Stupid Lawnmower... and Ice Age 50 Race Report

Sunday, May 13, 2007

My wife and I left the house around noon on Thursday. Packet pickup was at Old World Wisconsin. It was a very beautiful area with lots of tall pine trees. While there I saw Jason Dorgan, Jason had just finished running the entire 1000+ miles of the Ice Age trail. Not only was he walking around just fine.. he was going to be running the 50 on Saturday!!! We did not hang around very long since we had been in the car for 5 hours. We went and grabbed some food then headed to the hotel. I laid all my clothes out for the morning.  I had made up my drop bags at home with an extra pair of shoes and socks just in case, but forgot them on my kitchen counter.  Luckily I was able to buy some Perpetuem and some GU's at the packet pickup, so I remade my bags.  I also had a spare pair of socks in my backpack, so even though I would not have the option to change shoes, I did not think I was going to need to anyway.  It was more of a just in case.  I decided it was time hit the pillow and wait for that 4 am alarm. 

We got to the Start/Finish area and it was chilly out, in the 40's, which is perfect as far as I am concerned. I placed my drop bags in the appropriately labeled areas where I saw Julie .  I also met Dennis  We talked a bit then made our way to the start line.   We were all hoping to go under 10 hours for the day.  It was really exciting here.  Lots of great energy all balled up by 238 runners underneath the Start Banner (I'll post pics later).  The race started and we were off.  The ground was relatively flat so I went out a little harder then I should have for the first 9.  I was just moving on thinking "it's flat, you have to take advantage of the course when you can."  I was running with a good group of guys and just doing my thing.  I heard one of them say they were planning on a 8:40 finish.  Crap, I'm looking to break 10 and I'm crusing along with these guys looking to finish 1.5 hours sooner?!?!  I took it back a click as my calves were starting to hurt.  What was going on? I thinking;  "Why do my calves hurt so soon?"  "Was I recovered from McNaughton?" "It will go away."  Will this go away?" "Shit, what if this does not go away, can I push though this all day?" I hit the 9 mile mark at 1:26!  roughly 20 minutes faster then I had planned.  Oh well, besides my calves being really tight, I'm ok so keep going.

The first 9 of the race was mostly open field with grass, after that we hopped on the Ice Age trail.  The trail was really rocky.  I had to keep my eyes on the ground, which was unfortunate because the scenery was really great.  Lost of green trees, wild flowers and tall pine trees.  I was trying my best to stay hydrated but not to over-hydrate, which I failed at.  Around 17 miles, my stomach was sloshing around.  I needed to get this in check before my stomach started bothering me.  I took a few Endurolytes and cut my liquids back to sips until my stomach calmed down.  I met another runner and we shared some miles together.  We were talking back and forth for a while and he finally asked where I was from.  I told him and he said "Are you Travis Liles?"  I replied "yep, that's me."  It was Dave Cameron from the ultralist.  He had sent an email to the list on Friday and I replied.  What are the chances that we'd meet up?  I just chugged along until about the aid station at 26.2 miles.  I hit this mark at 4:40.  I compared that to my pace chart and was more than an hour ahead of the 12 hour cutoff.  Everything was going good.  Just keep moving forward at a pace I could sustain and I should be continually getting closer to  getting ahead of a 10 hour finish.

I hit the aid station at mile 33.9.  My calves were still killing me and so were the rest of my legs.  I think that because of my calves being the way they were, I was compensating in other places and was just causing everything to hurt.  The aid station has a Jimmy Buffet theme.  Music playing, inflatable parrots... I hated it.  Nothing towards the volunteers at the aid station, they were great!  I was just in a state of annoyed and this was really icing on my "negative attitude" cake.  I left the aid station and crossed the street.  After that was the big hill of the day.  It just kept going and going.  Ugh!!  Finally I got to the top and ran when I could.  There was a lot of sand and rocks out here on this part of the course.  I was feeling pretty crappy.  I'm sure that this was the longest damn 4.1 miles I have EVER run.  It just kept going and going.  I started to fall apart here.  My legs were trashed.  I did not give a damn about 10 hours. I knew I was on pace to hit it but though "I could walk and hit a 10:15 or so..." and  "I'm really just wanting to break 11 so I could put myself in the WS100 loto... I'll hit that easy, just cruise."  I had to shake this.  I just put my head down and kept putting one foot in front of the other.

The great thing was that this out and back section was pretty active.  A lot of people were coming back and always giving words of encouragement.  Though the single track was crowded with 2 people going opposite directions, it was way better then feeling like this and not seeing anyone.  The thing that kept me going was I was going to get to change socks at the aid station at 37 miles and that Lora was going to be out at the 40 mile aid station.  It was going to be good to see a familiar face.

