Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sea Legs, Kettles, and Slap Bracelets - Three Mini Race Reports in One Big Blog Post

Wow, it has been a busy month! I'm officially in training for the TransRockies Run, even though it doesn't quite feel like it yet since I'm a little injured. Luckily it's not severe, but I have had to cut down my runs and really listen to my body so that things don't get any worse (and hopefully I can get back 100% soon!) I figured I would play a little catch-up and post about the past few running events in which I've been involved. Here is what has been going on the last month, chock full of fun:

Elgin Valley Fox Trot 10 Mile (May 25 - Memorial Day)
This race is one of my favorites, one I've done the last four years in a row (six times total). After my Seven Bridges 10 Mile PR performance, the pressure was lifted for this race. Aside from that, I didn't realize I'd be getting home from a 7-day cruise the day before the race -- Memorial Day was earlier this year. I doubted I could PR, but was pretty proud of my performance for this one and came in at 1:37:25 (9:44mpm) in spite of having "sea legs." :-) Here were some other highlights:

  • Some people don't like the long out-and-back section on Duncan, but I love it because I get to see everyone in the race. I was able to say hi to lots of people -- Tom, Katie, TonyG, Dave, Phil, Scott, Christie, Sarah, and Paul. It kept me honest by making sure I looked strong while we ran past each other in spite of the ground feeling like it was moving a bit. :-)

  • Congrats to Christie for running her first 10-miler! She did awesome, too!! This was her longest distance race so far. I think I heard her mention something about running a half marathon...and even her husband James was inspired by the watching her race to start running again. Very cool!

    Christie and me at the finish
  • Many thanks to Brian for being my "crew" and cheering for me at several parts of the course. It always gave bit a little boost every time I saw him during the race, which is pretty typical in general actually. :-)

  • It was nice running through the my old 'hood (I lived near mile 9) and seeing some former neighbors. Go NENA!

    Running the last mile with Hulk Hogan ;-)
  • There was one lowlight. While I was running like a crazy woman down the big steep hill around mile 4 I did something to my inner quad or surrounding tendon which had me hobbling a little bit but then it went away after about a quarter mile. Since then I have had problems (luckily minor, but still there!) with it and am hopeful it goes away completely soon!

  • Just for the heck, here are my mile splits: 10:05, 10:01, 9:38, 9:54, 9:26, 9:50, 19:56 (missed mile 7 marker), 9:41, 8:55. Not too shabby!
After finishing, we hung out for a little bit and then I enjoyed a lovely post-race nap in the afternoon as I was still tired from the previous day of traveling home from the cruise. Ahhhh, I love my post-run naps!

Two weeks later, Brian and I drove to Wisconsin for his 100k race:

Kettle Moraine 100 (June 6-7)

I crewed Brian and cheered for lots of Chicago Ultrarunners (CHUGs) during the 100k/100mi trail race in the Kettle Moraine State Forest. It's so beautiful out there! Here are some highlights:
  • It was great to meet more CHUGs before the start, and of course chat with those I have met recently on group runs and at the Ice Age Trail race last month. Such a fun group we have!

    A few of us CHUGs
  • I was glad to be able to hang out and cheer with Torey (who would later pace Geof) and Geof's stepmom, Andrea, for much of the beginning of the race. It made the time really fly by. Fun people to be with for so many hours!

  • In the later part of the race, I was able to cheer with Jonathon's wife, Jen, and their family and friends. Jen is such a doll, and her friend, Jen, is one of the loudest, awesomest cheerleaders around. Brian, coming into Emma Carlin towards the end of the race, was probably wondering how all the crazy people were cheering for him, hehe! Thanks to Friend Jen for offering to drive my car to the finish from Bluff Road. One of the many reasons why I love this ultra community. :-)

  • While I was waiting to run with Brian (thanks for the bug spray, Michelle!), a runner came up to me and said, "Christine, did you win the race?!" I knew he was talking about Christine Crawford, and I was shocked I was mistaken for such an elite runner. :-) I replied back, "Sorry, I'm not Christine, but I sure wish I could run like she does!!" I heard that Christine actually had gotten injured during the race, hope she recovers quickly and gets back to tearing up those trails!

