The world lost an incredible mother, wife, daughter, friend, attorney, underprivileged advocate, and community member suddenly and unexpectedly on October 16, 2013. In honor of my late wife, Holli Wallace, I am training for the Hallucination 100 mile trail run and raising money for the Children's Grief Center of the Great Lakes Bay Region.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Land Between the Lakes 50 Race Report

Well, I successfully finished the Land Between the Lakes 50 this weekend.  I was reminded how ultrarunning often forces us to be honest with ourselves.  I was only marginally trained for the run and definitely not ready for the hills or the 60+ degree weather.  That being said, I finished in 10 hours and 35 minutes and met my primary goal of qualifying for the next Western States lottery.  Perhaps most importantly I still had a great time.

I headed south on Thursday and spent the night at my parents' place in Ohio where they were kind enough to treat me to a delicious Thai dinner.  The drive was long, but it was nice to see everything get greener as I went south.  It's been many years since I've been to Kentucky and I was reminded how much I like the rolling hills and forests in the area.  The race starts and finishes in a very small, tourist-oriented, town between two large lakes.  The race would involve four loops on single-track trail between the two lakes (er, hence the name of the region).

Despite memories of the snow that I had driven through on the way from Michigan, I decided to start the race in shorts and a t-shirt with only a handheld bottle.  My plan was to do a 15 minute run-5 minute walk combination.  The 10-5 combination I did at the Fall 50 in October went so well it seemed like a good plan.  Unfortunately, the unexpected number of hills (nothing high or steep, just relatively unrelenting in a way similar to the area around Pinkney, MI) and the congestion of the first loop made this difficult and I quickly settled into a constant run.

By the second loop, I began to notice the hills and the heat.  I even flirted with a little nausea, but it never got particularly bad and I think may have been the result of too many electrolyte tablets early on (I felt better after I stopped taking them).  By the third loop many of the shorter distance runners were done so I was able to start the 15-5 combination.  However, the hills (and my lack of hill conditioning) required more walking than I hoped and I quickly saw my vague goal of running it in 9 hours slip away.  I didn't let the slower pace bother me and focused on enjoying the pleasant scenery and beautiful weather.  After being informed that I needed to complete a short 1.2 mile out-and-back (um, I thought I was almost done), I made a final turn towards the final 1+ mile stretch to the finish line.

I'd recommend the race.  It was very well managed with well-stocked and frequent aid stations.  We received good swag, including a running hat, running shirt, and light gear bag (I'm a sucker for stuff.)  We even got a very nice buckle at the finish, although I always feel a bit like these should be reserved for 100 milers.  Actually, the buckle is nicer than the one I got at Burning River in 2009.  The start/finish was conveniently located near some cheap hotels.  I do recommend stocking up on supplies before heading to Grand Rivers as the grocery store in the town is only marginal.  As a mini-personal vacation to wrap up my spring break, it was perfect.  Thanks to all the race volunteers!

Next big run: Relay for Life

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Land Between the Lakes 50 miler

I'm taking off on Thursday and heading to Ohio.  I'll spend the night at my parents and then reach Grand Rivers, KY on Friday for the Land Between the Lakes 50.  This is the only formal race I'm planning this year (Relay for Life isn't technically a race and the Macomb Orchard 50 is run Fat Ass style.)  This means that Saturday will be my last long run before Relay for Life, the finale of my spring break, my qualifying run for the 2012 Western States, and the start and finish of my 2011 racing season.

The primary reason, of course, is that we are expecting another little boy to join our family sometime towards the end of July.  I'll probably take a break from running during the second half of the year.  I still remember the chaotic and sleepless lifestyle of having a newborn around so it seems unwise to set any meaningful training goals.  I also like the idea of giving the running thing a bit of a rest.  Maybe I'll focus on strength training.  Maybe I'll find something new.  Of course, I only anticipate a rest from running.  Not accidentally, Saturday's race does keep me qualified to enter the Western States lottery.  I've also noticed that the jogging stroller in the garage has been looking a bit lonely.  My initial journey into ultrarunning was certainly assisted by an infant who would only easily nap for me in the jogging stroller.  I think that Elliott's record was a 20 mile run in the jogging stroller...

P.S.  If you haven't yet donated to my Relay for Life run, click on the link to the right!