July 16, 2012: Half Voyageur 2012
The Half Voyageur trail marathon was held on July 14th 2012. A few frantic weeks were spent scouting out new trail, due to Jay Cooke park being closed by the flooding.
I had spent the past two Saturdays helping with getting the trail ready. We had to make the mission creek section passable and weed whip and mow many of the sections of trail.
The Magney Snively ski trails was the area I helped with mowing the Saturday before the race. Kris had rented a pull behind ATV mower, which Tone pulled through much of Magney. I followed along and helped pull the thing out of the muddy areas. We had a runnable path down the middle of the trail, no way one can run through the grass without cutting up one's legs, grass is sharp and makes paper cut like scrapes. So, when we got to the Magney I noticed that the city had come through the trail again with a much larger mower, the trail was well mowed for the race
I woke up on Saturday and my stomach was not feeling great. I got my stuff ready and headed out to the race. There was a line at the registration tent, lots of race day entrants.
I got my stuff ready, my first race with the new hydration pack, hopefully it will work ok. I lined up at the start next to Ron; usually we are fairly close in pace.
The race starts, along the DWP and up the hill to Spirit Mountain. Just past the zipline the course turned back down the hill, instead of going along Skyline. For some reason the large number of pink ribbons and flags head down the SHT was not obvious enough. I was lucky and was warned by a runner who had gone off course before I had gone too far, only about 20 feet.
This section of trail is quite pretty and scenic, but going back down a hill I had just run up, does not appeal to me.
Aid station 1, I had some water and a sip of coke and felt a bit queasy and ended up dry heaving 50 feet after leaving. Maybe I would feel better later; after all I was still ok as far as time. My goal for the day was to finish ahead of the sweeps.
The trail to Aid Station 2 was smooth rolling well mowed XC trail. I made a mental note of trying to find out who did the mowing. Aid station 2/5 was manned by a bunch of people from the Duluth running company's Marathon training group. It is always fun to see familiar faces at aid station. One bonus to the different course was the fewer number of aid stations to have to set up and staff. Working an aid station can really suck if there are not enough people.
I still was not feeling well and ended up moving slowly through Jarrow's beach. Luckily there was not much traffic when I was going through.
Aid station 3, I was able to get my s-caps from my drop bag. I filled my pockets with ice and continued shuffling on to the powerline loop. The powerlines survived the flood pretty well. I ran past a few people that should not have been ahead of me. I think a few people either started early or missed the SHT section between Spirit and Magney.
After going back through the aid station and continuing along Skyline, I ran into Sam, who was helping at an intersection. I must have not looked too good. Sam ran along with me for a bit to make sure I was ok.
Back through the Ely's peak loop and the DRCTG aid station. Tom had shown up with a plastic trumpet that he was using to herald the arrival of each runner. I think it added a festive note to the aid station. It was nice to be able to hear the aid station was just up ahead through the woods.
Due to my stomach being upset I consumed an unapproved beverage at the aid station. It turned out to be the only thing that I had consumed all day that did not make me nauseous.
I had more energy and was able to run faster for the next several miles, almost to the finish. The last big uphill sort of did me in. I slowed down and enjoyed the scenery along Knowlton creek. I ended up finishing in 5:28. If I could just learn to run in heat...
I have to compliment Kris on his being able to pull of holding the race this year. I liked the change in course.
Very slow race for me; much harder than the normal course. Did anyone with a GPS watch get the actual length of the course? Also, with so many ups and downs, what is the cumulative uphill in this new course?
Thanks to the many aid volunteers who kept us moving!