Lakefront 50K Race Report ……

Saturday, brought us a beautiful day in the CHI and my 2nd ultra in the form of the Lakefront 50K.  This was not a trail ultra but a nice flat event on Chicago’s Lakefront Trail.  Great ultra for first timers or those worried about covering the distance because you are not isolated on some crazy trail out in the woods but constantly surrounded by other people, in a populated area.  Plus there are three loops, so you actually pass by your car 3x.  This could be viewed as a positive or a negative depending on how you look at it!  Smile  But on the up side, you get to pass your friends over and over again, whether they are in front or behind you and that’s a BIG win in my book!

2nd loop

The reason I signed up for this race was because my friends’ Mike (Run Nerd’s Rock) and Michelle (This Momma Runs – green shorts above) were running the event.  I figured, “why not?” so I signed up!  Then I later found out that several of the ladies from my running club (Frankfort New Lenox Running Club) were also signed up.  This added to my excitement, despite my low mileage throughout March.  And the bonus to running with Mike, when he is fast enough to literally run circles around the rest of us, is that we made let him take all the pics and we just focused on the run.  So pretty much every pic in this post was taken by Mike.  Thanks, Mike!!! 

collage

The springtime Lakefront 50K is 3 loops.  It’s on the north side of the city, starts at Foster Avenue Beach in Lincoln Park and weaves south to the North Beach boathouse (then back).   The start line was steps away from the lake; however, the Lakefront Trail ends on the north side of the city, just past Montrose Harbor.  Therefore, it was necessary to weave thru a few parks on crushed limestone trails before hitting the actual paved Lakefront Trail which has made Chicago so popular.   The route was marked VERY well with orange painted arrows.   There was never a question about the course and I was super impressed by the meticulous attention to detail because I have been dropped from a CARA pace group lost in this area in the past.   

Aid stations were about every 2.5 miles.  One at the start/finish.  One at the midpoint of the loop.  One at the turnaround.  At each turnaround location, we had to check in and give them our bib number to ensure that we had ran the entire 3 loops.  The aid stations were stocked with:  water, gatorade, coke, sweet pickles, giant olives, twizzlers, yogurt covered raisins, m&m’s (with and without peanuts), goldfish crackers, potato chips, shoe string snacks, and bananas.  I’m sure I’ve missed something but there was a lot of different options.  Bathrooms at each aid station too.  Plus we had a drop bag at the start/finish on a tarp which we could access each time we passed.  Super simple.  Super organized.  Very well ran event.  Plus we had the added bonus of breathtaking views of the city and Lake Michigan!

lakefront heading south

This was  a fun run.  Not a race for me.  Just a run in the park with my friends.  That’s how I approached it mentally and I tried to stay slow throughout so that I could finish strong.  I won’t say the 3 loops weren’t daunting, especially at the beginning but by the time that third loop rolled around I was ready to be done and it was nice knowing that we “only” had 5 miles out, then back, to put it in the done column.  I even had a little bit left at the end, which is nice when I can finish strong.  I definitely feel as if I’m becoming a stronger runner, mentally as much as physically.  Thanks to Marty & Jill who were waiting at the finish for the F’N Runners and caught this pic of me running to the finishing!

Finish

Some of the FNRC ladies after the event.  From left:  Melanie (See Mommy Race  – ran her first 50K!!), Julie M, Judy F, Jill Y (Jilly Runs – ran her 20 mile training run THEN came down to see her girls finish the ultra!), Me & Amanda W (Get to Goal who supported us throughout the day!). 

FNRC

Myself, Mike & Michelle after the finish:

me mike michelle_done

The swag:

swag

I think I paid  $55 for this race when I registered.  Big bang for the buck.  However, the event comes with a race “course” that is filled with extras.  Everyone shares the trail with the local runners, bikers and walkers.  Kinda cool but if you are in it to race it, then it might be annoying.  And the bikers are fast and certainly irritated by the extra traffic on the trial.  Other than the bikers, everyone was super supportive and it really was a great day! 

** Happy Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

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Huff 50K – Just Two Loops

As the end of the year is closing in and most are tallying their 2013 races, miles and accomplishments, I am still staring down one more REALLY.BIG.THING.  The Huff 50K is on Saturday, December 28th.  Yes, that’s two days away.  Yes, I’m scared.  Yes, this will be the farthest I’ve ever ran at one time.   Yes, this will probably be the hardest thing I’ve done to date.

image

I’ve wanted to participate in this race since it was moved to Chain O’Lakes State Park in Albion, Indiana for the 2011 event.  This very close to my hometown.  It’s very close to where my parents currently live.  It’s basically “home” to me and I love any added reason to go home and spend time with the family.  However, in 2011, I took most of December off to try to pacify a nasty flare-up of Plantar Fasciitis.  Then in 2012, I was in recovery mode.  I tore a tendon in my foot (thanks to the Plantar Fasciitis) at the beginning of June and as a result spent all summer rehabbing.  By the fall racing season, I wasn’t racing anywhere but happy to begin rebuilding my body and mileage base.  Once December rolled around, I was in no way ready to tackle 31 miles, nor was my foot strong enough to make any attempt at a technical trail run. 

One year later, I’m very focused on running smart.  Listening to my body.  Knowing my limits.  Enjoying each and every run.  It’s been a long year of nice, slow running  …. not so much by choice but because my body wouldn’t go fast.   I ran smart this year.

run smart

Source

As a result of smart running, regular Chiro treatments, a decrease of mileage and the addition of strength work with CrossFit, I am healthy.  I am more flexible than I’ve been in years.  I am not only regaining my speed but getting a hold of the fact that I’m going to be faster in 2014 than I’ve been in a long time.  I have hope.  I feel inspired.  I feel ready to tackle new challenges.  I am ready to tackle the Huff 50K, in a mere 2 days.

What to expect during a 50K trail race in the middle of winter?  I have no idea.  I imagine it to be hard.  Like really hard.  I imagine my friend Kasey will want to dump me because I’ll be whining too much.  I imagine us walking up all the hills and running the straights and flats.  I imagine amazing foods, candy and soups at the aid stations.  I’m imagine my tummy will not approve.  I imagine beautiful scenery, lots of friends and hills.  Lots of hills.  Then probably some more hills. 

I anticipate mud and fun.  I anticipate that someone will be able to help me assemble myself properly and put on the new gaiters which I took out of the package just yesterday.  I anticipate my friends all around at the start then us quickly floating apart as we all hit our own stride as the start gets underway.  I anticipate cold, wet feet.  I anticipate new blisters.  I anticipate fatigued legs.

I know that I will be running 31 miles.  I know that the race will be “just two loops”.  I know the mantra I will use throughout the race.  I know that I will have at least one water crossing where my feet will get wet.  I know that I’ll have a drop bag at the half way point although I’m not really sure what to put in it.  I know that the trail will be technical.  I know the trail may be confusing.  I know that I’ll be following the pink/magenta ribbons and arrows.  I know that I will finish. 

Just two loops and I’ll be done.  Just two loops.  JUST.TWO.LOOPS.

So on Saturday as you are huffing and puffing thru your run, please whisper into the wind “just two loops” to give me that added push to get thru whatever Huff gives me. 

** Just Two Loops ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **