Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My Wild Adventures at Wild Duluth 2012...

Race Report from LPTRunner Angela Barbera...

As I was standing on the podium bathed in the applause and accepting my slate grey cap award for winning the competitive Super (not senior) Masters Woman Champion division I reflected upon the past 20+ hours and determined yes, to enjoy this moment was worth it all !!
Wild Duluth 2012 was rerouted this year due to the damage suffered in the Jay Cooke State Park. I read about the twists and turns in the race packet paying close attention to the description of a confusing intersection – whatever direction it is approached from, remember to run straight through it. The RD Andy Holak made sure to describe the intersection pre-race advising us that it would be marked – remember to run straight through it. I understood exactly what I needed do – therefore when I came upon the intersection around 13 miles after carefully reviewing the signs and flagging I made a sharp right. Up a single track trail, to the right again, and then up a steep hill called Spirit Mtn – only to be shocked to find that I had reached the Spirit Mtn Aid Station 31mile turnaround. Back, back, back to circle the confusing intersection and discuss with my cohorts that certainly straight was not the correct direction. Our group of seven were now bringing up the rear.
The day was beautiful, the volunteers great, I enjoyed the new course. It was technical and included some rock jumping. Talked with old friends made some new friends – was the recipient of some great stories from John T - had a wonderful time. By 47miles I had made up the time lost in the morning and was hoping to beat my time from last year. I only need to get back to the finish that was 15 miles away in 5 hours to make the goal. My stomach was starting to grumble but I figured I could get it done!
I probably should have grabbed some soup at the aid station – but oops, did not! My stomach finally won a couple of miles later and the contents were expelled from my body. I felt better almost immediately but woozily continued to follow the blue blazes on the trees with my headlamp. About 5 minutes later I found myself alone and confused about where I was and how I got there. There were a lot of paths, however no flagging or blue blazes in sight. On the positive side it certainly woke me out of slumber. The next 30 or so minutes were spent trying to find the path and determine the best option. I did not want to be “that runner” and not even sure how I would even be found if someone went looking for me in several hours. Finally I came across a white blaze on a tree and it was marked as a trail spur to the main SHT trail. I affectionately patted the tree and was considering kissing it. I found my way back to the SHT and luckily there was a flag so I could determine what direction I needed to continue in. After another hour or so or so I finally reached the aid station and upon my inquiry was told I was not the last runner and could continue on. My stomach was back to fighting with me and the volunteers generously offered me a piece of their pizza – however I knew that would not work. I grabbed half a banana and some coke and continued on.
Soon I paired up with my new friend Gary confident that he was my angel and I would not get lost and subsequently ripped apart by the coyotes in the wild that night. A couple of miles later the banana along with my shoes were expelled from my stomach – making me feel like a new woman. With only 6 or so miles to go I knew I would not need any additional food or drink to make it in, and that we would finish and we did!!
The finish was not pretty but a finish is a finish and looking back on it now I can say I truly enjoyed the entire day. Friends, trails, scenery, and a good chili at the end…can life get any better? A great weekend!

1 comment:

  1. I love reading about these adventures. It brings back a few memories of what pain and suffering in an ultra was all about. Friends, trail scenery, purging to make room for real food and the finish line.
    Angela- Great story. Recover and find some more fun in the woods. Yes and I didn't need to be there to see your wonderful smile when you finished.