Jared wanted to do some running in the woods for his birthday, so Friday we headed north to Duluth. We planned to camp on the SHT Friday night, and then run the Wild Duluth course on Saturday. This was an especially nice treat for me, since I had to withdraw from the race in October due to lingering issues from Superior.
I’ve had a fascination with winter endurance racing since I first heard about the Arrowhead Ultra several years ago. This was back when I was a cyclist, so I often spent my days imagining myself traversing the pristine north woods on my fat bike, nothing but wolf howls and the mind’s solitude-induced noise to keep me occupied. This never materialized.
I’m in the process of writing a longer post about my decision to run the Tuscobia 75, but for now, gear. I needed some cold weather gaiters for my Lone Peaks. Altra makes this a relatively easy task by equipping their trail shoes with a Gaiter Trap on the back of all of their trail shoes. Prototype #1 came out quite nicely using Cordura and scraps for lining.
The post-Superior malaise culminated in a moment of exquisite injury, illness, unfavorable life circumstances, and the slow fade of summer’s joys into dull shades of winter. The moment passed, the autumn reemerged very much like summer, my legs regained their capacity to run, and food began to taste like something other than vomit.
A few months ago, I had ambitiously signed up for both the Superior 100 and Twin Cities marathon. I thought very little about the having only four weeks in between events, or the fact that the unique demands of each would directly oppose the demands of the other.
It’s hard to believe that the Superior 100 is just a couple days away. I’ve been preparing for this race for so long that the reality of it is jarring. It’s served as this shapeless thing, guiding my actions and fueling my motivation, but I never thought it was actually going to happen.
This story started almost two years ago. I limped away from the Moose Mountain Marathon badly broken, but not dispirited. I told my parents, “Next year, I run the 50 and the following year, the 100.” It seemed like nonsense at the time. I was a mess. From mile 10, my IT band made it almost impossible to move forward. I hobbled to a cringe-worthy finish in 6:20:36.
“Are you the dude who got smoked by the tree?” he asked me.
I gingerly rubbed the top of my head.
“How’s your pride?”
I conceded that the pride had taken quite a blow, but if I walked away without a concussion, I would be happy. We had a good chuckle.