such a great experience!
(Dave Dehart):  Completes his 10th Ice-Age 50 Mile!
What a fun day.  It is just great being able to get out to this event.  Jeff did a spectacular job running the show.  So much so that by the end of the day people were calling him, “Big Pimpin’ “.
This is my favorite race.  I felt in decent shape, though my four days of running a week was far from normal.  I went out as usual.  Take it easy and settle in.  I ran with Ron Bero, Todd (Illinois), and Meg (MN) to around 15 miles.  I felt fine, though Ron and I were concerned about how much we were perspiring.  I went to two caps an hour and electrolyte drinks just to stay on top of it.  At Rice Lake I went the wrong way and lost two minutes.  Not huge, but I was a tad upset at myself.
 Coming back I had a tad of a bad patch and started slight cramping.  It seemed to be a spread out field this year.  Not a lot of bodies to catch.  I caught one here and there and it wasn’t until Duffin that I started asking where people were at.  “About a mile.”  A mile!  I just kept running and by the time I reached the hill before Confusion Corner, my first real cramp caused me to slow down.  Nothing major, but you can’t really go faster at that point (not that I could), so I just maintained.
Before Horseman’s I found out I was in 20th.  Again, some cramping, but not enough to stop running.  The odd thing was I felt like I was running 9:00 pace, but it was 10:00 pace.  So at Emma, I see there are 4 guys behind me from 1-4 minutes back.  I knew I couldn’t risk running faster, so I made up my mind if they were going to catch me they would have to run all of it in because that’s what I was doing.
At Horseman’s up the hill my leg cramped again and I stopped to walk a second, but that only made it worse.  I took this as good news and kept running.  At this point I knew I was on the bubble to break 8 hours, but I didn’t want to risk pushing and cramp up more severely.  I hadn’t been passed all day and felt if I could keep the pace I was at then no one would.
 The funny thing is, I kept picking off a guy here and there.  Some were walking and others were clearly in the tank.  Running all the hills actually seemed to change muscle groups and it was easier on me.  I blew through the Young and Bluff Road Aid Stations just to be sure no one had any ideas of catching me.  I was tired, it was an effort, but I made it in.  Finished 14th overall in 8:03:57.  In the end this worked out best as the guy ahead of me was 10 minutes up and the gut behind was 7 minutes back.
From a running and placing stand point I was very pleased.  I don’t think I could have done anything different race wise.  I certainly couldn’t have risked running faster.  Possibly running slower early may have yielded a better time, but not more than 10 minutes.  Besides, that is a risk as well as you start to push mid-race and with the humidity may not have worked.  
 Next year I will be 50 years, so it will be a good reason to ramp it up one more time…and get out of Lammer’s and Wehner’s age group for a year.  Also, big ups to Crawford and Donna for crewing for me.  It makes a big difference.
Drive fast, take chances.  Double D
(Marcel Uttech):
I had no idea what to expect- all I knew were things I picked up and heard from the fellow LPTR seasoned vets: ”its gonna hurt…”, “this is a totally different race…”, “conserve your energy, take care of yourself..” etc. I was excited to push myself to this distance and to see what ’50 miles’ felt like. How my body would react, how I would handle it.

It was a perfect day to find out, as all who ran it can agree-60’s and overcast. All who volunteered probably thought it was chilly, which it was. I was thankful to be running, and even more thankful for the volunteers I encountered at every aid station. I started off trying to maintain a 10 mi pace on all the sections where I was running, and I walked almost all the uphills. Mentally I broke the race up in my head, perhaps to make it seem more attainable? Haha…The rhythm I fell into was amazing, relaxed and just going through the miles. I had hoped to run with Marty and Steve, and a few others who were doing their first one too. But that just wasn’t in the cards…this was truly a race unto ourselves, and it was interesting to see how different people handled the race.

