Tuesday, May 9, 2017

2017 Chippewa 50k Race Report

Chippewa 50k Trail Race, New Auburn, WI. April 29, 2017.
Felt somewhat confident going into the race as I had some decent training runs at Afton State Park, but I knew they hadn’t been long enough to feel really good about it. I had been unsure of my clothes all week, and still wasn’t sure as I made the 1:45 drive from St. Paul.
Arrived a bit early (just before 7), got my race packet and sat in the car for a while. Everyone milled about inside the Interpretive Center until just before the start, and I met a guy that I see running around Phalen, and lives on the other side of the lake. Funny how it took driving 1:45 to meet a neighbor!

So we started off at 7am, and although shorts were definitely the right answer – wearing a long sleeve technical shirt under my jacket was a mistake. I had both sleeves rolled up and jacket unzipped within 20 minutes. I waited until the 2nd AS to take my jacket off (I didnlt want to lose my spot in a good-moving group). Also – wearing my buff instead of a hat was also a bad idea. We were running thru the forest, but there were no leaves out and the sun was always above us. Made for a very hot, sweaty day. I was a bit concerned with getting a chill later on in the race with slowing down and who knows what 'issues'...that was my reasoning for what I did choose.
After the initial downhill and thru the parking lot, we entered the trails and I was already in a good group with a consistent pace. I walked up what hills I could and still keep up with the person in front of me. There was a little shuffling of spots, but we kept moving on.
I quickly grabbed some cookies and PB&J at AS1 3.3mi in (32min) and settled back in the group. I had to stop at one point and re-tie my right shoe as my heel was rubbing and getting uncomfortable. It helped just a little.
At the 2nd AS (6.5mi section, 9.8mi total) after 1:39, I stashed my jacket in my vest, grabbed some more snacks, and left. It was just a few miles later that my left abdomen was getting sore. Very odd – have not really ever had that, but I’d put some pressure on it and kept moving at my normal pace.
Going into the turnaround, I stayed somewhat close behind the guy I met, but did drop back sometimes. Refilled my almost empty bladder (5.75mi section in 1:08, 15.5mi total after 2:48) and grabbed more snacks. Was disappointed they did not have potato chips – only a trail mix.
One of the gentle hills
One of the many bridges

I caught up to Steve thru here, and passed him, expecting to see him again later on. After just about 2 miles, my right inner thigh, starting just above my knee) started to cramp up. It would almost seize up, but thankfully, never did. It was a semi-constant battle for the rest of the race. Whenever I’d kick a little root, my calves or other thigh would want to start up. This all made for slow going the rest of the way, but I was still able to ‘run’ and otherwise had good energy, feet that didn’t hurt for a change, No real lower back issues that often shows up, and was just loving being outdoors.
 Going slow did give an excuse to take photos...

I lucked in to being ~30 yards behind a female runner for many miles going into AS 4 before she pulled ahead. 

one of the more interesting water-crossings. (Almost hesitate to call it a bridge)

I kept moving and was trying to keep an eye on my watch and see if I could keep doing 12-13 minute miles.
Made it to AS4 (Mile 21.3 in 4:00, 1:12 for the 5.75mi section. Only 4 minutes slower than the other direction!)
AS5 at mile 27.8 in 5:29 (1:28 for the 6.5 miles - my slowest section).
Got lucky again after the last aid station. After partially filling my empty bladder – I ended up behind another strong female runner (Micki) the last 5+ miles or so. We’d chat a bit as I’d inch closer, but then fall back behind by 30 yards. She ran a bit more than me as I'd walk all the uphills, but I could make up some distance on the few downhills. I had no intention (or expectation) of catching her, but she sure did pull me along!
I did get a boost about 5 miles from the finish...my wife texted. Basically to let me know our 7pm party was actually starting at 5pm. That put some energy into my running! And of course - the encouragement from her and my daughter. It helped!

