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Fall Colors Run - Run

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Lodi, Wisconsin
United States
Fontana Sports
45F / 7C
Total Time = 57m 32s
Overall Rank = 3/45
Age Group = M30-39
Age Group Rank = 1/
Pre-race routine:

Get there early, pick up packet and check out the area. Race start is by Lake Wisconsin, right by the ferry crossing (yes, they have one here). They timed the date so all the trees had changed color and most all of them still had many of the leaves up. Every color everywhere all over the area. And I didn't think to bring the good camera.
Event warmup:

Jogged around the lot and did some range of motion work. Wasn't going to really push the pace on this for a few reasons. Not really trained to go hard for an hour, and especially not on terrain such as this. I didn't know the route for sure, but did figure that since it's on the Ice Age Trail (and from the Headlamp Hustle) that they would find something with a lot of steep hills and plenty of small things to watch out for. Expecting an actual single track trail, not a city park path.

Decided to wear a little more than usual for these temps as I was going slower, and just in case something did happen and I'd have to slow down and walk. Cold north wind was carrying a lot of moisture coming off the lake.
  • 57m 32s
  • 8 miles
  • 07m 11s  min/mile

Started near the front, but not right at the front. Some other racers kept looking at me like I should take another step up, but no. I build into the race and had seen another guy from the HH who I knew was much faster around. Also figured there might be a few others that would go with him. Timing is by hand with this race and waveish start by distance, letting us in the 8 mile go first, then 4 mile, and finally 2 milers. Started off with an old-fashioned calling out and "Charge!" to send us out (the lady explained this is how they did things way back in the 60's.

Course starts alongside the road for the first couple hundred yards or so, then ducks just off it onto the Ice Age Trail where it's much more obvious. Nice little single track section to get the feel for again. Continues on for a couple hundred more and crosses the road, leading us into the woods and the hills.

The fast guy went right off ahead with another guy. Never saw them again. A few other guys were just ahead and a lady right in front. She kept a decent enough pace for the start that I didn't press. Waited to cross the road and moved around. Reeled in the 3 guys on the first uphill section and cruised for a little bit. See how hard things are and how well the effort builds up until near 2 miles.

In here we could definitely see they timed this well as leaves were falling everywhere. Hard to see the trail in spots, but managed ok. Years of mountain bike in similar conditions came back in finding the impression underneath. Lots of switchbacks and turns to go through both up and down the other side. Felt pretty good after getting to the top of the first uphill. Could feel that all the training work was already paying off. Is that a snowblower up here? (Yes, it was)

Next uphill the second seemed to have been pushing too hard and had to pull over for a break. Third guy and I went past him. People are great about passing in these things. Always ready to move right over when someone catches up, letting the faster runner have the better line. Hung around this guy for a bit farther up and over another smallish hill, he seemed to slow on the next bigger one, so I went by here.

Definitely have to remember to take in the view, even though it was still enclosed woods. Not much of the year looks like this with the carpet everywhere. But still have to be careful as there is stuff to trip you everywhere, and especially hard to see with the leaves covering things. Quick glances around.

Could see the first of the trio just up ahead and kept an eye on him. He seemed to be getting the idea of finding the trail as there were some earlier spots I had to point out to the guys when they hesitated. Cleared the single track of the Ice Age and out onto a section of road. The guy was ahead, but closer. Could also see out and around over a valley like area. There aren't really mountains around, but rather "mounds". Could see some across back to the lake.

Even on the roads the hills did not quit. First a downhill I kept up a quick step, be felt light. Tempting to bound a bit, but kept with my training to reduce the amount of impact. Saw HR dropping almost to Z2 level, but pace was down near 6:00/mi, so fairly rapid descent. Turned the corner and going right back uphill. Made up some more ground on this, keeping the quicker step. Caught the guy on the descent to Gibraltar Rock County Park, where the Ice Age Trail picks up again.

Somewhere in this section we knew we were supposed to be on a blocked off road, but saw the trailhead and figured to go up there as this is a trail race. I went in first, wondering how the other guy would be doing. My feel of trail running seemed to keep coming back as I pulled a little ahead fairly quick, and kept on pulling steadily away from there. Didn't think there was anyone else up ahead other than the two really fast guys I'd never see way up the road. Little different now not having anyone in front. Having someone 20 yds or so ahead can be nice as it's possible to see the general direction of the trail and only really need to concentrate on the immediate footing. Now being in front I had to do both.

Gained the feel pretty quick. Helped that this was going uphill, so much slower speeds to deal with. This was the biggest of the mounds, but I didn't know it at the time. Just kept going up at an effort that seemed ok. As with the earlier ones, kept watching HR and RPE to gauge effort. Pace was all over and not helpful except for confirming things were hard. 13+ min/mi in some places and HR was high up in Z4.

