Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ice Age 50k - 2012

Race Report from LPTRunner Tom Schiessl...

I am a pretty deliberate person, so I really considered entering the Ice Age 50k for quite awhile. I blame Jim Blanchard for my entry to the race. He said I could do it, and damned if he wasn’t right. 

Once I committed, I hit the training pretty hard, and threw in the MS Fat Ass 50k for good measure. I was very nervous, but really looked forward to this one.

Jeff started us off with a casual “Go” and off we went.  I immediately latched on to Raul for the first 6.5 miles out to Horserider’s  aid station, where I lost Raul in the mix of getting fuel, etc.  I continued on to Nordic where I met up with Krishna and we talked the last mile or so into the aid station. I started the first loop alone, not a soul in sight.

A couple miles in, I caught up to Mark Scallon who filled me in on how his race was going. He took a couple of diggers up to that point, but seemed to be not bothered by it. Not long after that a familiar voice behind me says “mmmmm beeeer” and I turned to see Bruce on his second loop and third place overall. I saved a homebrew for Bruce at the end.

Slowly I caught up to what turned out to be my running partner for the last 13-15 miles. Andrea is a veteran of the IA 50K, and as we talked about anything and everything, the miles slipped away.  We started to pick people off, which really felt good, as I really had no idea what place or pace we were running.

Andrea and I made a pact that as we came into sight of the finish line, we would make every effort to return to good running form and “sprint” across the line. Turns out it was very easy, as the cheering and cowbells really spurred us on. I caught a glimpse of my parents as we zipped by, and finished exhausted but happy. We thanked each other for a job well done, and I met up with my parents. I was thinking my time would be closer to 7 hours, so I was thrilled to see I did it in 6hrs and 13 min.   

Afterwards I traded war stories with Raul, Krishna, Bruce, etc and enjoyed the atmosphere. The last half hour was spent cheering all the 50 milers that were finishing up. Just as I was about to leave, around the corner came Dawn and Tina, grinning from ear to ear, as usual.  My race went well, and I felt pretty good throughout.

A job well done to all, and an incredible race put on by Jeff and all the volunteers.
I will be back!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

500 Miles!

Sometimes words do not suffice.

Craig just finished his 500 mile journey around 5:22 this morning.  He had been running since the start of the Ice Age 50 mile last Saturday, and continued on for nearly eight days on the trails of the southern Kettle Moraine State Forest.

500 miles.

I can't possibly tap out any words that would put this in a proper perspective.

Congratulations Craig!!!!!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

DWD: GnawBone, Indiana (Yes, that’s a real town)

 50k Race report by LPTRunner Marcel Uttech...

For those of you not familiar with the Dances with Dirt Series, there are four races held every year. In the Ultra division is either the 50k/ 50 mi. If you complete all of them within 2 years you earn a special belt buckle, which Jodie, Jose, and I are chasing down this year. Having done the DWD at Dances with Dirt the last two years in a row I didn’t need to do it again this year, but thought what the hell. If you sign up for all four they are only 49 bucks apiece…sweet…

Having done DWD Green Swamp in March (Florida) ,  GnawBone (Indiana) was next. So  on the 11th of May I picked up Jose and the two of us headed down there. The drive down was pretty uneventful (mostly Illinois) however in Bloomington we had a hitchhiker literally bum rush my car as we were going down the interstate at like 75- who does that? Did he really think that would make me want to stop? Hell I think I floored it when he did that .-weird..haha . We made packet pick up, which is always nice since you get to scope things out in the light like the start/finish line and the Porto potties- you know, the important stuff.  After grabbing our bags we headed back to the hotel to relax and lay out our stuff for the morning start.

Thank god that most electronics automatically change when you change time zones, cause I had totally spaced it that Indiana was an hour ahead of our time! Close call…we awoke in the morning (on time luckily) and headed to the start…according to the weather it was going to be in the 70’s with an overcast all day, and a slight breeze- pretty much perfect conditions! After driving around the woods down there in Brown County the previous evening, we were both pumped to get in there, especially on new trails! Jodie Taylor had run this race as her first Ultra last year, and was always saying that it was very scenic, and an awesome race so I was excited to get started. My plan was pretty much the same as Chippewa- PR or bust. Being my first time there, the PR part should be easy…

This would be my 11th 50k, and I decided to push it but really pay more attention to how I was feeling overall, and try to pace myself more evenly. I wanted to have better splits than at Chippewa (two weeks ago) where my second half was 40 min longer than my first half, I used a waist pack carrying an extra water bottle and some goodies and then a hand held. It was dark when we got there, good amount of people milling around. Saw some familiar faces, which is always cool- right on time, it started getting light- and then the Head Goat said “GO!”

We all took off into the woods. Pretty wide trails starting out, about the width of a car. It didn’t take long and the trail turned into soup- shoe sucking soup, all uphill. Saw three guys lose a shoe just on this first climb…lol once we got through that it changed into mostly narrower trails and lots of single track. Beautiful scenery, bugs were minimal, and the trails were perfect. First half was lots of climbing, a few  switchbacks and then these roller coaster hills. It was pretty easy going, and I just hit the cruise control and went with it. Came up on mile 15 at about 2:45 or so. Everything felt good, and I was having a blast in those woods. Parts reminded me of Sawtooth, with quite a few roots. Then there were parts like Voyageur, with rocks and mud and these neat little bridges and winding single track trails through the woods. It’s an awesome trail system they got down there, for sure!

Second half went well, with more silly obstacles to be found. Some pretty steep climbs up the sides of hills, some bushwacking (actually quite a bit), and then a bunch of navigating over and under fallen trees. It was tough to get into a groove here, so I just ran when I could. Coming out of one aid station I went about a quarter mile and turned into the woods, getting confronted by this guy coming back up who was yelling “ it’s a dead end! I just ran 2 miles for nothing!” Not wanting a bunch of bonus miles at this point I ran back to the aid station to confirm the turn and was told that yes,  that was the turn. SO back again and down and then I see the trail turn AGAIN kind of subtly  again, which is what the other guy must’ve missed last time…back on track I picked it up, glad it was only a half mile of extra running to erase any doubts. Wouldn’t be long, and this would be coming to a close!

