Friday, November 22, 2013

Superior Sawtooth 100: 2013 Version


In the weeks coming up to Superior 100 I wasn’t sure if I was going to be fortunate enough to line up at the start or not. My ankle was so so-not painful , but not strong, either.  I decided I was going to line up and let it take me as far as it could.

A week or so before the race I invited my Dad up to hang out on the North Shore in my beautiful condo. He was recovering from a broken clavicle so wouldn’t be able to do a lot of hiking or biking, but said he’d like to meet me at some of the aid stations. I was thrilled!!! I’ve never had anyone want to meet me at the aid stations before and especially not a 100!  WOW! How wonderful.

FaceBook had me on edge!  Running races with since the social community came on board adds a measure of anxiety for me. Instead of nestling in and thinking about it myself there are many many others posting about the race as well. I don’t need the added anxiety factor!

The weekend weather was forecast to be gorgeous!  I was really excited to get some hours on the Superior Hiking Trail.

I drove to Two Harbors on Thursday afternoon for the packet pick up party. It was awesome!  Lots of friends to reconnect with and listening to John Storkamp is always a blast.  Drove back to Lutsen to Eagle Ridge to nestle in for the night.

Friday morning was beautiful. Not cold, not wet.  I loaded the bus at Caribou Highlands to the start at Gooseberry Falls. Lots of nervous chatter enroute. I could have done without that!  I haven’t bussed to the start the future I will continue to drive myself J

We mingled and conversed at Gooseberry. Took photos, reconnected with my best of friends. I have so missed the ultra community during my injuries. They truly are what is most important about ultra, to me.

John spoke for quite some time before he told us to GO!  We were off!  Off to make some memories!

The first thing I realized was I was hot as hell. So glad that I was only wearing a skirt and tank. I was carrying 3 – 24 ounce bottles of water/heed in my pack with a bunch of Hammergel. This would carry me to the first aid station 10 miles or so out.

In my previous race reports for Superior Sawtooth I have described every foot of the trail-look back to 2006, 2007 and 2008 if you are curious. This is a more concise version!

I ran into aid station 1 at Split Rock, 10 miles out from start. My third bottle was dry..I couldn’t believe how warm it was. I filled up my bottles and headed on down the trail. My ankle was feeling solid , blisters were becoming a problem. I removed a sock at this station and popped my blisters with the pin from my race bib. Slathered on some more foot potion and headed on down the trail.

Aid station 2 was another 10 miles out, at Beaver Bay. I knew Dad would be here!  I was so excited as I ran, just knowing that I would see him there. What a great concept..having someone who loves you at the aid stations. I didn’t put any pressure on him, didn’t ask for any crew duty. He was going to drive along the course and check in..awesome!

I again drank 80 ounces during this section. As I ran into the station I spotted Dad right away!  I gave him a big hug and accidently hurt his collar bone which he just had surgery on. Oops!  I was so excited to see him there. He had my drop bag so I again popped a blister, cleaned my foot, put on a new sock. Laughed a bit, gave him a big kiss and hobbled on down the trail.

Yup, the ankle was barking at me now. I could feel it  tighten and saw how  swollen it was becoming when I removed my gaiter and sock at the previous aid station.  I knew that each step was a gift and that I would do whatever the ankle would allow. Of course I was bummed that I wasn’t going to make it, but I really was happy just to be running some miles on the Superior Hiking Trail.

Aid station 3 is at Silver Bay, 25 miles out. As I approached the station I spotted Dad, holding my bag with a big smile on his face!  I grabbed a sweet potato from the bag that I had stored in a Ziploc with an ice pack. It was still cold!  Awesome as it was SO hot out!  I introduced him to everyone, most of which who had already introduced themselves to him. It was great fun.

I told Dad that my ankle was holding up so well and that I was going to try to make it to Co Rd 6 but Tettegouche could be the end of my race. I told him that nobody was allowed at Tettegouche, this was a mistake. There were not drop bags at Tettegouche but people could park and walk in. Oops. He then went onto Co Rd 6.

As I ran into the plus 50K mileage I knew the end was coming. My ankle was swollen and felt horrible. I wasn’t going to risk it …  I didn’t realize I had already done the damage. 

I ran into Tettegouche-35 miles and called it a day.  I hung around a while and caught a ride to Co Rd 6 to meet up with my Dad.

As I walked up to him he was looking toward the aid station, waiting for me to come in. I showed up on the opposite side, he knew my race was then finished.  No tears, no huge disappointment, just the end of a fun day on the trail.

We drove back to the condo and visited, reminiscing about the day and other was really quite awesome.  I guess I’ve grown quite a bit since my first  DNF at Superior!  Thank God.

I called my Dr. and was able to get right in. Xrays showed I broke the fibula bone, right above where I had fractured it  in July. I was immediately placed back into the boot..for 5 more weeks.



Olga said...

Good to hear from you, Julie. I had a fun day like that at Ozark - and it ended at mile 51, but no regrets. I knew it was to be that way, and I had good time on trails, so we just go on, right? You look good, girl. Hope you're finally out of the boot!

svetlozar said...

Interesting blog :)