Sunday, July 26, 2009

Voyaguer 50 Mile Trail Run: A Perfect Day :)

I must say I was a bit apprehensive about running Voyaguer 50 yesterday. I fretted it over it a bit as I don't have all of the long distance running miles as I have had in the past two years. I didn't run the Afton 50K as I went up to the lake with the family, I didn't have two 100 finishes prior either as I have in the past. I was also concerned about all of the lifting I have been doing, maybe the effects would show up on the trail. You know, I had to have something to worry about.

Before I left the house yesterday morning I took a look at the weather forecast for Carlton and Duluth. Duluth showed thunderstorms and Carlton showed showers. Great. The power lines become orange mountains of lard when they are wet and you know how I enjoy running in the cold rain. Not.

I headed out at 330 AM, a bit tired as I was totally Godsmacked at the Myth Friday night. Fabulous! I had plenty of time to make my way to Duluth, arriving around 630 for the 700 start. Lots of visiting friends and visiting the bathroom. The beans Friday were making themselves known. Yikes.

I saw Uncle Al Sauld, but where was Debbie McKenzie? Debbie, we missed you. Were you golfing, instead of running?

I wore a new top yesterday, one that has a good sized pocket in the inside, in between my boobs. I decided I'd stash a few gels in there as I can't stand the way my race ready shorts fit and I didn't want to wear a belt or pack. Sadly Voyaguer doesn't have gels on the course. Or Heed. I had gels in the small inside pocket of my shorts as well as my bottle pocket. I also had gels in two drop bags with a Red Bull in each. I have never tried Red Bull while running before but figured if the RockStars (Helen, John Duke..) use it then I should try it.

So the shirt, it worked great! I looked like I had a third boob but who cares? The gels fit in there perfectly along with an 11 hour pace chart. I was hoping to finish in 11 but didn't really know what might happen.

Off we went, leaving the High School in Carlton, up the street, onto the asphalt bike path and into the woods and rocks. This first 4 miles is a bit like the Superior Hiking Trail. I like it on the way out, hate it on the way back.

I found myself with Matt Long, Kevin and Paul; listening to their conversations as I ran along. It was a really nice morning. The sun was shining and it didn't look like rain. Happy days.

It was great to see so many women running the race. I never looked at the entrants list but I think I will to see how many women ran. Alicia registered in the morning and was number 137! Lots of runners for a 50 mile.

Over the swinging bridge, before the first aid station. Be sure to smile, click, they take your picture, have it developed and it is ready for pickup at the end of the race. Cool.

Wayne was working the aid station, refilled my bottle with Ultima, the race drink, and off I went.

OK, rant about Ultima. You know I favor Heed but drink Ultima at Voyaguer because it is there and I didn't feel like dragging Heed in drop bags, having to take the time, etc. Well, I noticed this morning in my race bag there is a sample of Ultima. Get this: 10 CALORIES per 16 ounces. TEN!!!!! 3 grams of Carb. WTF is up with that? This is more of an Scap in drink form. I can't believe it. I can't believe I haven't researched this and just drank it, thinking it must be relatively near Heed's 130 calories/35 g of carb per bottle. NOT. Dang. More work for me next year; dragging along powder. No wonder I feel totally wiped out at mile 40. I am mistakenly thinking that I am consuming 1000 calories/350 grams of carb when I am getting like nothing. Wow. Eye opener. I'm glad the sample pack of Ultima was in my packet.

I kind of think I must be reading the label wrong? How could this me an energy drink?

OK, enough of that business.

I ran along, feeling great, strong no worries. The clouds looked friendly, it was warming up, it was going to be a super fine day. Indeed.

About 2 hours in I approached the power lines. Crazy 300 feet hills of orange mud hills over and over again with a few rivers thrown in for added entertainment. The hills were actually in pretty good shape. A few slippery spots but not too bad. It's been MUCH worse!

As I crested the top of a hill I heard Kevin yell "ICEBERG". I gave him a pump of the arm. It was the last time I was in front of him.

I wore my Garmin Forerunner 50 and as I was running through the river I saw that it still had the footpod signal. Cool.

Out of the powerlines, no damage, all good. Onto the bike path for a bit and then an aid station 15.5 miles I believe. I had gels here so dropped my trash and refilled my boob pocket. Sweet.

I wasn't really running in a pack anymore, I was hanging out on my own, totally enjoying the scenery.