We ran past people fishing at a small lake, past cabins built deep into the woods (nice architecture I might add), an awesome ancient stone fireplace/shelter in the middle of nowhere;  some cool boardwalks, and we never left the woods. I loved it! Nearing the end there was some nice stream crossings that felt right on time to splash through. (Sorry to the people walking when I came through these spots lol) Next up a muddy downhill with footprints about 4 inches deep (good times) a quick little meadow and then the best part- running the creek in for about a half mile! This was very cool, and refreshing as well! The water was cold enough (and deep enough) to really cool off the legs, and wash most of the mud off (my apologies to the people walking through this section as there was much splashing going on) just in time to fire the after burners into the finish line! 

Crossing the line, I was asked my name and age…turns out I took first in my age group and was 8th overall with a time of 5:39(only 9 minutes longer on my second half, so the pace worked). They handed me a finisher medal and an engraved bone ( all the AG placers got one) all this to  some blaring country music that was being put on by the DJ. DWD’s races are always a party, and down here was no exception. There were also all these relay teams, that had all these different  ‘themes’ going on…some were pretty strange but hey, whatever gets you out there, right?

I would really recommend this race as an awesome spring Ultra event. These are some very cool single track trails, and the scenery is amazing. Being only a 7 hr drive its close enough to drive comfortably and even better to ROAD TRIP IT! So put this one on your radar sometime, its worth it…

Jose and Marcel

Closing in...

Just talked to Robert (8:15pm Saturday) - Craig is at 474 miles.  He's doing a two mile out-and-back section at nordic and sticking close to the trail head and his crew.  They are projecting that he will finish off his 500 mile quest around 6:00am Sunday morning - Eight days of running! Gooooo Craig!!!!!!! 

Drive on.

So... since the finish of the Ice Age 50 mile last saturday, we've all had busy weeks and the race now seems a long time ago... for everyone except LPTRunner Craig Swartwout.  He's still running?!?!?!

Continuing his personal quest to see if he can run 500 miles, Craig has been running since 6:00 am last Saturday.  As of this writing its been one full week.  (Let that sink in...  One full week.)

"Up to 420 miles. We are holding him together with duct tape and paper clips! Hoping he will finish early Sun am..." Quote from Craig's wife Mary on Friday night at 11pm...

In a community of people widely regarded as a little nuts by outsiders, Craig may be the nuttiest of the nuts.  Or just incredibly tough.  Or both.  WOW.

Friday, May 18, 2012

What happened and What's happening...?

Update from LPTRunner Marty Kanter-Cronin...

Couple upcoming races to get everyone caught up on, and a few results from last weekend too!

Back on May 5th, Ashley Kumlien  ran the North Face - Bear Lake  50 mile race. She came in 3rd place overall woman in the 50 miler and followed that up the next day with the 1/2 marathon! Wowza! And Ashley plans on doing all the North Face races as doubles this year! Way to go Ashley! Washington in June, our own Kettle race in September, Atlanta in October, and San Fran in December. Ashley, let us know how it goes.

Last weekend, there was another race going on besides the IAT here in our own Kettle! Jose and Marcel were down in Gnawbone, Indiana running another Dances with Dirt Race! Apparently the fellas (along with Jodie who ran the bone last year) are trying to do the series! Nice! Marcel placed 7th and Jose placed 18th overall with both winning AG awards! Nice job guys!

That team is also headed to Wyoming on June 14th, along with Robert W to do the Big Horn races in the mountains. Marcel, Jodie, and Jose are doing the 50 miler, and Robert is gonna crank on the Hundo! Good running guys, let us know how you do.

For the rest of you local yokels, we have the upcoming Kettle series on June 2nd. Below find the participant list, although not listed are the many volunteers, and race folks who put on the great event. Also not listed are the many pacers and crew members who will out in force on the day to "Ensure" the runners are properly heckled and hydrated. And, I'm sure the 38 mile night fun run will get more entrants as the day gets closer!

I know Timo had to close the 100 mile and 100 K, for the first time ever! Wow, is this sport popular or what? 358 entrants in the three events! 

LPTR's representing at Kettle this year...
Have a great Spring season everyone, and oh yeah, Craig is still running. He could just keep running until the Kettle race...*

*(Editor's note:  Craig has been running since Saturday morning at 6:00am and as of Friday morning he had covered 384 miles so far... Quote:  "Once he gets under a 100 miles to go, he'll be able to smell the barn."  Huh!??!? - Keep up with his progress here:

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ashley's Ice Age 50 Mille - 2012

Race Report from LPTRunner Ashley Kumlien...

In May of 2009 when I wanted to give a 50-mile ultramarathon a try, I didn’t have to look far for an event.  I quickly found out that Wisconsin is an ultra running mecca hosting many attractive ultra races right in my backyard.  The closest up-coming race listed was a short 45-minute drive from home; the Ice Age 50-mile Trail Race.

Every day I would check the website and ponder the distance.  I had never even run a marathon before and here I was actually considering registering for the race.  I waited.

I continued my training but proceeded to wait, and I guess I waiting too long…the day that I thought was final registration day I logged on the site to see a big flashing banner “Registration Closed”.  My jaw dropped and my eyes filled with tears.  Usually in the race world, if registration is closed, it’s closed.  After a few minutes of consoling me (and likely considering how to check me in to the nearest psychiatric hospital) my dad suggested I just email the Race Director & ask if I could register.  Though I doubted the outcome to be a positive one, I did just that.  Less than an hour later I received a phone call back, “Hey no worries about registration, what’s your info? We definitely have room for you.”
Alas, welcome to the ultramarathon.  Friendly.  Accommodating.  Accepting.

The memory of my race at the Ice Age 50 in May of 2009 is as fresh as yesterday.  I toed the line nauseous & nervous, but in awe of the laughter & chatter going on around me.  As I ran the course, everyone said “Hi” and cheered for each other.  Some ran fast and some ran slow, but dare I say, no one cared? Everyone just seemed to want to enjoy the run.  As I stood at the finish line just over 10 hours later, I tried to take the whole scene in: music, food, beer, laughing, clapping, cow bells, spectators, sweat, ice, and fun.  “Who are these people?” I thought to myself.  I clung to their energy as I hobbled to the car.

Three years later in the present day I finally had the opportunity to run the Ice Age 50-mile race again and I couldn’t wait to run the race & the course that had been the beginning of my love of the ultramarathon distance.

