Here we are once again 2 weeks out from the Superior 100. I’m registered and I’m excited. I have to admit, however, that a part of me is a little suprised to be typing those words.
When the calendar flipped over to 2014, I was relatively out of shape: I had gotten lazy after crossing the finish line in Lutsen last year. My mileage was down, and my weight was up. I really wasn’t sure what was in my running future. Would I do another 100? Or even amother marathon? But just as I was wrapping up a Holiday visit with family in Pennsylvania, on one of my last days in town I had a great hike with my oldest friend Rich. We had a great day, with great weather on the Rachel Carson Trail, though encountering more than a couple of hunters with rifles was slightly unsettling – but no real worries as i had my blaze-orangish jacket. I think this hike really kickstarted my inspiration and my passion for running that had faltered in the early winter months. I came back to Minnesota and restarted my mileage tracking (which i had not done much of in 2013), and this was a huge motivator for me as I love nerding out over the numbers.
I was running slow, but began to realize that I was logging more winter month miles than i ever had before. I also started trying out cold weather biking, and purchased some running showshoes with my friend Tim. These were a great way to mix things up and enjoy the outdoors while staying in shape. Sneaking in some nighttime snowshoe laps in fresh powder on the mountain bike trails in Theo Wirth was some of the best fun i had all winter. As we rolled into March my friend Jason started ramping up his training for the Zumbro 100, and it was really fun & inspiring getting to share some of that with him, as he posted some really impressive training feats in the weeks before the race. I still brag about the back-to-back 20 milers we did in 20 below windchills one weekend. And then getting to crew for him as he totally crushed his race (though he still frustratingly won’t admit it) was more inspiring than i can describe.
Tim also convinced me to join the Mill City Running race team this spring. I was very reluctant at first since I’ve never been a very fast runner, firmly in the middle of pack (and my slowwwwww winter miles this year seemed to indicate that i was only moving further back), but eventually i relented and its one of the best decisions i have made all year. I started pushing to run faster at the MCR group runs, and signed up for my first road 5Ks in years, and believe it or not, training faster made me race faster! In a whirlwind summer of racing, i tallied up two road marathon PR’s, a 50K PR, two 5K PR’s (including a sub 20:00!), ran half voyaguer over an hour faster than last year (though a different course), and ran all of the Endless Summer events faster than last year. All the credit for these goes to all the great people i’ve met at Mill City for inspiring me to try running faster! And finally, i decided to volunteer at the Voyageur 50 Mile trail race this year, and seeing so many runners giving it everything they had on a brutally hot day was just incredible. If i don’t run Voyageur in 2015 i will definately be back to volunteer!
Finally, just this past weekend I participated in the Powderhorn 24 – a 24 hour bicycle endurance event around a 5ish mile loop with lots of bonus stops around the Powderhorn neighborhood that help give you a taste of the area has to offer (and it’s a lot!). Me and my friends Bryan & Madeline rode pretty much the first 100 miles together. We all had a great time, and i ended up logging around 200 miles! As we were hanging around after the event ended, waiting for the podium anouncements I found myself thinking: “Endurance events really are something special”. Not only is there the feeling that you and the other participants are all in a kind of grand adventure together where everyone seems to root for each other, but for that little slice of time from the starting gun to the finish line, you can mostly forget all your anxieties, your problems, issues at work…. whatever troubles you, and focus on nothing but the task at hand: i put in the work, now what can i accomplish today doing an activity i love. I often joke that i love suffering in races, but it’s true, and the reason is because in that moment everything is simple. You’ve got one problem in that moment, and you get to overcome it by running! Or biking!
So yeah, i’m excited not only for Superior, but for whatever events come next! I can’t wait to see what can’t kind of nonsense i can get myself into! Its only August, but already i am anticipating the winter and 2015, looking forward to racing and volunteering in some new places i haven’t seen before!
Thanks for reading!