Monday, April 25, 2011

From NR: Chippewa Moraine Race Report

Holy overdue race report, Batman!

When long races don't go as hoped, I think I need a little additional time to be positive about them. Of course, this also means I'm less inclined to write a novel about the race, so maybe it's a good thing for those of you reading, huh?

So, step one. positive things about Chippewa Moraine:

~ I ran a 59 minutes PR. What's not to be happy about with that? Let's just ignore the differences in course difficulty between Wild Duluth and Chippewa :)
~ I ran 20 miles without stomach issues. That's longer than I went in Wild Duluth.
~ Except for the brutal finish hill, I ran every step of the last mile so I clearly had more left than I thought.
~ I saw a deer running through a knee deep swamp hole, had what I think was a Great Blue Heron yell loudly at me and watched an eagle soaring right where only I could see him through the trees.
~ My friends all tore the course up!

Still, I haven't been that disappointed in a race in a long time. I think the bad thing about not doing what you want in a race that goes for several hours is that you have plenty of time to mull things over and try to figure out what went wrong and what you can do to fix it. Sounds more like a good thing, really. I did try to take a step back and managed to get un-frustrated with myself - still frustrated with how the race was going for me but I stopped being down on myself for it. I don't think I did anything wrong per-say with this race. What did I want out of it anyway? I wasn't tapering - I wasn't planning on exactly racing or running very hard. In fact, I did my first official track workout of the year that Tuesday so it's not as though I was resting my legs beforehand. I wanted to figure out some eating and have a good stomach the whole way and just get a good long run under my belt. So really, I wasn't doing so bad. I hit mile 26 and was several minutes ahead of my Half Voyageur time. Again, different course, but still. I was frustrated with my stomach being nauseous and uphappy and with my legs also dying despite not going hard. I think having to walk so much and not swiftly with a nauseous stomach made my legs not want to start going again when they could. Plus the whole tired legs thing.

This was only my second ultra! I did lots of things right and I learned some things for next time. Like peanut butter and jelly on white bread isn't quite what tastes good even when I'm interested in eating it (so maybe I'll have my Dad carry PB&J on bagels at Voyageur?). And my E-Gel goes down even when I'm not interested in eating it. And it's possible to be so sick of being passed that you want to scream at the next person who does . . .

So! I do highly recommend the Chippewa Moraine 50K. It's a gorgeous and very runnable course and well organized. Even with all the rain, there was minimal mud (though there was a spot where they was suddenly a small creek to cross on the way back that wasn't there on the way out). There's tons of water out there and the manned aid stations had lots of food when I went through them (though, apparently, I need to pause and peruse the tables a bit better since I missed banana bread!). The volunteers were, of course, pretty much all great, and there was lots of food at the end so you were bound to find something that looked interesting to eat. It's an out and back course, so you get the excitement of seeing everyone and the first/last 5 miles are marked which was mostly good on the way back in. It's a cheap race if you sign up early and the shirts are comfy and fit.

Up next for big races is the Spring Superior 50K. I want my stomach to behave even better so that I'm not panicking at mile 20 about doing 30 more in a couple months.

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