Friday, May 29, 2009

And now....... wait

Forecast for KM100 June 6th

High 71°
Low 55°

Chance of precipitation 60%

Chance of DNF 0%


I emailed the Race Directors this week wondering if it was legal to leave an aid station in a car to go sit in a lake to cool off.

They were fine with that, as long as I came back to the aid station in the proper cut off time.

I don't plan on this, but as a method for covering every base, it helps to know it is an emergency option.


The "Ego Challenge" probably will not be a Twitter event. Too many things one has to do to make it happen.

Adam might have somebody do a couple of updates on his (aharmer), and we might have a some updates on my profile (Matthew Patten) user name is kettlefans. If you twit a lot, don't expect squat from me. If anything I will Tweet on Friday, during the race, and maybe a final post race Tweet. My life is not interesting enough to have what I am doing published to the world. But the race should be a good test.


I have a ton of yard work to do between now and about Tuesday. After then, it is no heavy work. All easy stuff.

I think I have the game plan figured out for the race. It is interesting to see how few people break 20 hours. Most think it is an "easy" 100, but the results just don't show that. 9 people in the last 3 years have broken 20 hours. I think that is an arbitrary number, though, that any 24 hour conditioned runner would love to do. It is tempting, but more than likely not realistic for me. If you go by the 2.6 rule for the 50, that puts me at 22 hours or so.

Anything faster..... gravy. Anything can happen, though.


I started training for this race in late October. I kind of knew all along I would be back to try and redeem myself. It has been a long road. The hardest was those 70+ mile weeks in the dead of winter on the treadmill. The weekend runs at Afton are fun, and I would do those without a race on the calendar.

I just want the race to get here now.

Good luck to all who are running FANS.

And good luck to the "Gnarly Bandits" at Kettle (I am not one).

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Pieces are almost all put together

As a last decent size workout before Kettle, I joined the guys out at Afton on Saturday. I originally planned to do hill repeats, but really did not want to do that alone for a couple of hours.

Instead, I decided to run with the guys, and run the hills hard.

Keith and I developed a new workout. I will call it "Fartlek hill racing repeats". Basically, you race the other guy(s) up each hill you encounter. Keith let me win a few as his legs were still full from last weeks' Superior 50K.

I could just hear the other 2 (Wilson and Zach) thinking "would those 2 guys just grow up".

I found it was an excellent way to break through the metal walls one hits when "red lining" a hill.

Towards the end of the run, everything was still in place. I wasn't trashed, just worked. My legs were sore, but the right kind.

After the last hill, at the top I told Zach "I am ready for Kettle".

I am not sore today, so I think it was just the right amount. 1 25K loop with some hill sprints. Call it sharpening.


I am becoming less worried about the weather. I have this gut feeling that the weather will be fine.

Also, yesterday was a bit muggy when we were out there, and I was fine with one bottle. I had not supplements.

I believe the 10 extra pounds I was carrying around all last year was body fat which insulated me and made me sweat more. I also ate too much at each race.

It has been a long 8 months of training for this, and it is a great feeling to have these pieces all coming into place

* hydration
* fueling
* base endurance
* hills
* mental monkeys


It's just maintenance miles now

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The "Ego Challenge" is on

You've hear of the Eco Challenge. The adventure race in some 3rd world country cossing 100's of miles on foot, bike, canoe, etc. over many days.

Now there is the Ego Challenge.

Put simply, it is me vs. "Get Primal" Adam.

He is running FANS 24 hour timed race on June 6th, the same day I embark on the Kettle Moraine 100 Mile run.

The Challenge:

Who can be the first to reach 100 miles?

* There is a 2 hour gap between start times, so we are going by race clock. Or, add 2 hours to my clock time, and that is equal to Adam's. (If I finish my 100 by 4am, he needs to hit 100 by 6am.)

If that was not enough, you can follow it on Twitter. We will both be "twitting" from user "aharmer". If anything, this will be more real time than the race webcasts. (assuming the crews don't mind texting updates).

I will work with my crew to give live updates, as Adam will be doing the same.

So, not only can you follow one race, you can see how 2 unfold.

Is this cool, or super geeky? I am not sure. I just hope I don't get my butt kicked by more than 4 hours.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Heat acclimation 2009 - Take 1

The news said it was 90 or so when I set out for an easy 6 miler last night.

The sun was still intense, and was the perfect time to get my but out into real heat.

