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...