The words of Dave Dehart kept going through my head, “take care of yourself up to mile 35, then let it all out”. I followed his advice exactly, and it worked out very well for me. I was very concerned about cramping up, as lately it seems as though I always do on anything over 25 miles or so. Not the case here. The pace must have been spot on, and everything else just fell into place. I have never had a race until this one where it felt good the whole way. I may never again, who knows? I learned so much from this race, too much for words. In fact I don’t think I could even put it into words.

I could not believe the energy all of a sudden that I still had when I decided to cut loose. Actually I have to thank Matt Patten for that. He rattled my cage at mile 40 as he passed me going the opposite way from Emma towards the finish. He said to me,” Come get me Marcel..Come get me…”. Haha I still laugh because that is exactly what I decided to do…all of a sudden I had another goal, this one much shorter than the finish, so it took my mind off of the ten miles and became a race within the race…the rush that came with that thought was phenomenal!

So off I went, running my fastest miles during the last 10 of the 50…with about 1.5 miles to go Todd appeared out of nowhere on the trail, and it was such a boost to see the guy who got me into running ultras in the first place. I was hurting but hell IT IS 50 MILES…

I feel so blessed to be able to share these experiences with the other trail runners out there and especially LPTR friends. Watching the Bunks finish was so inspiring and moving…so glad I got to see that.  Today, 3 days later I get home from roofing all day and all I can think is, “Running tomorrow at Lapham Peak!” and I’m already looking forward to it...

(Mary Gorski):

Today was supposed to be my tenth Ice Age 50 race.  That's not in the same class of milestones as completing your final marathon for the 50 States Club, or for the more altruistic, donating a 100 gallons of blood.  But it is a step up from getting the tenth punch on a coffee card in order to get a free latte. 

However, sticking to the old adage that "if it is worth having, it is worth waiting for," I'm going to wait until next year for that tenth Ice Age finish.  

The good part about today's Ice Age after nine miles?  My back, hips and legs felt great!  No tightness, no discomfort.  After nursing some nagging injuries for a few months it was a treat to have the lower half of my body willingly join me on a run.  

The downside?  The upper half was being a snot.  Literally.  A cold that has been floating around Milwaukee during recent weeks floated up my nose a few days ago.  But I wasn't worried.  It seemed like one of those light "sounds worse than I feel" sorts of colds.  Thursday afternoon I toyed with the idea of calling in sick on Friday just to have an easy day before the race.  I finished the "must-do" items at work before heading home and looked forward to an easy day of packing my race bag and lounging on the couch.  

But something weird happened Thursday night.  My light sniffles turned into a wheezy, nasty virus.  Criminey!!!  

Coughing, I decided to abandon the Li'l Mister for the night and head to the guest room.  If I was going to make sick noises, I preferred to do it by myself.  

Now this provides a curious little twist in the story.  We recently turned an attic room into a guest room and this was the first time that I had slept in it.  In the middle of the night I woke and heard wheezing.  I turned on the light and looked around but didn't see anything or anyone that would cause such a sound.  Then I figured, "it must be me!"  So I held my breath... and still heard the wheezing.  Not a heavy three-pack-a-day-spit-up-brown sort of wheeze, but still, a wheeze where one was unexpected.  WTF?

Too tired to really care I went back to sleep.  When I woke, I called the boss and let him know that I was staying home.  I didn't have to embellish.  I sounded like crap and felt like it too.  And for the record, I have actually felt crap (we need not go into specifics here) and so I know that of which I speak.  Also for the record, I took a bath just to ensure that I didn't also smell like crap.  

But back to the upstairs wheezing.  Not having the ambition to do much more than go back to bed, I headed upstairs and crawled under the covers.  The Li'l Mister didn't seem too upset that I forgot to kiss him good-bye.  Before snuggling under the sheets I decided to do a shot.  Initially I thought I'd finish up some of the leftover mint julep mix from last week's Derby party but the NyQuil was closer, so I grabbed that. 

