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








Sunday, September 13, 2009

In Lieu of a Race Report

First, a little story about going to Lean Horse, which I haven't really talked about. I'd never been to South Dakota (weird for a Minnesotan, I know) and I wondered what unique trait I was going to bring to the state. I like to switch between oldies stations on the radio on road trips and, as I crossed the border, I heard in succession Suzi Quatro, Joan Jett and Pat Benatar; it led to a little fantasy involving the three interchangeable tiny leather-clad rock chicks. "I have perverted yet another state!"

As for the Superior races, I felt guilty about not starting the 100 miler, but there's no way I would've finished; by volunteering, I helped some others finish. [One guy's crew didn't show and he needed new socks. The ones he had on were falling below the tops of his shoes and his heels were raw. I gave him a choice of mine: Injinji, Wright, SmartWool and DryMax. "You saved me, man."] For reports, check out the sidebar. Bryan (DNF), John M (finish), Matt (DNF), Helen (won), Steve G (DNF), Wayne (DNF), Kel (volunteer), Lapham Peak runners (all finished), Richard (finished... and the name is pronounced "Kriz," for those who wondered), Wynn (won), Scott (finished), Karen (finished), Zach (finished), Adam (DNF), Alicia (trail sweep), Bill (Crew), Susan (finished), Jenny (finished).

Adam had sent me an email saying that he'd done the double ascent of Eagle Mountain in exactly two hours. I wanted to be the first to go from the parking lot (BWCA entry point 79) to the peak and back under 1 hour, but it looked like I had missed my chance, so I decided to go for a very fast time. I hadn't run for a few days due to a serious heel/achilles problem and wasn't sure I could run at all, but I did a thorough warm-up (after a 300 mile drive that morning) and treated it like a race. I charged into the woods, not knowing what was in store. It is the freakiest technical course you will ever see! The rootiest, rockiest trail imaginable. I managed to roll my ankle in the first quarter mile and just kept rolling it after that. The climb is actually quite short and a bit of a disappointment in elevation, but it's almost bouldering going up it in places. I paused to mark the location of the peak in my Garmin (elev. 2328 by Garmin, 2301 when it was surveyed), then charged downhill. By this time, I was pretty much running on the sides and tops of my feet, I was rolling my ankles so much. I kept going hard, banging into trees, stubbing my toes on every rock, sliding in patches of mud... did I mention it was hot and humid and there was no view from the top due to fog?... According to the Garmin, I was not going to make it back to the parking lot in time, so I went full tilt. Bang! Pow! Smash! I hit the course like a deranged moose, flattening everything in my wake, scaring up a dozen ruffed grouse and causing one hiker coming the other way to scream as I roared (literally) through the trail. I saw the back of the sign marking the BWCA border and knew I was close, so I poured it on, bushwhacking when I had to go around hikers with dogs.

I hit the parking lot in 52:53.

I'd forgotten that the Garmin measures short in dense trees and valleys. That time will stand up forever - or until Wynn decides to do it (in which case 45 is in the cards). Today I can barely move. Next week, a road 3 Mile; it's been a while.

20 comments:

Chippewa said...

nice work Steve! PPA next year?
I got a chuckle listening to some first timers out of state that were perplexed by the Superior Hiking Trail races course. That includes all distances. The large pack of Canadians that came down were humbled, but tough. A couple others I bumped into from out of state who had DNFed in the 100 said they have never seen anything like it and they have run all over the country.

Looks like you are working on the speed. Good stuff. Will you be at Frontenac for the hole in the rock run...

all i can say is that the air was very thick in the woods on Saturday. these races seem to be landing on harsh days.

Steve said...

Steve, I wouldn't necessarily call my result a "bad" one, especially considering the very high fallout and unusually humid conditions. I timed out at 77 miles but am very proud for continuing on after having completely dead legs at Sonju (50 miles). I recovered from that crash, but was unable to revive them after hammering up the peaks during the Crosby-Manitou section. Nonetheless, I pushed on to Sugarloaf before arriving 15 minutes late. Although I didn't make it to Sawbill to see ya, I appreciate you coming out to volunteer and help your fellow runners.

Get Primal said...

To make it official you should link the Garmin file...then others will have incentive to go after your record. Would be fun to have a link of 'unofficial' official Garmin records.

