Anastasia, Holly and Me, Ready to rock the trails!
Ice Age 50 in Wisconsin. I had a crazy plan for this race. Proper pacing and refueling. Last race I went out to fast, didn't eat, in fact throw up, then bonk. I was not going to let myself do that.
After an injury that nagged at me all winter, I had overestimated what I could do. This cost me. Let's learn from this...I thought about this all month and came up with a plan for Ice Age. I knew I was smart, strong and ready to rock the Ice Age trail.
1st step- good refueling. I had been practicing a new nutrition plan during my training runs but this would be my first time using it during a race. I made my own energy drink. Lightly brewed tea (for a little caffeine), then I dissolve honey stingers in it...delicious. I had this, Vanilla Ensure and bread sticks brushed in olive oil at my drop bags. Olive oil is a good source of energy plus the carbs from the bread. I was careful all day to eat and stay hydrated. 2nd step- better pacing. I decided not to use a watch. I just wanted to run on "feel". My main goal was to enjoy the course and still be able to run all the way to the finish line with no stomach problems. I set what I thought was a reasonable goal for this, to finish in under 11 hours. A bonus of finishing in under 11 hours was it would qualify me for Western States 2011.
Woke up race morning to freezing rain and wind...brrrr...but I was so excited it didn't hardly bother me. I decided to wear a lightweight longsleeve shirt, my favorite hat, shorts and my Flyroc 310's. I had a good race plan, plenty of support. I was starting the race with my friends Holly Bochantin and Dorn Peddy. I would be leading and we would all stick together as long as we could. My hubby and daughter were coming to watch and crew. This would be a big treat for me! Plus my very colorful local "posse" of trail friends running the 50 mile race. It would be great seeing them on the trails! (I have a blog page decdicated to them...they are a riot!...)
The race starts with a 9 mile loop that comes back to the start finish line, then you head out to confusion corner. First you go left towards Rice Lake, come back to CC. Then you head out to Emma Carlin and come back to the finish line. The course is rolling hills. nothing to big and the downhills are all very runnable. Even though the hills aren't to hard, there are so many, if you don't pace well it can wear you out. I find it an easy course to visualize. Which mentally is very helpful.
I had run most of the course, except near Rice Lake. I had heard it had some tough hills and killer stairs. Since I had just ran the ultra steep hills at McNaughton 50 , Ice Age was feeling like a piece of cake for me. The killer stairs were nothing. (At least for me Saturday) I stuck to my plan of running on "feel" by making sure I was always comfortable. I was still leading my little group enjoying the scenery and conversation.
We were experiencing every kind of weather. Very short spurts of sunshine, with lots of wind, cold, rain and stinging hail. We got hailed on 5 times during the day. I was glad to have my hat on. It kept the rain and hail off my face.
My race plan was to make sure I felt comfortable at mile 20. Then at mile 20 I thought, feel good at 30...now steady and comfortable to 40 and so on. Our little group was moving right along. We all stayed together until mile 38. Holly was running strong but she needed a serious refueling break and told us to move on.
On the way to Emma Carlin we picked up another friend Ed Werner. We had some lively conversation and made the turn around feeling strong. I only had 9 1/2 miles to go. I was truly enjoying the beauty of these trails. That was a huge success for the race. As we made our way back I kept saying, "I can't believe we only have 8,7,6...4 miles left"
I was feeling strong and decided to skip the last 2 aid stations. We only had 4 miles left and I had my energy drink full. I felt a little like a nascar driver running through, thinking to myself, "hope I don't regret not making a pit stop and run out of fuel". It did start to get tough with just over a mile to go. I don't think it was lack of fuel. I could just smell the finish line!
I crossed in 10:58:25! It was the first time I've ever thrown my hands up in the air after I crossed the finish line! I was happy I stuck to my plan and ran a steady race. I really enjoyed the course and seeing friends on the trails. I've been trained all year, but smart pacing and refueling can make a good race a great race! My feet stayed healthy all day! No blisters or banged up toenails. Thanks to my shoes holding my feet in place! All my friends had a successful race. Congrats!
My Team Inov-8 USA teammates did Awesome! In the 50 mile race Todd Braje finishish 1st overall, Mark Lundblad was 3rd overall. In the 50k race Dwight Schuler finished 5th overall. Check out Dwight and Todd's great story on there blogs!