Today was a great day of trail running for me as I was able to squeeze in not one, not three, but TWO good efforts on the trails! This morning I did 2 hours out on the Voyageur course. I started at the zoo and went out for one hour. I got about a mile (maybe a little less) beyond the Beck's Road before I turned around and came back.
It was interesting because the usual thought is that for the full Voyageur, it's a little more difficult coming back (from the zoo to Carlton) than it is going out (Carlton to the zoo). So with that in mind, I assumed I'd get back in about 55 minutes since I (a) went out very easy and (b) pushed it a bit more coming back. Well, I pretty much ran the second half of my run today in the same time I ran the first. This makes me believe that (a) it's very possible that when doing the full Voyageur that the second half is slower (and if so, is that a result of the course being more difficult or is it more because you're just so damn tired?) and (b) maybe, the difficult climb up to Spirit Mtn. is more than made up for during the long downhill on Skyline and after crossing Beck's Road? (this being on the way back to Carlton.) Interesting, I'll have to delve deeper into that mystery.
My second run of the day was the 5.5k NMTC run at Pine Valley. It sucked! Okay, truth be told it was a lot of fun. The trails were great, there were a lot of great people out there to chat with before and after the race, and I didn't puke! Yep, we'll call that a success.
The course was a roller coaster, (minus the upside down loopy thing) with really nice surface to run on. My legs were predictably not willing to try to race for 1k, let alone 5.5k but my brain was stubborn so I pushed on pretty much as hard as I could. By 2k my brain was starting to question itself and my legs were saying "See! I told you so! Why the hell don't you listen to me!?"
Well, my legs were pretty much my parents and my brain was pretty much an insubordinate teenager (as it nearly always is) so I pressed onward, consequences be damned! As it turned out I ended up gaining a few spots in the middle of the course and finished in the top 19 which wasn't too bad, for me. Plus if you throw out the college kids and the recently out of college kids (which you should, if you're 40) and if you throw out the other people who are simply way faster than me, then I'm sure I finished in the top 5.
As it turned out, today's running was a bit of a tribute to Barb and Gene Curnow. Barb and Gene have devoted countless hours to the running community over the years; directing the Voyageur and Half Voyageur, and heading up the NMTC races. They both retired from the NMTC and Voyageur races. Today was their last event as directors and will be sorely missed as such. They are living treasures of running in Duluth. And while I've only known them for a very short time, it's been an honor to assist in the NMTC races, to run the Voyageur and to hear all of their stories of running and runners over the years.
So with today's double that I did, and the fact that they both required some effort, I got to thinking about Moderation. It's a concept that I'm very familiar with. I have Norwegian blood, I come from 2 families of Iowa farmers. Moderation is our creed, our mantra.
However, I've often heard the phrase "everything in moderation". Now maybe I've blogged about this before, (sometimes I forget where I share with people my version of genius) but the very term, "everything in moderation" is, by definition, NOT moderation. Because you can't do "everything" in one way and consider it Moderation, you simply must do some things in excess. Like Chocolate. Face it, chocolate is a helluva lot better in excess than it is in moderation. (Again, consequences be damned!)
And as I proved today, running is sometimes better in excess. (Hell, I probably proved it at Sawtooth but I'm not always quick to discover the obvious) Moderation would have told me to not run the NMTC race today but I'm really glad I did. My legs will probably have the final say (parents usually do) but I will sleep tonight pleased with my excess. I can say, with a moderate amount of confidence, that excess equals satisfaction. (But not always)