For those of you who don't know me, heat & humidity are my serious weak points. I still believe its the high dew points which kill me, not the raw heat. Tonight reinforced that theory.

It felt fine. I didn't even sweat that much until I returned home.

I keep telling a few people that I am "a new man" this year, and being able to run a decent race in heat would prove that. But, I don't want heat for the next one.

As for the rest of my heat acclimation training - Spend as much time outside as possible.

Gardening, cutting wood, busting up those ugly tree stumps, mowing the lawn, digging graves, etc.


And... I officially have crew for Kettle! Bill P is going down to make sure I don't wuss out like I did last year. I might have to make up my own waiver/disclaimer. "You have permission to inflict bodily harm on me if I .......... "(you get the picture)

He might also do the Matt vs. Adam race updates. He is also going to make sure there is U2 blasting at each aid station and a cup of Starbucks for Steve Q.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Good Training = Quick Recovery

I have heard this many times, but did not truly believe.

I am now a believer.

I felt pretty good after the race last week, and by Monday was back to my normal pace. I actually felt stronger, and ready to rock.

I put in a 10 miler Monday, 8 on Tuesday, 10 on Thursday, and 14 on Friday. They all felt great. I could have kept going on Friday, but ran out of time.

I ended up being out of town part of this week, so was able to run in the Mirror Lake State Park by the Wisconsin Dells. Very pretty. I did get a little too adventurous and.... let's just say had to use I90/94 to get back to a normal road. OOpps. I was not on the interstate, just paralleled it along the fence line.

My biggest fear at that point was being shot by a drunken cheese-head. But then again, they usually are asleep at that hour.

Took the weekend off due to family stuff in Chicago.

So it's hills and medium runs for the next two weeks then....... Revenge!


Monday, May 11, 2009

Ice Age 50 Report - 2009

Words I thought would never come out of my mouth,

"I am going to hold back until mile 30, then I will put my game face on to see what I can do".

Put this in context with 2 years ago, at my first Ice Age as well as being my first 50 Miler.

Mile 30 something:
Me - "I want to walk off this cliff and end this now...... Where is that damn aid station? (it was still a few miles away)"

Ice Age last year
Mile 30 something - "I am crashing, but I know I will get though this.... the question is... when?
Mile 40 something - "This sucks... and is getting worse.... I don't think I will rebound before the end.... damn this is taking forever."

Ice Age 2007 - 9:09
Ice Age 2008 - 9:02
This year


And.... I finally ran A GREAT race. I never crashed. I could have kept going at the end. I guess I ran the race I SHOULD HAVE.


The "party cabin" was back this year, with one new participant (Bill P.). Bill was to run his first 50 mile race. Steve, Bryan, Wilson, Bill, and I hung out at the "PC" getting ready for the race.

The forecast looked perfect (for me), 40 - 50, rain, wind, overcast (I could do without the wind, but the course is well protected).

No late night arrivals this year. Got enough sleep to take the edge off (better than Zumbro).

We arrived at the start around 5:10 am. Kind of dark. Rain. Wind. Cold.

Saw a few familiar faces. Put the drop bags in their places (I am finally down to limited stuff in drops - and I still had 2x as much as I needed). And just sat until it was time to step into the elements.

Bryan shot the start for us. Not too exciting, but here it is.

Once we were off, it was all about the plan. I knew I should run the first 9 miles at or slower than I did last year. I was afraid I was going to run it a lot faster.

The first 9 is called "The Nordic Loop". It is basically like running up on the prairie at Afton, but with rolling hills. It is easy, and easy to drain the bank. I ran with Steve the whole loop, heckling him with how many beers we were apart at any given time (-.00025 - +.0001, etc.).

I was surprised at about .5 miles, we were probably in 50-60th place (maybe more). I knew from experience that we were starting out around an 8 hour pace. The last 2 years, 8 hours would have given you a top 10 finish. So, I smiled and knew, "I will get to pass this year, instead of being passed".

We ran a little with Kevin Grabowski (Steve's brother). I had a feeling he would take off, as he HAS run this in 8 hours. I met Dave Dehart who at the age of 47 ran 7:20. What was I doing with this guy? He and Kevin are smart runners. They were on the same plan.... take it easy, then step it up.

Steve and I actually got passed by quite a few people on the Nordic Loop. Many were running the hills. I decided if I were going to run up any hills, they would be after mile 30.