Last summer I officially joined the Lapham Peak Trail Runners (LPTR) group by joining the crew of area ultrarunners for a group run on Wednesday nights.  With my official sticker in hand and awkward welcome speech given, I was in a running group.  Over the course of the past year, these runners have become my running community, and my friends.  We follow each other at races and cheer each other on.  We email and Facebook and remember embarrassing situations to use as later laughter-ammo.  We host events.  We support events.  We run and we laugh and we eat.  Mostly we eat.

As I toed the line this time for the Ice Age Trail 50, I couldn’t help but feel excited about the full day ahead of running with my friends.  I didn’t have to look far for inspiration; our group is cluttered with silent legends.  Jeff Mallach hosts an amazing race that attracts elite runners from all over the world.  On these these trails you’ll find Mary Gorski, a Badwater finisher, which, to me, it doesn’t get more legend-like then running 135-miles through Death Valley in July; Julie Trader & her fiancee Sam who helped her log nearly 1,000 race miles last year alone; the veteran lead guys, Rob, Kevin, & Joel who helped pioneer ultrarunning in the area; Mary Flaws, a superstar marathoner & ultimate cookie-maker; Cassie & Christine, two chicas who are usually running down 1st Place Female, and, quite often getting it; Melinda & Steve, who completed their first 50-mile race; Aaron, who brought me out to the LPTR group last summer AND walked the hills with me as I got my legs & lungs conditioned to the trails; Marty & Brad, fighting off running nuisances but aiding us nonetheless.

I know my list is far from complete when it comes to highlighting the individuals in this ultra running community that I enjoy so much, but either way, I couldn’t be more proud to be associated with such an amazing group of people.  They make ultra-running fun.

And, oh, how did the race go? Yeah, running 50-miles comes easy when friends are by your side and a cold beer greets you at the finish line.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

My First 50 Mile!

Race Report from LPTRunner Melinda Pedersen...

The morning of the Ice Age... I had everything ready to go and Lance drove us to the start. We got there in enough time to chat for a bit and take in everything before starting my first 50 miler. Everyone had bunched together at the starting line and then I heard my step-mom Debbie and step-sister Karen come to wish me good luck. Later in the day, Debbie ran the half marathon and Karen ran her first 50k.

My dad had his video camera and called out my name as I started and Lance had the camera in hand snapping pictures. The many miles of training was now in full stride.

I started my 50 miler all cheerful and ran with many familiar faces here and there. Ashley Kumlien shouted out my name from behind, knowing the sway of my ponytail. I had more comments about my ponytail throughout the race, as one runner said it was hypnotizing. Kind of funny. Julie and Sam were easily heard between their laughs and Sam’s booming voice.

When I completed my first 9 mile loop, I was all smiles even though there was 41 miles to go. I had to go to the bathroom but there was a line, so I decided I didn’t want to wait and went to my drop bag first. I returned to the bathroom and there still was a line. I skipped using the toilet and decided to go at the next one, which for some reason, I thought was at Horseman’s 6.5 miles away. However, I forgot about the out and back to Rice Lake first. There was a porta potty on the way to Rice Lake by Highway 12, but again, there was a line and I didn’t want to wait (Note: It wasn’t until mile 26 where I gave into waiting in line and I got to use the bathroom!). I grabbed what I needed at the AS and kept moving. Aaron Schneider had commented on how good of a pace I was running. And thanks Aaron for giving me some S-caps at mile 26, since I didn’t pack enough.

At mile 20, I felt the runner’s high. People kept commenting on me smiling, especially the volunteers as I crossed road sections. I was a very happy runner at this point. One of my favorite parts of the day was seeing the lead runners on the out and back. This race is neat for the aspect of actually getting to see all the people I know. I also appreciated all the volunteers helping out and cheering me on as I passed, including Marty, Rick, and Brad. I know those are just a few of the many that helped out and I thank all of you.
At one point, I came to a road crossing and was stopped due to a vehicle and noticed another runner stopped on the other side. I realized it was Cassie Scallon as I began crossing. We gave each other a high five and kept going. The energy from other runners on my first 50 was inspiring.

I made it to Rice Lake feeling good and realized somewhere around mile 23 that my body started feeling some discomfort. Before mile 30 came, I was feeling some great pain in my right leg, particularly around my knee. I had a bruise on my leg as well and was feeling pain around that specific spot. The pain got so bad, that it hurt to even lift my foot. I started taking it easy. I thought to myself, “how am I going to get through 20 more miles?” The low hit me.

All these thoughts of “why did I sign up for a 50? I will never run another 50.” People started passing me like crazy. Craig Swartwout came up behind me and asked how I was doing. I told him I was feeling it. He wanted to know exactly what was going on so he could help. He gave me some wonderful advice to help with the pain and also with nutrition. He told me to find his daughter Aimee and his wife Mary at Horseman’s for some spray. I know Aimee from graduate school and besides her helping me at the AS, it was nice to have her and her mom cheer me on every time I saw them.

I only had Ibuprofen in my drop bag. Before I reached my drop bag, Brandi Henry from Illinois (who I’ve gotten to know over the course of training runs) offered me some Ibuprofen and later I found Troy Malinowski, who gave up some of his Aleve. It helped get me through some of the pain. My stomach was doing well, so I kept popping the Ibuprofen as the pain increased. I knew I just needed to suck up the pain and keep moving. Tina Heil came up behind me and we chatted for a few minutes before the next AS. I had felt a bit defeated but her upbeat presence helped.

When I was on my way to Emma Carlin, the turnaround, a runner coming at me told me that I only had 6 minutes to the cutoff, so I ran my hardest. Later I found out that I still had 30 minutes. I stayed at the AS four a couple minutes and moved forward. When I reached Horseman’s again, I had 6.5 miles left. I was feeling much better mentally, but was struggling physically.

Cobbie Behrend came up behind me and I shouted out “hi Cobbie!” I told him that I was going to stick it out with him to get me to the end. I knew it was close to the cut off and I was still determined to finish. Cobbie was very motivating and would say, “ok we’re going to run to the yellow and then walk.” I went with whatever Cobbie did. I was determined to get to the finish. With 1.5 miles left, Cobbie said he was going to take it easy.

I came up to the last little AS and was asked if I wanted anything and I politely said “no, I just want to finish.” I slowly ran my way to the finish and found so many people there cheering me in and I had no idea with being close to the cut off that there would still be so many people!

