So how do I start?
I left the house after 3:00am for the 90+ minute car ride to the start of the 28th annual Ice Age 50/50k races. I was surprised I still had some time to spare even though I missed a few turns getting there. But I was able to say hello to some of fellow runners of the Chicago UltraRunning group.
At 6:00am the customary “ready, set, go” was announced. Once I started I had one game plan, not to hurt myself to much, go slow, and just run how I felt. The 1st section of around 10 miles was pretty much cold, windy, and rainy. But I ran with Brain and Torey, so it made the miles seem not to bad out there for the 1st section at least. But I was having some equipment mechanical problems in a major way. In the 1st mile or so I tried to take a drink from my “camelbak” type hydration pack and pop outs the top of the drinking valve. So after slamming it back in, I was still leaking fluid which was running down the side of my jacket. So I tried to make the best of it, because the hydration pack also contained the rest of my nutritional needs as well. So running along, I would just put my thumb on top of it to minimize the leakage and sometimes run that way.
But after the 1st section, I decided to keep the hydration pack on and just change into a running vest. I figure I could manage the leaking and run with it. But around mile 15, my whole drinking valve ejects itself into the foliage and I said “wholly crap” I'm not going put that thing in my mouth anymore after rolling around in the dirt. So I kept on moving with just a tube stinking out as my source of liquid.
So at times I would try to suck the stuff out to get a drink, but the funny thing was that if I leaned over, it would gush out like a facet, I think I got some strange looks when that happened. So after a couple times of that, I knew I needed to rely on the aid stations to get my hydration needs. Oh "Yeah" time for a little experimentation?
The 2nd section was about 20 miles, it is the hardest of the three sections. Lots of rocks, roots, little muddy, but I was actually doing okay until mile 28 that is. Then I started to crash & burn, also getting desperate for an aid station, but I just tried to keep focused and also get through the aches and pains of running 28 miles at this point so far. Then finally getting to an aid station I was relieved and started to bounce back. Shoving Oreo cookies in my mouth helped as well.
So once I started the 3rd section I felt I could finish, even though I had around 20 mile to go, I felt good about the whole thing and physically my ankle was getting trashed from the down hills, my legs were feeling pretty good. So I just tried to block out the ankle pain as much as I could. I actually wore low-end compression socks for the 1st time in a race, and they seem to do the trick, no cramping so far in my calves, WooHooo!!
Miles just seem to tick away and at mile 40 I met up with Brain at the aid station. He asked me to run with him and so I said “sure”, misery does love company right?
10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, then with a half mile to go I was feeling strong, so I tried to get to the finish line as fast as I could. I pushed through everything and with a time of 11:09 I was done. It was far from my PR for me on that course, but I just wanted to finish, so it was a good day for me in spite of the gear problems I was having.
It is my 3rd time finishing on the course, always great volunteers, great support, great food afterwards, and now I have 7 more years to go to get my 500 mile buckle there!!!
With that, I feel my UltraRunning membership card is renewed now, for at least another year!!
This was a race I was not ready for but felt in my heart I needed to do, 10% physical and 90% mental, pretty much sums up my race day as well.
So until next time and yes there is another Ultra somewhere in this schedule to be added.
Maybe North face 50 miler?
For now, I need to rest my ankles, they didn’t like all this running and with the Rockman half IM in 3 1/2 weeks, I think I need to find my triathlete MOJO once again.