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Race Report: Minnesota Voyageur 50

The unfortunate result is this: DNF. The explanation is a bit more complicated.

I went out in front and attacked the early, steep sections (1,000' of ascent, 750' of descent over 4 miles). I was both anxious and nervous before the race and the quick effort early, though not overly taxing, had my heart rate up. This depleted my oxygen supply early, which led to some heavy legs. I still felt well and I built a lead of about three minutes by mile ten. The infamous powerlines section was challenging but I felt good about my pace through the sharp climbs. I slowed some out of the powerlines and was caught at the mile 21 aid station by two young ultrarunners. I wasn't feeling strong at this point, and they were pushing hard, so I ran with them for a mile before settling into third, about 100 meters behind the young guns, just before the turnaround. Chris Gardner was just behind me, in fourth, and when the access road hit a T and I turned right, I knew something was wrong. I turned around and saw Chris standing at the end of the access road waving me back. We were back on course, but seemingly in the wrong spot. We decided to head left and make our way back to the turnaround point. As we progressed, we ran into the race director, who informed us that we had missed a left turn off the access road. We had the option of being DQ'ed or returning to the turn, which was close to a mile up the road. We decided to return to the trail and complete the final 1.5 miles back to the turnaround point. By then we had lost twenty minutes, run over a mile extra, and dropped from 3,4 -- just behind the leaders -- to 7,8. We both decided to call it a day.

An unfortunate result, indeed! Nevertheless, I was able to take away some important lessons from this race (mostly with regards to my race preparation, which I thought went well, and on course fueling, which was also successful). The good news is that I have another shot at the fifty mile distance in about six weeks. Off to Flagstaff for now!


07/16 - 07/22

Monday (July 16): off. A welcome break after 14 days on.

Tuesday (July 17): AM 11+ miles, 1hr:30, 8:10/mile, out-and-back on the Katy Trail, Rhineland, MO. Easy miles with Kevin.

Wednesday (July 18): AM 10+ miles, 1hr:17, 7:40/mile, 9 x double hill, Rhineland, MO. Found a nice double hill around the lake similar to the Lodi hill. Felt strong.

Thursday (July 19): AM 13+ miles, 1hr:32, 6:56/mile, Wydown Rd to Forest Park loop, St. Louis, MO. Some quicker miles on a warm morning.

Friday (July 20): off. My legs could use the rest and I was traveling to Madison, WI today.

Saturday (July 21): AM 15 miles, 2hrs:03, 8:14/mile, Devil's Lake, WI. The bluffs and rolling terrain felt much more manageable due, in large part, I'm sure, to a few months of hill repeats and a week out West. Good news!

Sunday (July 22): AM 11 miles, 1hr:18, 7:09/mile, SMR with Travis Pernsteiner, Madison, WI. I was feeling a little weak from running, a bit of farm work, and a lack of calories yesterday, but we managed to maintain a decent clip. PM Capitol Mile, 4minutes 39seconds, 10th place (?). I did some PR for Berkeley by running the Capitol Mile. I'm uncertain of my place and the exact time, but it's close enough. I'll update if I'm able to find my time and place online.

Weekly Totals: 61 miles,  ~7hrs:45. My body was a bit tired, especially early in the week, but I'm feeling more rested now. I should be feeling just right this Saturday--so far, race prep has gone well.

My job has its perks. 


07/09 - 07/15

Monday (July 9): AM 7 miles, 18 x 200m repeats at 37 - 39 seconds with 120m jog in between, Jerseyville Middle School track, Jerseyville, IL.

Tuesday (July 10): AM 13 miles, 1hr:36, 7:25/mile, out-and-back on Beauty Mound Rd, Dow, IL.

Wednesday (July 11): AM 10 miles, 1hr:16, 7:33/mile, 6 x double Lodi hill, Dow, IL. Around 6:45 per mile during the hill workout (~3 miles). PM 10 miles, 1hr:15, 7:30/mile, 6 x double Lodi hill, Dow, IL. Around 6:40/mile during the workout (~3 miles).

Thursday (July 12): AM 12 miles, 1hr:27, 7:17/mile, out-and-back on W County Rd, Dow, IL.

Friday (July 13): PM 10 miles, 1hr:09, 6:58/mile, out-and-back on W County Rd, Dow, IL. Hoped for a tempo run but was deterred by temperatures in the mid-90s.

Saturday (July 14): AM 21 miles, 2hrs:59, 8:36/mile, Lewis and Clark Trails, Weldon Springs, MO. First 8 mile loop in 74 with Kevin Melnuk, second 8 mile loop in 65 minutes, finished with a 5 mile loop in 40 minutes. PM 6 miles, :50, 8:20/mile, out-and-back on bike trails, Osage Beach, MO. Easy miles.

Sunday (July 15): PM 22 miles, 2hrs:37, 7:08/mile, out-and-back on the Katy Trail, Rhineland, MO. Warm temperatures: 93F at the start and 90F at the finish. I felt good about my fueling and hydration and, as a result, the pace stayed brisk.

