I had so much fun at the Half Voyageur this past Saturday! I know I had briefly (okay, more than briefly) freaked out about the approaching heat wave and high temps, but luckily they didn’t hit until later in the race. The morning was in the mid sixties with some humidity, but overall it was a comfortable starting point. I knew it was going to be a sweaty day regardless! This course was so much fun to run. There was a good mix of single track, xc-ski and four-wheeler trails. It was perfect for being able to keep a solid run, except in a few sections, which was to be expected. We crossed numerous streams by either rock hopping or just running right through them. The mud in Magney was amazing and I almost lost my shoes in a couple of spots! The course’s most notorious section, the powerlines, were in decent shape and my legs felt really fresh at that point (about 15 miles in). Looking back, I feel like I really hammered through this section. There were popsicles at the aid station coming out of the powerlines and that was a nice, cold surprise. The toughest spots for me were right after the powerlines (a steep, steady climb for what seemed like forever) and the last two miles along the St. Louis River were wonky as all get out. The last 10 or so miles I ran with a woman, Diana, who flew all the way from Anchorage to run. We talked a lot about running and eventually figured out that she knows my best friend living in Fairbanks! Talk about a small, small world! What are the odds? It’s instances like these that make me feel that I’m right where I’m supposed to be, which apparently is running through the beautiful woods of northern MN. Diana came out to lunch with us afterwards and then she headed south to the cities and eventually back to AK. She’s planning on running a bunch of other trail races and if I remember correctly a 50-miler soon. Best of luck to her!
Other highlights from the race:
• Dropping my popsicle at the aid station after the powerlines and having Amy pick it up off the ground and wipe it on her shorts for me. I didn’t even hesitate to put it in my mouth.
• Dropping a banana chunk at another aid station. It literally flew, like, 5 feet! Everything was so sweaty and slippery.
• The aid station volunteers were amazing!
• Running across the swinging bridge in Jay Cooke State Park.
• My friends and family coming out to cheer for me and all the other racers.
I ended up placing 9th for women (62nd overall out of about 150 runners) with a time of 5:09:04. I had no idea that I would place in the top 10 and was very surprised that I did. I even got a mug! God, I love trail running. Here are some pics. Hopefully some more will surface later this week!