Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Madison to Barneveld Ultramarathon

I wouldn't call myself much of a runner although I do take the occasional jog along the lake. This summer Ana (la Cabra Blanca) mentioned that she was interested in running another marathon. She proposed running from Barneveld to Madison (31 miles/50 kilometers) so I decided to try to tag along.

We are fairly good at running but not so good at selfies. At the start of the run:
Johnny Cash with fancy shoes.

Ana knows where she's going to end up on the podium! Sorry about the thumb on the lens.

We ran east on the Military Ridge State Trail, starting in Barneveld and running through Mount Horeb, Klevenville, Riley, Verona, and Fitchburg on the way to Camp Randall Stadium in Madison.
The trail had a little snow in places but was solid. It was about 35 degrees and foggy, with mist hanging in the air. We started out at a 10 minute-per-mile pace and the first 15 miles passed quickly. 

Riley was the half way point. We thought about stopping in for a Riley Cooler but decided against it. It was the right call because the run was about to get tougher.

Ana looking ecstatic. She was thrilled for the whole run.
I've never noticed these signs before. I think the DNR must put them up for snowmobilers.

Happy to have made it half way.

As we passed Riley the trail became squishy and my left knee started to hurt. Not bad enough to stop but bad enough to demand frequent stretching. Ana should have left me behind for the wolves to eat but she's too nice. We made it through the no man's land near Epic and 151 and were happy to see Verona.

I should stop here to say this was not my finest athletic performance. When we first came up with this idea I printed a "how to train for your first ultramarathon" guide and hung it on my fridge. I followed it for about a month (mostly - the volume they were expecting felt like too much to me). Everything was going well and I had a great 18 mile run on the Glacial Drumlin one morning.

Then disaster struck! I had a lot of pain in my right ankle and foot one day though I don't remember twisting it. I ended up taking a whole month off. Luckily la Cabra Blanca was willing to wait for me to get back in shape. The ankle never got back to 100% but it did heal enough that I was able to run again. I ran some short routes, a half marathon, an 18 miler, another 18 miler in an early season snowstorm, and then we decided my training was going to have to be good enough.

I didn't hit the wall on our run but I also didn't feel great. Ana ran gracefully and put up with my stretching breaks while I slogged it out. By the time we got to Madison I was still having a good time but I was also looking forward to being done.

First place, Barneveld to Madison Ultra!


We ended up finishing in about 6 hours. Ana definitely could have gone faster. I was happy just to have muddled through. At the end there was no crowd cheering, no excitement, just get in the car and go home and take a shower and be thankful the type 3 fun is over with success rather than failure. It was a good time though and I'm happy to have done it.

Yay for ultramarathoning! Is that a word?


As usual with this sort of thing it was tough but I'm happy to have experienced a run of this length. I would have liked to have been properly trained since it wasn't much fun to stop to stretch all the time but at least we cranked it out. Would I do it again? Never say never.

At the finish!


Later that day Sarah presented us with Barneveld Ultramarathon shirts that she had screenprinted herself! If I hadn't finished would she have kept the shirt?

Thank you Sarah!