Thursday, November 12, 2015

2015 Icebox 480 Race Report

7 November, 2015 - The  Icebox 480 was held at the Whitetail Ridge Trails in River Falls, WI. Pretty much some woods behind an office park - seems to be geared toward mountain bikes, but some good single track trails for running on too.
Got there about 6:45am for the 7:30 start. Was a little chilly at 34° as I got my bib, shirt, sticker and other swag, but by the time the start rolled around, I decided shorts was still the right move to go with my long sleeve technical shirt and orange jacket, gloves, Afton buff, one handheld and my 'old' Montrails. My newer Montrails didn't feel so well when I tried them last weekend without my orthotics, so I went back to the 'old' ones.
I realized right at the start in the parking lot cul-de-sac that I still had on my glasses (that I only wear for driving), so once we started and ran by the bag drop, I put them in my bag and got in the line of runners. To have over 120 runners, it spread out pretty quickly and moved well. After the first 2 miles or so, it was pretty thin already. The trail wound this way and that, had orange flags and tape marking any intersection - you really couldn't go wrong! First mile was completely runnable until the hill up to the 'top'. 1st mile marker was 2/3's the way up. Second mile was more rolling (the whole course just kept winding back and forth). The mile markers were 'painted' in orange on the ground and I finally noticed them at Mile 3. There were plenty of roots and rocks the whole way, and I had two good trips the first loop (and one more each of the next 2 loops, all with my left foot). There were two sections that went by fields/cornfields. Hadn't ever seen corncobs on a trail before! Mile 3 and 4 had some planked bridges to what I assume was to avoid some shallow troughs for runoff. We did come across a guy with a leaf blower clearing the trail. Another first for me at a race. At around mile 4.7 there was an aid station with water (and Hammer stuff). I bypassed it the first loop. The last two miles were quite runnable and you could open up on some of the downhills, especially with two sections of banked curved boardwalks and all. The last half-mile was flat and near a brewery (keg by the trail was a dead giveaway) before getting you back to the main aid station.
So the first 7 mile loop was fine - kept a 10-11min mile the whole way, maybe a bit faster at the end. Took a quick pit stop, swapped my water for Gatorade, dropped off my gloves that I had on the first mile, had an S!cap, grabbed some snacks (PB&J, chips, M&Ms) and headed back out. Time was 1:10.
I had run behind two people once it spread out and was content to not push it. Until we hit some downhills around mile 3 and I had to move ahead some. I followed one guy for some of loop one and ended up behind him again on lap two. We stayed somewhat close to each other the whole loop, and if he did get ahead, I'd close the distance on the downhills. I had to push a bit on this loop to keep up my 10min miles, The temps were fine, but being in the sun to going in the shade felt like a 10° difference. Wasn't getting 'warm', but did get cool every so often. After Loop 2, had the same aid fare, went back to water for this lap as I was alternating, and walked out eating with a lap time of 1:09 (2:20 total).
Was decent the next few miles but I knew I had slowed down some (as expected). Walked when I needed to and still ran a good amount. My feet were already getting tender, so I changed socks here too from Smartwool to my thicker Balega. Lap 3 in 1:20 (3:40 total)
Lap 4: At the mid-aid station, they had cookies. I took two and walked out munching. Nice surprise as I had brought a Gu just in case I get hungry mid-way thru a lap. This loop was not easy. I had been running solo now for much of the last 2 laps. My right hip and hamstring were both talking to me, but I was still able to run downhills without issues, My compression shorts (under my regular running shorts) were starting to annoy me, so I finally had an opportunity by the cornfield and stripped off both pair of shorts to remove the compression ones. Managed it without another runner coming up, or falling over. Not sure how much the cookies had to do with it, but I felt really good for some miles after that - no leg issues for about 4 miles! After grabbing my usual aid, I saw grilled cheese and swiss cake roll slices. Took one of each and soon wished I had taken more of the warm grilled cheese! Yummy. Lap 4 in 1:29 (5:10 total)
Lap 5: Another solo lap. Passed a few while I felt strong early on this lap, but struggled for three miles in the middle here with right achilles soreness. Was still able to do 13:30 miles. Luckily it felt better by the time the 'downhills' came up and felt good going into the aid station. Lap 5 in 1:32 (6:42 total).

The website says:
The race will end eight hours later at 3:30 PM. Once you come through after 2/2:30 pm you will be directed to a short course of 1 mile loop where we will track your remaining distance till 3:30 pm

My laps and mileage (and my wife/daughters arrival times) were planned on the mile loop opening at 2pm. I came in at 2:06 or so and they asked if I was going back out. "Yes, of course, where's the one mile loop?". It doesn't open until 2:30. What?! So then I had to make a quick decision - go back out for the 7mile loop and push to run it faster than ~1:24 (and miss seeing my family) or only be credited with 35 miles, or wait around for ~26 minutes for the 1-mile loop to open. There were alot of people around and I realized they weren't done, but also waiting. I waited too. (If I had known that the time was going to be 2:30, I may have pushed a little more before then). Saw my wife and daughter as they pulled up, rested a bit and ate some more snacks (grilled cheese!!). A few minutes early, they said Go! and we were off again. Within a quarter-mile, it was thinned out completely. I was behind two others the whole loop and we ran the whole thing. Only as we power hiked up the hill to the turnaround (much shorter up the hill this time!) did the female runner and I distance the other guy we were with. She was the lead female and had done 42 miles before the mile loops. We did that mile in 11:10. We didn't stop and ran on to do the loop again. I had decided to stop after that loop. I hadn't thought I'd be able to run that fast, so I didn't realize that 40 miles was still in my grasp until much later. I told her she could easily do 4 or 5 of these loops but I was done. I felt good and didn't have anything in particular to prove to myself. My goal (outside of 40) was 36, so I was very happy with 37! That last mile? 10:00! Crazy...
(Realized Sunday why my feet had hurt so early. I didn't just put on my 'old' Montrails, but my 'oldest' Montrails - that had tread missing and had been relegated to mowing shoes for about a year. Oops!)
Post race: Felt fine. Normal tenderness on right hip/glute, shins felt it on my 4 mile walk Sunday too. Normal gait though. Tuesday - 100% and will run Wednesday. I seriously need to do yoga again - my hamstring issues are annoying...
Forgot my camera the last big this is it!

Thanks Shawn Severson!

Hill @mile 1 of loop