As I was running a downhill section deep in the woods I was thinking about how I was really in a zone. Really running hard, feeling good, listening to Ozzy now. As I was thinking about how great this all was a man was at my side. I about jumped out of my skin. I felt bad because I was not paying any attention at all and I should have had one ear bud out so that I was at least paying attention to other races. I apologized, he apologized for scaring me, I said I should have been listening for runners, it was embarrassing. This is why some don't like us to wear headphones while running. I totally broke the rule. Oops. The man was running really strong and was a good 40 minutes ahead of me at the turnaround.

Before the final section before the turnaround I began to see the front runners approach. Andy Holak was first and ended up winning the race in 7:16! Good job, Andy. 7:16. Just floors me! I believe Dusty ( Scott Jurek friend and pacer) was next, and John was next. Woohoo! Not too much later and here comes Helen, looking as strong as can be! Helen took first woman in 8:07 I believe! Incredible. I can't imagine.

Onto the final section before the turnaround. At 25 I had a Red Bull and more gels. I slammed the Red Bull, it was tasty. No aftertaste, no burping, just numminess. I emptied out my used gels and refilled with some more. Up and out of there.

I saw Doug Hansel at the turnaround and told him to get going. He is so much faster than I, he had no business running my pace! I decided to take out my pace chart and saw, much to my almost horror, that I was on pace for 10 hours. Oh oh. I needed to slow down, didn't I? Then I saw Julie Treder and was even more concerned. She's usually a good piece ahead of me too.

I didn't feel bad so figured I'd just keep running as I had been. I knew I would eventually slow down. I might as enjoy it while I was feeling strong.

Out of the zoo and uphill forever. It's so much fun to see the rest of the runners running into the turnaround. Lots of good jobs and high fives.

At Becks Road I ran out with Connie, Kami, Julie and Doug. On the way up the hill, Steve Q passed us. He exclaimed "road section, I'm faster here" or something like that. He was too! He zoomed right by us.

Steve posted on his blog that he felt it was time to beat me at this race. As we entered the woods I told Doug to take off and quit hanging with me. You should have seen him fly! He zoomed out of there and ended up finishing in 9 something! Wow.

I was feeling strong and fast so ran hard down down down the path, passing Steve, but saying "you can still beat me"! I didn't feel like I was going too fast, but who knows. Again, figured I might as well spend what I had.

At mile 35 I couldn't believe how good I felt. I had a drop bag, slammed another Red Bull and realized I hadn't been grabbing any solid food. I had depended entirely on Hammergel, two Red Bull and Ultima. I was calculating each Ultima to be 130 calories.

My shorts were really bothering me. I was SO wet! I was sweating like crazy, more than usual. Well, I never used to really sweat much running these things. My shorts were soaked and clinging to my thighs. This was causing horrible chafing. I looked at my legs and the girl that had been telling me how great and strong I looked gasped. Ooh, raw. I grabbed a glob of Vaseline and rubbed it onto the chafing. Ouch.

It was only about 65 so I don't get the sweating so much. Maybe it just took 5 years of ultra running for my body to begin to work correctly.

Each aid station I looked for Vaseline thereafter and lubed up. Thank god each aid station had some! Pain I tell you. Pain.

Back over the power lines. Now I was back with Connie and Kami. I thought I recognized Connie from Superior 50K, she won. At the awards ceremony she told me she had ordered some of my Foot Potion and loved it. If this was Connie, I had just mailed her out two MORE canisters of Food Potion Wednesday! I didn't ask her if she was Connie until after the race while we were showering, yes, it was Connie! I could have saved her the postage.

The rivers felt good on my feet which felt hot for some reason. There was a very light shower, but nothing much, more like a mist now and it actually felt good. The power lines were in great shape, they had dried out were actually tacky.

Mile 39.5 aid station came and went. Onto the final 10 miles. This seems like it is all uphill at first. I was so happy I made it through the power lines unscathed, then it is miles of uphill grinding. I was now on 1020 pace. Still thrilled but worried that I hadn't peed at all the whole freaking race.

Mile 44 aid station is coming up and I see Kami is missing it. I yell out to her so she turns around to make it. That would really suck, to miss the aid station at mile 44! Ugh.

