Race Report: Glacial Trail 50K

Allison, my brother and I left Milwaukee at 5:00am yesterday to drive up to the northern unit of Kettle Moraine State Forest. Trent and myself were competing in our first 50-kilometer trail race – the Glacial Trail 50.

After checking in at the Greenbush Town Hall, we headed outside for the 7:00am start.

Approaching the starting line

The weather added an extra element to the race, with temperatures in the 40’s-50’s and a steady rain that lingered well into the afternoon.

You can also see that I had a GoPro camera strapped to my chest. I had the device programmed to take a picture every 2 seconds, with the intention of creating a timelapse video of the race. Unfortunately, the rain and dim lighting made for some really blurry, poor-quality pictures. So maybe I’ll try again next time.

Approaching Aid Station #1 (mile 7)

After about a half-mile section of road-running, the course joined up with the Ice Age trail (via a short connector trail). The entire course was relentlessly hilly, but this section offered some particularly rocky, treacherous footing. We nonetheless made good time, and took the opportunity to grab some Hammer Gels at the first aid station (mile 7).

The next leg of the course was a 6.3-mile stretch to Butler Lake (the starting point for last winter’s Frozen Otter race). None of the hills we faced were particularly large, but the trail was a constant up-down-up-down-up-down. The trail finally left the woods around mile 12. We ran across a prairie for a short while, then re-entered the forest immediately before arriving at the Butler Lake aid station.

Approaching Aid Station #2 (mile 13.3)

I stopped here to inhale a few orange slices, then Trent and I continued on toward the 50K turnaround-point (another 2.2 miles down the Ice Age trail). A little over 50 minutes later, we came jogging back into Butler Lake.

Departing Aid Station #3 (mile 17.7)

We were both feeling pretty beat-up at this point, so we each took an Ibuprofen.

Crossing the prairie just past Butler Lake (mile 18)

It was during the 6.3 mile section between aid stations #3 and #4 that I really started to hit a wall. I’d been intentionally going easy on the energy gels, hoping to avoid a repeat of the vomiting problems from last month’s marathon…and I think the lack of calories was starting to catch up with me.

So I inhaled a couple more Hammer Gels around mile 20, and within ten minutes I was once again feeling relatively fresh.

Approaching Aid Station #4 (mile 24)

We each ate some fruit and candy at the aid station, then grabbed more Hammer Gels for the road. Allison was nice enough to stuff everything into my handheld water bottle carrier, since my fingers were too swollen to manipulate the zipper.

The final 7-mile stretch was kind of a blur (at least for me). We were both pretty exhausted. Around mile 28, my foot caught a root as we were sprinting down one of the steeper hill sections. I went completely airborne, and my bad knee (already sore at this point) came smashing down on a rock as I face-planted into the ground. I spent a minute or two walking off the pain, and Trent was nice enough to wait until I could resume jogging.

The rain was coming down really heavy at this point, so the final stretch through the deserted streets of Greenbush was kind of surreal.

We ended up finishing with a time of 6 hours, 1 minute, and 17 seconds. Trent probably could have broken the 6-hour mark, had he not stayed back with me and my bad knee.

Standing at the finish line (mile 31)

I’m definitely sore today, but we had a great time. Also, I should thank Allison for taking all of the pictures!

Section Splits

UPDATE: I went ahead and made the timelapse video anyway.

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Published in: on October 15, 2012 at 12:59 pm  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Amazing accomplishment Matt and Trent! Mom and I were praying for you…a 5K doesn’t sound like much fun to me so I can’t imagine the pain associated with a 50K in a relentless, cold rain.

    Allison is a trooper as well. I am glad she was there for both of you. She also took the time to text us regular updates on your progress and condition which was very helpful and comforting. She is a splendid, wonderful and exceptional addition to our family. Dad

  2. Wow! G’ma and G’pa R are really proud of you guys and Allison! We think we would have a shot at walking 50K if we had 6-7 days to do it!
    Love, G’ma and G’pa R

  3. […] much I was slowed down by the terrain and trail conditions. For the sake of comparison, I covered roughly the same distance in October in […]


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