January 19th, 2020
Ice Age 2008 - report
Saturday May 10th, 2008
Ice Age 2008
Writing about the Ice Age 50 is like writing the annual anniversary story for the employee newsletter. What new spin can we put in text this year?
A lot of the usual suspects were involved in the race -- it wasn't unusual to see Christine Crawford and Joel Lammers out front (the two locals were eventual winners of the 50-mile). Jim Blanchard was there for his 20th. Lisa Bliss came home to Wisconsin to see if her ankles remembered how not to twist on Midwestern trails. Mike Proctor was there with his SMA timing system.
But some of the usuals weren't there. Kathryn Dunn was busy with her end-of-semester grad work. Deb Vomhof was bouncing around Italy with her hubby on a work-perk trip (his work, her perk).
The absence of one of the usuals was remembered prior to the start –– Ralph Graf, a usual suspect at many Midwestern races –– died of cancer on May 5. To read a bit about one of our favorite curmudgeons on the trail, go to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's obit at: http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=749336. It was posted on May 10, the same day of Ice Age.
After a moment of silence to remember Ralph, the runners were headed down the trail.
The Midwest has been known for some crazy weather this year. The weekend of Mad City, Chippewa and McNaughton saw everything from floods to snow. Held a month later, Ice Age has had everything from brutal heat and humidity (yes, that was the year that IVs were hung from the trees with dozens of fallen runners attached to them) to sleet and cold.
This year? Perfect running temps in the 40s at the start, rising only as high us the upper 50s, low 60s. Early morning sunshine gave way to a pleasant cloud cover by noon. It was warm enough for most of us to bare our arms and legs (and show off those gorgeous winter white tans) but not so warm as to melt too many.
But even without the hot temps, several stomachs turned. Women's race leader Kim Holak tossed several dozen cookies in the woods before calling it a day well before the finish line. Lisa Bliss and I learned that we were both suffering from FOS (Full of Sh*t for those of you unfamiliar with Lisa's technical medical terminology). Her stomach seemed okay with it, but mine gave me a signal that I rarely receive from it "not hungry." How odd. I forgot that my stomach could ever not be hungry.
Prior to the race, Tom Bunk, race course captain, sent an extensive e-mail to many of us with info on the course. The usual boardwalk crossing would be re-routed because the boardwalk was unstable (not a good combination with runners that would probably also be unstable by the time they crossed it). There were a few mud holes to watch out for as well -- be sure to carefully go around them.
What did Tom do? He not only boldly went through one of the mud holes, he led Robert Wehner right in and they both ended up in a prone position, covered in mud. On the bright side boys, remember that some people pay a lot of money for a mud bath at a spa. Is your skin nice and soft today?
Tom's lovely wife Lorraine managed to come through the mud with barely a splatter and went on to finish her umpteenth 50-miler.
There were several runners doing Ice Age with legs still a few pistons short of a full engine. Dave Cameron and Caroline Spencer were just two I know of who had run Boston only a couple of weeks prior. Ann Heaslett (second woman in the 50-mile), Brad Birkholz (who ran an IAT PR of 8:53), Roy Pirrung and Robert Wehner (Tom B's mud buddy) had run Mad City 100K the month before. Many were sporting shirts from other recent races such as Chippewa and McNaughton. But none was more impressive than Bonnie Busch who ran the Ice Age 50-mile race only A WEEK after running 102 miles at Cornbelt 24-hour run. Juli Aistars was there as well, running the 50K with her husband Val, and then a few more miles as a cool-down. Juli had run 105 at Cornbelt.
My apologies to the many people I've failed to mention. In pointing out some, there is always the risk of missing many notable achievements. If I had a memory better than that of a potato, know that I'd say something special about you too.
As for me, I was shooting for something under 10 hours, some good time on the feet in preparation for Badwater. After two years of crewing I decided to try to do BW myself to see what those guys were all whining about in the desert. How bad can a dry heat be? :)
I'm happy to report that I met my goal and was darn happy with the run. I was FOS but the legs were working well. No complaints when the legs are happy. It must have been the cow outfit. Only in Wisconsin do you see a cow running in a mini-skirt. It was udderly ridiculous, but it kept me moo-ving.
This morning I passed my personal PT test to determine whether I had any post-race injuries. I was able to walk to the basement with a load of laundry without grimacing. On top of that, I was able to chase the cat back up the stairs after I realized he had gotten out. Badwater, here I come!
As always, thanks to the RD and volunteers. Special cheers to our Chicago volunteer, Ian Stevens.
PS: Photos from the Li'l Mister are at http://maryg.smugmug.com
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