After I finished, all the thoughts about whether I would run another 50 slipped away.  I will for sure do another in the future.

I have to thank my family for their wonderful support, especially Lance. He’s not a runner, nor will he ever be except 90 feet up and down the basketball court or on the base paths, as he tells me. He has been my biggest support throughout my training process. He encouraged me to run when I didn’t feel like it. He got up at 4 a.m. to see me start, watch my first loop, and leave to coach a double header in Oconomowoc to only return and wait for my finish. My dad and Debbie have always been a wonderful support system since the day I started running and I have Debbie to thank for the inspiration of running. Karen and I have gotten to know each other more through the course of running. Also, my mom had never been to one of my races before because she lived in Florida. She now lives in Wisconsin and was able to see me in a race for the first time ever. It was especially wonderful she saw me at my first ever 50-mile race.

I have all the LPTRs to thank with their positive attitude and their company on long runs. I’m especially grateful for all the long runs José Villegas banked with me. I’m not sure how I would have made it through so many miles without him. My pup Jax was always ready to run miles with me as well. His tail said it all!! Jeff Mallach put together a stellar race. Thanks to Angela for helping put together a training schedule and the wonderful motivational pieces the week of the race. The best one being, “keep moving forward.”

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

2012 Ice Age 50 Mile - Steve Poulter's Report

Race Report from LPTRunner Steve Poulter...

Two years after setting out to complete my first 50K at Ice Age in 2010, I feel like I am just beginning to wrap my mind around completing these runs.  Since then I have completed six 50K’s and with this year’s Ice Age, two 50 milers.  In between I had a huge fail at Glacial 50 mile last year, my first and only DNF to date.

After that DNF at Glacial I decided I needed to reset and learn from my experiences.  So I set the Ice Age 50 mile as my target Spring running goal, and started planning.  To keep me running in the winter, I signed up for the Gold Medal Challenge at the Pettit in January.  A marathon and half marathon weekend would be a great back/back weekend training.  That went well but the track lit up my left IT band like a fire.  I finished and took a week off and healed up fine.

I threw in the MS RUN FA 50K to keep things exciting in March.  That went well until mile 20, when my left quad cried for mercy and from what I can tell, pulled.  I was determined to overcome that Glacial DNF, it was now a mental exercise, so I gutted it out and hiked the remaining 13 miles to finish the full event.   Another week of healing did me good, and the accomplishment was very satisfying.

Then Chippewa came for my 2nd year as the final build up run for Ice Age.  That was a blast and all went well.  No injuries, just fun with a large LPTR crowd.

There are two big things I have discovered about running these events.  One is that I most comfortably get them done, for the most part out there alone.  I can run hit or miss with a group, or chat for a while.  But I run in waves of feeling good and bad and just go with that feeling.  Normally it means those who finish at my pace see me leap frogging the whole race.  Two, my stomach is my enemy.  Eating is a necessity for energy that I haven’t fully figured out.  It’s something I keep working on and Ice Age showed some successes but much of the same old thing.

So race day came and I hit Nordic feeling very relaxed.  Drop bags dropped, geared up simple due to awesome weather, found some of the LPTR crowd at my pace (Troy, Cobbie and gang) and we set off at a super easy pace.  My goal was to walk 0.2 miles, then run the rest of the mile.  Repeat.  This is what I do in a lot of my training runs to conserve energy for the end.  It worked great though the Blue Loop, while staying close enough to Deb, Jim, Cobbie, Craig, Mary, Jamie and others to chat and have some fun.

Then out to the Rice Lake turn.  I found that my legs and feet were feeling great, and did up until mile 40 which is awesome for me, but I just could not shake the overwhelming sense of fatigue.  I was eating, taking gels, Scaps, and drinking well.  Started adding M&M’s and Coke to get energy.  I found the food hit my stomach, complained for a while, then the energy hit and I ran for a while.  BONK.  Repeat.  It was around there I caught the LPTR train, being led by Cobbie and gang, and hung off the back to keep a moving pace.  Out into the grasslands heading into HWY 12 and I got another burst of energy and Craig and I move ahead at a steady pace.  It was good to chat with Craig about the course and the changes over the years.  Grabbed an Ensure from the drop bag and took it with me, sipping as I hiked.  First time I tried that, which is a bad idea in a 50.  But the calories were great and I had no problems.

I made it to Rice Lake and jammed my foot into a rock at the road crossing.  My whole body jarred and my left heel lit up in pain.  I rarely fall, but keeping upright causes some pain everywhere else.  I made the turn and chatted with Deb, whose advice was to just go with the fall, it might be easier.  I laughed but thought about it for a while.  I know there were a lot of spills that day, but there are spots I would not want to go down.  I am going to have to practice my trip and roll.

Heading back North it was starting to warm up.  Just kept moving and eating.  I was super glad to hit the pine forest and get up to Young Road.  I really felt it was doable from there.  Into Horseriders I saw some of the fallout happening, Brad was there with camera and big grin.  Knowing it was only 5K to the Emma turn was huge.  I headed out, caught my stride again and made up some time.  Going into Emma, I saw Sam and Julie heading South, up near the aid station Cathy, Joe, and Troy were just making the turn.  I must have made up some ground as I had fallen behind them long ago.

Not feeling like eating any more at 40 miles is a dilemma.  I had gels and knew I could get back to Horseriders where another Ensure waited for me.  I caught up to Troy and we kept challenging each other to keep moving.  Good conversation and motivation, and someone to complain to about how tired I felt.  Deb caught up to us heading up and over Bald mountain (my name for it) and she chicked us big time through Young Road.  We tried to hang on but she pulled ahead.  The two Cokes I chugged at Young hit me for the last mile and I got energy and ran it in with Troy and Melinda who caught up to us.

Very satisfying day and enjoyed hanging out with some of the crew afterwards.  I think this one hurt for most that ran it this year, not sure if that is average or it means something.  I think this one will stay on my calendar for a while, maybe I can someday hit that 500 mile club.

2012 Ice Age Trail 50 Mile Race Report - Nicholas Wied...

Race Report from LPTRunner Nicholas Wied...

