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!
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?
Aid Station: Eugene Curnow
12 hours ago