From the Back of the Pack
I might always be in the back of the running pack, but I'm addicted to it! When I miss more than a day it affects my energy, attitude, and the rest of life in general! I have had a lot of "character" building runs in the deep snow, extreme nose hair freezing cold, ankle high rain, and gale force winds over the past twenty five years and find some of those days to be the most peaceful rewarding outings of all! I'm one of those runners who is slow and steady, but goes forever and ever without ever getting tired.
August 8, 2010: Bountiful Boulder!
This race in my opinion is one of the most efficient, well run events I've ever been to. Sharri Olson has been the race director for as long as I've been doing it and this was her first year passing it on to a different person...I was a bit concerned that the "well oiled" race may not measure up to the past years because she was in a different place than the race and unable to assist in any way. Much to my delight, Wendy, the new race director carried on Sharri's impeccable tradition!
I felt a bump as I began my journey race morning and pulled the car back into the garage to inspect....my bike helmet was the object under my tire and it suffered zero marks or cracks from the "accident"! The foggy, drizzly drive to Brule was visually challenging, yet the race destination provided just a shady, cool setting with some humidity.
The Brule River Lions 2 mile or 5 mile trail run attracts a competitive friendly crowd. Parking is easy, registration is slick and cheap...$12 ahead of time and $15 day of, shirts are usually unique and neat...this year's was a fish with running shoes!
The race starts on a dirt road at the top of the hill and goes about 2.5 miles before going into the wide scenic ski trails. The race is a good one for beginners as it is easy for a trail race with excellent footing, flat or downhill terrain with just a few "blip" uphills, and freshly mowed grass. The fresh torrential rains provided some wet spots which were easily avoided. Friendly water stops are scattered along the course in at least 3 or 4 places along with idiot proof course markings, mile markers, and even a 4 1/2 mile marker!
Winners of the 5 mile race who were Jarrow Wahman (his dad and wife ran too! ) and Amanda Lepisto (her dad always runs), received a high tech jacket! Age group first place winners receive a nalgene water bottle and 2-3rd place in the age group get to pick a pair of socks! The 2 mile gets awards and all the kids under 12 receive ribbons too. The new race director was just as efficient as Sharri had been getting the plentiful door prizes started immediately after the last runner finished and awards right afterwards!
A first for me was when I was the very first person drawn for a door prize!! I won a hanging basket full of flowers! There had to be over 25 door prizes ranging from solar driveway lights to shirts, hats,gift cards to Target, and more!
After the race, the crowd heads to the town hall area for a BBQ put on by the Lion's Club and huge garage sale put on by a local church! The church sale has been a "jackpot" for me every year! This year I scored a Packer Jacket and Sweatshirt!!
Kudos to the new race director, Sharri trained her well and all the wonderful volunteers! This is one event to check out sometime!!
June 15, 2010: Aqua Fest 10k
Ok...I thought...a 10k trail race on a Tuesday night at 6:45 in the rain ...in Rice Lake Wisconsin...who my age would possibly go there that is fast...I should go...I'd have half a chance slogging and placing for once! So...Laambeaux and I headed out...
It was a wee bit longer drive to the Tuscobia Trailhead than I had thought...when we got there it was still raining lightly and they had little ez up's for us to stand under...
The race director was totally awesome with his communication and friendliness...I was impressed...the registration went very smoothly too...the price was sure right...only $13 preregistration and either $10 without a shirt day of or $18 with a shirt! The shirts were neat looking too...bright red with silver lettering!
I registered, went to my car to put my running stuff on and discovered I had forgotten the socks I planned to wear...oh well...the other ones worked ok...
Prior to the 10k there was a 1/2 mile kids fun run which was very cute and had quite a few excited little ones participating in it!
As people were lined up for the 2 mile and 10k which started together, the race director was giving out instructions and the first clap of thunder was heard...he gave a slight look of concern, then continued giving instructions and the runners were off...
He was kind enough to let me start 5 minutes after the rest of the runners to avoid Laambeaux tangling with the feet of others..
