In order to prepare our 50k we not only had MULTIPLE 20 milers on our plans, but we had a 5hr run, and a 26.2 on our plan. Since we train in Lansing we decided early on that we would need to venture out of town to prepare for Ice Age.
We knew we had a 5 hour run on our plan, and it aligned with this trail marathon, so we figured we might as well get a medal out of our efforts as opposed to just running and then going to get Bloody Mary’s.
This was only my second trail race, and first long (over 10 miles) trail race. Our friend Jenn was familiar with these trails, so it was nice to know in advance they would be challenging. Additionally the website and emails were VERY forthcoming that this would be a challenging course.
They were also very forthcoming and sent MANY reminders it would be a CUPLESS COURSE, so we were encouraged, and reminded multiple times to bring our own cups/drinking vessels to reduce waste.
The weekend offered multiple distances: a half marathon on Saturday, and then a 5 mile, 26.2, and 50k on Sunday.
We had PERFECT weather. The sun was out, the temps were moderate, and the trails were in great condition (there had been rain and snow in the forecast all week, so we were nervous).
I’d love to say I had perfect day running, but I did not. My legs held up really well, my IBS did not. If you’re adverse to poop I’d scroll down.
Despite having a successful pre-race potty, by mile 3 there were rumbles, I thought I could make it to the next aid station (maybe there would be a porta loo), I couldn’t. I ended up hunkering down, praying for good aim, and saying good-bye to a good pair of gloves. At least with trails – everywhere is a bathroom…
This kept happening, I finally got smart enough to start taking TP from the aid stations “just in case”. By the last 1.5 miles I could really feel that I had essentially lost all of the nutrition I had taken in. At this point I was just chasing my friend Jenn to the finish line.
I have been lucky for running as much as I do, and having the GI issues I have that it took this long to have this many poop emergencies in a race.
One thing I appreciate about trails (other than they are nature’s bathroom) is the other trail runners are pretty chill, at one point I heard someone call me out as a squatter – but not in a mean way. I still look back at this shitty (pun intended) experience and find it more comical than frustrating.
Ok, enough poop.
The experience that this race crew put on was fantastic. They were very clear about what to expect from their website and pre-race emails. They had printable maps which were nice – I ended up printing one off and tucking it into my vest. I also started training in a vest because both this race and Ice Age said they were “cupless” and I wanted my hands to be free. The course was also marked very clearly as well.
The aid stations were also STOCKED. I know I am writing this after my Ice Age recap, but I LOVE trail race aid stations. They are actually like little buffets. Water, electrolytes, some have gels, flat pop, beer, pickles, pb&j, oranges, bananas, licorice, and BAKED POTATOES & SALT (collectively I think this was a favorite).
The aid station volunteers typically had music, some there themed with costumes (which was hilarious).
The 26.2 was 13.1 mile loop course that you ran twice, if you did the 50k, you did that plus the 5 mile loop for the 5 mile race.
Special shout out to our friend Jocelyn who crushed her 50k pr that day!!!
We all ended up placing in our age group, and I knew I loved these volunteers when they told Jenn and I we both placed in our age groups and we both said “holy shit” (or some variation) and they just laughed and gave us our mugs.
All in all – I would def do this race again and recommend it. The Poto trail is amazing, the gorgeous weather helped, but overall it was a really well ran event.
One thing I have learned about trail running and really appreciate, is there is a much more “chill” vibe about them. I have a lot less pre-race anxiety, because every trail is different, every step of every trail is different. So I went into Pinckney and Ice Age with the most relaxed and positive mindset I have ever had.