Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Marathon - The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

This weekend, of course, is the Twin Cities Marathon. I will not be running it, but will be cheering.

I thought it would be fun to do multiple posts this week talking about "The Marathon". Not just TCM, but marathons all around the world, and the evolution the marathon.

Disclaimer - Some of what I will say here might offend some of you, or cause you to think I am an arrogant ass, or an eliteist. I really don't intend to, but many have taken my opinions the wrong way.

With that said, let's look at the good.

The Good
Who would have thought that a marathon would be a marketing opportunity for a city? Only a short 20 years ago, there were few marathons (comparatively), and most of them were big city marathons.

My first was Chicago in 1991 (I was a student at Northwestern, and a bunch of us thought it would be a cool thing to do). I think around 5,000 people finished that year. I heard they accepted 45,000 this year.

Back then, the Chicago Marathon was on the verge of extinction. It took LaSalle banks to come in as a sponsor to save them. It is now a very profitable race.

I don't know much of the histroy of the Twin Cities Marathon, other than the fact that it used to be a figure 8 course around the lakes in uptown.

I don't know when it happened, but the marathon became a pop culture icon. It became an ultimate challenge for some, a "bucket list" item for some, a midlife crisis resolution, and the list goes on. Because of this, the demand to run a marathon everywhere became a reality.

Not having run most of these, I can't speak to how well they are executed. I did run Whistlestop last year in Ashland, WI. That is quite a contrast to Chicago. Not only in size, but in charm. Whistle stop is in its 11th year, I believe, and they do a great job. It's great for the community too. All of the runners and spectators come to the area for the weekend, and the town celebrates it.

Duluth is not a small town, and Grandma's is one of the oldest races. What would Duluth be without Grandma's? That town celebrates the marathon, and loves hosting it. They understand that they need the marathon to keep that city together. (and they rob the runners blind with hotel rates). But that's okay.

The Bad
Some cities became so focused on the pr, and all of the stuff outside of running. They have made it a circus.

I don't know the status now, but the LA Marathon had a real bad rap for many years. Poorly managed. They used to have a "marathon bike tour" BEFORE the race. You could ride your bike on the whole route, get crap on the course, etc. They started this at 7am, thus making the marathon start at 9 or 930. They even marketed the bike tour as a tough think to do.

Sorry, riding a bike 26 miles ain't that hard. Maybe with a flat tire.

They would also spend a half hour at the start honoring all of the corrupt politicians who made this calamity happen. I used to live there, and the LA politicians are a real bad bunch.

Somewhere in there these cities realized they could compete to be the "biggest" marathon in the world, and another race was on. Bigger is not better, but they don't care. While it is fun to do one of these, one is all I recommend.

Chicago proved last year that they were not capable managing that large of a race. Throw bad weather in there, and managing 35,000 runners becomes a problem. Their solutiong, accept 45,000 entrants. I believe they expect 5-10 thousand not to show up. People blame the runners as much as the race directors for last years' Chicago (which I agree with), but it shows where their motivations are. It is a money maker.

I am glad Twin Cities and Grandmas have kept their integrity by limiting the field to 10 thousand. It creeps up a little every year, but it is still under control. Twin Cities had almost the same weather as Chicago last year, and a lot fewer problems.

The Ugly
Well, not really the ugly, but I loved that movie.

This brings up the people who run these. I believe too many people toe the start line who are completely unprepared to do the race. And yes, it is a race. You don't have to run it as one, but it is a race. (I actually do believe some of these races should have an alternative "fun run" to take the stress off the race).

Take the cutoff times.

Luckily, TCM still has a respectable 6 hour cut off. I saw one years ago which had a 7.5 hour cut (it was a flat, road race).

At some point, you dilute the race by letting anybody at any pace say "I ran the marathon".

Now, I will be the first to admit I don't run all of my races. When people ask about Superior, I saw "i walked half the damn thing". I don't say I ran 100 miles, because I didn't.

But, a course like TCM needs to hold some sort of integrity to the race. Most people should be able to run/walk a sub 6 marathon (excluding people with serious obstacles). If you can't, you probably need to lose some weight and put together a real training program.

Problem is, we don't celebrate all of the tough things people do to prepare for a good race. We don't celebrate someone saying "I am going to lose 30 pounds, and run a marathon". We only celebrate the running of the marathon. The prep and training is harder than the race.

