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Race Report: Mad City 50km

Result: 1st, 3:14:24 (PR)

Presentation of awards, just after the finish.
On Thursday afternoon, 40 hours before the start of the Mad City 50km, I couldn't walk. I should be more clear: I could walk, but only with great difficulty and with much pain. After a 22 mile day on Tuesday, including 8 one-mile repeats, my left knee felt quite tender. I took the day off Wednesday because of the discomfort but was back out the door Thursday afternoon. After a few miles, the pain was back and it was sharp. "Shit," I thought, "I'm screwed." After four miles, I could barely lift my left leg. "Shit," I thought again. I limped along for a half mile, still over three miles from my house. Eventually I made it back, shuffling at a slow pace. I was almost certain that I wouldn't be racing on Saturday.

But, somehow, on Saturday morning, my knee felt good enough to run (I didn't run on Friday). The gun went off on a cold, sunny morning and almost immediately I was alone, starting the first of five 10km loops around the UW-Arboretum. Aside from a few short spurts of pain, my knee held up. I couldn't believe it! What bothered me during the race, though, was my stomach, which induced two pit stops (during the 2nd and 5th loops) totaling around two minutes of stagnancy. I did my best to take in some calories without upsetting my stomach further, and managed to run a solid race (although, as my splits suggest, I want out a bit fast and paid for that later). My splits (roughly) were thus:

1st loop: 37:25
2nd loop: 1:16:10 (38:45)
3rd loop: 1:54:22 (38:12)
4th loop: 2:33:37 (39:15)
5th loop: 3:14:24 (40:47)

Full results here (Congrats to Mark Thompson on a strong second place finish).

I was especially pleased with the race because, if you take away the time that I spent on pit stops, my time was just over 3:12 -- the time I was planning to run. So, sans the pit stops, I ran more or less on pace. The downside was the way my knee felt after the race: again tight, again sore, again in pain. So much so that, when I went to run at 7am on Sunday, I only made it about a half mile before having to stop.

Setting the knee issues aside (which look to be much improved now, two days later), Mad City was a great experience, providing both a mental boost (running through some pain and on a bad stomach) and a physical boost (a very good training run: lengthy and at a fast pace) for the Ice Age Trail 50. I hope to get a few more days of good training in this week before taking it easy and resting for what should be a very competitive, and very exciting race on May 11th.

Thanks very much to my girlfriend, Cynthia, for helping out during the race and toughing it out in the cold temperature. Many thanks to Tim Yanacheck for putting on a great event, to all the volunteers for their assistance, and to RaceReady for the support.
Pleased, and still upright, after the race. 

A sunny, but very cold, morning.


  1. Way to go Eric! You rock. Injuries like yours usually follow very shortened race reports. I hope you are feeling better. Are you considering skipping Crazy Legs? Congrats for an awesome race!

    1. Hey Dave, thanks! And I am feeling better, thanks. Testing the knee out today with some hill work. I should be a go for Crazy Legs, since I'll only run it as a hard tempo. But we'll see!

  2. Thanks for the shout out! Great race, Eric. Make sure to get that knee ready for Ice Age, and best of luck in your training.