The Gore-Tex 50 was a success! I started out and felt great the majority of the race. It helped that the first 2-3 hours were before and during dawn, as the race started at 5am sharp. The headlamps kind of isolate your surroundings when on the trail. You've no idea how many people are around you, behind you, in front of you unless they're wearing a tail light...which is kind of pointless on the trail, because all you're doing is making yourself a viable target for the person behind you. Just saying folks, if you don't need a tail light, why wear one? You put yourself at a disadvantage.
I finished with an official time of 10:53:49, shaving just over 2 hours off my previous 50 mile time. It was a little easier terrain, but not easy. There were still plenty of bumps and drastic inclines and descents, being that it was in the Southern Kettle Moraine region. It was definitely a far more comfortable temperature, starting out in the low to mid 50's and ending in the mid to high 70's. I took only one tumble early on, rolled out of my fall, posted gymnast style, giggled a minute and kept on trucking. I had a guy tell me that that was one of the best recoveries he'd seen. I thought it was a good one. ;-)
It was absolutely beautiful. I was tempted to take a bunch of pictures, but I was too inclined to be focused on crushing the course. I'll be out again to do some more running out there. The campsite I was at was pretty amazing. It was the Pinewoods, just north of Ottawa Lake, where the start and finish was. In.thee.middle.of.no...where. I've never seen so many stars that I can remember. There is zero light pollution. The campsite was extremely well-kept. Pinewoods is a 24 hour quiet zone, so no partying rednecks lighting firecrackers at all hours. No noise, no dogs, very secluded. It is open for camping year round, as is Ottawa Lake. I recommend it if you are looking for a great place to camp. It's about halfway between Milwaukee and Madison.
I was well prepared with my drop bags, potatoes. Pringles, Powerade Zero, fruit....except...I made a rookie error in that I forgot to pack protein. I have never forgotten to do that before. I felt so very stupid, but I motored on. I got sick about mile 39 next to a tree, then felt pretty good, amazingly and picked up the pace. I finished getting sick after the race behind one of the vendor tents, then politely apologized to the vendor, who was gracious and understanding. Thank you, wherever you are. I missed my first drop bag, focused I guess. I missed my third one, as it just wasn't there. I notified staff. apparently there were a few others that had the same problem....motor on, motor on. I only changed out my clothes once this time. I sweat a ton, so I tried all compression on this one. It was a success. Triathlon half-zip tops and compression shorts. I saved a ton of time not having to doddle around the checkpoints. In and out and go. I used my Altras for the first 35 miles, switched to my Mizuno Ascends for the final 15. I'm forcing myself to take a full week off after this one. It is no treat. My body wants to go again. I am recovering quicker and quicker....which can only mean one thing. Step it up. So my next plan that I have to devise is how and when. I'm figuring I will run 2 more solid 50 milers, then knock out a hundo. I won't be doing Leadville right away, but I may hit a moderate 100 miler, maybe the Kettle Moraine 100. If all goes as planned, it'll most likely be late next year, or early 2014, providing there are no hitches in my giddy-up. I have considered doing it solo, picking a route. I've also considered doing a solo multi-stage run. For about a week, running to a few different state parks, fast packing. But for certain, I am a junkie in need of his next fix.
Safe running everyone! Keep on keeping on!