This bings me to one of my major pet peeves. (this is where i make people mad)
"It's all mental anyway"
That quote is a load of BS in my opinion. I believe it was invented by people who don't want to put in the hard work to run a good race, so they cop out with that line. Yes, there are mental aspects of it, but most of the mental toughness is needed during the training.

I don't know anyone who has run a Boston Qualifier and said, "yeah, that was all mental".

I having nothing against the mental crowd, I just wish they would understand that YOU CAN change your lifestyle to be a runner. But it involves diet with training.

This post is long enough, but there are a few other happier topics on the marathon I will post about later.

The runners who inspire mewho are running this weekend. You might be surprised.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

In Yan Teopa

Today is the Frontenac State Park 10 mile trail race. I won't be there. I have yet to even go to that state park.

There is a famous rock formation there the Dakota Indians named "In Yan Teopa", which means "rock with opening". Looks like the Dakotans were about as original as I when creating names for stuff.

Good luck to all who are running, and good luck to those who are tapering for Twin Cities Marathon next weekend. I know a few running this for their first time.

There will be a few posts dedicated to TCM, I will be watching with my family at mile 24.

Still have a hard time running

Friday, September 26, 2008

Yet another new title

Helen said I should do what she did and just "name the blog after me".

So I did that.

Does not make a lot of sense to me, but if it helps me to be fast and tough like her, then I am game for it.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I hate my new blog title

I guess it made sense as a blog post, but I already hate it as a blog title. It also does not incorporate any of my sarcastic nature.

So my other thoughts were:

Speed Kills
The Pain Asylum

or, on a more serious note:

Miles Away

There is a Marc Cohen tune "Miles Away" which I can relate to. Miles Away describes his detachment from the world at the moment.

"I'm gonna think about a lot about it later, but now I'm miles away". The song is a lot deeper than my brief explanation, but that is me when I am out running.

The song also captures the lack of an end to this running thing. Just new goals and limits.

Personally, I love the title "Speed Kills". If any of you remember WKRP in Cincinnati, there is a great episode where everybody thinks Johnny Fever is on speed. The keep saying, "Fever.... Speed Kills". He was just hyper.

This also captures my complete abandonment of speed work. AND, how one can do that and still have decent results.

Also, most of my injuries are a result of speed work.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

New Title explanation


It is kind of lame, but it best explains where I am going and what I am doing. Graphics, links, and format will evolve. In case you did not know, the picture on the heading was of Karen Gall, Jim Wilson, and Todd Rowe on a cold March morning run at Afton this year. I liked how it captured them running off into nowhere. Well, it was the "Africa Loop". I remember pissing and moaning about how cold it was that day.

This blog will not specific to Ultrarunning, as that is only one aspect of my "appetite". Although, it will probably be most of it.

I came to this phrase recently as a good explanation of how I approach life. Right after the Superior Race, I commented on how taxing (mentally and physically) it was on me. I think I also said it would be a while before I attempted another one.

It is funny how we forget the bad spots. I actually don't remember any of the race being "that bad", I just remember going wacko around 3am, and feeling better when the sun came up. There was a lot of pain and suffering somewhere in there, but I honestly don't remember it. The euphoria, and sense of accomplishment after a year of work overshadowed it.

So, within two days I was cruising the "Run 100's" website looking for races for next year. What was wrong with me? I still could not walk, and my lower left leg looked like an inflated balloon.

Years ago when I worked in a bicycle shop, I worked on a woman's bike who was going to compete in the Kona Ironman that year (1992?). I remember thinking that must be an impossible task. How can anyone run a marathon after biking 112 miles and swimming 2 miles+ ? Well, now I see how it can be done. I have not done one of those, but I mentally can get my arms around it. I think it would be fun to do, but I am not a tri-geek. Swim training is about the most boring thing out there. I can bike, but have antiquated gear.

I had the same appetite in my sailing years. I used to race Lasers and Sunfish in California and Chicago. I also crewed on a racing yacht out of Chicago one summer. The appetite was fed during the famous "Chicago to Mackinac" race. 6 hours into that race, we hit a storm. I remember clutching the boom and watching the wind speed read out creep up to 36 knots. I seriously thought we were going to sink. Watching the bow go 6 feet under through a wave was not what I was used to. That night, hanging off the rail in a downpour (the race took 4 days), I thought this was the stupidest thing I have ever wanted to do. I will never do this again!

