Thursday, May 21, 2020

Triple Potawatomi Trail FKT

"A Triple Poto breaks everyone... but in the end, some people are strong in the broken places."

The Potawatomi Trail is an iconic 18-mile loop in Pickney, MI (also winding its way through the town of Hell, which seems fitting) with around 2,000' of elevation gain per loop. A "Triple Potawatomi Trail" is exactly what it sounds like - 3 of these loops back to back to back. My watch lost GPS signal a few times, but still clocked it at 54.1 miles total, which includes running through a lakefront park that connects the trailheads at the start and finish.

I'm very honored to add my name to the list of runners who have held Potawatomi Trail FKTs - it has become a veritable "who's who" of Michigan endurance athletes. However, I'm not actually particularly pleased with my time - I was hoping the finish under 9 hours - but it was a good learning experience and I did what I needed to do to get the record. (Shoutout to my buddy Chaz Hornburg, a talented trail runner who held this record and will probably take it back from me.) I typically pride myself on refusing to walk during ultras (whether that's smart or not is debatable) but by the last loop I had slowed from 8:30/mile pace to 11/mile pace and was power hiking nearly every climb.

This was the warmest ultra I've run and I misjudged how much water I would need... but I learned my lesson. I ran the first lap carrying 20oz of water, the second lap with 32oz, and the third lap with 48oz. I used my car as a makeshift aid station so I was able to resupply every 18 miles and drank furiously at these stops as well. In total, I consumed about 140oz of water and 1,800 calories throughout the run. I believe that overall I drank enough water, but I just dug myself into a hole early by not drinking enough on that first lap and spent most of the next 36 miles playing catch up.

This is the second FKT I've set in the past week, so it seems like the 100+ mile weeks during "QuaranTraining" have been paying off. I've found that I typically do best in 50K trail races, but with everything cancelled I figured it's a good time to get out of my comfort zone, both on the short side (3.35 miles) and the long side (54.1 miles). Next on my "not in my comfort zone" list? Roads...

FKT Website (Potawatomi Trail)

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Lake Lansing Trail FKT

This is the shortest FKT in Michigan at 3.35 miles with 176' of elevation gain. It's far too short to be in my wheelhouse, but it's a great single-track trail and I do a lot of my training here, so I gave it a shot. The previous FKT had stood for 4 years, but I barely snuck past and beat it by 10 seconds (finishing in 20:18). I'm not accustomed to these short, fast efforts and I was already feeling it after the first climb less than a mile in. I thought the record was out of reach and coasted for a bit, until some quick mental math helped me realize that I still had a shot. I was able to close with a fast last mile while avoiding stumbling on the many roots covering the trail, which is the real key to posting a fast time on this route. I'd like to try this again someday and break 20 minutes, but for now I'll go back to my preferred 30+ mile efforts.

FKT Website (Lake Lansing Trail)