This morning I was up and out of the house before any sane person would rise and run. Oh, wait, there are a group of runners at Afton beginning at 10PM or 12AM so, no, I'm not the only one.
We have two neighborhood grad parties this afternoon and we are going to the Twins game tonight. Yeah, are the Twins hot or what? Holy crap. I love 'em. I give Tyler a hard time because he told me they were going to suck this year, with trading off Santana and Tori. I told his he was wrong and negative. Ha!
I had to get in my workout early. I have places to go and people to see.
I reached the Hyland Hills ski hill at 437. Flashlight and cooler in hand I traipsed up the gravel path, over the railroad tracks .. into a downed tree. Gee, it wasn't there last Thursday. I hurt my head. You know what? I have a huge bump on the back of my head where I was hit with a foul ball at Troy's baseball game last Thursday. It hurts badly. It was embarrassing; everyone asking how I was, was I going to faint, did I need ice? I didn't like all of the attention. I was fine, if I wasn't, I would have said something..you know? Anyhow, now the front of my head hurts too. I plowed right into the tree.
Onto the hill. Unpack cooler, fill bottle, spray for bugs, iPod, sunscreen. Oops. Sunglasses which I didn't yet need were on my head and feel off. I stepped on them. Scrunch. Bummer because these Oakleys are my spare pair. I lost my good pair on the way to, from or at Gretchen's last week. Damn. REI, here I come...$$
I felt good and strong..for the first 3 hours. Eventually Frisbee golfers arrived. I hadn't seen them before, when I run the hill on Sundays or Thursdays. I was looking for their Frisbee's for them as much as they were. One guy kept losing his blue disc.
After a few hours Greg Allen arrived. He is running Leadville, too. He's been out two other times and is going to get his finish this time. It was nice to talk with him, to take my mind off of the hill I was doing over and over and over again.
Pretty soon I noticed a man and woman hiking hills around me. After a while I was coming down the hill and singing with Ozzie and man and woman were at the bottom of the hill where I was heading. The man asked "Julie Berg?" "Yes, I am". "Tom Knutson" Oh! Happy Days! Tom is a legend. I told him so. He is very humble and scoffed at the idea of being legendary. He has 4 Hardrock Finishes, multiple Slams and many other incredible feats of legendary status. I was so happy to see he and his beautiful wife, Pam. I had a few more repeats before it was time to loop around so I finished them up and then asked if I could tag along with the two of them for a bit. Pam said it would be fine, that I could talk Leadville with Tom. He spoke of the course, the aid stations, the cut offs, weather, packs, liquids and foods; I'm so happy they were at the ski hill today. Tom boosted my confidence in myself in finishing Leadville. I questioned running the ski hill and he confirmed this is the type of training I should be doing.
When I was feeling strong, a few hours earlier, I had told Greg it seemed LAME-OH to be running a ski hill when others were able to run miles of mountainous elevation. Well, in MN there isn't that opportunity so I guess I gotta do what I gotta do..ski hill is it. Tom said this is right where I should be.
I was soaked. My shorts were dripping. I can't remember a time when that occurred. I seem to be sweating more than ever lately. What's up with that? It is humid, about 75 F is all. Odd.
A few hours later and it was finally time to wrap up the day. I felt nauseated and beat. I did get many more repeats in this week than last, great improvement but man, I was exhausted! I was thankful my session was done.
6 hours on the ski hill is tougher than 11 hours on the Superior Hiking Trail for me. Last week after I finished the 40 miles I was planning the next 20 for the following day. Today I'm thinking about 20 tomorrow and thinking I hope my calves aren't stiff!
I grabbed all my stuff and walked the 1/2 mile to the car. I spotted a buck peeking at me down the trail. Rarely do I see bucks. He was majestic, beautiful and huge.
My calves twiched all of the way home. I arrived here and jumped into the cool pool. Ah, relief. A cold soak in the tub and a warm shower. More relief.
Next Saturday is Voyaguer 50 Mile. The first time I ran V I ran it in 14:30 with my friend, Marie. We missed the final cut off but they allowed us to finish since we seemed to have our wits about us. Paul Hasse was the sweep and followed us to the finish. The following year I finished in 12:30, then 11:45 Last year I didn't run as I ran Vermont 100 the week before. The year before that I ran V in 10:26, my PR for the course. I would like to beat the 10:26 but I keep telling myself this is a final long training run before Leadville. No need to push or rush. Relax and enjoy. I'll see how it goes. 10:25 PR would be pretty sweet.