My first go at writing a race report…bare with me on this one!
Jaime and our super crew of Sarah and Katie (our local tour guide and hostess) got to the school around 5:20 am. We made our way down to the high school to check out the start and get those last minute bathroom sessions out of the way. Two for me…who knows how many for Jaime! I spent the next 30 minutes pacing around trying to find our buddy, Chris Boyle, who was driving from his family vacation to sign up the My first race report from the 2017 Minnesota Voyageur day of to race as well. I had planted seeds for awhile once we knew he would be up there. Chris and I have that same, just go do it, attitude and we hit it off the first time we ran together! We finally found Chris with about 5 minutes before the race. We met his wife and kids, gave our hugs to the crew, I remembered to kiss Jaime and next thing you know we were off!
The day before we were able to get a 3.5-mile shakeout run on the first section of the course with a new friend, and fellow Ginger Runner Patreon Crew Member, Brian Lindberg. He let us know about the bottleneck that happens early in the rocks along the river in the first couple of miles. Our game plan was to get out fast to make sure we didn’t get bogged down and the plan worked well through the first aid station but after that, I couldn’t get myself to dial it back. I knew I was going out way too fast and that this 8 minute per mile pace was not going to be sustainable but I felt good and could not dial it back on the flatter sections up to Aid station 3. Aid station 3 was the first station stop to refill water and rehydrate in my bottles and grab some chips and m&m’s. I went into the race with the plan of doing gel and bars for the most part and to stop at every other aid station on the first half and stop at each after the turnaround. Shortly after Aid station 3 my stomach just had the sloshing empty feeling but I was still able to run. I just couldn’t get it to settle. So I had this going into purgatory and power lines next. We had heard so much about this section and really there is nothing to get you ready for it until you get there and do it. The way out is way worse than the way back in terms of climbing, I felt, but when you start the short ups and downs and see the guys ahead of you so far away and they are not close to being done…it plays on you mentally pretty bad! Once you get through this hell hole of a section you get a boost knowing that it will get easier from here down to the zoo turnaround. I filled up rehydrate and water at Aid 4 and grabbed a watermelon on the go and heading to 5 to see Katie and Sarah at the half marathon point. I shared a half a mile shortly after this station with fellow rabbit runner and eventual women’s winner and course record setter, Ashley Nordell. She had chatted with Jaime for awhile at the beginning so it was nice to hear about the Mrs for a bit and get to share a short conversation with her as she dusted me up the road climb. The rest of the first 25 was pretty solid other than the fact that I stuck with the plan of gels and bars with minimal real food and my stomach never settled. I made it to the zoo and mile 25 in 4 hours and was pumped to see the crew and head back out for the return!
The second half started with a tank change and our crew filling me up with a hydraspark and new water. I took my time and decided the second half was time for real food. I grabbed gels in case, made a hat switch and took food and water to start walking back up the steady. I told my crew” I Love You Guys’, because man do i ever, and decided i was going to walk the climb out until i got up to the flats again to let my body recover. Anything past 50k was going to be the furthest i had run and I knew that i pushed too hard on the first 25. It wasn’t long after my climb out that Chris Boyle caught me. He hooked me up with a nice bro slap on the butt and we walked for a bit and chatted until I told him to get after it because I was going to be walking for a while! Chris ended up crushing it around 8 hours and 45 minutes as a race day register…dude is a beast! I finally started running a bit once i got to the ski slopes and right at that point i saw fellow RADrabbit, Sydney, who took the time to let me know that Jaime had hurt her ankle but was all smiles. I told Sydney, that sounds about right on the smiles! At this point my heart had sank because I know Jaime is such a strong runner and that if she was hurting at mile 14 that her day was going to be very tough and emotional on her. I started to run some more from this point and ended up finally seeing Jaime underneath the roller coaster! We hugged and kissed and she told me she was struggling. She told me she cried every time she saw kids cheering on their parents, which made me tear up. I know a big part of why we push ourselves and focus on our health is to show our little girls that anything is possible if you work hard! I gave her a big hug and told her she could power through and that I knew she would finish! I left her and the rest of the way back was a slow mix of walking and running and walking way more of the flats than i should have been. The positives were that I gave out a ton of high fives and good lucks to people I passed. I got to meet, Jeff Rock, who was a huge help for Jaime and I leading up to the race. Thank you youtube and strava! I got to say hi to Mr. Ten Junk Miles, Scott Kummer! Love this podcast and it was awesome to meet someone who has helped educate you as an ultrarunner! I stopped at every aid station on the way back and took food and my water cup out of each and walked until i finished both before i started running again. I saw our crew with about 9 miles and put some intra into my electrolyte bottle, changed my wet socks, ( i soaked my aching feet and ankles in each stream on the way back) and sat down with them for a minute. Sarah shared a picture of my two little girls holding good luck signs, which immediately got the tears flowing. I left the aid station with my water cup and some food and ready to finish it out! My goal was way over my head (thanks ultrasignup!) and after the turn at 25 miles i was happy with just a decent finish. This stop lit a fire and I started running more and pushing my pace a bit. I felt strong the last 9 miles and went back and forth with a guy named Steve the whole time. We walked the rocky section together in the last 3.25 miles and I passed him in there and then started pushing through the pines and passed a couple of more guys as well. I hit the last bridge and pushed strong to the finish on the paved path and to the High School to come across the line of my first 50 with a finish of 9:14:51! This race was exactly one year to the day after my first endurance race (sprint tri) and to see how what you are capable of in one year of hard work and healthy living is absolutely awesome!
Katie was there too give me a hug and get me settled in! She brought over the cooler and asked I was ok and if she could go back to help Sarah. I told both of them the night before that the most important thing was that they get Jaime home!
I know Jaime did not have the day she wanted out there but to fight for 36 miles after being hurt and to be able to be there at the finish to encourage and hug her on her finish was the most amazing feeling in the world. She is an absolute beast of a mom, runner, and is so inspiring to soo many people.Just to know she pushed through and completed that race when she didn’t have to is so awesome to have witnessed. Our girls have the best role model shaping their lives that I could have ever possibly imagined I would be able to share life with!
I cannot wait to go back next year and bring our ACRC crew of runners with us. Great race, beautiful city, and amazing volunteers to make it all happen! Much love to The Voyageur staff, you all did an amazing job!