If I had the chance, I would do that race again. It is one of sailings "old school" races.

Direction I am going

I plan to use this blog as way to be held accountable to my goals. I don't know what next year looks like yet, but it will very like include a 100 miler, plus many of the other favorites. Maybe I will even do Voyageur (I hate heat).

I have been reading Mittleman again, and am considering making myself a "guinea pig" of his diet & exercise philosophy. I sort of did that this winter with Maffetone, and would like to build on that.


As much as I think Adam is a quack with his diets, diet might be a topic here. Weight training might be mildly discussed. Any other cross training might make it in... Snowshoeing?.

Race I would like to do before I die:
Leadville 100
Hardrock (don't laugh)
Angeles Crest 100
Cascade Crest 100
Big Horn 100

I might not ever get to these, but appetites are somewhat out of our control.

I hope to keep some level of the condition I am in going into the winter, but I know I will likely not want to run at all come January. We will see.

I ran 5 miles this morning and it sucked. Tree stumps as legs. My quads hurt bad.

I will decided thumbs up or down on the Glacial 50 mile this weekend. I have this grand idea that I will be fully recovered by then. Cough Cough

Sunday, September 21, 2008

First run since the race

I was finally able to take the knee out for a test drive yesterday.

Flat road. Took it REAL SLOW. 4 miles. Did not even bring a watch. Just wanted to get out there.

I was surprised to feel my quads were sore. The knee held in there.

It is much better. I can almost walk down stairs like a normal human.

Did my first weight training workout since April. Took that easy too.

Blah Blah Blah.

I think I have a new title for the blog. I am debating between 2 ideas.

Another easy day today, and maybe I can go 6 tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Moving Forward

Thank you to everybody for the positive encouragement to keep blogging.

My purpose of doing this last year was a means to keep myself accountable to a goal. I also took the approach of "this is what has worked for me", knowing that some of my training plan was unconventional. This blog became an ad hoc testimonial to alternative training for ultra distances.

What do I mean by "alternative training?"

Year to date, I have done a total of the following

Lactate Threshold Training Runs = 1 (kind of.. I wimped out after 20 minutes)
Speed Work = 0
Hill Workouts = a few, minus the long runs at Afton.
Long Runs = A ton. Most of them at 70-75% of max heart rate.


I beat my Ice Age 50 Mile time by 7 minutes from the prior year (I had done a ton of LT trainin and speed work).
I beat my Superior 50k time by 5 minutes from two years ago (I believed I was in "excellent" shape 2 years ago for that run).
I ran injury free the whole year (up until mile 65 of Superior 100).
I never hit "chronic fatigue", I only hit "burn out" during June, July, and part of August (partially due to heat).

So, I have come to understand that once you have a strong base, you can tap into it and perform at a decent level regardless of the "recent training".

Why am I babling about this right now? Maybe I will use this blog to advocate a different style of training. Not sure yet.

I am flattered to hear when people are inspired by some of the stuff I have blogged about. I have believed for a long time that inspiration is one of the greatest gifts one can give. I don't think one can try to inspire others (I believe that would be narcassistic on some level). But, I can continue documenting my accomplishments and failures. Take them for what they are worth.

In case some of you read the last post wrong, I am not giving up running, ultra running, or even 100 milers. While I will not bu running Superior 100 next year, I have already thought about the great 100's which are out there. Some don't interest me at all.

So I guess I am considering taking one of the following directions with this blog.

> Same old blah blah blah
> Find someone and document their "Road to 100"
> Focus on the "alternative training" and track my progress over the winter using Stu Mittleman's theories. Tie this in with cross training?
> Use this as a forum to follow other Midwest Ultrarunners?
> Be a resource for "getting in shape". This could mean any level of runner. I am not sure if I am worthy to dish out advice unsolicited, but more of a "try this, this is what has worked for me". There are already too many experts out there. I don't want to be another one.
> Follow the same format, but with another specific goal (like getting a big belt buckle at Leadville..... don't laugh!......... I do my best when my bar is set high, or slightly out of reach.).

So, this is what I am thinking about for moving forward. I can't come to terms that my season might be over, so I am optimistic that one more big race will surface. I am icing the knee heavily. It might be ready by the weekend, but I doubt it. I would still love to do Glacial 50 Mile, but not if I will be doing it as a death march.

