May 18, 2010: Superior Trail 50K - Jottings
Overall, the race went quite well – here's a few bits and pieces:
Things to do on a Saturday: Standing at the start of the Superior Trail 50K race in Lutsen, MN this weekend, the course map was running through my head. Let's see... Mystery Mountain, Moose Mountain, Oberg Mountain, Leveaux Mountain, Britton Peak, Carlton Peak. Then turn around and run it all back again. It was when this mental geography tally started sounding more Himalayan than Minnesotan that I thought, “You know, fishing would be such a nice hobby...”
Ships that Pass in the Night: A good piece of what I enjoy about these races is their gypsy-like nature. Different runners drift into your little world for a short while, you share some trail, perhaps some conversation; then they drift away, ahead or behind, to be replaced by another. I have noted that it is best to get any good discussions in early when conversation is comfortable and easy, as one tends to descend gradually to something more akin to Neanderthalic grunts as the miles pass, making mile 23 more suitable for, say, politics.
Cue the Band: The night before the race I had met Leslie Semler's friend from the U.P., Ian, and his compatriots Carl and Margot. Pausing from his pasta, Carl had asked me if I had any advice for Ian, who was running his first 50K. I thought for a moment and simply replied, “Run like your hair is on fire.” (For those of my running peers that think I pull that line out of the holster a little too often... Sue me, it was a new audience.) As I passed by Ian mid-way between Oberg and Sawbill, I jokingly asked him if his hair was still burning, receiving a somewhat reserved response. Hmmm. Perhaps not everyone appreciates me going David Letterman on them during a hill climb. Cut to commercial...
A Fool and his Money: Shane mentioned in his blog that I offered a crisp Benjamin Franklin should he break the 5-hour mark in the 50K. I would like to publicly state that I would never actively root against any of my running peers / pals in any race. After all, we're all in this together. However, I have no problem with throwing down the gauntlet. Next time I might want to remember that Shane does possess some of those Freak-of-Nature Olson Running Genes, as he made an excellent run for my money. 5:22, nice run Shane.
Meeting the Guru: At the top of Carlton Peak, the turn-around point for the 50K, stands race volunteer (and multiple Superior 50K winner) Charlie Hubbard. Next to him is a table he has hauled up there, laid out with a spread of refreshments liquid and solid. “I believe I'll take the Porter,” I requested. As I enjoyed a swig of that fine ale it dawned on me that I apparently could combine beer drinking with my current hobby, making any switch to fishing unnecessary. Cheers, Charlie.
Waiting for the NOVA Special: I'm going to have to talk to some of my geologist friends about the curious phenomenon of alpine expansion. This is the process by which certain geological features, such as Moose Mountain, grow longer, taller and steeper over the course of the day. The process appears to happen quite rapidly, sometimes occurring within the span of a mere 5 to 6 hours. Interesting. Must be the heat.
Youth is on our Side: As I approached the finish chute, a young boy of about 4 years saw me coming and decided he was going to lead me in. He zoomed out in front of me, his short legs a-churning. (I wondered if I should be concerned at all that I couldn't seem to catch him.) After a stretch, his older brother shouted, “Get outta the way! A runner's comin'!” I felt bad when he stepped aside. He was enjoying his run as much as I was enjoying mine. Next time, my little friend, you go ahead and keep on runnin'. We'll finish 'er up together.
For the Record: 5 hours, 40 minutes – a mix of aggressive and steady as the situation merited. Satisfied all the way around.
Congratulations on a great race Ron! You really made Team No Name proud! ;-)
Thanks to you and everyone else who stuck around and waited for us slower folks to finish...sure was nice to see such a big crowd at the finish line!
Congrats on another fine run, Ron. It was nice meeting you at the Western Waterfront today. See you next time.