14:46:56/14:18 avg. minute mile/4th out of 35/2nd in the 39 and under age group
14:18 average pace gives you a pretty good idea just how tough this course is. I ended up running roughly 1:40:00 faster than last year but I think most of that time was because of last year’s horrendous weather. The rocks and roots (and there are lots of them) and tops of the peaks were dry which was awesome because last year it was a little treacherous at times. I think it also helped having the experience on the course.
The night miles- With a zero dark thirty (0030) start time for the 100k you have to fully embrace the night running. You have to fully embrace running through the dark woods on technical trails with probably no one else around. It wasn’t any easier for me this year. I ended up running the first 25 miles of the race in the dark. Mentally, it’s just tough. Maybe it’s because all you can do is stare at the ground 5 ft. in front of you mile after mile and this part of the course has some tough route finding and serious technical terrain. After the first 11 mile loop I decided to put in one earbud in and listen to a podcast. Thanks Ten Junk Miles, you definitely helped with that second 11 mile loop. I think one of my favorite parts of the night course is running up and around the big Forestville Dam and waterfall. It’s also cool to cross the tracks and see the LS&I train hauling iron ore to the dock. My Great Grandpa, who I was never able to meet, worked on that train back in the 40’s.
I was really looking forward to sunrise and it came about a mile before Sugarloaf. Funny story, I actually made a wrong turn at the exact same spot I did last year. I know I’m not the only one who gets confused here because there’s really no distinct trail on top of the rock. It cost me about 10 minutes. Next year, GO RIGHT, NOT LEFT! Sunrise and daylight definitely helped. In these longer races I don’t get too involved with the competition side of things. Racing myself is the priority but I did take note when the volunteer at the Sugarloaf Aid Station said I was running 10th.
The rest of big loop #1- I continued to feel good and was able to run the majority of the Lake Superior shoreline section and Harlow Lake Area (minus Top of the World of course). Then came Hogsback which was a power hike at best. It was so nice for it to be dry this year! Before long I was descending Hogsback, through Confusion Corner and on my way back to Forestville Aid Station which serves as the start line/main aid station/finish line. As I arrived I was happy to see the boys and Mom and Dad. I changed shoes because I had to dump out some dirt and rocks anyway. When I started to leave the boys tried following me. They didn’t realize I still had 20 miles to go. I did sneak them cookies from the aid station so they were happy about that. They headed to the beach and I headed back on course.
Big loop #2- The race begins. So I entered Forestville just after 2 other 100k runners. We were 5th, 6th, and 7th at the time. Remember earlier when I mentioned about really only caring about racing myself? I guess I lied. At this point in the race a good friendly competition was maybe just what I needed. We all left at the same time and stuck together up and over Hogsback for the second time. We were all hurting to a point. They’d go ahead and I’d fall back. Then they’d fall back and I’d go ahead. One guy, from Colorado, was almost painful to watch run. Then I figured out his problem when he asked a random stranger if they had any Vaseline. Note to self- you should also apply more Body Glide too. Around mile 46 I decided to see if I could push the pace and put some distance between us. Throughout the race I spent very little time at aid stations. I got what I needed and got out, eating while walking down the trail. After another trip up Top of the World I made it to Harlow Lake Aid in 5th place. Another 100k racer was there and he looked like he was hurting big time. So I left in 4thand never looked back. The last 5-6 miles are really tough. Lots of steep uneven, rocky, climbing. All things considered I was moving pretty good. I think I made pretty good time going up the backside (much harder side of Sugarloaf). I was definitely happy to hit the last aid station because both my bottles were dry and it was definitely heating up. In those final miles I expected one of the guys I’d been racing to come up from behind me but they never did. Just the thought of that certainly had me moving faster and certainly helped my time. I actually crossed the finish line about 15 and 20 minutes ahead of the guys I started the second big loop with. It was great to cross that finish line, grab some ice water and sit for the first time in around 15 hours. Maybe the biggest surprise of the whole race. I didn’t hit the ground once, but I definitely came close.
Nutrition- Another race in which I feel I did a great job with fueling. First 26 miles was a combo of water and Tailwind. I also had some banana and a Cliff bar. After 30 miles I changed to water and Coke. I also started eating much more. I probably had 15 chewy Chips Ahoy cookies, a couple small pb&j squares, several handfuls of potato chips, and 8 pickles. Ever eat a pickle that’s been basically baking in a Rubbermaid container all day in the sun? I did at mile 58 and it was glorious. I also had a few salt caps at mile 48 because it started warming up (especially on top of the peaks). Stomach felt great throughout. In the final 10 miles I started drinking more and probably could have used the next size up in Ultimate Direction bottles. My philosophy which I’ll continue to use is if it looks good eat it. My go to Fig Newton’s were at every aid station but I didn’t eat one this time.
Another key to success (I think) was again keeping my heart rate low. My average heart rate was 131bpm. Early in the race once I saw it getting close to 140 I backed it down. Only in the last 10 miles did I let it get into the 150’s and on some of those climbs it was pretty easy to do even while hiking.
I did this race again for a few reasons. I love the Marquette outdoor scene and the trails you get to run on for this race. Any chance to get there I’ll take. I also wanted a big race going to The Bear 100. 62 miles with over 7,000 ft. of climbing is exactly what I needed 40 days out. It was a good confidence boost. Sure, I was definitely sore. My legs hurt, my feet hurt and I was feeling pretty stiff. You just have to keep moving forward.
Can’t say I’ll be running the 100k again in 2018 but I’d certainly love to run one of the distances. From the course, the race organization and volunteers this is as good trail running gets.
Here we see a Canadian Pacific transfer move in Duluth, Minnesota. In this series the train is utilizing tracks once owned by the Northern Pacific and is passing the former Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range ore dock (now CN).
[It was nice to catch this Soo Line unit on the head end. The Soo Line is a subsidiary of the Canadian Pacific but most equipment has been painted in the CP scheme. Soo 4413 is an EMD GP38-2 that was built in 1978.]
Five images by Richard Koenig; taken April 22nd 2017.
Historic photos of Duluth, Minnesota. Top: Detroit Publishing Company panorama, circa 1898. Second & Third: Skyline views of Duluth, circa 1905, by Detroit Publishing Company via shorpy.com. Fourth: View of Minnesota Point from Incline Railway, Duluth, circa 1905 by Detroit Publishing Company via shorpy.com. Fifth: Duluth Ore Docks, circa 1907, by Detroit Publishing Company (Library of Congress). Bottom: The Aerial Lift Bridge, circa 1920, from USC Digital Collections.
On a whim, I decided to join Dr. Magnus on his trip to Duluth one evening. I had nothing serious planned for the following day, and could afford to get little sleep in exchange for the adventure I knew would take place in that beautiful city. We met up with explorer extraordinaire, Glass, who proceeded to take us on a tour of some of Duluth’s most luxurious abandoned ore docks.
There was also time to play tourist. We snapped photos of the famous lift bridge and drank coffee at both Grandma’s and Perkins.
“An Evening in Duluth” - Adventure Series #7 Completed Late 2011 - Photography Work - Shapes Industries
Day at the docks. Built at the turn of the century and decommissioned in the 70′s, these ore loading docks are still the largest of their kind in the world. A couple friends and I recently explored them.