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Title:Another Maddening Mad City
Date:Sunday April 11th, 2010
Author:Mary Gorski
[Default Report Image]First, the real story of the Mad City 100K National Championship is seen in the results. Matt Woods averaged 6:51 per mile to finish the 100-kilometers in 7:06:21. He made his way to the front after Chikara Omine took off at a blistering pace in the first few laps of the race and then settled back into fourth with 7:17:14.

"Settled" into fourth? It makes it sound like he just sat down in his barcalounger and called it a day. His "backing off" pace still averaged out to 7:02. Greg Crowther was another one who moved up, taking his time in the beginning and then finishing strong in 7:15, getting second overall. A minute later, Chad Ricklefs came in third.

In the women's race, Meghan Arbogast won top honors in just a hair over 8 hours. That also earned her sixth overall. Annette Bednosky was five minutes behind her and Melanie Fryar took third in 8:18.

And you know what? Even at that blazing fast speed, with the mind constantly focused on keeping the machine running, these incredible runners were incredibly nice.

Toeing the line at the Mad City 100K I knew that I wasn't championship material. But I've run under 11 hours there a couple of times before and thought that perhaps I could work on chasing a small PR. The Mad City staff treat ALL of the runners like they are national caliber material, not just the leaders looking for a spot on the USA 100K National team. It's an excellent event in which to be a participant.

So I moved through the course at a more moderate 9 to 10 minute pace (at least in the beginning). I went out on lap three with then race leader Chikara Omine. He was starting lap four. Already I was being lapped. Chikara did three 10K laps in the time it took me to do two. And as he passed me he turned his head, wished me well and encouraged me to keep my pace. All of the race leaders -- men and women -- did the same each time they whirled by. I may not have been in the same league as they were, but I definitely felt like I was experiencing the same event, the same discomfort, the same "OMG can I do another lap?" feeling that the leaders were.

The difference was that I was experiencing that challenge for a longer period than the leaders. A MUCH longer period of time.

Okay, kudos to the national champs. It was great to have a front seat to your fantastic performances. Now on to Mary's Very Long 100K Day.

My biggest concern going into the event was my cranky lower left leg. Always a b•tchy child it had been throwing a few temper tantrums since the beginning of the year. Most of the battles had been centered at the bottom of my foot where front and back seemed to egging each other on like a couple of unruly siblings. Sometimes the heel would whine for attention and then just as it calmed the front of the foot would complain that it was feeling unloved and forgotten.

I got new shoes, futzed with different inserts and hoped that I had a combo in which both children would find comfort. At first, all was well. I was doing my usual hour per loop (hoping that I wouldn't deteriorate as much as previous years in the second half of the race). But by the end of lap four, the heel was whining. I asked the Li'l Mister to have my other pair of shoes ready; I'd make a change at the 50K mark.

Doing that fifth loop I was trying to assess how cranky the heel really was. I have a lot on my calendar in the months ahead and I didn't want that little brat to get too unruly. And then the rest of the body piped in. My old nemesis Fatigue had come to do battle and my body didn't really want to fight. From all corners, white flags of surrender were trying to unfurl.

"Let's call it a day at 50K," the body was yelling. "Just over five hours for a 50K, that would be nice. No one here really wants to do more than that today. Let's go and have burgers!"

"Yes, yes, let's stop at 50K and have burgers!!!!!" chimed in voices from all corners of my body.

The Li'l Mister had the new shoes at the ready so I decided to change, do a lap and reassess the situation. Of course I was tired. Don't people always get tired doing 100K, especially on roads?

The shoe change calmed the heel. Funny, it felt like I was getting a blister because I actually was getting a blister. I thought the heel was faking it when it whined about it earlier.

But while my foot felt better, the rest of my body was quickly sinking. And so I came in at the end of each loop thinking that it was time to call it a day. But I just couldn't get myself to stop. At the end of lap eight I had 50 miles in. "I'm so exhausted, I'm barely running, should I stop now?" I said to the Li'l Mister.

"That's a decision only you can make."

Darn, I was hoping someone else could do it. And then the next thing I knew I was walking out of the aid station and heading toward the ninth lap. Then, of course, if one does nine laps one might has well do ten if time allowed. Looking at the clock I realized that there was plenty of time to walk that final lap and so that's pretty much what I did.

It was a beautiful nature walk through the Madison Arboretum as afternoon faded into evening. I saw a pileated woodpecker knocking his head on a tree, having a bit of dinner. I saw turkeys, geese and wandering ducks. I actually walked into a duck sitting on the road. Don't call PETA, it was just an accident and no one was hurt. I hadn't noticed the duck, and if the duck saw me I was moving so slow that he probably didn't realize that I actually was a moving object. We both squawked and went on with our evening.

And finally, I saw a BLONDE squirrel. Most of the race staff thought that I was delusional when I told them, but really, the squirrel was blonde!

So at the end of my 10K nature walk I slowly jogged toward the finish of that final lap. RD Timo jokingly suggested that it would be nice if I picked up the cones as I came in. What the heck, my PR had fallen to the wayside hours ago. I could at least be helpful. And so I grabbed a cone and carried it across the finish line.

I think that I came in first in the cone-carrying category of the event. Mother would be proud.

So that was my day at the back of the back (actually, second to the back -- Fast Eddy Rousseau was the the caboose, finishing in 12:58:16 at the age of 70).

One final note. There was a sign on the parkway that gave me the giggles every time I passed it:

"No trucks. This is a park and pleasure drive."

How prurient am I when each time I saw the sign I had visions of a man in a trench coat, parking his car and pleasuring himself on that drive?

It must have been the fatigue that warped my thoughts.

Thanks for reading!
Mary Gorski
Posted:April 11th, 2010 4:23 pm
Last Update:August 4th, 2010 7:42 am
Last View:August 9th, 2016 2:50 am
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