Xylaria species

Xylaria species

Saturday, May 25, 2013

This, That, and the Other...

How time flies! It has been almost 4 months since my last post. I offer no defensible reason for the lapse.

It has been an odd winter and spring, with almost all of our snow happening in February, March and April.  Usually we get a good mix of snow and cold that make trail running even more fun. This year, it seemed we would get dumped on, then it would warm up and the trails were like running in mashed potatoes. I ended up spending a lot more time on the roads then is normal for me. Coupled with illness in January and a bit of burnout from last years high mileage it led to an interesting looking training log with low mileage weeks interspersed with high mileage weeks in a somewhat random fashion.

I took a little time out in February to head west to Grand Forks, ND to spend a weekend with my daughter and her husband. S and I ran a 5K together (her first) on a frosty morning...
The Greenway, Grand Forks, ND
Happy to be finished!
and then went on to participate in my first bike race. A local friend lent me his fat tire bike, which I rode for the first time the night before. Thankfully my son-in-law is a bike mechanic so was able to adjust things to fit, and then return the bike to normal once I was done. He ended up jumping in to the race as well after having a lot of fun on the pre-ride of the course. 
E, myself and S ready to race 
Listening to pre-race instructions
Climbing the hill near the race start/finish. My almost treadless mukluks made things interesting as I had very little traction. 

The following Monday I got out for another ride at Hartley on a friends bike. Had more fun then should probably be legal!

Superior Spring 50K

The weather had been pretty dry lately and we even had some days in the 50's and 60's so the trails were in good shape, though there were rumors of snow still present in spots and the frost had only recently left the ground, leaving treacherous footing in a few areas.  Race morning dawned overcast with a chance of rain. Only an hour or so in it had started to drizzle and this kept up the whole day. By the time I was headed back to Lutsen the ground was getting pretty muddy, but I have seen worse for this race. What was more worrisome to me was the potential to slip on roots or rocks. After a few hard ground strikes in the past couple of years I am getting a bit more cautious. This of course didn't prevent me from stepping onto, and sliding off of, an exposed root. Thankfully I am already relatively close to the ground so didn't have far to fall.

The highlight of the race was seeing the spring ephemerals blooming along the trail.

Dutchman's Breeches
Spring Beauty
Bloodroot
 The bloodroot literally emerged during the race!

I wasn't quite as exuberant in my welcome to these flowers as I had been when I first spotted hepatica blooming last Wednesday (a friend mistook it as a war cry of some sort) but I was pretty enthusiastic.

During the race I also had the opportunity to meet Jan Horak (Tofte Trek Wilderness 10K) twice out on the trail. He was hiking along with a shovel, working on drainage issues. What an honor!

Somewhere on my journey back from Sawbill I kicked into race mode (had to have been the chicken noodle soup at Sawbill) and actually started to feel like a runner and stopped contemplating dropping and retirement. From then on I was focused on finishing as strongly as I could. I kept flashing back to running this section at Sawtooth and reminding myself that if I could climb Moose Mountain at mile 96 with no breaks I should be able to power up it now.

As a final reminder of our long winter and the wet conditions, the course crossed one last patch of snow (ankle deep, soft and slippery), then more mud, before rounding Caribou Highlands and the pool to the finish line.

Not my fastest time on this course (where I set my 50K PR in 2010) but I am pretty content with it in light of my attitude and energy level the first 20 miles.

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