Todd’s Weblog

A place to collect and share my random thoughts about running and other stuff

Archive for May, 2010

Superior 50k Trail Race

Posted by toddruns on May 22, 2010

Woo hoo!

What a fun race. What a freaking hard course (indeed the most challenging trail I’ve ever run on). What a beautiful day. What nice people. What a great adventure.

I start to assume there is little purpose to writing one of these anymore, because they usually consist of :

I started out fine, I got tired, I recovered, I got tired again, I felt better, I ran a bunch, the course is beautiful, aid station folks were great, I saw the finish, I either hammered it in OR was too tired to hammer it in, I finished in xx:xx.

The reality is, well that. I guess the coolest thing about these races is the emotional, physical and mental roller coaster that I ride. So in random order, here are some of my observations that I may need to remember again someday:

  • Because the footing is so tricky, the time spent looking around is less than ideal. Yet somehow, I was able to come away with great images of sun soaked trees and meadows, stands of pines and aspen again dappled with sunshine, small violet and white wildflowers, glimpses of lakes far off in the distance from the side of Moose Mountain, the scenic views off of Carlton Peak, the challenging approach to Carlton with all the rocks and big boulders and tricky footing, the boardwalks through the low areas and the relentless mud, mud and more mud.
  • The smiles and grins on the faces of the other runners should be included above, but they are a special treat and deserve their own bullet.
  • Running for a stretch from Sawbill to Oberg with Eric, keeping each other company and on some semblance of pace, joined occasionally by Rachel.
  • Running for a while with Rachel, having some company before the climb up Moose.
  • Being in a long snake line of runners headed up by Maria on the outbound trip up Moose Mountain, often wondering if it was worth it to try and pass and always deciding that it probably wasn’t.
  • Putting on my version of the afterburner down the hill after we finally got close to Oberg Aid station and the path widened enough to get by people. As I filled my bottle and got ready to leave I looked back to see the pack exiting the woods and I was glad I pushed it.
  • Spending some time on the trail with Zach who caught me shortly after leaving Oberg on the outbound and who was with me off and on up to Carlton and back into Sawbill.
  • See Sheila and Kara shortly after the turn-around.
  • Noticing how tired I was after Moose on the return, and slowing considerably until I realized that nothing was hurt, no injuries had reared their ugly heads (like my sore ankle or plantar fasciitis or knees or blisters…) – at which point I decided it was incumbent upon me to make a better effort to push myself a bit more.
  • Having Amy catch me a few miles from the finish and keep me from slowing down. We ran a few miles together and her knowledge of where were at helped me focus and be relieved that it was almost over. The final push down the gravel road to the finish was longer than I would have preferred, but it is downhill and once I got going it seemed bad form to slow down.
  • Seeing Mark, Sarah and Aaron near the finish line.
  • Thinking for a long time (at least from the top of Moose to the finish) how much I wanted to run this again.

Here’s the course profile I made from my gps.

Course Profile from GPS coordinates and TOPO USA software

Approximate split times:

Start to Oberg A.S., about 1:30

Oberg to Sawbill: 2:45

Turn around at Carlton: 3:05

Carlton to Sawbill: 3:20

Sawbill to Oberg: 4:46

Oberg to Finish: 6:43:06

Fuel – mostly gels (4), some PBJs and Gummies at aid stations, 3 s-caps, HEED in my handheld and plain water in my waist-belt. I’d carry more gels next time, and maybe take more s-caps. I only experienced signs of legs cramping a couple of times, I should have anticipated more and taken the s-caps earlier.

Shoes were Innov-8 Mud Roc 270s.