There are always the winter ultras (Frozen Otter, Arrowhead (NO WAY!!!), and the Fat Ass runs all winter long at places still to be determined.

More thoughts coming soon.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Superior aftermath

"boy the Mrs. is going to kill me."

That is what was on my mind on the ride home Sunday. Not only did the leg swell up big time from the hornets, but my right knee was in serious pain.

I will spare you the many photos my wife took of the oozing puss and swollen ankle. I took some drugs, and the swelling is almost gone. The puss stopped oozing about Wednesday, but my right knee is barely working.

I decided to break down and see my chiroprachtor today (Bill Parker's former landlord). I found that my popliteus is locked. This doesn't really qualify as a spraigned knee, but I guess it does not matter. With some work, it should be okay by next week. I am not sure when I will be able to run again, though. I can't even walk cofortably.

Aftermath synopsis
* locked popliteus
* hornte sting reactions
* one completely bruised toe (right big one), two not sure (small on each foot)
* aches and pains in the hip flexors, nothing serious
* seious callousing on the feet.
* had the DOMS for a few days, so it was tough to tell what was injury, swelling, and/or soreness.

Someone metioned during the race about having nightmares the week after. I have had dreams about running almost every night, but not sure if they qualify as nightmares. When it rained Wednesday night, I did wake up and think "crap, I need to put my rain gear on", thinking I was running.

I thought I would hit a low this week, feeling a let down from all I have worked on during the past year. I don't. I am just happy I get to do these things.

I still want to get in one more race for the year, but not sure if I can heal porperly by Glacial. I will cross that road in a few weeks.

What do I do with this blog now?

I am not sure if I should keep blogging. The whole point in me doing this last year was having a way to be held accountable during the training for the 100 miler. It's great to know people read, and encourage me, but I am also thinking it me be time to pass the torch.

I try not to give out too much advice here, as everybody is different. Also, a lead packer needs advice from a lead packer. I am somewhere in the "mid packer" range, or in that chasm between "mid packer" and "semi elite". Whatever the case, I have tried to document what has worked for me, and what has not.

Here is what worked for me at Superior and what did not:

Not listening to all of the "experts" and just following my heart
Not worrying about an even pace
Running my own race
Not worrying about all of the famous sections. I still can't tell you where the "drainpipe" is. Don't remember the "Sawbill Dome". Did not know I was on the "Beaver Dam" until miles later. Did not know I was in the Sonju roots section until I saw one tree/root cluster I recognized from a picture (I could tell even in the dark).
I did not worry about eating. I ate when I needed to and kept a steady flow of some kind of food coming in me.
Taking 4 bottles of fluid in the first two sections was critical. I drank it all.
Walking hard worked well. Aside from the knee proboblem, I felt I could have done this forever. I even think I could walk the whole think and still make the cut.

What did not work
I had too much crap in my drop bags. I think I used 10% of it.
Wider variety of food. I go sick of Shot Blox (Crack blox)
Better system with my pack (I did not want to take it off, so I kept dropping crap I wanted to put away)

I don't think there is much else I would do differently. I would even say it would have made more sense to go out a little harder, and get to Finland earlier. Once night hits, just switch to power walk mode. I seemed to recover while I was walking. Either way one slices it, you are going to be trashed Saturday morning. Might as well bew farther down the couse when the sun comes up.

It was frustrating to have to go so slow the last 3 sections. I was actually right behind Bill Gengler at Temperance (mile 80 something), and he put an hour and a half on me during that time to the end. That was all knee. Oh well.

So for now, here is my shout out to anybody who reads this.

Go run a trail.

Consider one of the Spring or Fall Superior races. You can actually walk the Marathon and make the cut. It is an experience you will cherish, and a great way to see beautiful scenery.

I will be there in the Fall next year either crewing, pacing, working an aid station, or all of the above.

I am sure the Afton runs will continue all winter long, so join us out there. I will try to do some "normal" time of day runs.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Superior Sawtooth 100 Report

September - 2007

My family and I were driving up to Lutsen for my 50 mile race at the Supeior Hiking Trail. We stopped at an aid station for the 100 mile races and watched a few come through. My wife said "that is absolutely crazy". I thought "I have to do this before I die". Even the thought put a knot in my stomach.

That started my road to 100.

Fast forward 1 year.

Date - Saturday September 6th
Time - 4am
Place - Somewhere between the Crosby Manitou aid station and the Sugarloaf aid station on the trail.

