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

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Very Brief Interlude

I'll get back to the banditry question, but I thought I'd mention I actually did some training for a change. Londell and I went up to the Superior Hiking Trail for an all-nighter; check out his blog for details. For those who are planning on running the 100 miler and haven't been over the course (ha ha ha ha ha ha... sorry), I found that most of the legendary hard parts of the course are a little over-rated. Yes, the Sonju Lake section has bad footing - I saw Londell's foot disappear as a rotted root collapsed beneath him - and the Manitou River gorge is steep and rocky, especially going down - and the Beaver Dam crossing probably was a nightmare when underwater, but was a breeze when dry.

The thing is: no one part is impossible. It's just that you're doing it for 100 miles and, when you've already been running for 24 hours on that stuff, every obstacle gets that much harder. After the run, my fingers were swollen and my feet hurt from sliding in wet shoes for hours (we ran through tall wet grass on a non-course adventure), but after an hour, my hands were fine and my feet were okay in five hours. After a one-hour nap, I felt like I could do it again. Guess I will, in a month. Looking forward to it!

I bought topographical maps of the trail and one can see from it that it's not the highlights that make it tough but the environment of those bits. After one climbs out of the Manitou gorge (a steep 600 feet), the course continues generally uphill for many many miles and it's 10 miles between aid stations there. When one's run 100K already, this is really tough. At night, it'd be even harder.

Londell tells me that Mt. Trudee and the Temperance river gorge are the hardest parts and I haven't run them yet. I'm guessing they're as over-rated as the others. Anyone care to go up there next week and find out?


Joel said...

OK. I've bugged you about joining us in Leadville. It's only fair the tables are turned. I put Superior on the calendar. I'll talk with my wife, and see if it's possible.

Kel said...

Don't know about Trudee, but I don't think the Temperance gorge is that bad. Of course, when I did it I started at the Temperance aid station and did an out and back to Sawbill as opposed to doing it after running 83+ miles non-stop. I found that the hardest part about the Temperance gorge was getting around all of the tourists standing in the middle of the trail ;)

There are a couple of very short pitches that have some attitude (like the pic I put on my blog a couple weeks ago), followed some of the easiest terrain I've ever enountered on SHT for a couple miles leading up to Carlton Peak. And you'll probably do it during daylight which is a blessing because it's just so damn pretty.

WynnMan said...

gosh looks like the Superior Sawtooth is a piece of cake. You'll have to show us how it's done.

Lisa said...

The section from Silver Bay to Mt. Trudee has some "interesting" footing. As I ran it a few weeks ago I kept thinking:
1. makes Jarrow's Beach look like a cake walk
2. glad I am not doing this in the dark!

And that was without going past Mt.Trudee and on to the Drainpipe! (think class 5+ rock climbing route).

All that said - I would go run it again. I did let the SHTA know that there were a few sections of rebar sticking out on the trail where steps used to be. sounded like they were going to be dealt with right away (meaning should not exist anymore). Not as bad an issue when heading up the steps, but could be a pisser coming down. Plus nearly invisible on the overcast day I ran.

I think that when you are used to rooty, rocky trails like we have up here it can be hard to see what all the fuss is about. But then, that is what I train on on a regular basis.

Though 100 miles of the stuff!?!?! No thanks (at least for now ;->)

Londell said...

The empasis I made with Temperance is the one downhill which has the worse footing as Steve has more issues down then up. Overall, temperance, minus that 1/2 mile segment was not that bad... Just that one downhill that in the 50 I recalled the legs having a hard time stopping my weight going downhill and that made it dangerous to me...

SteveQ said...

Wynn, the plan's to finish the race and then run back on the course several hours to taunt you.


phillip said...

"Hell hath no fury like a Sawtooth 100 scorned."

Or something like that.