Geneva Lake Training Run

I had a free afternoon this week, so on a whim I decided to go run a loop around Geneva Lake. I’d never actually been to Geneva Lake, but I had a vague idea that it was surrounded by lots of mansions. And I knew that there was a public footpath following the lakeshore.

Geneva Lake

There were definitely lots of mansions. It turns out Geneva Lake was a popular destination for wealthy Chicago-area families during the last century…but the earliest settlers made an agreement that the ~20 feet of land along the shoreline would remain open to the public.

So at least 90% of the route involved cutting through the backyards of said mansions – including the estates of the Wrigley (chewing gum) and Schwinn (bicycle) families.

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Since the footpath is maintained by individual landowners, the trail surface changed every time I crossed a property line. So over the course of a typical half mile, I’d be running on cobblestone, grass, brick, dirt, gravel, wooden planks, and concrete.

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I wasn’t going at a breakneck pace (22.5 miles in 4.5 hours = 5mph)…but even so, the run was remarkably pain-free. Not even a little sore the next morning. So I’m cautiously optimistic about the 100-miler I’ll be attempting this October.

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Published in: on June 27, 2014 at 10:20 pm  Comments (2)  

Kettle Moraine 38 Mile “Fun Run”

My racing schedule is relatively light this summer, but I wanted to find a longer training run in preparation for the Heartland 100-miler, which I’m signed up to run in October.

Since I’m a wimp when it comes to running in hot weather, and since I’ve been wanting to gain more experience with night running, the Kettle Moraine 38-mile overnight “fun run” was a good choice.

Pre-race

Pre-race

Allison was the real MVP of the day. She drove around all night meeting me at the various aid stations, probably only managed 2-3 hours of sleep, and was STILL able to masterfully avoid hitting a deer on the drive home at 4:30 am.

Mile 0.02

Mile 0.02

The weather was almost perfect, too. The temperature was around 70°F when I started, and dropped down to the mid-50’s throughout the night. We got drenched by a thunderstorm shortly after starting. It lasted maybe 20 minutes, then turned to a light drizzle for another few hours.

Mile 10

Mile 10

The views were terrific until mile 5 or 6. By then it was completely dark, and I switched on my headlamp for the remainder of the race.

Mile 14

Mile 14

Running all night on a trail is tough to describe, except to say that it’s awesome. For the tired and hungry guy stumbling through the woods, there are few finer things in life than the sight of bonfires and Christmas lights and the smell of freshly cooked food.

Mile 17

Mile 17

There were a couple of lonely stretches of forest that struck me as a little creepy (see picture above). At one point, I could have sworn I heard someone picking a banjo out in the woods.

Mile 20

Mile 20

Things were mostly uneventful, though. I saw a few cats, a raccoon, several bats, and a white moth the size of my hand. My knees gave me almost no trouble at all, and I was still running strong when I reached the finish line. This was probably the most pain-free ultra I’ve ever run.

Finish line

Finish line

My final time was 8:42:32…good enough for 18th place out of 67 starters (57 finishers).

Post-race

Post-race

Starting time: 7:40 pm

Finishing time: 4:22 am

Below are the splits, which include stops for food, bathroom breaks, etc.

kettle 38

Published in: on June 8, 2014 at 8:57 pm  Comments (1)