Anyway, since the next big adventure begins when my flight leaves for Colorado in a couple hours, I figured it's high time I jot down a quick synopsis of the last couple weeks and the Superior 50K on May 21.
I really had three goals for Superior in this my third time running the race:
- Don't take a wrong turn.
- Avoid completely falling apart on the last section.
- Run it faster than last year.
The first one wasn't really so hard and just required a bit more paying attention than last year. The second one I have never had any luck with on that trail. The third one put my goal time at around 4 hours - give or take 5 minutes (last year's time was 4:08). The recovery from the Canyon double-crossing two weeks before was a little slow, but turned a corner quickly and I actually felt really good the week before the race.
I found myself starting out the race with Lundo and Dimitri as expected, but what wasn't expected was a guy we didn't know named Josh from Indiana passing us a couple miles in. I wasn't too interested in trying to keep pace with him since its a long, tough race, especially since Chris and Dimitri weren't either, so we cruised along together for the first couple sections. The pace felt pretty fast for me, but didn't want to let those guys go on ahead quite yet. And it was fun having the company! We all separated a bit on the last couple miles up to the turn-around, but not by more than a minute or so.
When I hit the turn in 4th place at 1:55 just under course record pace, I knew I was a little in over my head. But knowing how hard that course is, I also had a feeling like I probably wasn't the only one. I definitely stopped caring about pace and place after the turn, and more started keeping it steady and enjoying my favorite place in the world to run. I thought if I could finish steady (not even real fast, but steady), I'd have a good shot at catching one of those guys before the finish.
As it turned out, I caught up with Josh from Indiana on the first big climb of the last section, and passed Dimitri on the second climb in the same place I was passed by Joe last year. This put me in 2nd place and on pace to get close to 4:00...and I knew Lundo would be at least 10 minutes ahead of me, so wasn't worried about him at all.
It ended up being a positive split race by over 10 minutes, but was still really happy with it and encouraged to keep it relatively steady and finish feeling great. I finished in 4:01:14, so next time the goal will have to be to sneak in under 4:00 somehow. Always good to have something to shoot for!
Up Next - Colorado Training Weekend!
Now I'm about 13 hours from the next 50K - Golden Gate Dirty Thirty in Colorado with Joe and Arley. This one's going to be crazy hard - 9,000 feet of climbing and at up to 9,000 feet of altitude (a lot for this Minnesotan). It's going to be more of a training effort than a race, but should be fun either way. Hopefully it won't take me two weeks to tell some good stories from adventures in CO!