As we started, the rain became torrential and the thunder more frequent it continued until mile 5 or so...I think this will go down as my 4th scariest character building event in the history of my athletic events.....the course was a mix of puddles, some gravel in spots, grass, and some mud...pretty good footing overall though...it was a flat course or kinda slight uphill on the way out with one big up and downhill during the first and last mile. The miles were marked and there were two water stops that we hit on the way out and back again.
My pace was decent for me considering the conditions...I could breathe for once and until the last two miles my butt issue was not painful! My time was not reflective of the pace due to one extra long Laambeaux pit stop, a very interesting dead squirrel on the path that needed some serious canine investigating, and a few water stops.
After the race there was nothing to eat at all that I could find, awards did happen fairly quickly though, I discovered that my age group unfortunately was what appeared to be the largest one of all...the other runners were very friendly before and after the event...one guy even ran it pushing a baby jogger...that was tough on the mushy wet trail!
Ok men...time to skip to the next paragraph...or it will be TMI for most...it was raining so hard that I actually had to pull my running skirt up a few times because it was so waterlogged despite the wicking fabric...and to my horror, the feminine hygiene product I began the race with was absolutely nowhere to be found when I finished up...I have to wonder if it slid down my leg or just got waterlogged and plopped out onto the trail??? Embarrassssssing?????
Ok men ...you can read again... I decided to leave shortly after I finished because I felt like a wet sponge ...and so I could drive in what daylight remained...about 3 miles from the race I saw a large deer in the road...for whatever reason, I did not stop or honk...I just ended up hitting it!!! I felt horrible and this is the first time I've EVER hit a deer even though I have been awfully close many times. I hit it's hip or butt and it continued into the weeds on the other side, my thoughts were not about my car or myself...just about the poor deer....I did not see it again...I think maybe subconsciously I didn't brake because of the wet roads... I called the police because I had no idea of what to do when you hit a deer...the dispatch woman was really nice and told me her daughter had just called her because she also ran the race I did...that's small town for ya! The pictures of the minimal damage to the car and of the soggy race will hopefully be posted here by Kris soon as I have no posting abilities!
I think if a group wanted to go do this one next year I'd do it again...otherwise it's just too far to drive for a 10k and a shirt! Very cute, well organized, cheap event !!!
June 5, 2010: BOULDERDASH
Today I really, really, really wanted to go down to Bluemounds and run the 15k trail race that we did last year...finding someone who is able to take that kind of time to drive all the way there and stay overnight is kinda tricky especially with all the races that were up here this weekend...soooo...I decided to do the Boulderdash because it was a trail race and I had heard great things about it...they were right! Normally I avoid any race that is under 10k...this one was one I had to try.
Sam defended her title this year winning the race three years in a row...she had some tough competition this year when Connie L. showed up yet she pulled it off again! Scott B. won again for the men's side. Awards are given to the top three in each gender group for under 35 and over 35...they are neat looking awards too!
The race director and volunteers were extremely helpful and friendly!! They even let me start 10 minutes late so I could run with Laambeaux! The tshirts are super neato too! The color is a tanish type I have never seen before with a dark brown logo that includes a shoe covered in boulders! It's a really sharp looking shirt!! This is a very inexpensive race to run too...$15 pre and only $20 day of.
The race course was slightly different from last year I was told and it went out the Blue Ox, touched on the Nine Pine, then took the cut off for the Bear Paw and back into the finish area. The course was in outstanding shape, dry, excellent footing except one small spot right after the turn around at 9 Pine....I did one of those turn the ankle then wave the arms around to avoid the Superman fall things and managed to stay upright despite the fact that Laambeaux was still pulling me!
The course was idiotproofed because it was marked so well! The K's were marked rather than miles and they even had a sign at the last hill that told us it was the last hill...and another one telling us it was 100 something left! I can't remember what that distance was...it was short though. I skijor at Boulder twice a week all winter and knew the trails well yet this was my first time out there without snow! The trail is pretty much flat except for a couple of very small bumps and slight uphill grade short hills...very good for beginning trail runners!
There were tons of dragon flies out there the first time around and because I wanted to get extra miles in, I offered to take the ribbons down while I ran it again...second time around the deer flies were horrendous! Poor Laambeaux was basically coated in them and I was forced to swing my arms around like a crazy lady while I ran!