I was hopeful of doing the last section in under 45 minutes. We ran and ran and I pushed myself thru here. Coming into the parking lot area and seeing the finish on top of the hill was good, but the uneven grassy section kept me focused. The frequency of my thigh cramps increased too as we got closer. 
Then the last hill.
Just the start of the last hill
My thighs both started seizing up but I breathed thru it and kept going. The first sign said "No Walk Hill". Ha - good one!
After this photo - there was the continuation of the hill and another sign that said 'Don't Quit'. Little chance of that as that is where my car was. And the finish was like, 20 seconds away.
I came in at 6:12:02. 69/174 overall. Pretty typical for me when I am not injured for that distance.
(Being the engineer/numbers guy I am - I calculated my average 50k finish after this race to be 
6:27 (17 events of that distance) and the mean is....6:12!)
Took 5 minutes to get off the ground for this photo

Got a cool personalized print of the artwork - that was a nice surprise! (Thanks again for the photo Micki!)
After I was up, got some soup (good!), finally some potato chips, more water, and some cookies. I felt just fine at that point. 
Didn't linger as it was 2:40pm and I would make it home around 4:30. Just enough time to shower and get dressed for the party.
Waiting for me at home:
My daughter rocks!

95 miles away and not quite 3 hours after my finish

My legs weren't sore at all until the next day, and it lasted about 2-3 days. I woke up feeling 'normal' on Wednesday, but didn't run until Thursday morning. It felt good to catch up on sleep that one extra day! 
now I just need to find my next race...

Saturday, January 7, 2017

2017 Harbison 50k Race Report

This was to be my 7th running of the Harbison 50k (January 7. 2017), and as I am the only one to run the previous 6 – there is some pressure to continue it (but it’s a good thing). After staying in Columbia the night before the race the last two years, I had planned to do that again. The weather made it more interesting as a rain/sleet/snow storm was heading for us. Through my friends in Greenville, I got hooked up to ride down Friday with 2 people (Shannon and Angela) I ‘knew’ by their running I’d seen online. It all worked out great and we had a good drive down and a nice dinner. Picked up a free buff at packet pickup too!
It was a little cool to start, around 34° at 7:30am, but would get colder throughout the day, down to 28°. Not the coldest it had been…I had texted with the RD a few weeks prior to race day, and he commented that we had had every type of weather – rain, sun, cold, hot, mud, everything But snow on race day. I told him I’d see what I could do as I had moved up to St. Paul, MN back in 2015 and although our winter wasn’t bad at all, we did have snow at the time.
So – race started off fine with just a light rain. I settled into my own pace. The course was a bit different from 2016, but running the Stewardship Trail so early in the race still throws me off from those first few years. After 4 miles or so – I started to feel some soreness in my top/front right hip. Not bad, but enough to make me think about it. It also wasn’t long before the rain turned to sleet and then to a light snow! Enough to cover the ground…it was kind of cool and went on for a good 90 minutes of the first loop.

At about 13 miles, my right IT band started to bother me. It seems my IT band acts up more at this race than it should…anyway. Just before the turn toward the start/finish area, I saw Sergio and Shannon and they were looking good! At the gazebo at the halfway point (15.5mi in 2:52), I rolled my legs some, but that helped for maybe half a mile. Kept trudging along, but it was mostly walking. Left IT band started to get sore, and the front/top of my left foot. Once something starts, more things just add to it!
Most of the snow was gone for the 2nd loop, but it was quite a bit muddier.  
Last AS food/mud
The 2 creek crossings were deeper than I’d ever seen (about shin-deep). My Speedgoat socks and my Montrail Mountain Masochist Outdry shoes made it seem like my feet were not wet at all – that was nice!
I didn’t really run with anyone after the first 10 miles or so – but I never mind that. A good 10+ people passed me the last section or two, but I was always confident I’d finish.
I came into the finish, running, for my 7th finish in 6:39 (3:47 for the 2nd half). The RD is always awesome (Thanks David – hope you continue to recover from your car accident)

Was good seeing some of the SC crew again!

After a full day flying back home, in which all the sore spots during the run were still sore, the day after that, I was pretty much fine. I took it easy and just used a rowing machine that week before going out the following Saturday for an easy loop around the lake (mostly clear of snow). Had no issues, and training could continue for the Chippewa 50k in April (I had registered for it in 2016, but had to cancel with injury and lack of training).

Here are my past Harbison Times:

2 ‘good’ years, 3 ‘average’ years, and 2 ‘bad’ years. Hopefully 2018 will be another ‘Good’ one!