I am bubling around the trail. My brain is melting. My knee is killing me, not letting me go down hill like a normal human. I can't stay awake. I am looking for a comfy spot to take a nap on the side of the trail. I am on the verge of crying. I was thinking I should have reached the aid station by now. "this is absolutely crazy, why did I want to do this?"

The hardest thing at that point for me was realizing that if I was going to finish, I would have to go 30 miles on a bum knee. That was not going to happen. Looks like I am done. I am going to get to the aid station, take a nap, and feel sorry for myself. Turns out sorry is spelled "Saari". I will explain later.

Rewind 1 days

Gooseberry Falls visitor center. About 60 runners out to conquer this beast. Just to show up to this start takes a certain amount of Mojo, and this group had it. For me, it was surprisingly relaxing. The weather was perfect, 50 and low dewpoint. Looks like overcast for a while.

Larry Pederson said go, and the race began. Early on I said to someone "can you imagine that many of us won't get there until tomorrow night?" Sobering thought.

The first leg I planned to just keep it low and slow so I could stay calm. I found myself with Pierre Oster, "toughest man in Minnesota". Pierre is one of the most humble and quiet guys, but has more than most to brag about. He has completed Badwater, Arrowhead 135 (he is the race director), and Leadville just to name a few.

Early on Gary Sheets passed me. I would get to know this man very well.

The first two sections were rather uneventful. I was keeping it easy. The views were spectacular. I was comletely focused on making sure I did not screw up. I had to stay properly hydraded. I actually said after 3 hours "this is great! I have already peed twice!". This was a great sign. I was drinking more than enough (dehydration has been my downfall for months).

I rolled into the Beaver Bay aid station. Karen Gall was working it and said some great encouraging words. It was a quick stop. Lynn Saari (who was crewing for her husband) said some encouraging words.

I left the station with John Taylor and Pierre Oster. Not long after that, we pulled 100 yards ahead of Pierre and came upon some railroad tracks. I said to John "wouldn't that suck if a train came right now and cut us off?". I then heard a low rumble. As we were crossing a long Taconite train was coming around the bend. I turned around and yelled "Pierre, hurry up, a train is coming". He did not make it. Funniest thing ever in a race. That was a long train.

Somewhere in there I got separated from John, and then Molly Cochran caught up to me. We ran for a little bit. We were up on top of a mountain, coming down of a rock formation when we hit the hornets. We were both attacked. I don't know how many times they got me, but at least 3. I know Molly got more. I said "this sucks, but is not going to be the worst pain we experience in the next 24 hours". She said "good thing I am not allergic to them". I found out later that she was taken to a medical clinic after she broke out in hives. She ended up having to drop. That was sad as she is a super positive person. She woudl have been able to finish.

Wayne Nelso was at the Silver Bay aid station. He helped focus. Got my act together, and I was off. The next two sections blurred into one. I was walking the uphills, but crushing the down hills. I felt great. I felt on top of the world. I as not tired. It started to rain, but it felt good. The scenery was amazing. At one point we walk along a cliff overlooking a lake. I made me rather nervous as it was very high and steep. Spectacular views. I saw a female runner taking a picture at one of the overlooks. Turns out to be Susan Donnely (she came in second). She has a long resume of ultra finishes.

I came into Tetteguchi on fire. I felt great. I was happy, relaxed, and full of energy. Alicia Gordon and Jeffrey Swainhardt got me set and I was off. Hey, there is Lynn Saari again...

All I really remember of the next section is catching up to Gary Sheets on the down hills, and him pulling away from me on the uphills. Gary has finished this race before, so he knew the course....cough cough. He said at one point "I think this is the last hill before the aid station county rd. 6" We came down off it, turned a corner, and saw a sign which said "county road 6 - 4 miles". I turned to Gary with a smile and said "bastard!". 3 or 4 more times in that section he said "this is the last one". He was wrong every time. Before the aid station, the race runs along a high ridge, very steep, and you can see the station. I asked Gary, "is it a technical down hill, or easy". He said "easy, not technical, you will be down there in no time". 10 minutes later I said "easy and not technical my ass!". He was wrong.

