Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Superior Weekend!

After this past weekend, I am now regretting not having found a way to go up north more often this summer. It was definitely a great couple days of camping and trail running with great people…who could ask for anything more?

I drove up Friday afternoon through the storms and rain, and met up with Helen, Val, and Dee in Two Harbors. Chris Scotch and his dog Cooper were just a few minutes farther behind. I followed them another half hour or so to Chris’s TOP SECRET and incredibly beautiful campsite right on the shore of Lake Superior. Just as we were walking out with our stuff onto the beach, the rain gradually stopped and it actually turned out to be an awesome night, campfire and all!

View of the sunrise on Superior from my tent...don't get that in Minneapolis.
On Saturday morning, Helen and Val gave me a ride to where the Sawtooth course begins at Gooseberry State Park.  I set out to head north from there to make Finland the destination – just over 50 miles up the trail. After I started running, Helen, Val, Dee, and Chris went to drop some water and food at a few spots on the trail, and a car at County Road 6 (mile 42) and Finland. I’m just real thankful they all set everything up so I could do this training run point to point…definitely would have been logistically impossible without them.

The first couple sections through Split Rock State Park and into Beaver Bay were a ton of fun and real runnable…will make for a fun start to the race for sure. The crew met me at Beaver Bay around mile 20 with some water and food, and then five miles later they joined in running at Silver Bay.

Overlook from the trail between Split Rock and Beaver Bay.
The sections before and after Tettegouche were beautiful, but I think the hardest of the first half of the course.  It had been warm, humid, and sunny all day, and by the time we were about halfway to County Road 6 around mile 38 or 40, I was totally drained on water in both my handheld and Nathan pack.  I was getting real dehydrated and definitely challenged my positivity to say the least.  The legs felt fine but the body was just shutting it was rough out there.

After finally stumbling into County Road 6 and after a good break to re-hydrate and get some calories, Val and I headed off for the next and final stop at Finland. Chris and Helen are both running Where’s Waldo 100K in Oregon next weekend, so they along with Dee called it a day here. The last eight miles thankfully felt about a million times better and we kept a pretty steady pace into Finland to at least finish strong.

The run was overall slow going and definitely came with some major ups and downs, but I guess good training and experience nonetheless.  It helps to be reminded that things can get pretty bad and still turn around quickly.  Most importantly though, the weekend and camping was a blast!

Baptism River in Tettegouche State Park.
As for training over the last several months, I've now pretty much done what I can do, thankfully stayed healthy throughout, and learned a ton.  Just another week or so before really dialing it down and resting up for a bit before the race.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Change of Scenery

As much as I really do love to run at Hyland, I think it’s gotten to the point here late in the summer where that 7.5 mile loop is starting to wear on me a bit. It’s all the more reason to be excited about some change of scenery and a couple good adventures here in August!

First up was some quality time at Afton this past Saturday, which I think I enjoy more every time I'm there. That park is just far enough away that I always feel like its a little field trip going out there...waking up early, packing up my bag, and hitting the road while the rest of the world is still asleep. John Storkamp and I met up around 4:30 or so and he had 4 hours to run before heading out of town for a road trip to Milwaukee. I'm sure anyone who has ever run with John would agree that he sure helps the time go by fast. We both got in a real steady 27 miles in 4:00 with some good hills and good conversation along the way, and I tacked on a handful more to get to 35. He definitely left me with some really good advice to ponder in those last eight miles...just learning more every time out. 

I’m super excited for heading up north tomorrow for the Superior Trail with Helen, Val, Dee, Kami, Chris Scotch who I have yet to meet, and maybe a couple others. It'll be just the first and sadly I think the only camping trip of the summer, but it’ll come with some adventure and good stories for sure! Planning on running the first half of the Sawtooth course on Saturday and some more on Sunday. After Saturday I will have run on the whole course which will be encouraging, although I have a funny feeling the second half might seem just a bit different at night on tired legs than it has in the 50 miler the past couple years. 

Overall it’s been a good stretch of training since Voyageur. I'm definitely not getting any faster, but putting in a lot of steady miles which should hopefully serve me well in four weeks. I guess I'll find out soon enough...