My First Ultra

I have my first ultra this weekend!

…Meaning that I’m volunteering at an ultra this weekend. My friend Emily and I are volunteering at the Superior Fall Trail Races, starting at 3 AM on Saturday. Yes, 3 AM, loading 50 milers on the bus, then working the finish line in whatever capacity we are needed. We are driving up on Friday night and staying in a communal townhome graciously provided by the race director for volunteers.

I would like to run a 100 mile race someday. Right now that seems like an impossibility, since I haven’t run in almost a week. (I am feeling better but am not sleeping well, so I have prioritized additional rest over pushing too hard.) But someday it won’t be. I won’t be winning the Western States Endurance Run or anything like that, but I would still like the experience. More than once, preferably. Before I start training for a 50k or trail marathon, I want to see what ultrarunning is really all about. I assume volunteering is probably a pretty good way to figure that out. For a novice, plodding runner like me, it’s better than showing up underprepared to a race I end up DNFing. Which I guess I could probably end up doing anyway.

The 100 mile race starts Friday at 8 AM at Gooseberry Falls, the 50 mile race starts Saturday at 5:30 AM at the Finland Rec Center, and the Moose Mountain Marathon starts Saturday at 8 AM at the Cramer Road Trailhead. All races are on the Superior Hiking Trail and finish in Lutsen at Caribou Highlands Lodge. It’s not mountainous like many of the popular races are, but it’s pretty relentless, from what I hear. I definitely want to try this race series someday. We’ll see if I feel that way after getting vomited on at the finish line or something.

I look forward to learning a lot, taking some notes, having some fun, and giving a “race report” next week. And I hope I’ll be able to get in a long run (double digits) on Sunday, if I’m not a zombie.

Speaking of the Superior Hiking Trail, this man is planning to set an unsupported Fastest Known Time on the SHT, starting today! He’ll start at the tip of the Arrowhead and head south, and plans on doing the trail in under 6 days. Other FKT attempts can be seen here. Good luck, Steven!