Sunday, May 11, 2008

Ice Age 50 Mile

big week for me: 90 miles
Sun- 14
Fri-off- drove up to race after work with my brother, Tim
sat- 50 miles- 8:25 (18th)

Ice Age 50 Mile (Resuts) ------ garmin report here

The Ice age 50 Mile was in its 27th year this year and had good trail conditions and great running weather (p. sunny temps 35 at the start warming to 63). the field had 200+ runners and started at 6am.

The race has an interesting lay out with a really runnable and smooth slightly rolling jeep trail width path for a 9 mile loop back to the start/finish. The course then heads on out for an out and back to the south (21.7 mile mark) and then goes out for an out and back to the north with the turn around at 40 miles all on nice single track trail.

I started the race at a good clip settling in at training pace clicking off 8:00 miles with Ann Heaslett reminiscing about 2001/2002 when she was competing for national 50k titles at the HUFF race and crushing me at RR 100 where she ran 15:57!! I was hovering around 150bpm and made myself slow down and let her go on off in pursuit of Kim Holak (last years womens winner) who had gotten out to an early lead. I was able to hold 150bpm for 3 hours (22miles) at BRR 50 last month but completely depleted the glycogen stores and could not climb back out of the deficit and ended up with a less than stellar I wanted to hold more of a 140bpm HR in this race and slowed my pace to that level despite not breathing heavy or really working THAT hard.

Proof that holding a lower HR initially leads to less of a drop late in the race... to BRR 50 here

I settled in with some guys new to ultras, a couple of triathlon guys, and a pilot from Chicago. The miles ticked by and before I knew it I was at the first turn around point (21.7 miles). The first guy to come by on the out and back was none other than legend Kevin Setnes who looked strong passing by with about 25minute lead on me. Women's leader was Kim Holak. I was hitting 22 miles today at 3:25...a full minute per mile slower than I went out at BRR, but I felt a million times better and actually pushed a bit at this point moving up in the field slightly from the 25th or so I was in at the 21mile turn around.

I was eating more off the tables (1/4 putter butter and jelly sandwiches, M&M's, glasses of coke) and was drinking NUUN water from my bottle. (Coke flavored NUUN tabs rock by the way) I was carrying 8 carb boom gels with me, but left my Cliff shot blocks home in Virginia. Since a gel pack is only 100cals and shotblock packs are 200. I knew I needed to eat more off the tables than I have been doing in the 8 previous ultras I have completed in 2008. My stomach was feeling great and draining well so I continued to down cups of coke at each aid station, (which were very frequent), sip my NUUN water, and hit a gel every time I felt a tiny bit bonky. Around 30 miles I came upon Kevin who was walking and looked to be in pain. Hopefully he is okay.

During the 4th hour I felt the poorest I would feel, but really was not that bad off...just a little behind in energy and thus the walking had increased. I had an off trail pit stop and then did some running with Boston native Chris H who was running with the broken finger he suffered in the infamous "Don't run boston 50K" in the Blue hills. I ran that race in 2001 and wow! what a tough one. This course had about 2% of the rocks and footing difficulty that that one did. I'm thankful for it too. I like running and despite having had good runs on tough technical courses, I am leaning more and more toward the fast nice footing courses.

I hit 31 miles in under 5 hours and continued to move up in the filed. I made it out to the 40 mile turn around in 6:40. Doing some calculations I knew that if I continued to do the 11 minute miles I was averaging over the last 10-12 I would be really pressed to break 8:30. The next 3 miles to the 43.5 mile aid station were still slow and I really didn't think I had it in me, but a mile or so later I was passed by a hard charging guy from Michigan who had 13 previous Ice Age finishes under his belt. He picked me up and we pushed hard together. We ran most everything until reaching the final aid station a mere 2.4 miles from the finish at the 8:02 mark. We knew sub 8:30 was in the bag and he relaxed while I moved on wanting to be done with this fine run. a few more turns on the pine needle covered trails and the finish line appeared. I squeaked into the top 20 and finished in 8:25. Surprisingly this race even had age group awards and I got a 2nd in mine. In 70+ ultras I have run in this was the first time that has happened! Ha. kinda silly since most of the top folks are still considerable older than me. And two of the most amazing older runners in the country proved that. Roy Pirrung beat me by 5 or so minutes at the rip age of 59! And even more impressive at age 66!!!!!!!!!!! Tom Bunk finished a mere 10 minutes behind me in 8:35. That is amazing.

All in all the great footing trail and amazing sections under pine trees will be what I remember most. this is a good one and I am glad I was able to run it. In terms of difficulty I would say it falls in between JFK and BRR. Thanks to all the volunteers that helped make it a great run for me.

The running log shows that the first 8 races at the 50 mile distance I ran were all faster than this one, but only one of the last 5 I have run has been. Lets hope a new trend is being set!


Trail Goat said...

Hmmm... More a more controlled start leads to less degradation. Who would have thought? ;-) Nice work. I crashed 15 miles into my run today... would've made for a rough last 35.

Looks like you've gotten into a good routine in Chi-town. Keep it up. Need you in shape when you return to DC.

Anonymous said...

Great experience. Pleasant weather, trail commaraderie, nicely officated, and a challenging course made for much fun.
The 26th position is satisfying for my first Ultra, but I think I'm heading back to marathoning. Nice training for that distance, though.