  • Pacing Brian is always a highlight and it was good to be moving after many hours of standing and cheering. I got my first experience running in the dark on trails. Fun and different!

  • We got to say hi to Master Volunteer Ian at Tamarack after a couple miles. It is a requirement that I must give a big bear hug to Ian every time I see him -- this night was no exception. :-) Ian was part of a great aid station and I can see why so many have mentioned it as a highlight during their race.

  • Seeing Brian kick it in to high gear in the last half mile, dang! I had to sprint ahead so I could take a picture of him crossing the finish line! Congrats on the finish and earning your kettle, Sweetie! Awesome!
    Brian crossing the finish line

    Brian, his kettle, and me after he finished 100k
  • Another big congrats to first-time 100-mile CHUG finishers Geof, Vishal, and Dominic. What a huge accomplishment! You guys did great out there!

  • Kudos to über-volunteer Paige and über-pacer Gary for being at the race and helping out. Rock stars!
After finally getting home at 2am Sunday morning, we crashed and had a lovely lazy Sunday to rest and recuperate. I'm not sure who was more tired! ;-)

Most recently was the Madison to Chicago Relay (MC200) that was held on Friday and Saturday last weekend:

Madison - Chicago Relay (June 12-13)
I was part of the Chicago Area Dead Runners Society (ChiADeads) 12-person team for this 200-mile relay that started at the Sheraton Hotel in Madison, WI, and ended at Montrose Harbor in Chicago. Our team finished in 27 hours and 46 minutes (8:13mpm average pace), placing 38/115 overall and 14/61 in the Mixed Open division. Nice! It was such a fun time! Here are some details/highlights:
  • I was runner #9 and ran legs 9 (6.20mi), 21 (6.27mi), and 33 (5.86mi). Being a little injured I needed to be careful so I maintained a manageable 9:45mpm-ish pace.

  • On leg 9 (5:30pm), I ran down a rolling country road, said hi to (and smelled) some cows chillin' in a field near the road, and then ran the last 4 miles on the lovely Glacial Drumlin bike trail.
    The perfect relay transition! Handing off the slap bracelet, fanny pack, and a kiss. :-)
  • It started raining later on in the evening while were were waiting for Debbie to come in so that Maggie could leg 19. Luckily the rain was not torrential!

  • I started leg 21 at 3:00am, got a little confused on where to go initially but then was okay after that. I loved running in the dark in the middle of the night, with a little bit of rain thrown in for fun. ;-) I even had a couple of spectators out on their front porch cheer me on -- that was unexpected!

  • My last leg (33) was mostly on the McClory bike path starting in Lake Bluff and finishing in Highwood. While on the path I was actually attacked by a red-winged blackbird -- it landed on my head and then luckily flew away without pecking my eyes out. 8-} After I was finished, I removed my shoe to find a bloody sock! Apparently my little toenail had a blister under it, I think. It didn't hurt at all. Weird!
    After my last run, I took off my shoe to discover this! I didn't feel any pain...there must have been a blister under my pinky toenail...
  • It was great that last year's team members, Russ and Matt, came to watch us finish. Nice to see you guys!

  • I really struggled to just include a handful of things here, there were so many fun times over the course of the 30+ hours we were together. :-) The pictures we took don't even do it justice!

Team ChiADeads - Ken, Angela, Eric, Paul, Gerry, Debbie, Maggie, Katie, Kelly, Brian, Janeth, Nathanael

Team Captain Brian and Team Turtle Kelly ;-)

ChiADead MC200 Team Site
MC200 Photos

Next up is hanging out with some CHUGs at the Beer Run 100 this weekend, a group fun run which starts at Goose Island Brewery in Chicago and ends nearly 100 miles later in Milwaukee. I'll be doing about 25 miles total and crewing the rest of the time. Oh yeah, I should also mention that we'll be wearing COSTUMES. Oy! Should be crazy and fun!8-)

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