There was a strategically placed water stop that we hit twice during the race so Laambeaux and I both stopped to take advantage of it twice...I also had to stop three times to get my asthma under control...!
The race volunteers had the results ready immediately after the race was completed and they had some food and beverage for us to eat too. Laambeaux appreciated the wheat race roll I share with her.
The big bonus was that the Freedenburg neighborhood was having their annual garage sale so I was able to snag some super great deals on the way home!!
I highly recommend this race for anyone and everyone beginner to speedster! Easy parking, great course, super shirt, cheap, great race director and volunteers, what more could you ask for??
March 13, 2010: Tour Da Luth
I had a goal today, to do the Tour Da Luth no matter what the weather, snow conditions, or any other possible excuse I could have....and I did it...all of it except Snowflake because I am banned from there.
Even though this is a skiing post, it it does have a benefit for those of you who only run and miss out on this awesome winter cross training know what condition the trails around town are in for trail running.
Laambeaux and I began our day long skijoring tour of Duluth around 10:00 or so I think. We had shared a Burger King order of hashbrown tatortot thingies and a sausage, egg, and cheese Croissantwich...yes gross I know and it was all we ate the entire day! The weather grew foggier as heck as we skied. It was about 38' and the precipitation held off for the first half of this trail test. I could see about 8 feet out near the end of the ski ...to the end of Laambeaux's lead...the rest was just a fog. We began our adventure today at Magney Snively. Not knowing what to expect, I figured I'd end up hoofing it aways to the snow and skating a "K" or so then leaving. To my surprise, there was a TON of snow on the entire system, no ice, and depth of 6-8" too! Because I am directionally challenged, even with the detailed maps they have provided, I wound up taking a few wrong turns and ended up doing 8k! I did take a couple of falls, one really good one that twisted me up and filled my entire right ear with corn snow, that's gonna hurt tomorrow. I'm light so I stayed on top of the snow most of the time and when I did sink it caught me off guard and I went down a few times.
Towards the conclusion of our Magney journey, I looked over and could barely make out lone man in the fog just leaning against a tree. Ok, I'm in the middle of basically nowhere, and here's this man, just standing there doing nothing but looking at me. Unfortunately it was also at a junction where I had no idea of which way to go so I had to ask him. It reminded me of the Wizard of Oz and the Scarecrow...this guy even pointed like that with one arm too! I said hi, asked him what he was doing out in the middle of nowhere in this weather and he gave me a vague answer that I was not able to understand. At least he pointed me in the right direction to get back to my car! There were no footprints leading to where he was which makes me wonder if I really saw someone or if I just imagined it???? It will be awhile before Magney Snively is fun to run!
The next trail we visited was Spirit Mountain. Ron Weber had so graciously groomed it that very morning and I was the first to try it out! I skated the fresh courderoy of the 1k and campground loop a couple of times and was able to stay on top because of his great efforts! As we skijored, the fog and misting became heavier, my ski boots felt as though they had water sloshing around in them and I was pretty dang chilled from being wet all over!
It will be awhile before Spirit Mountain is fun to run.
Next stop Piedmont, for some classic skiing. This is a familiar trail to run, however, until today I was a virgin to skiing it. The first hundred yards or so were a bit icy, snowy, footprinty and dog poopy, however past that it was really awesome skiing! There was full snow coverage with no ice and minimal debris! We did have one stream to cross and managed to do it and stay dry somehow! It will be awhile before Piedmont is fun to run!
After Piedmont, we made the trek out to Lester and parked near the big boulders that indicate the start of the ski trails. We carefully walked along the trail a bit and decided that it was waaaaaay to treacherous to ski or run! The trails we could see were basically covered in patchy ice with minimal places to put feet down safely. This Lester will probably be ready to run soon and would be runable in Bug shoes now.