I hit the 37 mile aid station and was really wishing I had a pair of shoes to change into, but I had to deal.  I grabbed my drop bag and my spare socks.  I took a seat on the picnic table and washed off my feet with some water.  Man did it feel good!!  I threw on my clean socks, put my shoes back on and headed back out to the next 3 mile section.  I would be back here in 6 miles, then I'd only have 7 miles to go.  This next 3 mile section was not too bad and went by pretty quick,  I actually made up some time here.  I hit the 40 mile aid station and saw Lora there.  Lora was the first person ever to comment on my blog.  She was full of positive things to say and was a real mental pick up for me.  We snapped a picture together and I was off.  THANK YOU Lora!!!!!  I turned around and headed back on the 3 mile section and saw Julie.  She yelled "GO TRAVIS" as we passed.  I also saw Dennis and we high-fived and exchanged some encouragement.  Back to the aid station.  I filled up only one water bottle before I went back on to the longest 4.1 miles on earth.  Luckily going back was easier then coming in.  My mental state was also much better.  I ran out of water right as I approached the Jimmy Buffet aid station.  This time I was so happy to hear that music playing because I knew that I only had 2.4 miles to finish.  They filled me up with ice water in both bottles and I was off.

I took my last GU and charged on.  My watch read 9:18.  I knew I was going to get 10 hours, but now it was "how far under 10 can I do this?"  It's funny how fast your mental state can change.  I picked it up when I could and just gave it my all.  I ran right through the last aid station and just yelled "Thanks for your help today, I just need to get done!"  They all clapped and cheered.  I ran a bit further and heard a beeping in the distance.  It was the timing mat at the finish line.  What a great sound, a beautiful, digital, chirp.  I could see my wife, Micaela, sitting there with the camera and cheering.  I crossed in 9:44:06.  Hells yea!!

Micaela asked me how I felt and I said my calves has hurt all day long.  She replied with "I bet it had to do with the self propelled thing going out of the mower."  Oh yea the mower!!! No wonder my calves hurt.  My house is on a slight incline so I spent about an hour plus pushing the mower fast to avoid the rain.  Basically I did a stair climber workout 36 hours before a trail race... HAHA suburb life :)

I got back to the finish line to watch some of the folks I know come across.  Dave Cameron ran a great race and crossed in 9:57:29.  I knew Julie was not far behind, so I grabbed some food and headed back to the finish line.  Here she came at 9:59, she did it, broke 10 hours!! Dennis was just behind her in 10:01:15.  Well done everyone!  It was a pleasure to share some trail with you.


pics to follow.  I left the camera at my parents house.

Posted by Travis at 10:38 PM  


Travis, you did an amazing job! Yay, what an awesome time! Glad you met Julie too, and congrats again!

olga said...
11:54 PM  

You looked great at 40 miles---and you were still smiling!!

Congrats on a great time---will your reward be a riding mower????

I'm looking forward to the next race we meet up at!

Lora said...
6:50 AM  

944! That's so great, Travis. It was fun hanging out at the end and introducing you to all of my friends. What a great day, what a great race :)

Julie B said...
8:06 AM  

The Lawnmower Man!

Sherpa John said...
7:06 PM  

great job out there. Great to meet you out there during the race. Kept me going trying to figure if I could catch up to you or not..

Yeah, I had to mow the lawn after Mcnaughton.. Oh suburb life can be cruel sometimes..

Good luck at PCT ultra.

RunBubbaRun said...
9:14 PM  

Sounds like a great race!

human touch

Anonymous said...
7:30 AM  

Congratulations!! What an amazing time!!!

Sounds like you had a great time on the trail and mentally overcame some tough challenges.

I'm so proud of what you've accomplished in the past year and a half - it's definitely inspiring! Keep it up!!

BTW - I liked the old/new blog layout with the pencil drawing

Jenn said...
11:00 AM  

Great Race Travis!!!!!!! You PR'd and you weren't even feeling all that great, you're awesome!!!!

Caleb said...
2:25 PM  

Olga, thanks for the kind words. I'm looking forward to PCT50 in July!

Travis said...
9:40 AM  

Thanks Lora!! It was great finally meeting you after almost 2 years of this blogging stuff :)

Travis said...
9:41 AM  

Julie, I had a great time hanging out and meeting your friends too. Thanks for your great support.

Travis said...
9:42 AM  

Shepa, I think I should take Lora's advice! Thanks for the pre-race email!

Travis said...
9:45 AM  

It was nice meeting you Dennis! I look forward to following your triathlon training for the next few months. Bes of luck!

Travis said...
9:46 AM  

Thanks Anonymous

Travis said...
9:51 AM  

Yo Jenn!! Those are great comments. I'm not trying to inspire, but if that's the side effect, then great! I think I've settled on a layout for a while, I like the line drawing too. See ya at the next family gathering :)

Travis said...
9:54 AM  

Caleb, thanks man! Those are great comments!

Travis said...
10:05 AM  

Nice time congratulations on another great 50 Travis....well done!!

Up and onward!

Ryan said...
3:33 PM  

Post a Comment