August seems to have flown by and here we are in September. In just a few days it will be time to head north for my fall trip to Isle Royale. Of course this means I will miss the Fall Superior Races and won't know how all of my friends did until I return from the island. (While it may seem odd that I would leave town over that particular weekend, I am only half joking when I say it is in self-preservation. I believe there are those who would try to talk me into running one of those races, and not the shorter ones! Maybe some day, but I am not ready yet - and may never be).
Running has been... well... mixed. I had a few good runs after Voyageur, then some truly crappy ones, and then... well I decided I was not recovering as well as I had hoped and nixed the idea of heading to Marquette, MI for that 50 miler. This freed me up to answer the request for a blood donation and off I went to Memorial Blood Centers. Apparently one benefit of donating rarely (and running ultras?!?) is a hemoglobin value that was the highest I can ever remember it being.
Two days later I had a really good "long run", followed by a decent week of running. Then it was back to crappy runs. What the heck!?!
I have been mixing in some time on my mountain bike on the local trails, but the frequent rains have put a stop to that (trails were too muddy). Although, being an optimist, the bike is still in my car, hoping to be taken out for a ride.
With running not going so well and no real desire to spend hours on the trail I have been freed up to play around on my BMW (1984 R65). On decent weather days I have been using it to commute to work and to make small trips around the area. Last weekend Mr. Wildknits and I hopped on the motorcycles (he also has a BMW - 1975 R75/6) and headed north to Embarrass to visit friends, check out the fair and the Finnish homestead, and run the Flying Finn 10K.
I had thought, based on past runs, that I might be capable of a 48 minute 10K. Sunday morning dawned warm - 70+ degrees at 7:00 am - and windy. Very windy!! After arriving at the race start and registering I headed out on the race course for a short warm-up jog. As I turned back to head up the hill to the start/finish the heat really hit! Without the headwind it was toasty out there.
Back at the start I spied a young girl doing her warmup. I commented to my friend "she is going to kick my ass!" And she did, as well as every other woman in the race. This girl was amazing! From what I hear she looked good the whole time (this was mostly a loop course with only two, short, out and back sections). It was fun to watch her skip back with her prize money at the awards ceremony. Oh yeah - this was her second year winning the women's race. It turns out she is 12 years old. I think in a few years one of the Range schools will be dominating the high school running circuit with her help.
I did not hit my goal pace, finishing in 51.25. The heat, wind, and overall fatigue (or is it lack of desire to push hard?) got in the way. I remember coming to a hill and having to tell myself that I didn't get to walk - this was not an ultra! I am not overly disappointed though as I finished 4th woman overall, first in my age group (40 - 49) and set a new road PR for that distance.
After lunch with our friends we loaded up the bikes for the ride home. We decided to take a route via Hoyt Lakes and onto Forest Rd 11 (aka Co Rds 15/16) over to Co. Rd 2 and into Two Harbors. What a lovely ride!! I was reminded what a beautiful part of the state I live in. We encountered very few vehicles, no mega-fauna (deer/moose/bear) and a handful of grouse waiting to cross the road.
All of that riding had me feeling much more comfortable on the bike and ready to take my motorcycle skills test this morning. The forecast was not auspicious and I was on the telephone early to see if it would be canceled ( they are not offered if the roads are wet). Per the DMV staff the decision would depend on the road conditions at the actual time I was scheduled to take the test. The rain held off, the skies even cleared for a bit, so I left and took the leisurely route to the testing location. I was a bit shocked to see how small the course was, and that there were cars parked very near by. After some moments to regroup and calm down (I get a bit anxious before tests which I blame on the torture device known as the NCLEX-RN and its computerized adaptive testing) I proceeded to get on the bike and pass the test. I now have my motorcycle endorsement! Perfect timing as my license is about to expire.
I have managed to get some knitting done, though progress has been slow on the socks. I am not sure they are small enough to go along on the backpacking trip, so may have to resurrect the hat I started last May while on the island. Or maybe come up with something new (there are two babies on the way this winter and all babies in northern climates should have a handknit woolen item to wear or be wrapped in).
As far as future races go, the NMTC series has begun and there are a few shorter races I am considering before Wild Duluth 50K. But what I really need to do is get back to some long runs. I seem to be stuck at 13 miles right now and that just isn't going to cut it in 6 weeks. It is time to get a 20 miler in I think, then off to the island for 5 days of cross-island backpacking fun before I head into some serious training.
One year ago I had NEVER run an ultra. Wild Duluth was my first and led to a string of races that has me up to 5 ultras so far. If all goes well I will add another 1 or 2 to that list by the end of 2010.