2012 Ice Age Trail 50 Mile Race Report  -  To run or race the Ice Age 50, that was the question I had rolling in my mind for the last month.  To accomplish the latter, racing, I was going to have to very comfortable in my ability to do the former, run.  Going into the race I had been able to consistently train without major injury.  I also was able to more closely dial in my nutrition and gear for racing.  I had better trained my body to burn fat, was using VESPA, and had just received my new shoes, the HOKA stinson evo.  Friday arrives, my bottles get filled, packets get picked up, and I pretend to sleep for a few hours.

The morning of the race I had the pleasure of sharing a ride with, the eventual winner, Zach Bitter.  The conversation was non-stop from the moment we got into the car, man were we wide awake for 4:30 in the morning!  We caught up on training, eating, and racing.  We also talked about our goals for Ice Age, his were slightly loftier than mine.  After the destruction of my body in my last 50 mile race, a 10:35 finish, I had set my main goal as an 8 hour finish, with a stretch goal of seeing that finish time start with a 7.  We got to the race and quickly got our things together.  This was the first time I have ever seen the line for the men’s bathroom longer than the women’s.  Well everyone got ready, Jeff gave us the course run down, told us about Craig and his Ice Age 500 (extra crazy!!), the national anthem was sung, and bang off we went.

The front of this race was FAST!!!  This concerned me as I have trained my body to run on fat, and if you begin to tap your glycogen stores too quickly that is what your body will utilize, and in an ultra that just won’t work.  I fell in with a large contingent of LPTR’s and we quickly blew through 5 miles in a little over 40 minutes, yeah everyone seemed to be moving fast.  Around mile 7 I caught up to my friend David Schmidt, whom I paced last year at the Kettle 100.  We compared race goals, settled in, and began conversing.  Anyone who runs with me knows I LOVE to talk while running; it seems to make me faster!  Well it must have been working because we cruised into highway 12 in about 2:30ish, which is a 7:30 finish.  I was feeling great, the pace seemed sustainable and my nutrition was spot on, I was using VESPA and a combination of coconut water and gels.  Dave and I refilled, re-grouped, and headed out.

I was really looking forward to this section of the course, not for its technical aspects, but rather because the turn around at Rice Lake would allow us to see who was in the race lead.  I had earnestly thrown my vote in Zach’s direction and was hoping that would be the case.  Well Dave and I were making great time so the course leaders, Zach in front, did not pass us till after Esterly Rd, which meant they were only about 4 miles ahead of us!  We hit the turn and off we went.  This was very exciting; the last ultra I ran had 60 starters, while this one had 350.  Being that Dave and I were probably in the top 40 meant we passed a lot of people after the turn, and it was fun seeing everyone have a great time.  Right around mile 25 I started to have issues running up hills so I told Dave to go on, I would power hike the hills, and catch up after highway 12.  I also began to feel small cramps in my hip adductors and calves so I swallowed every S-Cap I had on me.  I ran through the highway 12 aid station, begged some salt tabs, and took off.

27 miles into the race I was still on a 7:30 finish pace, but that was about to come to a screeching halt.  At mile 28 my body locked up in a full assault body cramp, from my forehead to my toes every muscle I had seized up.  I stopped running, started taking in more salt, began walking, and tried to figure out what was going on and how I was going to fix it.  Barring a disastrous injury I had never before let the DNF thought cross my mind.  Had I not been between aid stations I would have called it a day.  As soon as that thought came, I realized it was time for the mind to will the body into motion.  I began a process of jogging and stumbling, while cramping, which would have impressed even the best drunken Frankenstein impersonators.  During this stretch between highway 12 and Horserider camp I had the pleasure of running with and getting to know some great people, amazing enough the only muscle that seemed to be working properly was my jaw so the conversation began!  The first of these guys was John Nagel, from Juneau Alaska.  The minute he told me where he was from I mentally pictured myself running with Geoff Roes, why you ask, well I figured if he was Geoff and I was keeping pace with him, then I was still ok!  Come to find out John not only knows Geoff but works as a guide at Geoff’s Alaskan Ultrarunning Camp.  The second individual was Logan Polfuss.  Logan has run an impressive list of races already this year and has several more to complete.  He was battling his own demon’s this day and he was working through them by talking, well holy smoke that works for me!  We started talking, my mind told my cramping legs to shut up, and I am pretty sure everyone we passed was extremely impressed at how quickly we both were running while seemingly not breathing due to speaking.

Shortly before Horserider camp the leaders passed us again with Zach in the lead, I informed Logan my bag was in Zach’s car so I either need to pick up my pace or pray that he stuck around after his finish!  We ran into Horserider where I saw Dave’s wife, I asked where he was, and she promptly lied saying he was only about 20 minutes ahead of me.  I didn’t see Logan so I put on the tunes and took off looking for Dave.  By this point I was angry with my body and decided to remind it who was in charge by promptly picking up the pace.  I began to pass people hoping to catch sight of Dave.  Well I did, except he passed by me about 25 minutes before the aid station, Dave’s wife had told me 20 minutes when it was more like 60, but I cutting that time down.  I hit the turn and then flew back to Horserider.  I hit Horserider dropped my waist pack grabbed my hand-helds, and flew out of there like I was racing a 5k.  The final 7 miles Ron Bero, a fellow LPTR, and I began playing tag on the trail.  He was feeling the climbs and I was smashing the down hills, not sure if this was my anger or my new shoes!  Ron and I were passing people and running for home.  Ron pulled ahead about 30 seconds and we ran through like that.  I came around the corner, sprinting, with a huge grin on my face, and was greeted by a finish time of 8:35, a 2 hour personal best!!!  I was ecstatic I had met my original goal of finishing in 8, but more importantly I had overcome a debilitating 11 mile stretch of cramps to finish strong. 

Congratulations to everyone who raced on Saturday.  Congrats to Zach Bitter on his win, and thank you for not leaving with my bag!  Thank you to all the volunteers and everyone else who graciously helped me out through the lows!

Gear Used
Shirt - Sugoi Race T - Performance Running Outfitters
Shorts - CW-X Stabilyx Ventilator - Performanace Running Outfitters
Calf Sleeves - CEP - Performance Running Outfitters
Hydration - Nathan 2VElite waist pack - Performance Running Outfitters
Shoes - HOKA ONE ONE Stinson Evo, provided by iRunFar
Nutrition - VESPA, Gels, Coconut Water, Salt

Monday, May 14, 2012

Sunday, May 13, 2012

2012 Ice Age 50 - Jamey's Race Report...

LPTRunner Jamey Anderson's Race Report...