For the record I don't consider my Superior 'bad' either. Ran my ass off for as long as I could...didn't work out the way I wanted but don't feel bad about it in any way.

Kel said...

I don't think that Wayne's race result was "bad" either considering the reason he got pulled was because he missed a cut off after spending an hour and a half getting someone with a concussion out of the woods safely rather than running past her and getting himself to the finish line. He deserves a medal.

Steve said...

Hmmm, methinks I smell some sort of retraction in the air.......hee hee

Helen said...

Not just a retraction - full on apology more like!

Eagle Mountain is a crazy - but oh so fun - trail.

Karen G said...

I hope that good Karen you mentioned was not me since I did not do the 100 so there was no mile 90. For my time you can put me on the bad list.
I was an unofficial finisher of the 50 but did find that sleeping on the SHT is not all that bad.

SteveQ said...

I was typing fast and "bad" only meant "DNF," and "great" meant "won." I thought I'd leave the "did they or didn't they finish" to the individual reports.

Adam, I've never used that software; I've got a start, midpoint and finish stored in my Garmin until the thing fills. One could say I shut the thing off during the run to save time, but you can trust me, right?

Colin Gardner-Springer said...

So what I want to know is -- what's this "road 3 mile" you have planned for this week?

SingletrackJenny (formerly known as IronJenny) said...

Steve - I hope the Good Jenny was me!
It was awesome seeing your familiar face at the aid station. It was my first race, so I don't know a lot of folks yet. Although it was great to get to the finish and see Val and Helen and Chad and Crazy Erik and Normal Eric and three of my marathon friends (Chae, Mark and Holly). Guy had to dnf at 22 so he left me out there alone - deathly afraid of bears but I guess that just made me go faster. I feel great today except for that one toe that got stubbed 50 times. It really hurt the first time it got lifted off the nailbed. Then exponentially the 2nd through the 50th times! I will say that course humbled me and Ironman races are for sissies. I can't wait for IM Cozumel where I can rest.

SteveQ said...

Wynn - I won't be running In Yan Teopa, but I may show up to watch. PPA is one of those "some day" races for me.

Karen, it was just an error in typing - and a finish even without an official time is still good in my books.

Chippewa said...

do you know if there is a time history at In Yan Teopa? I'm not sure how old the race is, but curious to know what the fastest time is there, and if anyone has ever run a sub 1hr there? I suppose that would be a better question to ask Larry and/or Rochester Track Club maybe??

SteveQ said...

Wynn, the course record is Ian Lanza's 1:04:02.

bryan said...

I DNF'd, but that doesn't equate a "bad" result, just a less good one, it was still an awesome experience. Just now I have to go back next year to wreak my revenge on that trail. Then I'll have a "great" result.

RichardC said...

Steve,

Thanks for volunteering.

It was nice to meet you at the aid station. Tough day indeed out out there. I was able to manage the heat with elctrolytes and water. The Damn Blisters certainly slowed down my last 40 miles considerably though. But I will take the Finish and call it a mental victory!

Get Primal said...

Not saying your time isn't accurate, just that it would be a more 'official' record trip if people had the actual Garmin file attached. If I can stomach the thought of running on terrain like that ever again I'll go after it...an hour of hammering is much more in line with my running future.

Jean said...

Steve, nice job on the Eagle Mountain run...52:53? good grief!

My brother is on the Lutsen Fire Dept., and he said the pagers for the first responders were busy up there this weekend. I hope all the runners are recovering well and that nobody is in serious condition. Sounds like it was brutal. Very nice job being a volunteer and helping those folks out!

Matthew Patten said...

I won't attempt to decipher your code of what constitutes Bad, Great, and good.

Review what you have stated, compared to the results, and you will find yourself in error.

Call me bad all you want. We have run together enough, I know you are not trying to be mean. But there are people on there you called bad that don't deserve to be called that.

And yes, you called them bad.

Don't get super-intellectual on us. When you put bad in parenthesis after someone's name, it is calling them bad. If it is a typo, go back and fix it.

johnmaas said...

Great run at Eagle Mountain!
It was good to see you at Sawbill. Thanks for volunteering - you guys are the unheralded heros at Superior.
John

SteveQ said...

All right, already! I made the changes.