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.