After a little bit, began to notice that some spots were opening up to see out and around. Also saw some drop-offs to the left and realized I should be close to the top. Course talk said we go near the bluff, but not quite to it. Also remembered to steal a few glances back over my shoulder to check out the valley area. View was phenomenal and totally worth making it up here for! Kind of wished I'd looked a little more at bringing a camera along.

Trail had us running along, but 10-15 ft back from the (not-quite-a) bluff for a short bit. Had a few photographers up there and they seemed to be expecting us coming from this direction, so good to see we got it right.

Trail began to show some pavement and realized now we were getting to the slick unused road being talked about. It started out only as small as the trail, but grew into a park service road. Looked and felt more like chip seal than actual pavement, but did have some moss covering it along with the fallen leaves on top of that. Easy stepping on the way down here. Saw a few people coming up the hill, asking if they were going the right way. I told them they were just doing it in reverse and let them figure what to do from there.

The service road went all the way back down to the parking lot and actual road. Rest of the way is just back tracking to the start. Kept up a good pace there (I'd been trying to average high Z3, near Z4 border. Grabbed a bit of water at the station not to far from where the trail picks up again. Began to catch up to 4 mile run/walkers in this area. Everyone still is incredibly nice. Hardly had to call out at all. They move over just enough to pass right as I was catching up and never really had to slow.

Coming back was actually much easier than expected. Still had some definite uphill sections, but hadn't realized that the way out trended uphill much more than many of us thought. Had a rough idea of how things went, and knew it was close when I saw the snowblower again. Entire rest of the way was downhill. Still felt rather good at the finish line, so glad to see the pacing was on and that the training over the last couple months has really been working. Went so much better than the HH did.
Post race
Warm down:

Wandered around a bit. Grabbed some food. Had things like cookies, banana bread, pumpkin bread, candy corn. Lots of natural and organics available, really catering to their expected audience I guess. Talked a little with people. Apparently one guy ran with home-made sandals, not sure which distance though.

Improved lower leg conditioning and run economy really seemed to help out.

Event comments:

Loved this race! Smiling start to finish. Will be keeping an eye out for more of their races.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2014-10-18 12:00 AM
00:57:32 | 08 miles | 07m 11s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/45
Course: Out and back on the single track Ice Age Trail with some connecting parts on the road.
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2014-10-19 8:40 AM

Northern IL
Subject: Fall Colors Run

2014-10-19 6:56 PM
in reply to: #5061184

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Denver, CO
Subject: RE: Fall Colors Run

Do they make organic candy corn?   Super job on your race, Ben!!  Not only did you use your MTB experience to read the trail, you ran a smart race AND took time to soak up the beauty of WI in the Fall.  Glad the weather cooperated (for the most part).

2014-10-20 8:24 AM
in reply to: #5061184

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Englewood, Florida
Subject: RE: Fall Colors Run

Nicely done, congratulations! It sure looks like a really well run race on a really nice course. Glad to see how much you enjoyed the entire experience!

2014-10-20 10:47 AM
in reply to: #5061184

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Subject: RE: Fall Colors Run

Sounds like you had a great race, Ben, from your speed to the feel of the trail coming back to you to the autumn scenery which you managed to sneak a few peeks of along the way!  Very cool you took the time to appreciate the colors.  So did you get first overall, too?  Sounds that way...  BIG congrats!!

2014-10-20 10:54 AM
in reply to: melbo55

Northern IL
Subject: RE: Fall Colors Run

Originally posted by melbo55

Sounds like you had a great race, Ben, from your speed to the feel of the trail coming back to you to the autumn scenery which you managed to sneak a few peeks of along the way!  Very cool you took the time to appreciate the colors.  So did you get first overall, too?  Sounds that way...  BIG congrats!!

Thanks Melanie! Results were just listed, I was 3rd. The two guys that took off were about 10 minutes ahead, so sub 6 min mile average!

2014-10-20 11:09 AM
in reply to: brigby1

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PEI, Canada
Subject: RE: Fall Colors Run

Sounds like a great race and well executed, congrats!

2014-10-20 12:21 PM
in reply to: #5061184

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Houston, Texas
Subject: RE: Fall Colors Run

Great race -- love that you took the time to appreciate the beauty of the course while still pushing yourself the way you do.

2014-10-21 9:46 AM
in reply to: ligersandtions

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Raleigh, NC area
Subject: RE: Fall Colors Run

This sounds like a fun event with a great atmosphere! Just remember that candy corn us a vegetable. ;-)

2014-10-21 2:46 PM
in reply to: #5061184

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Caerphilly, Wales, uk.
Subject: RE: Fall Colors Run
Got to love trail running. Only problem I find is not being able to get into a rythm, how do you manage?
Good job on the podium.
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