Soon I was back in slumberland.  But when I awoke, what did I hear?  No, not Santa's reindeer.  It was that gosh darn wheezing again!  I held my breath once more to ensure that it wasn't me.  But the wheezes continued.  

All I can figure is that we have an asthmatic ghost in the attic.  Of course I get the special needs ghost.  Probably can't even float through walls.  


But Ice Age, what about Ice Age?   Might as well finish the tale.  I decided Friday night that I had to at least give the race a try.  So many people had positive words: "Oh, I've run races with a cold and within a couple of miles I forget all about it."  "Running with a cold is a good way to 'burn it' out of your system."  "If your temperature isn't higher than 98.6 you're fine for running!" 

Optimistically cautious I toed the line.  Then I coughed and blew my nose on it.  

Heading out I had great company -- Deb Vomhof, John Rodee, Brenda Bland.  Lots of good chatter.  But each went on ahead as I slowed to a sniffly slog.  By the time I finished the first nine-mile loop I realized that my Ice Age was finished as well.  I felt lousy and didn't expect that things would perk up much in another 41 miles.  

On the bright side, I think that I was the first DNF of the day.  So I pride myself in excelling at something.  

Always looking for those silver linings the Li'l Mister and I realized that we could now take the time to have a nice weekend breakfast, something we rarely do together.  Fed and warmed up we headed to Highway 12 and cheered a bunch of our friends running through -- Bonnie (Ms. Badwater) Busch, Tom and Lorraine Bunk, Jim Blanchard, Deb, Brenda, Pat Gorman, Cobbie Behrend, John, and Kathryn Dunn -- who was also working toward her tenth IAT finish.  All looked good.  The weather was cool for spectating but good for running -- 50F and overcast.  The rains still hadn't started.  

At Horseriders' we saw a few of the front runners fly through -- Dave Dehart, Ron (Mr Thermometer) Bero and Joel Lammers. 

And we visited with a few LPTRs on injured reserve -- Robert Wehner and Kevin Grabowski.  Earlier, we saw Christine Crawford also nursing an injury. Marty Kanter-Cronin dropped with the same virus I seemed to have.  

My intention was to stay longer but this seems to be a day of quitting things early so the Li'l Mister and I headed home after a coughing jag reminded me of why I dropped.  I felt better than Friday, but still only a tad better than crap.  

Yet I wanted to see something to completion.   I decided to take a hot shower and stay in the shower until all the hot water was drained from the tank.  I'm happy  to report that I achieved my goal.  I stayed the course until the end.  And I am now back in the guest room, listening to the asthmatic ghost, all warm and pruney from my shower.  

Says Craig Swartwout… “Cobbie broke the record for getting from the finish line to the food line! Didn't even take off his hydration pack.”
(Jamey Anderson):
Second 50k for me. Took year off to recover from navicular stress fracture after first one.

Pre-race. I didn't want to travel week before race. I know it impacts me and my ability to run. But duty calls and I was back in Denver...I wasn't going to stay whole week though. Fly home Thursday instead of Friday. Plenty of time to get ready for race. I'd get a few easy runs in with my running buddies out there. It would be fine. Hah. The best laid plans...

Winter returned to Denver. Freezing temps, rain, snow... Running was not going to be enjoyable. Maybe ill just hit treadmill at hotel. No. I want trails. Put on warm gear and head out. Ten mins in turn ankle. Crap. Haven't done that in months. It hurts but works itself out after a few miles. Next day little swelling but seems to not be too bad.

Home. My muscles started cramping in their post flight fashion as soon as I got home. Hydrate, salt, stretch. This is not how I wanted to feel heading into race day.

Starting to get nervous. Doubting my training. I head into race morning.

Race day.

Perfect day for running. I decide on final outfit in parking lot. Long tights long sleeves. Two pairs of gloves and hand warmers (I get very cold hands).

