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.
Aid Station: Eugene Curnow
12 hours ago