We finished the Nordic Loop around 1:22, almost 5 minutes slower than I did last year. Did I do this too slow? 5 minutes is easy to make up, but I was already questioning myself.

One nice thing I did was limit my gear to one hand held bottle, and no belt. I had 1 pack of shot blox and 1 Hammer Gel pack in the pouch. Refills were in my drop bags.

Because it was so cool out, and I topped off my water (no sports drink yet) halfway through the Nordic Loop, I didn't even stop at the end of the loop. I think I said to Steve "okay... time to lite her up", and phase 1 of the race was on.

The first leg after the Nordic Loop takes you on the Ice Age Trail down to Rice Lake and back. It is single track, but not too technical. I decided to slowly pick off runners and pass them. I found one guy "the blue shirt guy" that I would try to catch. He kept up the pace though... I kept losing him. I did slowly pass people. One dude was already crashing (mile 12). I could see it in his gait. I was surprised to catch Roy Purring at about 12. He said he was "just taking it easy today". I think Steve said he was in Italy last week for a 24 our timed event and got injured. I told Roy "the only way I could pass you is on one of your easy days".

A nice advantage I had was knowing the course well. I knew where I could pick up the pace a little without any ill effects. I continued to pass some runners.

Close to hwy 12, I got passed by a runner during a bio break. Once I pulled in behind him, I could tell this guy was experienced and knew what he was doing. He was Ted Niemann from Columbus, OH. Nice guy. We were close to each other for almost the rest of the race.

I ended up running a little with Gene Bartzen from Leadville, Co. This guy has done a lot. Real nice man, fun to run with, and get this.... at the end of the race he said "If you ever do Leadville, you have a place to stay". I must develop this friendship. I will have to put this guy on the Christmas card A-list and send him some home brew. One has to keep his contacts in important places happy. My wife did not like this part of the story. "you are not doing Leadville!" (she says)

The turnaround came and went as planned. I decided to figure out my distance between me and Steve, and when I saw him I shouted "1 beer". He looked in good spirits.

Wilson looked great. He heckled me.

Bill looked happy when I saw him on the way back. He was running smart for a first 50 mile.

I paid close attention to the section before hwy 12, as I wiped out there last year. This whole section from hwy 12 to Rice Lake and back is a bit rocky. It is not hard, but will trip you up if you are not paying attention.

I rolled into hwy 12 on the return trip at about 4:18. Coincidentally, this is the marathon point. I said to Ted on the way out "I guess we should be happy with a 4:18 trail marathon". He looked good, I felt great. Much better than last year.

The sections were going by quick. I hit the aid station at about mile 30, and felt real good. I decided it was time.

I slowly picked up the pace again. I slowly passed a few and just focused on getting to the next aid station.

The mile 31-32 aid station is where I have made mistakes in the past. 2 years ago, I left it without a full bottle. This time, I topped off my bottle and that was it.

The next section is the toughest section of the course. Some decent size hills, and longer between stations. I powered up Bald Bluff, the biggest climb, without any problems. In fact, at the top I felt energized, so I lit it up, and bombed down the back side.

This is where I crashed 2 years ago. I decided to take revenge by killing this part. I ran some of the uphills, bombed all of the down hills, and before I knew it, I was at the next aid station "horseriders". I couldn't believe it. I over came a major mental block and put it behind me.

Barb Meyers, Scott Meyers wife said hi to me at horseriders. I was so focused on what I had to do.... I gave her the blank look, even though I had talked with her a few weeks back at Zumbro. I guess ultra brain was setting in.

The next section is somewhat easy, but I was getting a little tired from hammering the last section. I backed off a little, and tried to recover.

The next aid station is mile 40, and the turnaround to go back to the finish line. I had to take care of some serious bio business, and I think that was also slowing me down. I "TCB" in a flash, and headed back out. But, I had about 5 dudes on my heels. One guy passed, and picked it up. I never saw him again "was he a sandbagger?". Ted was right behind me, as well as a few familiar faces.

I suddenly was feeling good again, so I pushed on. I knew there was one Matt ahead of me (Matt Aro), and he was quite a ways ahead of me. No chance in catching him. I was just hoping there was a Matt behind me, so I would not be "the slowest Matt".

Halfway back to Horseriders, I saw Steve. I think I said "square root of pi". He was starting to feel the effects of 4 ultras in 5 weeks. He looked better than I have seen him at this point, so I guess he just had too many race miles on those legs. That's what you get for being a Gnarly Bandit.