Tom and Nancy were at County Rd 6 making their famous grilled cheese. They also made the best broth I have ever had in my life. I took the time to get ready for the night as it would be getting dark soon. After leaving this aid station, I was feeling tired. I could not really run, so I walked hard. I then was frustrated that I was walking so much. I was thinking "man, I am going to be passed by everybody". I just kept the charge going and walked hard. Nobody passed me. I remember walking across the famous "Beaver Dam" which is just a board walk across a lake/dam/lagoon. Turns out Gary Sheets helped built that. He said first time he went across it, a beaver slapped its tail next to him and scared him half to death. I heard a lot of splashing, but did not realize I was crossing beaver dam. Dam(n).

I got dark. I dropped my hat. I dropped my s-caps. Lost them both. I just wanted to get to Finland (mile 50.5). Kind of the half point, but just shy of it. I rolled in to it a little after 13 hours. Lynn Saari took charge and got me everything I needed. How did she know? Two weeks prior she did her first 100 at Leanhorse. The aid station had good food. I still felt good, but was feeling sore.

I was off to Sonju. People speak of the infamous "Sonju roots". For some reason, I thought they were after the Sonju station. About a mile into this section, it started to get rooty. I was feeling good at this point. What is interesting about this section is, the trail is subjective. It is hard to tell the trail, from no trail. Add night, and it became a game for me. It was kind of fun. It was peacfull, as I was alone. I did not take me long to realize "this has to be the Sonju roots". This section, while technically hard, was not bad for me beacuse I still felt good.

The Sonju station was peacfull. Campfire, nice people, great soup. The said "take your time relax, enjoy, but we kick you out in 15 minutes." I was good to go.

All I remember about the next secion is some dude passed me. I could not believe he was the first to pass since mile 43. Maybe this walking plan will get me there. I did some short math. If I walked hard, I could still break 30 hours! Bring it on. I caught up to Gary again, and he was not the happy camper he was 4 hours prior. I decided to hang with him and see if we could help each other. We rolled into Crosby together. His crew was there getting him focused. Doug Barton made me a cheeseburger! Maria Barton had the station cranking. The fire was great. But I had an idea of breaking 30 hours. We had to get walking.

I left there with Gary some time around 1:30 am. Right away I could tell Gary was at a different point than me. I did not want to, but I pulled away from him. I was on a mission. This next section is highly technical. Straight down to a river. My knee starting hurting bad, and would not let me put load on it, only transfer load. It was starting to hurt bad and lock up. When I got to the bottom, I thougth "what goes down, must go up". The next climb ruined my knee. Straight up. At one point, I could not find the trail. I knew it was within 10 feet of me, but could not find it. I took a chance climbing over a boulder, and there it was.

This is almost a 10 mile section. I kept going up and up. My spirits were going starting to fall. My knee was failing. I was now very tired. Good thing I am almost to the aid station (I was still probably 6 miles away!). Daryl Saari passed me with his pacer. I said thanks to him for having such a cool wife. I tried to hang on to them, but my knee would not let me.

This post started with where I was now. Time to dig down deep. I kept pushing on. Where was the aid station? Push on. My knee hurts. Push on. I walked off the trail because I was falling asleep. I can't keep my eyes open. The trail is morphing. I need to find a place to take a nap. If I do it on the trail, the next runner behind me will probably wake me up thinking I might be dead. Can't let that happen. Where is the aid station? That was a LONG stretch. Coming up to the aid station were tiki torches. I smiled. I was there! Nap time! I am done.

I rolled into Sugarloaf. I saw Lynn across the way. Don't make eye contact, maybe she won't see me. I did not even call out my number. I went to a chair by the fire and buried my face in my hands. Why did I pay money to do this? Someone took my pack and worked on it.

There were a few runners who had dropped there, and were wrapped up in a blanket by the fire, enjoying conversations. Pierre was there! How did that happen? Unfortunately, he had dropped. I guess the Leanhorse 50 mile two weeks prior was catching up to him.

I had some food. Some coffee. I was going to hang here for a while. Get comfy. Take a nap. Figure out what to do with my knee. I guess I am not cut out for the 100 distance. I was just happy at that point to be in front of a fire and not running.

Then a voice said, "time is up, get out there!" What? I am not doing that. No way. "All you have to do is get to the next aid station. 5 miles"

I saw Bill Gengler had just come in. Maybe I could hold on to him until the next station.

I don't know how it happened, but I left that aid station follwoing Bill. The sun came up shortly after, and I was a new man. All I remember about this section is it rained. But for some reason I did not care. It was great hanging with Bill. He is a tough dude.

