One of my goals for the year 2010 was to run an ultramarathon that I had never before run. So, when my good friend Kyle Klingman asked if I wanted to run Minnesota's Superior Trail 50K, I jumped at the opportunity. Better yet, when I told my wife Hilary about the plans, she expressed her desire to fulfill one of her long-time goals of completing an ultramarathon, and committed to completing the race as well.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Hilary and I flew into Minneapolis on Thursday evening and were greeted at Baggage Claim by our running crew: Kyle Klingman, the Executive Director of the Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum in Waterloo, Iowa; Guy Willey and Rob Semelroth from Iowa; and Travis and Alyssa Wildeboer from Winterpark, Colorado. Thanks to Guy Willy and Willey Auto Group for supplying our crew a STYLIN' Lincoln SUV for the weekend transportation.
Having never before visited Minnesota, I was syked to see and discover the area's landscape. What a spectacular place! For those who have never run the ST 50k, the race course follows the Superior Hiking Trail through the Sawtooth Mountains, which run parallel to Lake Superior's shoreline. Lutsen Ski resort, which is conveniently located on the Superior Hiking Trail, serves as the start and finish for the race. With the exception of the first and last 1/2 mile, the entire course is run on single-track trail, which is quite technical due to the vast amount of rocks, roots, and mud. It reminds me of Vermont's Long Trail, with the exception of huge climbs that are so prevalent on the LT. But don't think for one minute that Minnesota is void of mountainous terrain. According to the data recorded on my Sunnto, the ST 50k boasts 4268 ft of elevation climb and 4334 ft of elevation loss. So, you are either climbing or descending which adds to the technicality of the course.
Because this was Hilary's first ultra, I wanted to run and finish the race at her side. Without a doubt, she has been my number one supporter and my inspiration throughout my running adventures and therefore, I wanted to reciprocate and see her reach her goal. Although, we had trained together for months, I was amazed with Hilary's strength and endurance. Her months of hard work and training had payed off and was evident in her smooth and efficient form. She set a smart pace for herself and never once let up, all the while reeling in runner's as the day went on. Hilary and I crossed the finish line in a time of 5:41:55. In her debut ultramarathon, Hilary's time was good for 7th place woman. I am thrilled to have been a part of her success. Six of our group's seven runners completed the 50K. Four of the seven ran in Inov8s. Due to the muddy conditions, I chose one of my favorite models, the Roclite 312 GTX which performed excellent, keeping my feet dry for the entire race. Hilary ran in the Roclite 268. Hilary's wide feet match up perfectly in the 268, and she has never had issues with her feet (blisters, hot spots, etc) since she began running in Inov8 shoes.
I highly recommend making the trip to Minnesota and running the Superior Trail 50K. Because the race is still fairly new, the entrant numbers are relatively low and thus gives the race a "low key" feel. There are spectacular vistas along the course and gorgous river crossings.
I previously stated on the Inov-8 blog that other goals would present themselves as the year progressed. As we were relaxing in our hotel on Saturday evening, Robb asked my PR for the marathon. In my 12+ years of running, I have never attempted a road marathon. Somewhere along the conversation, I became inspired by Rob's encouragement and decided to make running the 2011 Boston Marathon a personal goal. So keep dreaming and setting new goals...