Meet up with Kathy M. We ran a few training runs together. Trish is there at aid station. Will get to see her at each transition.

Ready set go. Pace is good. Nice and slow on out and back. Legs feel good. Horseriders comes quickly. Eat drink and soon on way back. I'm drinking regularily both water and electrolytes. By time back to start I'm beginning to feel worn out. IT getting tight. Take some advil. On exact pace I want. Eat again. Drink more. Start first loop. Still walking hills this loop. Legs getting sore. Take more advil. Take more salt. Back aid station. Laura there. Good to see Laura. I'm fading however. I'm mentally starting to fade. I hurt too much and I'm barely half way through. Keep plodding. Uphills start to feel good. I can stretch my hamstrings out. Down hills start to hurt. Flat stretch through pines. First major cramp hits. Hamstring and calf. Walk it out. Run till next one hits. Walk it out. I make it through loop 1. Miraculously still on pace. Drink eat drink more at aid. Trish there was very helpful. I have to get on top the cramping. Fleeting thoughts of dropping enter my head. Nine more miles. I can do this. Run down to a shuffle. But I'm passing people who are in worse shape than I am.  Keep plodding. Run when it feels good. Walk when it doesn't. Back aid I load up on more liquid. Another coffee gel. Coffee gels are pretty awesome. Keep moving. More cramping. Getting close. My six hour goal passes. I'm not sad. I'm still going to beat my time from two years ago. Ron b passes me. He looks strong. I can do this. Cross finish. Yeah! 6:13. Beat previous time by 18 mins. That is what I was able to do. Won't do IA 50 k again though. Next time 50 miles...

Post race: Tuesday. Back on plane to Denver. Legs feel good. Ready for mountain run tonight :)

(Bruce Udell):
I was hesitant to run as I had some light tearing in my hamstring where it attaches to the bone 2 weeks prior to Ice Age.  I saw my Dr at a meeting and he said no more speed work but easy running might be ok.  Trails are easy right?  Things got off to a bad start when I looked at my race #, 666 – the second time I’ve been “blessed” as I had it at the Glacial 50k last fall (Robert laughed when he saw that I had it again).  Jeff swears it was random…  Then as I got ready in my car I realized my Forerunner must have fallen out of my bag in my entryway at home as it wasn’t in my car, so much for pacing.
I started the race with Dana Schultz (a 2:45 marathoner) and Brian Seegert for about .25 mile and backed off as I knew we were too fast but still had a 7:05 first mile (too hard).  Ran the next 24 miles with Nic Giebler whom I came in after at Glacial.  We ran easy, didn’t even feel like we were racing but then my hamstrings started tightening up and I worried it might start effecting the tear up high.  Worse yet, about mile 25 I started feeling light headed and had a couple hot flashes.  I slammed some water a couple miles later at the aid station and felt better but still had to stutter step the down hills and couldn’t open up on the flats due to the tight hamstrings.  I had lost Nic at mile 24 but was able to hold my place until the end.  My legs were in agony when I finished.  I hobbled back to the car and sat in a fetal position for 10 minutes waiting for my hamstrings to relax.
 I was signed up to volunteer for 3 hours after the race but Jeff felt sorry for me (probably for giving me #666) and didn’t assign me anything.  Finally Angela told me keep my eye on Jeff so that he stayed at the finish-tougher job than you’d think.

(Marty Burian):
See Marty's killer report at the Daily Mile here:

(Matt Patten):
See Matt's report at his blog here:

Ron Bero - 50 miles

Brad B. and Julie T. busting out ANOTHER ultra!!

Tom accompanies Lorraine as she completes her 20th Ice-Age 50!!  WOW!!!

Tastes like a finish!

Deb V. and John R.

Jim B. has lots of followers...

Cassie and Joel

Marty K. and Brew-Master Matt

Deb, Mary and Steve

Steve, Marty K. and Cobbie

Melinda, Jose and Jeff