Friday, July 29, 2011

Running on hallowed ground

On Saturday, I will run in the 30th Voyageur Trail Ultra, a 50-mile jaunt through the woods from Carlton to Duluth. The race will be a final tune-up before the Sawtooth 100 just six weeks later. It fits neatly into my training program, too - I was set to do a back-to-back 30/20 weekend. A race is just so much more fun.

The course should be considered hallowed ground. None other than Scott Jurek holds the male and overall course record, and it is also the race where he got his start so many years ago when his buddy Dusty Olson nudged him into. He later would become the greatest ultrarunner this side of Yannis Kouros.

A few jottings and goals before the race:
  • This 50-mile race has about 1K less elevation gain/loss than the 50K at Afton four weeks ago (10K v. 9K).
  • Temps will be hot and humid. Joy.
  • There are nine aid stations, and you hit them all twice with the exception of the one at the turn around. That's an aid station approximately every 2.5 miles or so, if you count the start and finish as aid. I'm hoping only for ice, salt tabs, and water/HEED at each. Even if they aren't well stocked I should be fine.
  • Goal pace? Anywhere between 10 flat and 10:40 per mile. It puts me at about an 8:20-8:55 finish pace. My Surf the Murph 50 mile time was 9:04:00 for 50.4 miles on an easier course and with less training. My goal is to start slow, tap into my seven month base of endurance and hold solid. If I'm anywhere close to 4-4:20ish at the turnaround I'll be happy.
  • Goal place? There were 162 runners signed up when I checked last night; no idea on male/female divide, but there are plenty of runners here who have beaten me or have run similar times than me. Based on past Voyageur results, a top 15 or 20 (overall or male) would be great and not unreasonable (especially if I get into the low 8:00s). In contrast, has ~53 runners (37 men/16 women) ranked higher than me percent-wise. Those percentages can be and are deceiving if you do not look at each person's results, however. That's something I won't do for this race.

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