Perspective: a particular evaluation of a situation, especially from one person’s point of view. 

Perspective is what encouraged me to sign up for IAT in January, perspective guided my decisions in training and perspective is what ultimately made my decision to stop short of the finish.

Goes something like this…

The sign-up.  Did I really want to run 19 miles further than I had ever run before? Well, not really.  In fact it seemed daunting.  It was January, though, and May seemed so long off...lots of time to train. Plus there are those emails – hurry up and sign up, race is filling!   So I registered.  A few months earlier, I’d committed to skiing the Birkie (which was about 20 miles further than I had ever skied before) – I think that helped to make pushing the buttons less scary (or was it the beer?).  My palms were sweaty and heart pounding after getting the final confirmation. 

The training.  First and foremost - I needed to ski to get through the Birkie.  Skiing for me had always been recreational or cross training from running or biking.  I knew how to ski, but am not very efficient.  Evidenced by my time in the Birke being slower than either of the two 50Ks I had run.  The skiing did get me some good long hours of cardio work.  As soon as the Birkie was over – more serious run training commenced.

I didn’t have a formal plan, but had gotten some tips from many of the LPTRs.  The one thing I knew I needed to keep good on was my long runs.  This shouldn’t be a problem.  I like to train.  I like training so much better than races.  So I ran my long runs – doubled up on weekend runs.  Generally felt better week after week.  My muscle cramping issues that can plague me horribly some days – seemed to be cured by daily doses of Mg (thanks CraigS!) and lots of salt stick tabs.  I was feeling good, really good. 

Each week I re-evaluated my decision to stick with the 50 miler versus dropping to the 50K.  My last long training weekend I had a solid 20 mile run capped off by a solid 20k run at Beartrax.  I really felt strong and that  50 miles was within reach.   BUT I also ended up with a very sore Achilles after that weekend – and the tell-tale “bump” of tendonitis.  I only knew about this “bump” because my daughter ended up with severe Achilles tendonitis during last year’s soccer season.  I knew this wasn’t good. 

So, I limped off to Denver that night…with an ice bag, yoga mat and analgesic cream.  By the end of the week – the sharp burning pain in my Achilles had stopped and I could do calf raises again.  No perspective shift – I was still a go for the 50 M – I had a week to go and it was feeling much better.  I visited the Boulder Running Co in Boulder and was talked into a pair of Hoka’s.  They were very comfy and after polling several folks – I’ll run the 50 in them.  Took them for inaugural black loop run on Wed – they felt great and so did my Achilles.  I’m all set.

The breakdown.  I had horrible night’s sleep both Th and F night before the race.  Work drama and nervousness about the race kept any solid REM sleep at bay.  I also noticed on Fri, that my muscles felt, well crampy.  Kind of like they used to before I started taking Mg supplements, but I was still taking Mg supplements.  What was going on?  Was it the lack of sleep, was it stress, was it nerves…can’t tell, just stay hydrated and get ready for the race.  3:15 – wide awake.  I didn’t have to get up until 3:30 – might as well just get up now.  Drive to start – walk around a bit.  Legs feel good, the crampiness from yesterday seems to be gone.  Definitely decide to go with the Hokas – but have backup shoes in the drop bag at Hwy 12. 

Sun comes up and we’re off.  I have some pace timing from RobertW to help me land somewhere between and 11 and 12 hour finish.  First Aid Station – right on pace, feel good.  Legs feel good, breathing comfortable.  But I’m hungry.  So I eat a gel.   9 miles done – I feel great – I’m finally warmed up.  Legs are moving well.  Duck off to bathroom.  Get some more food (still kinda hungry).   Jim and Deb are there – they will keep a good pace, I’ll try to stick with them.  Off we head to the trail.  Somewhere just past confusion corner – my foot lands a little uneven, sharp pain from my Achilles.  Seriously! I’m like 12 miles into my day and my heel is announcing itself.  Well everything else feels good and the company is fantastic.  Craig, Kathy and Cobbie are now with us and we leisurely make our way down South. 

Hwy 12 – first time – the heel pain comes and goes, but it is still tolerable.  Get some Gatorade from my drop bag and keep running.  Still feeling good, but the pain is coming more frequently.  As the hills increase in intensity and the trail becomes rockier – my heel is screaming louder and louder, everything else begins to go south quickly.  By the turn around – I’ve lost my group as I’m hobbling and forcing back tears on every step.  I’m not even at 20 miles!  What is going on!  This was NOT in the plan. 

I see Craig heading out of the turn-around he points out his wife and says to try some Mg cream she has in the car (Thank you Craig!).  I put some on the leg with the screaming heel.   And headed back north.  Things felt better for a while, until there was that little road with the steep hill.  Ouch!  Choking back tears again…I keep on.  Trying to get my head wrapped around how I can keep going. 

At this point there aren’t a whole lot of people around me and making the cutoff seems unrealistic.  But I regain some focus and run when it doesn’t hurt and walk when it does.  There are now lots of curse words coming out between sobs.    I decide I need to make it back to Hwy 12 and then I will drop.  At Hwy 12 – told them I was going to drop, but then felt like a wimp.  I had hours left to walk it out…it was a nice day, so load up on food and drink and I head out.  I actually started running a bit more than I thought I could.  But the pain kept announcing itself at regular intervals.  I’ve now lost anyone in sight from me…just me and the woods (and my cursing and occasional sob).  By the time I got to Duffin – I was done. 

It was a tough and upsetting decision.  Way more emotional than I could have imagined.  But as I sit here and look at my swollen and slightly black and blue heel – I know that my perspective at Duffin Road, that I needed to stop running before I did more significant damage, is the same perspective I have today. 

For now, I’m going to dust off the mountain bike and let the Achilles rest for a bit.  I’ll be back on the trails as soon as I can.  I’ll try again for a 50 miler…maybe, probably.  It will all depend on my perspective.

Keep After It - 2012 Ice Age 50 Mile

Race Report from LPTRunner Joe Fitzgibbon who completed his first 50 mile ultra yesterday at Ice Age!
Keep after it - Reflections on yesterday's 50 mile run...
Last New Year's Eve, I finished a 50k FA event put on by Tom Bunk.  The day went really well and so, in the spirit of the holiday, I resolved to run the Ice Age 50 miler in 2012.  Best resolution ever!

