I took the day off of work again yesterday to crank out another 20-miler on the Superior Hiking Trail with Marcus. I’m starting to see a trend here of taking vacation days to spend my time off running in the woods and I like it. I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s hard to think of anything else I’d rather do. Yesterday’s run was awesome. The weather was cooperative with sunny skies, a light breeze and temps in the low 50’s—perfect running weather. We started at Gooseberry Falls State Park, ran south towards Castle Danger and turned around at about 10 miles in. I managed to take my first huge digger of the season around mile five or six. It all happened so fast. One second I’m running along and the next, I’m laying on my back in the middle of the trail with blood and dirt running down my knees. Marcus, being his witty self, turned around and said, “You can’t sleep there!” I’m just happy that the landing was semi-soft and not hard granite as most of the other sections of trail are up the shore.
We stopped around mile 9.5 to nose around in this really cool canyon that we had to cross. We wandered up and down it, taking pics, wading through the river and examining rock specimens (nerd alert!) It was a really interesting place for a pit stop. I’ll definitely be back there to do some more exploring. The way back to Gooseberry was fun and slightly downhill, so the running was seemingly effortless at certain points. My favorite section was the three or four miles coming into Gooseberry. The trail follows the river in this rolling and winding single-track path that feels like a roller-coaster. There are springy fresh and bright green plants popping up along the trail and pairs of waterfowl hanging out in the slow spots on the water. You can hear the river flowing faster and faster as it nears the big lake—your running cadence seems to match the ever increasing speed of the river as it finally dumps over the edge of the first falls in a spectacular roar. Talk about being in the flow of life—it was such a cool running experience.
The legs felt pretty good for most the run, a little heavy in the beginning, but at the 20-mile mark, they felt like they hadn’t run that far. That’s a good sign that training is coming along! I’ve got one more long run of that caliber planned before the race and a nice, little 1.5-2 hour run on the docket for tomorrow. The only part that is sore on me today is that dang right knee! (There goes my backup plan of being a knee model.) I’ve got some healing to do there, but it’s nothing that will stop me now.
“If she did wild or wicked things, it is because she could not help them.” —The Old Man and The Sea, Ernest Hemingway