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Lake Minnetonka / Wells Fargo 1/2 Marathon Race Report

Posted by toddruns on May 4, 2010

It’s been so long since I posted anything, I feel obliged to report on my most recent “donning of the chip”. The race in question was last Sunday’s Well’s Fargo Lake Minnetonka 1/2 Marathon, a point to point endeavor that starts in Wayzata and ends in Excelsior. Adhering to the old adage that it’s good to have goals, I decided to start out at pace that if sustained, would net me a finish time of 1:40:00 or less. This magical number is under my PR by over a minute, so it was aggressive and yet maybe doable should I be in decent race shape. It is also the time I would need to run to net a guaranteed entry into the New York City marathon. Not that I have immediate plans to run that. Or even distant plans to run it. It’s just a nice round number that means something besides 100 minutes. Of course, it was 3 years ago when I set that PR and I was probably ( OK – definitely) in better shape then. This year it was my first race of the year and I’ve only recently been feeling like my training is actually accomplishing anything, so I was not super confident that I would be able to hold that pace for an entire 1/2 marathon. For me, the typical first and second miles of a half marathon race consist of me running too fast while the effort feels almost too easy. Not these first miles. At mile 3, I started to think that I was crazy for attempting this. From 3 to 6 I slowed some but I decided to stop looking at my watch and I just tried to relax. At mile 7 I was pretty deflated and discouraged because it felt like I was slowing more, but I think  I was settled into a pretty consistent 7:50 ish pace. Somewhere between 7 and 8 I started to actually feel a little bit better and decided that racing doesn’t suck after all. About this time I heard someone say to a runner behind me – “nice job Trish”. I thought – hey – I know a Trisha running this race and sure enough she caught me and we chatted a bit. She is someone who is faster than me and I like running with her as she usually pushes me out of my comfort zone a bit. I guess I was expecting her to do this again, but I noticed after a minute or 2 that she wasn’t running with her usual effortlessness. (She also said something to the effect of it being a miracle if she manages to finish which I took to be merely a little bit of hyperbole on her part in an attempt to humor me). She fell back a bit as we went up a slight slope over the Narrows bridge, and I kept expecting her to pull back up to me but she never did., but I think she stayed pretty close back. I guess in a way though she did push me because I was determined to at least keep up the appearances of racing which I had started to do when she joined me. I also noticed that I was finally relaxed enough to feel like I was enjoying the ride. I haven’t looked at the splits (they are Garmin miles not the ones marked along the course) but I do remember that my slowest mile was 8 to 9, which is about where I got that Trisha boost. I was eventually passed by a familiar looking gal who made me feel like I was a rock as she flew by. After the race I figured out who she was – a friend of my friend’s daughter who was running her first 1/2 marathon. She ran the first 6 miles with my friend Susan in a very conservative fashion and then decided to crank it up the second half. I think she has a 20:43 6k cross country time to her credit, so I didn’t feel quite as slow as I did initially.

The changes to the finish area became the story of the day for many runners. The original course was essentially from the Wells Fargo bank in Wayzata to the Wells Fargo bank in Excelsior, but over the years it has been tweaked a little bit – mostly at the very start and finish to accomodate some changes in roads near the finish. For most of the previous 5 or 10 years it ended on a little bit of the LRT gravel trail near the Excelsior Wells Fargo but this year they decided to move the finish to the area of Excelsior known as The Commons – a very nice community park on the shore of Excelsior Bay with lots of room for runners and spectators alike to mill about and cool down post race. Instead of the pancake flat and gently curving gravel trail folks were used to, we were faced with a several quick turns and 2 short but steep hills in the last 1/4 mile. Good times. I probably should have been annoyed but instead found it kind of funny. I was able to pass a few people who were obviously not enjoying the speed bumps as much as I was. Well, enjoy is a bit of a stretch, but it was interesting. And I do enjoy trying to release that potential energy I’ve worked so hard to gain on the backside of those bumps. My final time was 1:43:23, so more than a bit slower than the original goal, but not so slow as to leave me unhappy with the effort. I’ve run this course enough now that I know what to expect (other than the finish), and it truly is a scenic course. Other than some windy stretches where the course was right by the lake, a guy couldn’t ask for better running weather.  Now that its all over, I sort of wonder why I don’t run more half marathons. I think 1/2 marathons and 10 milers are great distances. Maybe I need to  find a couple more to do this year.

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