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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!

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