Now I'm just trying to get to the finish. Everything is tired, I keep telling myself this is how it is supposed to feel..hard. If it was easy there would be more than 130 people running and I probably wouldn't be here. So suck it up and get it done.

Final aid station. Wayne is still working, tops off my bottle and I'm out of there. Wrap this baby up. It begins to pour out as I'm running over the bridge. Downpour. I know that the next section is my nightmare on the way back. Now it will be wet and slippery. I tell myself to be are now at the last section, you made it. Enjoy the final miles. Ok, Ok.

I let Kami go ahead, I could not talk anymore. I just had to grind this out. I recall that it took me 39 minutes to reach AS1 so it will probably take me an hour to get to the finish. Hmph.

Rain rain rain. But at least it waited until the finish. It could have been so much worse, it could have been raining through the power lines so be happy. Be happy that you are able to do this, that you don't have any blisters and the only pain is the chafing. That's pretty good!

Ok, across the bridge, amen, and onto the bike path. Run Run Run, onto the road and I can see the school. Thank goodness! Lots of cheering, there is John and Helen, there is the finish line in 10:44. I think. I forgot to stop my watch. Woohoo!!

Celebrate the race!

Even with the rain many spectators and finishers stayed at the finish line to cheer on the runners. I sat down with Helen and John and learned that Helen BEAT John in the final 1/4 mile. I said " Helen is the winner, see her prize...John is the loser that sits and cries", all in fun, of course. John was pretty excited that Helen beat him! Nice stuff.

After chatting for quite some time I went in for a hot shower. Fabulous. Wash away the chill and the dirt.

More visiting, awards and hot coffee. I even received an award for a 5 year finisher. I didn't realize it! I enjoyed talking with Kim Holak about Hardrock. Wow. What an epic adventure. This was her second year and she'd like to go out every year forever. She loves it that much! Amazing.

Eventually I called it a day and packed up for home, hoping to get pretty close before dark. I have horrible night vision.

Back home by 1000 to revisit the day with Steve and the boys. What a great day!

This morning Topaz and I went for a five mile run. Slow and easy. No pain but for the chaffing. Oh man. What is up with that? I slathered Foot Potion all over it so I could run. It felt so much better. I'm down 8 pounds today. This is strange as I used to always be up and bloated with water / salt post race. My body is beginning to act differently during racing. I don't pee every hour, as I used to..I didn't pee during the race once and not until I arrived home last night. I still drink the same amount, at least 24 oz each hour. Yesterday I drank more. I am not eating all of the sandwiches during the race, this may be the weight difference/bloat. I'm not sure. I no longer take eCaps or Scaps because I became so swollen during the race. I found that Heed was enough. I didn't take any salt yesterday, maybe this is one reason I'm not so bloated/heavy the next day? Interesting.

Thanks to the race committee and all of the volunteers that make this race what it is!

Up next: Lean Horse 100 August 21


SteveQ said...

Coming back from the turnaround, when I saw you I knew you'd finish ahead of me, though it hurts a little that you did it while singing along with the i-pod. It was 90 minutes later that the first women in skirts passed me.

Everyone hates Ultima - nothing in it AND it tastes bad! It does require one to plan out putting everything in drop bags, so i count it as good practice for Superior.

Helen said...

Great job Julie - it was fun seeing everyone out there and it looked like most people were enjoying it though it was a pity it rained towards the end - the rocks are bad enough without it!

I made a promise that I would not continue my gloating about beating John once yesterday was over but I totally enjoy anyone else doing it on my behalf :)

Hope you make it to the Luce Line run next weekend.

Wayne said...

Nice job, Julie... it was nice to see you out there. Too bad I didn't realize what I was serving you! That's something to make note of the next time I'm at an aid station.

sea legs girl said...


Great race and race report! I am pretty sure I saw you but was sorry I didn't get a chance to meet you.

Did you honestly go for a 5 mile run the day after the race? Two days later and I still can barely get up from sitting.

Zach said...

Wow, what an eye opener about the Ultima, I guess I should do more research in the future, I just assume that these drinks at these races are all some form of maltodextrin / 100 and some calorie per bottle drink. I survive largely on sports drink calories so I don't have to eat as much, I'm surprised I didn't crash. I was hungrier than I thought I should be however... :) Great race, was nice chatting at dinner!

Travis said...

great report Julie! Congrats on a great time! I'm coming up for Superior 50 in September. Really looking forward to it.