"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Monday, June 30, 2008

Fool on the hill

Saturday, I decided to head out to Afton for three hours of hills. I saw Allan Holtz running around Phalen as I started out; he runs at my house and I drive past his to get to Afton. One of us must be wrong, somehow.

At the parking lot at Afton, I saw Wynn heading to the visitor center, leaving his water bottle on his new car. So I just had to leave him a note ("I spit in your bottle.") Always good to start on the right foot. I met Doug Thomas before starting - we've run across each other a few times, but hadn't formally met.

I ran a shortened version of the campground hill. For the record, from the bench at the bottom to the camp 7-9 sign is exactly a third of a mile long and 230 feet of elevation by my Garmin; it leaves out the gradual incline at the top. I did it 18 times in 2 1/2 hours. Early, I saw Alicia and Jeffrey, then Wynn, then Karen, then Keith. I also saw deer, a raccoon (which appears to know when they empty the garbage), crickets, damselflies and two vultures.

I rolled my left ankle on the first downhill, badly enough that I worried I'd rebroken it. The weirdest thing - I went temporarily deaf when it happened; I've heard of blinding pain, but deafening? I couldn't stop, as I was going sub-6 minute mile pace on a steep downhill, but I sure must've looked odd. I limped for about 5 minutes and went back to work on the hill. I'm just going to have to learn how to run with a gimpy ankle.

In all my years of running, I've never lost a toenail, but I've got one that detached at the base and is holding on by the edges, forming a bridge. I'm trying to figure out what to do about it, as I don't want it coming off during a race and becoming something I have to stop to remove.


After a long, much-needed sleep, I headed out to Hyland. Pulling into the parking lot, the radio was playing Johnny Cash. "You can run a long time, but some day God's gonna cut you down." I'm going to have to start listening to some other station until the Current takes that out of rotation.

I saw Julie and Maynard (who told me his name twice, so I'm guessing he read my post where I said I couldn't remember his name) and walked up the hill with them. Julie was finishing up 60 trips up that hill (!) and was talking about how she doesn't have the competitive mindset that Wynn has (saying last year he'd run Superior under 24 hours or bust) or that I do. I have to wonder though, as 60 repeats was exactly what I said Paul Hasse had done the previous week.

I did the first dozen repeats 2 minutes up, 1 down, getting my heart rate pretty high and making me wonder how I was going to finish the workout, however much I slowed. Five vultures appeared. I'm adopting vultures as my totem. They seem to follow me everywhere I run. Maybe I just smell dead... maybe that's why I've been running alone...

I had an annoying ball of sweat that kept dangling from the end of my nose, just like Dr. Joyce Brothers (if you don't get the reference, ask someone who watched the early years of SNL).

I decided to take Maynard's advice and leave something for the race next weekend, so I aimed to run 30 repeats in under 2 hours. On lap 25, a stranger asked if Paul Hasse had been there. As Julie had been there all morning and had mentioned that he hadn't, I could confirm he hadn't been there at all. The guy, Phil, is a co-worker of Paul's and he phoned him; Paul ran 37 miles the day before and his knee was bothering him. I think Paul's a ghost - I always seem to miss him.

I finished repeat 30 (~8.5 miles) in 1:57. That gives me 8500-9000 feet of climb over the weekend, about the same as Julie, but spread over two days and a little faster. I also managed to do the 30 hills a half hour faster than Kurt did the week before. It appears I compete during workouts with people who aren't there!

Afton 50K

Now I'm a bit sore and will rest up for next weekend's race. The last I checked, it appeared Wynn's got little competition. I've been telling people my plans for the race - consider it disinformation. Being the day after Independence Day, I'll have had no sleep, since I have a neighbor who blows off fireworks all night.

I will finish considerably faster than last year (5:29), at any rate.

1/2 Voyageur Marathon

I'm planning to volunteer at the 1/2 Voyageur, then drive to the North Shore and run part of the Superior 100 course (Crosby to Sugarloaf and back). Anyone want to tag along?


keith said...

Yo steve, I'd offer you my couch for the night before the race, but I live in the heart of fireworks country from about May 4 to September 1. Last night it was dueling bottle rockets down the street. The night before, bunker busters raining sparks down on the roof.

I suggest earplugs and a blindfold. Not joking. It's my pre-race tradition.

I am thinking about doing the Voyageur race (haven't decided which distance yet) next year.

Kel said...

And here I thought I was the only buzzard magnet ;)

Racing after a neighbor's all night party is no fun - I got to experience that at Sour Grapes this year. Unfortunately, I've got some neighbors who like bottle rockets too :(

MN Ultra Runner said...

While Wynn is definitely my favorite going in, there are a couple locals that are running really well right now. There's also a guy from out West that I only know about because he's a college buddy of somebody local. He was a stud college runner so could make some noise.

phillip said...

Re: Afton
Just for the record, I think you're sandbagging.

Phillip Gary Smith

Julie B said...

I don't know; I didn't figure out my mileage for the repeats..does that confirm I'm not competitive? I don't have a clue as how long the hill is..BUT..I counted my laps. That must mean something :) Actually, I was out there at 5 to meet Paul Hasse but he wasn't able to make it. He gave me in on the number of repeats to run this week. Oh, and because I'm 'not competitive' I don't have to taper for Afton 50K. :) again.

Bryan said...

I hope I don't experience some of that deafening pain at Afton this Saturday! "It's not just blinding pain, it's deafening pain!" Somehow that sounds like it should be from the Three Amigos.

Runner Brewer said...

So is Pierre going to be the last man standing to attempt the entire 50 series?

I am most likely not doing Voyageur either.

SteveQ said...

Matt, I'm doing the Voyageur 50 and volunteering at the 1/2 Voyageur marathon, so I'm still aiming toward all the races.

Haven't entered Lean Horse yet, though. I may drive straight there, run and drive straight back (30 hours, maybe?)

Adam, while a bunch of locals are running well, the only guy I think is talented enough to beat Wynn at Afton is Patrick Russell and he's not signed up yet. Even if he shows, Wynn's got the mindset that tells me he'd win no matter what. The out-of-towners are harder to judge, but Wynn has the home course advantage.

Keith, how do you hear your alarm in the morning, if you can't hear fireworks with the earplugs?

Julie, if you'd stuck around, I could've returned your hat. It would've only been another couple of hours...

Lisa said...

See you at the 1/2 Voyageur!

Hoping the temps are more like last Sunday's (cool, low 70's) then todays (low to mid 80's by noon.

Hear Gene and crew are out on the course, mowing and clearing downed trees.

You can feel Duluth's fireworks display at our house. It is a short hike up the hill (and across the SHT) to the Enger Driving Range and a decent view of the show. And now I know what colors to watch for ;->