The Runner's Reward

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Marshall Mangler 50k 2015 Race Recap

31 miles, over 4500 feet of gain, and one hell of a good time!

I woke up at 3:45 AM and had a big glass of water, a banana, and toast with Wild Friends Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter. Oh man is that stuff gold!  I headed out the door to pick Alyssa up with a mixer bottle in hand filled of one serving UCan superstarch and 3/4 serving of Hammer vegan protein powder, which I started drinking at 5:00 AM.
The Trail Family
We were the first runners to arrive. We got hoodies and pre-registration goodies including gloves and a mug with the Marshall Mangler logo.  Around 6:15 I downed another serving of UCan. People were starting to trickle in. We checked our race packs to make sure we had everything. Alyssa offered me a packet of pickle juice. I accepted and tucked it into a front pouch and forgot about it. We set our drop bags in the designated area and put everything else in the car. It was 10 minutes to start and looking around the room I was surprised to see very few people.  5 minutes to the start and we went out to the line. Still there was only a few people! Was this it? No. People started filing in from the parking lot. All said we had a small field of less than 30 when the race started.

The 50k race started at 7AM. Temperatures were in the upper 30's with a good breeze. The first 5 miles were comprised of the orange loop around the golf course, a very runnable loop.  I was happily moving along at a pace in the 11's. At around 1.5-2 miles in I came around a turn in the trail to hear some intense screaming and crying.  One of the front runners had taken a fall on the roots and rocks and lacerated her leg! A number of people had already stopped with her and were calling 911 for help.  There was ample help so I continued on.

At the Pigeon Aid station I caught up to Lamar​ and we spent the next 18 miles or so running together, pacing each other by switching of lead.  The first 5 miles of the red-blue trail have some good climbs and our pace dropped to around 12:00 all the way up to the Wisconsin Shelter Aid Station around mile 10-11. From there we were able to modestly increase speed.

The next loop of the course went first.  At mile 16 at the Pigeon Aid Station a volunteer dug my last serving of UCan out, a 5 ounce soft flask of which I drank on trail over the next 5 minutes. I also had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich square and a small handful of pringles before leaving the aid station. The pace had slowed down just a little bit, but I was still running strong . That is until around mile 23.  I had neglected hydration and the Ucan I had taken wore off leaving my blood sugar low.  Bonk! I was in trouble. The first 23 miles I had only drank around 30 ounces of water. I began walking because I simply couldn't run and felt my legs starting to cramp.

Realizing my mistake I started drinking water, took a salt cap, and had some Honey Stinger chews. After two 20 minute miles I started feeling a little more human and by this time I had arrived at the Wisconsin aid station where I met up with Lisa (aka Coach Cupcake)​, who graciously volunteered to run the last 7 with me. We slowly left the aid station and made our way along the trail, my legs threatening to cramp up when ever I tried to push so I just let myself run comfortably and took many walking breaks.

I stopped to let some runners by and then remembered the packet of pickle juice from Alyssa. Let's see if this stuff can help at all.  I downed that puppy and almost immediately felt my legs ease up. Within a mile or so I was back at it with some gusto. My feet felt battered with every footstrike, but Lisa kept me moving like she was a cowboy and I a cow, coaxing me forward when I walked too long. Coming up the big climb at mile 28 with 260 feet of gain I was running more and more, stopping less and less.  Then came the mostly flats and downhills. The pounding of the downs really were crushing my feet. The trail here is loaded with rock and I was wincing with each footfall by the end of mile 30.

It was up the damn oil line hill one more time, cursing it the whole way and then an easy decent down the bathtub trail, appropriately named for the bathtub on the side of the trail. Lisa kept saying " Go!, Go!" To which I finally replied "I'm gonna!" and took off down the final 0.3 miles at an 8:30 pace. Gotta love the downhills with soft, forgiving trail underfoot.

I was happy to see Lamar waiting to see me cross the finish.  Then it was inside for some Hammer Recoverite, food, and rest before moseying out just in time to catch Alyssa tearing down the final hill!

The Marshall Mangler closed out my 2015 race year.  It has been one hell of a year for me running. I ran 3 marathons and 3 ultras including two 50ks and my first 50 miler. Over the course of the year I had PR's in the mile and 5k (ok those first two were training runs),and also the marathon, and 50k. This race was a PR by a whopping 39:26!  This coming year will be a distance year with big goals of running both a 70 miler and 100 miler.