Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Ice Age 50 Miler--May 12, 2012

"In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt"  --Margaret Atwood
What better time to start blogging than with Patagonia as my new sponsor and a win in Wisconsin at the Ice Age 50 miler! This was a solo trip planning to make it a quick race weekend for some Montrail Ultra Cup points (having DNF’d Run Rabbit Run, I was in need of a 3rd race, hence WI).   The course profile…rolling hills nothing crazy.  Based on this I set my stretch goal as a CR sub 7:11:43, hell why not! My second goal was to beat the masters record 7:17:07(sorry Meghan) and my 3rd goal was sub 7:30. Race day arrived and I over slept my 3AM alarm, thankfully I awoke to my second at 3:30am. Thankful as my DP (domestic partner) back in Bend also slept through his 1:30am pst alarm, he was my security phone call!! Yikes!  Although I still had good time to prep I had a little extra adrenalin coursing through my veins.
I arrived at Kettle Maraine Park at 5:15, plenty of time to pick up my race bib, #50.  I actually looked at the other runners to verify that my #50 was my bib # and not 50 for the race I was running….what a dork!
Sandi Nypaver and I chasing down the leader
The stage was set with the RD singing the National Anthem then we were off.  I cruised through the first 10 miles, a bit fast averaging about a 7:40 pace.  I was in a group of runners including Sandi Nypaver and Adam Schwartz-Lowe(he too ran HURT 100) Sandi and I were 2nd and 3rd behind Melanie Peters.  F1 went out even faster than us.  Unfortunately I was surprised to find the “rolling” hills relentless and technical and just like that I was rethinking my goals for the day. 
Charging hard for the finish
I was racing with a Ultraspire hydration pack and it allowed me to race through the AS’s happily sipping on my fluid and munching on Honey Stinger chews and S Caps. The weather was humid but with a light cloud cover, not too hot. The hills eased up around mile 20 and I was happy to see some forested stretches to stretch my legs out on.  I passed Sandi, F2 and found F1 at mile 22 coming into an AS.  I was feeling pretty good and left the AS in the lead.  This did not last long, Melanie quickly caught me and pulled ahead…she was apparently feeling better, and for the second time, I let her go.  A bystander saw us a few paces apart and said “it’s a race” my silent reply, “not this early and not at this pace”!  After she was out of sight, I settled back into my own pace up hill, down hill, up hill et. honey stinger, salt, hydration.  I looked at my garmin at mile 26, 3:42…this meant I was still on pace for what I thought was the CR (turns out the time on ultrasignup is not the CR, the website has the CR at 7:04 set by Ann Trason!) I plugged in some tunes around mi 33 happy to take my mind off the leg fatigue from the ups and downs.  About mi 36 I lost satellite with my Garmin : ( As I came into the AS at mi 37 I again caught sight of F1 who was just leaving.  This AS doubles back at mi 43 and I asked the crew to have my drop bag ready.  Figured that would be a good time to swap for my handheld and drop the pack (almost empty) and off I went after F1!  I caught her in the next mile and put in a small surge up a hill, Melanie took a few walking steps and I passed her continuing the surge up and over the hill. 
I reached the next AS at mi 40 and turned around heading back to the previous AS.  No watch but figured when I saw F2 I had put about a 4 min gap on her.  I kept pushing the pace and while not feeling fast I knew I was running faster than F2.  I hit AS at mile 43 looking for my drop bag and turns out that it was MIA…I left the AS with my almost empty pack.  At that point I concentrated on taking smaller sips from my hydration pack and drinking at the AS’s.  The last AS was 1.5 mi to the finish, what a great feeling!  I drank some coke and off I went.  Overall I was feeling pretty good, still trotting the hills, and passing some of the guys : )  As I came up the final hill to the finish my eyes went immediately to the clock, 7:12 and change...finishing in 7:12:37, F1 and 11th overall!!! Super great feeling!  I will be taking home the win along with some extra Montrail points : )  Added bonus...turns out running sub 7:20 at Ice Age also qualifies me for consideration for the 2013 World 100k team, what an amazing day!
And Done!
Huge thank you to RD, Jeff Mallach for putting on such a great event it was super well supported, and plenty of course markings to keep to keep even ME on the right trail! Props to the Patagonia design team, my gear took great care of me all day, perfect fit with no issues to be found even after 7 hours!
Next up....The Big Dance in June! 

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