From Lester we headed to Hartley, at this point I was almost out of water for the day and wanted to just finish up the last three trails so I toughed it out. The trail from the parking lot was a combination of ice and bare ground. As soon as we turned the corner there was lots of snow and lots of footprints and lots of dog poop...do people realize it will still be there when the snow melts!!?? If ya don't have a bag, just flick it into the woods at least! We turned up the ski trail towards the pine trees and found lots of ice covered in tree debris and it stayed like this until we were out of the pine coverage. Once out of the pines, the loop was in great shape with full coverage, mostly snow, and hardly any footprints or poop! Parts of Hartley will be runable soon, the rest will be awhile.
Next stop, Bagley! We have run there a ton and this was our first skiing journey. We continued our classic skiing regime as this proved less "sinky" in certain conditions. Upon parking, I noticed Bruce Bauer getting ready to put his skiis in the car. He described conditions as "glideable"...yes, parts of it were glideable and he had nothing to really compare it to, it was slightly better than Lester. We did one loop carefully and found a lot of ice and some snow, tons of debris from trees, many footprints and some animal really likes to poop raisenette shapes all over the trail in mass quantity over and over and over! This was the first trail I had to actually take my skiis off on because of the conditions. Bagley should be runable in the near future!
Last stop Chester! Residing less than a mile from this trail and this being the first time ever using it to ski on...I was trying to determine just which trails were for skiing. We went through the deep slush of the soccer field and up the side trail of rocks to some more snow. There was a combination of snow, ice, and dog poop on the trail. We took the lower bypass after the bridge and decided that if we went up that hill alittle ways up, we had to eventually come down one somewhere and it looked dangerous. I figured falling in deep snow is one thing, falling on ice and rocks is gonna hurt a lot more! Portions of Chester should be ready for running soon!
Given the snowy conditions on all the trails, classic skiis or snowshoes would be the way to go for at least the next week or so unless we get that dumping of snow and the snow day we were robbed of this week due to temps forgetting to drop 10'!
Our day was concluded, our goal was reached, our bones are in tact, although my already injured wrist is quite a bit worse off, and we did it all in 40', misting rain, fueled by just a Burger King Croisanttwich and some of those round hash brown tatertot thingies. Laambeaux is napping and I'm off to the pot luck to see who else tried out the trails today! I know I'll be out skiing quite a bit more in the next week or two! Let me know if you want to join me!!
March 4, 2010: Shoes for kids!
As a teacher and coach, I enjoy helping anyone get into the wonderful lifetime sport of running. Jay Monson...teacher, runner and more has an excellent program and the kids need shoes! Below are the ways you can help out! I know I have a ton of old running shoes that are in great shape for a child to run 3 miles in...just not good enough for me to run 10 in!
If anyone in the Duluth area has some running shoes to donate to 10-12 year old feet we'd gladly take them off your hands. We're at: Nettleton Elementary School, 108 East 6th Street, Duluth, MN 55805. Better yet, if you have $7.50, send it our way care of "Nettleton Running Club". We start the club this Monday.
Many of the kids in our 5th grade classroom and beyond are involved in the third year of our running club. Our goal is to train and then run/walk the Fitger's 5K April 17, 2010 in Duluth. Kids journal throughout the club keeping track of their diets, screen time (TV, videogames, and computer use), sleep, training/activity and their resting heart rates. Some kids need proper running shoes and I am asking for donations to help buy that equipment. We will get the kids fitted for the shoes in the coming weeks and hopefully get them on their feet before our spring break, which is one week prior to the race. Special thanks go out to the "Duluth Running Company" for graciously providing us a deal on some top-notch shoes and for spending time helping us get things started (http://www.duluthrunning.com/).
Please do not feel obligated to donate anything! If you want to provide moral support or support during the race it is worth more than money. If you wish to make a monetary contribution the levels are below:
Half a Foot: $7.50...
One Foot: $15.00
Two Feet: $30
Checks can be made out to "Nettleton Elementary School" with "Running Club" in the memo. You can send donations directly to school in interschool mail or at our address: 108 East 6th Street, Duluth 55805. If we get more money than we need for shoes we will buy some good socks for the kids and other things that will help their run be enjoyable and safe. More info on the 5K race can be found at: http://www.grandmasmarathon.com/races/fitgers5k.php
Thanks so much for your support in any way. Feel free to pass this e-mail on to a runner or anyone else that would be interested in being part of our cause.