Tuesday, July 27, 2010

More from Duluth... Cobie's Race Report...

Much is decided before you even get to the start line of a race.  When you have a total of three long runs in all of June and July, the longest of which was 26 miles at an average pace of 15:20, the best you can hope for at Voyageur is to hang on.  I knew that this was going to feel a little unsettling, a bit like going on a roller coaster and not having a seat bar come down all the way.  Knowing this I wisely decided to follow the advice from Beth Simpson-Hall and wore my camelbak.  "Even if you don't need it, you'll feel great being able to blow through most aid stations in seconds," she told me.  Her advice was right on the money.

I did my usual last person to cross the start line thing, and then we were off.  A bit of pavement for a little over half a mile and then a quick decent onto trail, rocks, roots, and mud.  True to form I started sweating like crazy after mile one, and was taking about 2 s caps an hour, and drinking on a regular basis.  At mile 8.5 I filled my 3 liter camelbak which was almost completely empty!  This means I would have gone through about one water bottle every 2 miles during what was the coolest time of day, and a part of the course that had relatively little elevation change.  The camelbak helped in other ways, too.  I had extra storage and didn't need use my drop bag at all, and having my hands free allowed me to eat more easily, which I did a lot of.  Every other aid station I'd fill a quart sized zip lock bag as fast as I could with whatever looked good, and in between eating aid station food I munched on the powerbars and raspberry gel blasts I was carrying.

Fast forward to the power lines.  The Duluth paper had a great picture on Sunday of a row of people trudging up them that gave you some perspective of how steep they are.  I didn't see anyone sprint them.  However, on the way to the turnaround they weren't that bad because a blanket of clouds covered the sky and the temps were still fairly cool (I hit them just after 9am).  A little over a mile from the power lines there was a long downhill that gave me some concern as I felt my IT band tighten.  I looked at my Garmin, 35 miles to go. CRAP!  I feared the worst and slowed my descent as much as I dared, aware that I was losing much more time on the up hills than I had thought I would.  Luckily the IT relaxed on the next ascent.

I hit the rain about an hour before the turn around.  The rain refreshed me and spurred me on to the turnaround where popsicles awaited.  My legs felt a little dead even at the turn-around and I started walking off and on all the way to the power lines, but I hung on.  Soon I gave up on navigating rocks across the creek crossings.  It was much nicer to just cool my blistered feet in the water for a couple of seconds rather than have the anxiety of slipping on muddy rocks.  When I reached the power lines the sun had come out.  Although the sun had dried much of the single track path up and down those steep hills, the heat also made the effort that much greater.  I crawled up them on my hands and feet grabbing at the dry dirt.  Not because I had to, but because this way I wouldn't see how far I still had to climb to get up them.  Somehow staring at the dirt inches from my face made the climb easier: don't worry about the top, just keep moving, just hang on.  Man, was glad I had my camelbak instead of my hand held water bottle!  I got into the aid station at the end of the power lines beating the cut-off by 15 minutes. 

Now that the sun was out and temps had risen to the mid to upper seventies fluids became even more important as I struggled up the 2 miles of slow uphill after the power lines.  Only Ten more miles, I told myself, just keep hanging on, the ride is almost over.  I reached the final aid station at 7:00 PM, 15 minutes before the cut-off.  I knew that once you make it to this aid station you were home free, and that your time would count no matter how long you took getting to the finish.  However, my goal coming to this race was to finish in under 13 hours, so I walked as fast I could over the rocks and roots of the last section to the corner that turned to go to the finish.  Then I sprinted... because, hey, you gotta look good crossing the finish, right Tom?

BONUS report from Craig Swartwout:  "I went... I ran... I finished. That's all that was left of my story after I cut out all the expletives about the course."

1 comment:

  1. Great Job Cobbie. Power lines on the flip trip are truly evil.

    Glad to see Dehart made it. where is his race report?

    I can see it now

    "I ran"