Sep 18, 2010

Wisconsin: An Unlikely Marathon

Quick summary: 
Chip Time: 4:27:02
Overall Place: 13/100  Category Place: 3/14  Gender Place: 10/62
Total Registered: 531

Sometime back I decided to run Wisconsin as a training run for Chicago. After injuries and several hurdles in my marathon training I had self doubts about doing that distance again soon and Wisconsin was supposed to put that to test. But recently, after a personal academic tragedy, I decided to not run Wisconsin. I booked a last minute SouthWest flight (cancelable) just in case. Yesterday evening, I finished attending Fred's funeral service and rushed to the airport to just make it to my hotel in Delafield, WI by midnight. My carbo-load dinner was an oatmeal from the airport Starbucks and a banana that I ate on the shuttle to the hotel. So, this marathon went from impossible to unlikely -- the Unlikely Marathon.

This is my third trail race and I knew what to expect but I was doing the whole show up and run thing without doing packet pickup for the first time. I think now I will never spend time at an expo if that option exists. I'm still running trails in my road running shoes. The Asics took a beating with all the slush, rain, and mud. There were places where I had no choice but to sink in a puddle to keep going. I guess that's a part of the fun in trail running. But a decent pair of Gore-Tex shoes is in order.

The race itself was pretty. The trails are the most beautiful I've seen. Since this was a training run, I kept it easy and did not exert when I didn't need to but did a progression run as I planned. The first 15 miles @ 11 min/mile, 5 miles @ 8 min/mile, and the rest at 7+ min/mile. My goal was to walk away from the race feeling worked out and not tired. Which I did. Despite of this, the heavy downpour, and the slippery conditions I did not do badly when graded on the curve.

Milwaukee is an interesting place. The houses are big, sparse, with large yards but you cannot survive here without a car. I mean even to get basic things done. Oh and this is Bible country -- on the plane I heard someone citing Proverbs excitedly. After landing, I went to the information desk and there was a cheerful blonde lady with an open Bible -- Deuteronomy as I recall. I still have a day to explore more but dinner tonight at "The Emperor's Kitchen" was awesome. The curry almond shrimp tasted as good as it looked.

On the trail I met many interesting people as usual and made instant friends with cheering and camaraderie that goes with trail running. I also met some old friends from my previous Ultra. Talking of Ultras, the highlight of today's race was meeting Diane Van Deren. Ultramarathon celebrities like Dean Karnazes seem to be popular in mass media but Diane is my Ultra hero. She's a survivor. She grew up to be a world-class athlete and a Wimbledon player but for a decade in her life, she suffered from seizures which was cured only with right temporal lobectomy. If you think that stopped her, she went on to become the top woman ultrarunner and better than many of her male counterparts, if I may add. Oh, she also did the Yukon Arctic Ultra, a 430 mile race at -30 degrees, becoming the first woman to ever do it. She did it despite of not having anything to drink for the first 100 miles and falling once through cracked ice and getting soaked in freezing water shoulder down. And she climbed out and kept going!

Sharing a moment with Diane Van Deren


Post a Comment