Weekly Totals: 111 miles, ~14 hours. Less than two weeks until the Voyageur 50!

A view in the life of a boat driver

From a lookout point along the Lewis and Clark trails

 A pleasant evening along the Katy Trail

The right way to end a weekend: yachting! (with Kevin Melunk)


07/02 - 07/08

It was extremely hot all week, with most days climbing into the 100s. It made for some uncomfortable, and often tired, miles when combined with 6 - 7 hours working outdoors each day.

Monday (July 2): AM 7 miles, 16 x 200m in 38 - 39 secs with 120m jog between sets. PM 8 miles, :58, 6:59/mile.

Tuesday (July 3): AM 11.5 miles, 1hr:27, 7:35/mile.

Wednesday (July 4): PM 10 miles, 1hr: 11, 7:05/mile, 10 x double Lodi hill. Kept the hill repeats near 6:30/mile.

Thursday (July 5): AM 10 miles, 1hr:19, 7:55/mile

Friday (July 6): PM 6 miles, :42, 7:05/mile. HOT. 100F and 105F with the heat index. PM 10.5 miles, 10k in 37:35 (6:04/mile).

Saturday (July 7): AM 7 miles 1hr:10, 10:00/mile, trails in Pere Marquette, Grafton, IL. A bit of hiking on the ascents. I was hoping to run 15 or so miles but it was 100F at 9am when I reached the end of my first loop so I called it.

Sunday (July 8): AM 24 miles, 3hrs:30, 8:50/mile, double out-and-back on the Chubb Trail, West Tyson Park, MO. Weather improved! 73F at the start and 90F at the finish. Excellent terrain to prep for the Voyageur: steep, rocky climbs and descents and muddy, winding flats. PM 6 miles, :48, 8:00/mile. Easy miles near Lodi.

Weekly Totals: 100 miles, ~13 hours. The heat made for a good week of preping for the potentially warm temperatures later this month.

A view from the bluffs in Pere Marquette.

The sun rising and the fog lifting in the valley on the Chubb Trail.

On the Chubb Trail flats.


In review: June training

My mileage in June was much lower than expected but, on the plus side, I had several days of training at high altitude (during the last week of June), logged a number of fatigued miles (which helps get the body used to late race miles), and had a few runs in extreme heat (to prepare for the possibly high temperatures at the Voyageur at the end of July). Since I've been away from internet connection and traveling the past two weeks, I'll recap the month by first filling in my training log from the last two weeks:

Monday (June 18): AM 8+ miles, 24 x 200m repeats in 36 - 38 seconds with 120m easy jog in between.
Tuesday (June 19): AM 10 miles, 1hr:14, 7:25/mile, out-and-back along N County Rd.
Wednesday (June 20): AM 8 miles, 1hr:03, 7:54/mile, out-and-back along Beauty Mound Rd. PM 11.5 miles, 1hr:23, 7:15/mile, 10 x double Lodi hill. 
Thursday (June 21): AM 4 miles, :48, 12:00/mile, mostly hiking on trails in Pere Marquette. PM 6 miles, :43, 7:10/mile, out-and-back along Beauty Mound Rd.
Friday (June 22): AM 12 miles, 1hr:23, 6:57/mile, 3 x 2 mile repeats @ 12:05, 12:10, 12:12.
Saturday (June 23): off. Travel to Breckenridge, CO.
Sunday (June 24): off. Travel to Breckenridge, CO.

Weekly Totals: ~60 miles, 7hr:45.

Monday (June 25): AM 11.5 miles, 1hr:43, 9:05/mile, out-and-back on the Peaks Trail, Breckenridge, CO. The Peaks Trail runs between 9,100' and 10,250'.
Tuesday (June 26): AM 12.5 miles, 1hr:52, 9:05/mile, Peaks Trail from Frisco, CO to Breckenridge, CO and a ways up the Swingers Switchbacks on Peak 9. PM 8 miles, 1hr:05, 8:08/mile, out-and-back on the bike path along Highway 9.
Wednesday (June 27): AM 14 miles, 2hrs:18, 10:00/mile, up the Swingers Switchbacks to around 11,250'. 2,000'+ feet of climbing over four miles; a good deal of hiking on the steeper sections.
Thursday (June 28): AM 10 miles, 1hr:18, 7:50/mile, Marshall Mesa Trail, Boulder, CO.
Friday (June 29): AM 15 miles, 1hr:45, 7:03/mile, out-and-back on the Katy Trail, Columbia, MO. Hot! 88F at the start; 96F at the finish.
Saturday (June 30): off.
Sunday (July 1): off.

Weekly Totals: 71 miles, ~10 hours.

Monthly Totals: 307 miles, ~40 hours. Lower mileage, as mentioned, but some positives. Hopefully I can manage a few 100+ mile weeks in early to mid July.

A view from the Peaks Trail in Breckenridge, CO

The town of Breckenridge, as seen from 11,200'

The remnants of a forest fire in the Flatirons, Boulder, CO

Some off-roading to end the week