Sunday, October 25, 2009

In Yan Teopa, Wild Duluth

I seem to have lost my blogging enthusiasm lately, but there are so many good pictures (thanks Rick B!) from last weekend's Wild Duluth 50K that it'd be a shame not to post some of them.

In late Sep I ran the In Yan Teopa 10 mile race at Frontenac State Park. I felt good and had the Ragnar mentality going into it - ran the initial downhills well, hung on better than usual, and beat last year's time by 7 minutes. Seeing a bunch of the normal gang and mixing in some camping and a training run at Murphy the next day made for a very nice weekend.

at the start of Wild Duluth

Last weekend was the first Wild Duluth 50K and 100K held on the Duluth section of the Superior Hiking Trail. This trail is every bit as beautiful and rugged as the northern sections of the trail. Going into the race I'd seen all of the course except for the finish on training runs with Lisa and Leslie. Fri evening there was a pre-race spaghetti get together (complete with ice cream I might add) that was fun - Thank You to Leslie and Rudy for hosting that.

3 first-timers in this group!
The 50K race was a blast! I started out and ran as much as I could with the 'running club' - Karen G and Rick B. And we had some other cool people in the mix at times: Bill S. who was doing his first ultra as training for his 2nd ultra - the Surf the Murph 50 mile (wow!), the ironman guy in the white shirt, and a few others I'm probably forgetting about.

a little pay-back...
for half-voyageur

Except for walking some uphills Karen is always running, strong and steady as can be. Rick seems to be all over the place - dropping back then flying ahead - snapping pictures left and right. And then there's me mostly hanging in on the flats, getting behind on the downhills, and pushing to catch back up on the uphills.

Somewhere in the middle (I think) Karen and Rick pulled ahead and Bill and I were running together. I hit a good spot and felt strong going up the 138 steps by Spirit Mountain - unfortunately Bill cramped up about then. Once at the top I hammered away on the nice runnable trail hoping that just maybe I could hook up with Rick and Karen again... and I did! So it was fun having the club back together again for awhile.

In the 2nd to last section I got light-headed. That hasn't happened before so I wasn't sure what was going on, but I was ok if I walked. After awhile I was having trouble getting my glove on and I noticed my hand was swollen - hmmm that never happens either. Then my R hammie started cramping and I realized what was going on - I had taken less e-gel than usual and had eaten way less than usual at the aid stations. I took the rest of my e-gel and water and that got me going a little bit.

I ate and drank quite a bit at the last aid station but realized with 3.1 miles to go that it may not really help a whole lot. I did cramp up a few times on the last section, including at the end while trying to make the finish look good -- don't you hate it when you have to walk way at the end while friends are right there encouraging a strong finish?? With the walk it wasn't totally necessary but I did the universally-understood "grab your hamstring" move anyway so Leslie would know what was going on. :)

finishing the Wild Duluth 50K
(Thanks for the picture, Lisa)
It was fun hanging out at the end hearing how everyone did and eating the great chili and other post-race snacks. Then it was off for awhile to relax before doing some more cheering. Relaxing involved a shower, a sauna, some sitting, some hot chocolate... and then it was time to go back out and see Shelly finish her first 100K. BTW, the relaxing was done at Lisa and Jon's who were nice enough to put me up for the extra long weekend - thank you very much for having me as a guest in your home!

A huge Thank You to the race directors (Andy and Kim Holak) and the super volunteers, and Congrats to all the runners! There were some good stories including Lisa and Leslie doing their first ultra, running fast times, and finishing well -- way to go! Leslie was 2nd woman in a smoking 5:19 and Lisa was just under 6:30... on a tough course! And oh yeah, they will both be doing their 2nd 50K 2 weeks later at Surf the Murph! Also, Shelly T finishing the 100K for her first time at that distance - Congrats! This was a great race on a beautiful course and definitely one to put on your calendar!

So next up is the Surph the Murph 50 mile! The running club will be there as well as lots of other friends - sounds like a great way to spend the day! It also sounds like a great day to get the 50-mile monkey off my back. :)