Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ultra Weekend Details (more photos than details)

For a great description of the Saturday, read Pete's blog of Saturday's 50 miler.

For lots of photos, see my photo album.

During Saturday's 50 miles on the Ice Age Trail, I stuggled from mile 18 to 35 with a sour stomach and weak legs. Since Leadville, I'd run about a total of 10 miles. During this time, Mitch, with years of experience, did something brilliant. He would fall back and have me lead the train. As he put it, my pride made me run faster and stronger.

We all were impressed with Erik. He's a 17 year old young man, brother of my daughter's friend from church. He had hiked nearly 150 miles of the Superior Trail in September, most of those miles were solo. When I asked him to join us, it seemed like he might be able to keep up, especially if we walked a lot. Erik not only kept up, but was always either right behind Mitch or Molly. I don't think Erik was too fond of the walking. I think he could have run the entire distance.

As we sat ieating protein n a bar in Luck, WI, I settled on the advice of those around the table that I should get a little sleep before heading out again. I was tired, sore and a little more beat up than I had hoped to be at 50 miles.

Mitch drove Eli and me home; I tried to sleep. Once home, I simply went into list-check-off mode for an hour, assembling and sorting supplies for the next section. I need to carry supplies for the night run as well as supplies for the marathon. To bed at midnight. Awake in bed until 1am. Some sleep from 1-2:30. Up. Dress. Eat Life cereal. Out the door. Park the car. Start running at 3:30.

I began with a headlamp, but the trail was smooth and I figured that if someone were to attempt to "jump" me, I'd be more difficult to find without a headlamp on. It was beautiful to run with no lighting. Under Highway 36, under 694, into North Saint Paul.

The lights from houses and buildings were a comfort. Especially as I neared the Lake Phalen area where several runners have recently been attacked.

2 minutes of running, 2 of walking - for 3 hours. This gave me 6 miles every hour. A great strategy as I worried about reaching the early morning shuttle bus to the marathon start.

The bridge crossing Highway 35E was glorious as the downtown buildings were lit up and cars passed underneath. It also meant that the state capitol was only 2 miles away. Past the capitol, and crews setting up the marathon finish area.

A fast, prideful, finish run to the Kelley Inn. 13.8 miles. The total mileage by 6:15am was now 63 miles. Hot water from the bathroom tap to mix with my dehydrated chicken noodle soup mix. Stand in line for the bus. 30 minute bus ride to the metrodome. Chicken soup mix tasted terrible.

At the metrodome, I was met by Helen Lavin and friend Val. Helen had prepared peanut butter sandwiches and a Coke for me. Val brought along a bog of food that could have fed an army. It was so nice to meet them and talk with them both. I think the friendly conversation did me more good than all the food.

I started the marathon in corral 1 but the folks in corral 2 (having started 90 seconds later) passed me before I had even reached the first mile. I stuck to my 2 minute on/off strategy for the first hour. Then, it started to rain and get cold. I was not moving very fast so I got very cold.

At mile 8, I borrowed a spectator's phone, called Marth and asked her to come pick me up. While she had her phone on her, she had set it to flight mode and she didn't get any of my subsequent 6 calls until after church. It was probably best this way. I kept going. Some people gave me a slice of pizza and a large cup of coffee. I'd never run a marathon with a cup of coffee in hand.

At mile 9, the sag wagon caught me and a nice lady from Texas. She was tapering for the Marine Marathon the next weekend. Either get on the bus and drop out or stay ahead of it. I played cat and mouse with the bus until mile 13.1. Having run 76 miles by 11am, I stopped. 76 miles in 19 hours.


keith said...

wow...that was an epic run! good job, joel.

Anonymous said...

Joel - that is an amazing weekend! Even more so with your low mileage lead-up. Sorry I missed you at the start, but it sounds like you got what you needed. Great effort, and what an adventure!