Fast forward to a day after Ice Age, and I am sitting in my easy chair with a scabby knee, ice on my ankle, a shiny new belt buckle, but more importantly, a sense of accomplishment, a feeling of gratitude for all the encouragement along the way and a desire to do it better.  Here are a few of the highlights.

Blue Loop and out to Rice lake
Went out really easy, hoping to keep it all together through the early part of the race.  I kept hydration in check, took a gel every 30 minutes, and took some time in the aid stations.  Between 12 and Easterly I saw the front runners coming back up the trail followed closely by some of the Wednesday night regulars - Robert, Kevin, Dave and Joel.  It was great hearing some encouraging words like "Keep after it" and "Hi, I'm Kevin!".
Back to 12;
Started to feel some pain in my right achilles.  A few months ago I hurt my left achilles, and from that experience I learned that it is something you can run through - it just gets worse running up hill or with any power.  Could turn out to be a long day....
Met up with my wife, brother in law, and all the kids.  It was nice to have the crew arrive, more so for the moral support than speed at the aid station.  Time saved as Sarah filled my bottle was lost again as I looked at all the pictures my daughters had drawn for me whilst they waited.  After running 30 miles, It was a real lift to see everyone.
Confusion Point;
I asked the volunteer if the leader was in.  Zach Bitter had passed back through CP toward the finish an hour earlier.  Wow!  I still had to run all the way to Emma.
To Horseriders;
Got a few words of encouragement from Marty at a road crossing.  I can't remember what he said, but I was smiling before I crossed the road.  Thanks, I needed that.
I got to the aid station feeling really low.  I couldn't stomach the thought of any more gels, my feet were killing me and for a brief moment I wondered if I bit off more than I could chew.  Sarah was there with fresh socks and a box of mike & ikes.  As I will filling my pockets with candy, she reminded me that my first 50k was last October and that day wasn't easy either.  All of a sudden I had some energy.
Back to Horseriders;
I fell.  My knee was bloody, but I was more concerned that the strap broke off my bottle.  I got up determined to run harder.
To the finish;
My achilles hurt, but was getting no worse, and I had energy.  So aside from the steep section at Bald Bluff, I ran it the rest of the way in.  I finished in 11:31, longer than I had thought it would take, but within my goal of getting in before the beer is all gone.

A day later, after an ice bath and a ride on the bike, I am feeling pretty good.  I've set my sights on Glacial - definitely the 50k.  Hoping to train a little longer, plan a little better, and run a little faster than last year.

Thanks Jeff and all the great volunteers who put on an outstanding race!
Thanks also to everyone who helped me get across the finish line!

500 Mile Club - 10 Ice Age Finishes

LPTRunner Mary Gorski's 2012 Ice Age 50 mile race report...

Last year was to be my tenth Ice Age 50; I would finally join the “500 Mile Club.” I’d be doing so the same year as one of my running partners, Kathryn Dunn. “Perhaps,” I thought, “we would come across the finish line together, high-fiving it as we made our way in.”

Sniffle, wheeze, shiver and cough… three days out from the race I came down with the flu. And not just a take a Sudafed and a nap sort of flu, but a nasty, “I can’t get out of bed” sort of bug. I even made the ghost in our attic sick; which is another story with which I do not want to tax your precious attention.

Race morning 2011 I decided to give it a shot, thinking that perhaps once I got going the adrenaline of the event would take the place of the snot that was filling my head.

However, a few miles into it I realized that was not to be the case, handed in my number, and went back to the bed that I had spent the last several days in.

I did run that course, but not for another two weeks. Several friends met me to run “Mary’s ‘It’s My Very Own’ Ice Age 50.” I ran the distance, but didn’t actually run the race. There would be no entrance into the 500 Mile Club in 2011.

So here we are in 2012. I had been having some nice runs, was basically injury free and feeling good in the weeks leading up to my tenth OFFICIAL Ice Age.

And then Unlucky Wednesday rolled around again. Three days out from the race I went to a morning yoga class. I’d started yoga several years ago to address a few injuries from running and usually left it feeling loose and relaxed. As far as I can remember, I got in the car feeling the same as always. But something happened in that five-minute ride from the class to home.

When I opened the door to get out of the car I could barely move my leg without pain shooting through my back. Grabbing at everything –– the car, the fence, the garbage cans (and almost a pile of dog poop) I made my way into the house and the shower.

“I’ve tweaked something, it will calm as the day goes on,” I thought. But instead of calming, the clouds in my back just got darker.

I never had my back “go out” but it seemed that it had done so. “Where did it go?” I wondered. “And why didn’t it take me with it?”

I called my chiropractor and asked if I could get in. This is the same guy I saw two years ago, informing him on my initial visit that “I don’t believe in chiropractic medicine but I’ve tried everything else so what the hell.” My first visit was for a hip problem that seemingly wouldn’t heal.

After I went to him it did heal. If I didn’t believe in chiropractic medicine, at least he did and I was able to run again.

“So what happened?” he said when he saw me.

“I threw out my back.”

“No, you haven’t thrown it out, you are just feeling pain.”

I think that this was meant to be reassuring.

Over three days he tossed the whole chiropractic toolbox at me: manipulations, electric stim and even lasers (without the Mike Myers/Dr. Evil quotation marks around them). By Friday afternoon I was better but still couldn’t imagine running 50 miles, much less one. However, being the kind of doc who is adamant about getting his patients back to their normal activities ASAP he was set on me getting back to mine, which in this case was to run my tenth Ice Age 50.

“Get up early, take a hot shower, and give it a try,” he said. “You’ll know in a mile or two whether it is getting worse; it may actually loosen up and feel better.”

I followed the doctor’s orders and had some cautious optimism when I woke. I was walking normally with only minor discomfort.

But then I entered the enemy of every back injury: the car. There was something about sitting in that car that seemed to negate any progress that I made with my back. However, since the Li’l Mister would be driving I figured I could just put the passenger seat back and relax.

Yet there is no hiding from the evil powers of the car. We got to the race site in Wisconsin’s Southern Kettle Moraine and I could barely move. I kept willing myself to walk normally but it felt like a strong fist was grabbing hold of everything in my lower back preventing me from putting my legs forward.


