Misadventures in Trail Running

Last week’s long run looked a little funky, with 10.7 miles split up into one short run and one longer run. It has a story and some lessons to go along with it.

I didn’t do any running on the Harder ‘n Hell race course last week, but I did do a fair bit of trail running. I had all these grand plans earlier this year to run all these different places, and I hadn’t really done any of them. So I planned to do my Sunday long run at Tettegouche State Park, a bit over an hour away from Duluth up the North Shore.

I didn’t plan ahead, and it cost me. First, I trusted my GPS, rather than looking at a map. DO NOT TRUST THE GPS TO TAKE YOU TO TETTEGOUCHE STATE PARK. It took me to a service entrance, and then once I was at the service entrance, I had no data, so I couldn’t figure out how to get back. The park is aware of it and has a nice sign up with directions on how to get to the actual beginning of the park.

Once I got there, I drove to the trailhead near the falls. It linked up with the Superior Hiking Trail, so I jumped on the trail, which had more people than I would have liked, but it kept me going slow and steady. Unfortunately, I had to pee. I was an idiot and didn’t stop at the rest area at the park entrance. I figured I’d wait til I got away from the touristy area of the park and then hop off the trail. Instead, I was running through the campsites. I thought hey, there’s a bathroom up ahead, I’ll use that, but it was closed. Ugh. Then I realized I was running in a circle and would soon end up at my car. That was enough. I got back in my car, drove back to the rest area, used the bathroom, and then headed back southwest on 61. I decided I’d go to Split Rock instead.

After a few turns along the way and one mad dash across Highway 61 (no cars were coming but I still felt a little freaked out running across a highway), I ended up on the Superior Hiking Trail, and I cruised along. Relatively speaking. I felt fantastic on the run, despite the heat and the poor air quality. If I’d thought ahead, I’d have brought my sunscreen along to reapply, since it was basically useless after probably 2 hours in the car plus half an hour on the trails at Tettegouche. I was amazed at how nice my legs felt through most of the run, until I was on my way back and took a slightly different route and ended up running up several flights of stairs along Lake Superior. This was over 8 miles in, and I thought the steps would be the death of me, but I ended up surviving them and only dragged a little over the final mile. Hooray for me.

I need to plan a little better for these long runs. I drove a lot of unnecessary distance, and I got frustrated running down the “wrong” paths. If I am driving a couple hours round trip, I need to bring some supplies along and plan my routes (driving and running) with a little research. I will give Tettegouche another shot after some additional research, and find some gorgeous views along the way, I am sure. Split Rock was fun, and in the end I turned in a darn good long run.

3 thoughts on “Misadventures in Trail Running

  1. I think the logistics of trail running are harder than the act itself. Mapping a route, revising said route due to random closures, tourists, rattlesnakes, weather, whatever… And having adequate supplies. It’s definitely an affair in itself. Glad you had a nice long run. I’ve totally been there – headed to one trail only to be greeted with some sort of disaster and had to improvise.


    1. I think that’s true! Once I have run a route, it’s no problem, but it seems like every time I pick a new route, I end up making a wrong turn trying to find the trailhead, or choosing the trail that ends up in a dead end, or running through endless mud.

      Liked by 1 person

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