Horseriders came quick. Barb helped me move my gear... Thanks! and as I headed toward the trail head, something happened. I felt "the game face" get on. There were only 7 miles left, a tough section ahead, and I still had gas in the tank. I decided to put on the heat.

I powered up the hill, and then ran. Wilson looked great. He was still heckling me. Bill P looked great, and he had a smile.

I was running. I think I caught 3-4 people in this section. I was especially surprised to catch up to Larry Hall. He is a veteran and kind of a legend. I told him I was the heckler from Chippewa, and he laughed.

Coming up to the final part of that leg, I caught 2 more guys. One was "the guy with the blue shirt" I tried to catch 30 miles before. I got him! He gave me encouragement going up Bald Bluff. At the top, I gave a primal scream and then ran as fast as I could down that hill.

I topped off at the next aid station so I could skip the last one. There was less than 3 miles left. I continued to hammer it. I ran the whole next hill. Stupid, because when I finally made it to the last 1.5 miles on the Nordic Loop, I was trashed. I ended up doing a couple of 30 second recovery "speed walks".

I finally heard the cowbells and crowd, and put on the last blast.

Timo, the RD from Kettle 100, was at the final stretch giving high fives and that is one I had to take.

I crossed in 8:40 and change in 29th place, and was on top of the world. No Bonks!

I told Timo I was coming back in 4 weeks to settle some unfinished business. He said to me "YOU, ran a great race". I knew what he meant.... what a great thing to say.

I got to hang with Ted at Kel at the end. Kel ran her 2nd 50k in 3 weeks, second ultra ever. Great job! Missed her goal by 1 minute.. It's all relative.

Lynn Saari won some hardware for the 50k. She place in her age class. Her husband Daryl did the 50M, and finished looking like he had just gone for a walk in the park.

Steve Quick came through somewhere between the square root of pie, and pie for beer consumption. So most of you nailed that guess.

Jim had a great race. Bill P pulled a muscle in the final 100 yards, and limped across the finish. He got it done! 1st 50. Rock on.

Wynn Davis finished 2nd in the 50 Mile with a killer 6:46:19. Zach Gingerech ran a stellar race in 6:23:53, taking the win. Those are FAST times. The winner last year was 7:11, I think. I heard Zach put in some pretty high mileage weeks. Miles which are hard to comprehend.

I got home to check the race results all to find that the guy 1 place ahead of me was named Matt! WHAT'S THE DEAL WITH THAT.

I woke up this morning to find, after Zach pointed it out, that....... I won my age group! This time it's legit. I wasn't the only one in my age group.

It's a good think I did not know this Saturday, as I would have made the boys put the plaque on the dash of the "green hornet" on the way home.

So that's the story. I finally won something.... after almost 30 years of running.

Now I have 4 weeks to recover and get revenge at Kettle 100 mile.

Time to put that baby to rest.

Thanks to everybody for the support.

Oh yeah..... The WAS one more Matt behind me.

I was the second slowest Matt. Yeah!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Ice Age Plan

After reading my Ice Age report from last year, seeing the forecast for Saturday, and knowing the condition I am in, I have decided to.....

Run Hard!

If I do the first Marathon portion at the same pace, and maintain it for the remainder of the race, I will break 8 hours.

Will I break 8 hours? Don't know if that is in the cards. I am pretty sure I could do 8:30.

I am not worried about how it will affect Kettle 100. I have 4 weeks to recover, and no races in between.

Last year the heat killed me, not my conditioning. And, I ran Superior 50k the week after Ice Age.

I feel great, and feel like I have an awesome run in the hopper.


Steve posted a poll on his blog on how many hours Wynn will beat him by.

In that spirit, I am predicting I will beat Steve (He ran 100M 4 weeks ago, 50k 3 weeks ago, 50k 2 weeks ago, and god knows what kind of non recovery routine.

I am measuring by how much not by time, but by beers.

At the end of the race, Milwaukee Ale House has nice brew at the end. How many beers will I consume after the race before Steve finishes? We will see.... Take the poll.
Steve.... I do hope you see the humor in this.


And one last note. Adam and I have a battle going.

Adam is running FANS the same day I am doing Kettle 100. I challenged him to see "Who can hit the 100 Mile mark first?"

Considering he has to keep going after he hits the 100 (24 hour timed event), and I get to stop at 100, that compensates for the difference in race courses.

Anybody want to chime in with predictions?

How about what the loser has to do?