Friday, August 23, 2013

First Lake Superior Vacation Trail Run

In yesterday's feature...

Ok, yesterday was something else. I had a ton of traffic to this little blog. I made some new Twitter and IG friends (watch for my #seenonmyrun). I didn't run because it was a rest day. I did errands all over town while dodging seriously nut-so returning-to-college drivers. I was PMS'ing. I was mad and then sobbing all in one phone conversation with Bill. I took a little nap at 9:00 am. I talked to a friend about some of her "crazy cream" to help with the aforementioned craziness. I hydrated. And I marveled at how unbelievable it was to be highlighted. All day. It made my day. You made my day!! 

Now onto my/our run of the Superior Hiking Trail. 

Bill and I planned on running while in Minnesota and had packed for it. Except I packed for Iowa weather instead of cooler Minnesota weather. It had been cool morning temps the whole time we were there and my only long sleeve was a cotton Living History Farms Race shirt and no pants or capris. No matter. We woke up at 5:30 am and I threw on our clothes- tank top and shorts with said shirt over top and my favorite (read: only) long compression socks on, which I never wear on a run, only after but I wanted a little extra warmth.

Sunrise special
We hit the trail with the sun just barely up, but not over the mountain line. The first ascent isn't all that hard but with a good steady pace we got warmed up. I shed the cotton shirt and draped it over a trail sign. I figured if anyone else was up on the trail at that time of day, they could have it but since it's an extra small I figured my chances were slim of it being gone when we returned. 
Bill blazing a trail
 It was a little hard to tell when you summited the peak. We kept guessing because there was some downhill parts but then it climbed back up. Finally we reached an outlook point and knew we were at the top.
Outlook from Mystery Mountain
 We also knew because our next section was downhill, as in no more uphill. Running downhill is trickier than you might think, especially on trail. You need to focus on keep your knees still driving forward and foot striking properly all the while braking to control your speed and placing your feet among the rocks and branches and uneven ground.  
See my socks?
 In too quick of a time, Bill and I reached a little footbridge at the bottom of Mystery Mountain and we needed to turn back. Bill was trying to figure out exactly where we were via his phone but here's what we really learned: stopping equals mosquitos. No more stopping for me. I sucked down a Gu while speed walking and then moved to a run. My goal was to get back to that outlook without having to stop. I would keep moving my legs in a running manner no matter how slow. Move the arms, open the hips, lift the knees, stay tall. It wasn't a speed run just a get-to-the-top run. 
These sections were not too tricky

Thankful the canopy shade
 Then we were there! I did it! I know Bill did it too! But his muscles are bigger and he can and always has outrun me and while I know he still had to work at it, I knew he could do it. I was hoping I could. 
 Then things really started to fly. It was only a couple miles back to the trail head and mostly down hill. The climbing work was done. It didn't loom in front of me and so I let go which was good. Learning how to navigate those rocks and running off camber (when you run side to side with the hill) at a faster pace is work.
We saw one runner that morning (and he didn't take my shirt) and a couple of runners the day before when were playing on the alpine slide. They were geared up with hydration packs and I'm guessing they were training for the Fall Superior Hiking Trail races. 
I also happened to see Bill biff it big time. His body sprawled out before he came to a sliding halt. Thankfully he was not hurt as where he landed it was not rocky at all. I'm telling you, if you wipe out on that trail, it won't be pretty. (It was a little funny, though.)
We went south 
 I'm not much for watch shots but this time I wanted to remember this run. We ran approximately 4.68 miles. It took us one hour and twelve minutes, including all our stops. The last number was my last average pace, which wasn't true for the entire run. I didn't care about the numbers. 

 Once in the car I reflected on the run. I did it! And like I said yesterday, I got a little misty-eyed. It made me realize that I really could do the Spring 25K run and that's something I dreamed of but was mostly still scared of. Not so much anymore!

"What about the kids?", you ask. We prepped them with our plan the night before. When we left, we locked the door. When we returned, they were still asleep! I braved myself to go knee deep into Lake Superior, which keeps itself at a cool 54 degrees about this time of year. Ice bath, indeed. 

We are definitely looking forward to another vacation on the North Shore and also some more trail running. 


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