IAT FKT Attempt Days 5 & 6

Day 5: Time to Put in Work

Day 5 started with a long road connector before finally hitting the trails. And when I say long, I’m talking all morning long… only to then still put in a trail 50k. I was excited, but slightly nervous for that 50k, as I had been on those trails 2 weeks earlier.

The great news is, Joey was down to run the long road stretch and then Lake Eleven (15.5 miles). It was pretty cool as we got a police escort through the town of Gilman. A nice little town, and friendly people. The other nice surprise was Carrie & Tim from Dream Lens Media showed up. It’s always nice to see smiling faces.

We covered the road section is a nice clip, and second breakfast was waiting for us at the trailhead (ramen noodles, blueberries, avocado, and animal crackers). I swear, long FKT’s are basically running from buffet to buffet. We also met two hikers from Madison that were enjoying the aid station controlled chaos.

Joey and I set out on Lake Eleven, and it was actually really pleasant. Some trees had been cleared, the trail had dried out some, and we got to see some wildlife.

And took over pacing duties at Jerry Lake, but first I want to talk about Abe’s camp cooking ability… the crew asked what I wanted for lunch, and I said pizza rolls… so that’s what was ready! And the crew had BBQ glazed pork chops and chicken thighs. We also enjoyed a lunch beer, and then set out on the final 15.5 mile section of the day.

Jerry Lake is just wet. It’s standing swamp water, mud, and a lot of downed trees. I was still on a good mood, but this section was once again, a “character building” activity. It went slow, but Abe and I got it done. Everyone was waiting for us at the Mondeaux Esker trailhead to cheers with a Tangled Roots beer, and head to the hotel.

The high: Hot, cooked food on the trail. The Low: the final mile of Jerry Lake…SO much mud.

Day 6: Everything is Puffy

Overall my body feels really good. Stomach is good, legs feel strong, mentally fine… but goodness, my knees and feet are puffy. And, I apparently rolled my ankle enough to cause some swelling in it.

The day started out with a trip to Walmart to restock supplies and pick up a few extra things. My ankle continued to stay puffy but not necessarily hurt, so play on.

Mondeaux Esker continued the mud & bushwhacking trend, and made for a slow moving morning. I was also just being careful of the ankle. Abe started pacing a few miles in, and I told him it might be a long day. He was fine with that.

We finished that section and had second breakfast (avocado, SpaghettiO’s w/meatballs, and cookies), and started out on a road connection to the next fun trail section. We figured out trekking poles might be a good idea for the next section. I had never used them before, but was willing to try. Turns out, trekking poles are fun. I can take pressure of my ankle on ups and downs, and can also use them to hop over wet spots. Game changer.

Egor was ready to pace the final 20 miles of the day, and we were clicking off the miles. It went from “Today is just going to be a hike day” to “I think I could run all day.” We finished in the dark, but we got it done.

It has been pointed out that Annie (current overall FKT holder), and I both ended day 6 at the same spot. It was not planned that way, but here we are. The northwest/north has been a challenge, looking forward to finishing this section off, and “making the turn.”

The high: trekking poles. The low: having to hike the early miles.

Here we go, starting day 7. Thanks for reading.

Ice Age Trail Days 1 & 2

Quick Recap: Day 1 started off quite well. We all woke up before the alarm. Had breakfast and coffee in the hotel parking lot, and made our way to the start… a whole 2 minute drive. Perfect. Although it was cloudy and a slight drizzle, we started right at 7am.

The first couple hours were rather uneventful. Leaving the park was fun, and the trails were mostly in good shape, a nice breeze blowing, and it wasn’t too warm.

About 15 miles in, the famous Gandy Dancer section was next: yay, 15-ish miles of rail trail. It’s very similar to the I&M canal, that I do a lot of my runs on. Tom was able to ride next to me for this, so that was fun too.

Once afternoon hit, it started to warm up a bit: hello summer 😜 Egor stepped in for pacing duties for the next trail section, and that’s when things got weird. I know the ticks in WI are bad, but they freak me out. There is a lot of tall grass and fern sections, and you can see the ticks just waiting. It was to the point that we were stopping every few minutes trying to pick them off…but you just couldn’t get them all. I had one that started to burrow, but didn’t get deep.

When Egor was done pacing, Abe started. We were making good time, but I still could not stop thinking about the ticks (and mosquitoes).

Earlier I had say that I hope to make it ~100k/day or 12 hours a day, whatever comes first. The end of day 1 took me just shy of 12 hours and 55 miles. Not a bad start.

The high of the day? The start: this is what we have been getting ready for! The low: ticks.

Day 2: F*ck This

So, I thought ticks were bad on day 1…Day 2 said, “Watch this, hold my beer.” I started out very excited for what was coming up, but the excitement ended a couple miles into the day. The trail wasn’t too wet, but the spiderwebs, mosquitoes, and ticks were really making me rethink this June start.

I hit a rough patch less than 10 miles in, and my pacer, Abe, stepped up. I sat at the crew van for at least 30 minutes, and then we started down the trail. I wasn’t happy, but we kept it moving. At 15 miles, I once again sat for almost an hour, just frustrated with ticks (another had started to burrow) and mosquitos. I sent a message to Jared from IG asking him about solutions for ticks, and he had some good suggestions. Simple version is pants, duct tape, and a bug net. Doesn’t make for a glamorous photo, but it works.

My mood started to improve as the weather started to change from 85 and sunny, to thunderstorm. And sure enough, as it started to rain, I was ready to run again. We finished the Timberline Hills, the 2.4 mile road connector, and I started the next 3 miles of Grassy Lake… actually running! So, that’s where we’ll pick up on day 3.

The high: Jared’s suggestions, seeing it work, and being able to get supplies that night. The low: not being able to get as far as I had hoped, due to a meltdown over miniature bugs. But hey, moving on.

Thanks for reading. We have a couple tough days coming up. Here we go.

Ice Age Trail FKT Attempt — Quick Facts

Hey Everyone, thanks for tuning in. The Crew has made it to St Croix Falls, WI. Woohoo. We’ll be starting the IAT FKT attempt at 7am, on June 1. We’ll be posting nightly updates, if we have cell signal. Day 1 is looking to be great weather, so we hope to push through about 65 miles to start.

Here is the tracking link: it’ll go live at 6:55am. This should work for the entirety of the trip. You can switch between “live view” and “history view.”

After a successful Big Run for Small Business (Thank you to all that donated!) we wanted to use this time to raise money for the Ice Age Trail. The trail is all volunteer maintained, and that is possible through donations. More about the IAT here

We also have set up a fundraiser with Feeding America, as nobody should have to go hungry. Feeding America partners provides over 4.3 billion meals per year to people in the United States. Big Run for Grub

Thank you for the support! We are looking forward to keeping you updated on the progress over the next few weeks 😀

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