I like to think that I am a good patient so I decided to follow the doctor’s prescription to the letter. I toed the line and when RD Jeff Mallach yelled “go” I headed down the trail surrounded by friends. “Give it a mile or two” I remembered the doc saying. I wasn’t sure if I could give it more than a few feet. What was I thinking? The tenth would have to wait another year. This is not going to work.

But then I noticed that my back wasn’t getting any worse. And except for the odd twist when catching a root or other trail obstacle there wasn’t any sharp pain. I wasn’t necessarily comfortable but with a short stride I was able to – dare I say it? – RUN!

Just as with last year’s aborted attempt I decided to do the nine-mile loop and reassess my situation. To the Li’l Mister’s surprise I came to aid station and told him that I was going to give the race a try. Curiously, I felt no discomfort jogging uphill. I knew we’d be hitting some hilly sections ahead; I could jog those and then walk the rest if I needed to.

It was a gorgeous day for running. Generally overcast with a few breaks of sun, temperatures in the 50s and 60s. The humidity got to some but thankfully it wasn’t one of my concerns.

At the Highway 12 aid station I saw the Li’l Mister and our friend Tom Chopp. I needed a little help changing shoes (my first choice was giving me a blister) but otherwise my back wasn’t a significant concern. I could feel it, but it was more of a mild annoyance rather than a screaming tantrum-filled brat.

I continued to muddle along, pretty much at the same pace for the rest of the day. Tom and the Li’l Mister would check up on me at various points. I waved and kept going. Coming into the aid station at 37.5 miles I saw Kathryn heading out. Maybe I could catch her?

A few miles down the trail I did. And then we were caught by Craig Swartwout, who was running Ice Age as the first leg of his 500-mile personal odyssey. When Kathryn and I collapsed with our finisher’s buckles at the end of the race, Craig was going to refuel and head out to do it again. And then run the Kettle Moraine 100 course three times.


Just as I hoped we would do the year before, Kathryn and I crossed the finish line. Sandwiched between us was Craig. We came in about 11:20 into the race, a good 40 minutes or so to spare before the 12-hour cut-off.

Lounging around for hours before our finish was 50-mile race winner Zach Bitter who blew through the course in 6:05:45 and Denise Bourassa, the women’s winner in 7:12:20. Darn impressive feats on the feet.

They got their winners trophies and I got my 500 Mile Club plaque. It was engraved with my name and the year. “I didn’t think that I’d finish,” I said to Jeff when he handed it to me.

“Don’t worry, we would have just kept making them until you did.”

Ice Age 50 - 2012

There ought to be a deluge of stories and reports coming from the 2012 addition of the Ice Age 50.    The LPTR presence was huge with LPTR and Race Director Jeff Mallach pulling off another stellar event – Not without a TON of help from LPTR and Volunteer Coordinator Angela Barbera and her army.    Thanks to all who helped out there!!!

The group had nearly 50 participants between the 50k and 50 mile – so much fun to see familiar faces on the out and backs!  Lots of first-time finishers at each distance and even some PR’s in surprisingly tough conditions.  

Wisconsinite Zach Bitter leveled a national class field in winning the 50 mile in 6:03 - This despite taking a couple of headers along the way!

And for some, the “race” isn’t quite over.  Craig used the race as a send off for his attempt at completing 500 miles!!!!  He’s out there as we speak – Check his progress here.

Can’t wait to post reports and photos – I will put them up as I get them.  Write ‘em up while the blood is still fresh!!!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Procrastination Race Report(s)...

LPTRunner Tina Heil finally got around to catching up on her 2012 race reports! ...

I’ve been meaning to write a race report since January. I guess I’m a bit of a procrastinator. Better late than never! Here are my Trail Highlights of 2012: Part I.

January 15, 2012: Triple D Winter Race, 50K, Dubuque, IA
I got peer-pressured into this one. My friend was training for Arrowhead and it was a perfect excuse to hang with her for 50 kilometers. I was also in need of a weekend away and needed to get my rear in gear (I was in hibernation mode). There appeared to be a very generous cut-off time so I figured I would walk the distance if needed. The course was flat with just enough snow and slush to make it a little more challenging. Along with my friend, I made it to the first check point (mile 22) feeling pretty darn good. Turns out we were the first ladies to make it in. I was feeling a little torn as I was looking forward to an adult beverage (free bar tabs for all participants at both check-ins and the finish), but considering that I am NEVER one of the first female finishers I declined the Wild Turkey. The second check point (marathon finish) came along and same deal, so we kept the momentum to the finish. I believe we were the only gals to complete the 50K and I am pretty proud of that. Check this race out if you’re looking for a flat course in the middle of winter… and an open bar tab. The RD and volunteers were fantastic!

February 4, 2012: John Dick, 50K
Ah, this was way more fun than I anticipated. It was a beautiful day to run and I felt lucky to have company along way. I thought I would get tired of the loops, but it was awesome to see the race as it progressed and so many familiar faces. And Robert’s vegetarian chili – perfect way to end the day!

March 10, 2012: Prickly Pear, 50K, San Antonio, TX
Paul and I planned a short trip (run-cation) to TX to visit my aunt & uncle, which is how we came across the Prickly Pear. Paul had high hopes of running his first 50K, but unfortunately injured his ankle the day after we sent in our registration.

Rainy and gloomy with temps in the 40s… perfect conditions for this Wisconsinite! Or so I thought for the first 6 miles before I encountered The Mud. The Mud was the mud of all mud. It was only a 2-3 mile stretch of mud, but the course consisted of 3 loops. Luckily by Round 3 the rain had watered it down enough for me to easily to win the battle. I came in third overall female, which was also an unexpected surprise. Guess the crappy weather got the best of those Texans. I had a lot of fun, the volunteers were awesome and the post-run fajita party was great.

March 24, 2012: MS Run the US, Fat Ass 50K
Fun times running with my cousin-in-law Amy! I still can’t believe she decided to run it… after only running (not even) half of the distance. She’s cool and I’m super proud of her!

April 28, 2012: Chippewa Moraine, 50K
This was a great event! I’m happy I decided to make that Black Friday purchase – it was well worth the money. The course was so beautiful and it was great to see so many LPTR people representin’. Paul was hoping to run the 10K, but ended up handing it over to Dennis. (Congrats Dennis on your first ever trail race!) Can’t wait to go back for this one… Chetek happens.

Hoping to stay healthy and happy so that I can write Part II!