Moose Mountain Marathon Training: Week 4

My last big week before the race!

Monday: 6.2 mi, trail (Western Waterfront trail), 134 bpm
Tuesday: 5.4 mi, trail (SHT starting @ Magney), 151 bpm
Wednesday: rest (yoga)
Thursday: 7.3 mi (8 x 0.5 mi), paved trail (Munger), 143 bpm
Friday: 5.7 mi, paved trail (Lakewalk), 126 bpm
Saturday: 14.4 mi, trail (SHT @ Lutsen), 144 bpm
Sunday: 5.5 mi, paved trail (Bong Bridge), 130 bpm
Total: 44.4 mi

Last week was an eventful week. Monday, I found a new trail, the Western Waterfront trail. It is accessible from the Munger trail near the Munger Inn. It’s not a really long trail, but I wasn’t able to traverse the entire trail due to construction. This gravel trail follows the St. Louis River in west Duluth, with nice views and very little traffic, at least when I was on it. I will have to give the entire trail a shot some time, once I’m confident the construction work has passed by.

Tuesday, in addition to running, I did some trail work on the Superior Hiking Trail. I was able to sign up through an event at my work, so I can’t really call it volunteering, as I got paid. We assisted with a trail re-route near Keene Creek, including moving a small footbridge (the one that crosses the creek right before the trail goes under the freeway). I got to meet Larry, who is responsible for trail maintenance on the Duluth sections of the SHT, and give him a big thank you for the great trail conditions. I used a glorified rake called a MacLeod (?) to do final grading of a section of the trail, and removed roots and weeds from the trail. I was planning on running right after we completed the work, but it was 88F so I went and got an iced latte and cooled down for awhile before running in the late afternoon instead.

Thursday’s speed workout left me with horribly tight hamstrings both Friday and Saturday. Each day, it took a couple miles to loosen them up. Friday I went running on the Lakewalk and saw a bear. That was exciting. There was a chain link fence between the bear and me, but the fence wasn’t actually containing the bear. S/he was just chowing down near Tischer Creek. At first I thought it was a large dog, then backtracked realizing, no, that’s not a dog.

bear jamboroo

It’s a freaking Country Bear Jamboroo on the Lakewalk.

I’ve spent hours and hours running alone in the wilderness but I see a bear on a well-traveled paved trail in the city. Of course.

Saturday I trekked back up to Lutsen to finish my recon of the marathon course. All I had left to do was the Oberg to finish section, which I’ve already done as it is the Superior 25K course. And oh yeah, it sucked last time. I found it challenging this time around, but not nearly as difficult as I did back in May. I was able to scale Moose Mountain and Mystery Mountain without stopping (though Moose Mountain was still incredibly tough), although I know when I’ve got 20+ miles on my legs, it’s going to be a lot harder. I can attribute my improved ability on the course to a couple of factors: 1. Improved fitness (I think) 2. Better weather (cooler in August than in May, that is odd) 3. Managed expectations (I knew that Mystery Mountain would go on forever, so I was mentally prepared). The first few miles of the run were tough due to my tight hamstrings. I had to pick around a lot of rocks and roots and didn’t have the maneuverability I’d have like. I had to stop a couple of times to practice my latrine-digging skills, so that was a bit annoying, but that was only due to poor planning/timing, not stomach issues. I encountered a group of ladies hiking on the trail, hearing them before I saw them as one was wearing bells to scare off wildlife (I assume). Jokes on you, lady: all the bears are in Duluth.

Sunday my hips hurt, so I didn’t push too hard on my recovery run. I ran across the Bong Bridge from Duluth to Superior (and then back again), which was cool, but not as cool as I’d have liked.

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A bridge from a bridge. #conservationofmomentum

A post shared by RWD (@runninwiththedogs) on

It is a short run; the bridge is probably less than 2 miles across. I thought at some point the view would be breathtaking, but I never quite got my socks knocked off. I don’t plan to run this route often, but I wanted to give it a try at least once.

This was probably one of the most interesting training weeks I’ve had, with something notable happening every single day (new trail, wildlife encounters, trail work). I am pleased I’ve been enjoying running again lately; it means the break I took in July to get my head straight was worth the time off training. Never dismiss the power of a mental health break.

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