Eventually we came to a road, close to Cramer road. I saw Larry Pederson marking part of the start to Moose Mountain Marathon, which starts at the next aid station, in half an hour! I said to Larry, "is it too late to sign up for the marathon?".

I was psyched to get to the station, thinking maybe I would see familiar faces who are running the marathon. Kel got this picture as I was walking in. I was still a little loopy.

Bill Parker and Wayne Nelson came to cheer me on. Thanks Guys!

I think I said to Bill Gengler "we are almost done!" (25 miles left). Aside from the incredible pain I felt going down and hill, I felt renewed. The Marathon runners blew by us, and gave great encouragement. Bill got ahead of me, and I just pressed on.

Temperance station came, and I felt victory withing reach. The next section is not long, but a hard climb up Carlton Peak. That destroyed me knee, again. My knee took turns working, then not working. Limping was not fun, but I thought I could get to the end.

At the Sawbill aid station, my new crew (Lynn) got me situated and asked "don't you have a hat?" I said I dropped it a long time ago. "is it white?" yeah. "Pierre picked it up, I have it". Funny how that works.

Gary Sheets came into the station as I was chowing on something. I wished hime luck and told him to catch up to me. I left the aid station, and shortly after, he caught up. I told him we were going to finish this thing together. He was on pace to PR. He did not believe he would, which gave me resolve to get us there for his PR.

I started seeing weird things in the bushes. Weird things in the leaves. Was I going nuts?

John Taylor caught us right before the last aid station. He was going to finish strong.

We rolled into Oberg, final aid station. I asked Kurt King what time it was. He answered with a time and I said "wrong, it is time for me to get my jacket and belt buckle". I went over to where Gary was and "chop chop, time is money, let's go get our buckle!"

We were off. I was a constant chatter of "we are going to get it, we are almost there".

I was worried about Moose Mountain as my legs and knee were trashed, and this is one heck of a climb. We go there. We were two pathetic babies climbing that sucker. We would go 40-50 ft. and rest. Close to the top, I saw my kids hiding in the bushes, waiting to suprise me! I can't believe they came up to cheer me on!


Turns out it was a buch of sticks and leaves. I was seeing faces in leaves, animals which were logs, and so on. We got to the top of Moose, and I could taste the finish.

Eventually, we made it to the trail head. Then crossed the river. I raised my hands pumping them. When we got to the dirt road, I turned to Gary and said "I can't believe we are about to finish this thing" We were walking. We said we would run from the Gondola to the finish.

I looked behind us. Another runner. Just a 50 miler passing us.

NO! He as a red bib. He is a 100 miler! Dude, we can't get passed in the last quarter mile! So we ran. This cat was closing on us. No way, not today. Gary and hit the fence to the pool by the finish line and I yelled with glee "100 milers coming through"

We crossed in 33 hours 39 minutes, only seconds ahead of that guy who chased us in.

I gave Larry a hug and called him a sick bastard. He laughed and said thank you.

Kel also caught a picture of us finishing

I was so high, I don't remember the next ten minutes.

I saw Carl and was crushed to hear he had to drop. Steve, Adam, Kel, Brent, Jim Wilson gave me congratulations. It was great.


There is so much more to say, but this has become too long. Stuff for posts later.

On the way home my foot started swelling, and by the time I got home, I was a little nervous. My wife made me go to urgent care. The hornet stings decided to swell now.

Not sure why this happened two days later. Swelling has gone down today.

All I can say right now is thanks to everybody who was so supportive in this mission. All of the emails I received, I took in my pack, and were with me all night.

Too many thanks to too many people. I will find a way to thank you all somehow.

It was a great experience. I learned a lot about myself, but most importantly I learned this.

When you dig down deep, eventually you will find you can't dig anymore. At that point hand the shovel to someone and they will dig deeper for you.

Thanks to Lynn Saari for taking the shovel.

Happy Trails

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Superior Races Update

I was fortunate enough to finish in 33 hours and 36 mnute

Chris Gardner from Duluth Won the 100 in just under 22 hours (smokin' fast)
Joe Zigenfuss came in second
Brent Bjerkness took 3rd.

Helen Lavin won the womens in around 26:50 (awesome job)
Susan Donelly took second.

My report will follow later. I am very happy, but it took A LOT out of me.