The Zumbro adventure started on Friday with a scramble to finish homework so I wouldn’t have to deal with that when I got home. For some hardcore folks Zumbro…the RACE started on Friday. The 100 milers began at 8am while I was cozy at home typing papers. The hardcore 50 milers started at MIDNIGHT that evening! All I have to say is “I bow down in your presence.” I have a lot to learn.
Hubby and I loaded the limovan after I completed said schoolwork and headed to the gorgeous Lake City, MN to stay in the AmericInn for the evening. I checked the weather about 1,000 while packing unsure what to wear for the race. The forecast was thunderstorms, maybe, warm, maybe, mud, maybe, cold maybe, who knows. I threw tights, capris, long sleeve, short sleeve, gaiters, toe socks, regular socks, body glide, hat, sunglasses, wind shell, and my amphipod into my bag. Then I grabbed my Tupperware that contained tailwind, gels, s-caps, ibuprofen, Band-Aids, and various other crap for trails and tossed that in the limovan. Shoes? Altra Lone Peak 1.5. I felt mildly confident when we hit the road.
Dinner was greasy pizza because it’s yummy. Supreme of course. Hubby and I followed the pizza by a dip in the hot tub which was fabulous. I was hoping that the hot tub would make my bastard leg feel a little better. Unfortunately the bastard was still acting bastardly and I was mildly concerned it wouldn’t last through Zumbro. The hot tub felt wonderful.
I went to bed soon after. Unfortunately, my timing sucks a bit and twas the night before Zumbro I decided it was a great night to have a seizure. Why not make something challenging a little more so? That’s just how I work! The good news is, it was mild and the after effects were just a headache and a bit of ‘the stupids’. Hubby was doing some checks in the morning as far as my ability to not get entirely lost on the Zumbro course. I think he soon realized, I could do that even without the seizure stupids and so relaxed. The only battle at that point was a bit of sleepy and headache. ALL WAS WELL!
As it was pouring out, I chose the long sleeve shirt, capris, hat, thin gloves, gaiters, shell, and toe socks with another pair over the top and we headed off to the Zumbro River Bottoms.
I checked in, awesomely enough, with one of my daughters long distance coaches. How cool to see a friendly face right off the jump. It was raining pretty hard and then the hail started. HAIL! All I could think of was the people out on the course— they were getting HAILED ON! BAD ASS. Lightening was streaking through the sky and the thunder was booming. I ran towards the limovan and blasted the heat until it was time to go to the start area.
During race briefing, I, being myself, caught the attention of the medics before the race even started. Apparently I was shaking too much. The medic pulled me aside. I was asked if I had more clothing to put on, if I warm up once I start running, if I was ok, and some other questions. Remember I still had the seizure stupids. Trouble. I answered reasonably appropriately (I think), and they yelled my bib to watch out for to another medic and my hubby was sent to the vehicle to get a warmer coat. Ah, well—way to start a race.
The starting line. I WAS EXCITED. I was about to run a loop of Zumbro. In the rain. In thunder. In lightening. HOLY WOW! Let’s GO! And we did, the famous John Storkamp counted down and we ran.
This is where it gets tricky to write about Zumbro. This trail race was…incredible. I wish I had a camera with me to capture the mud, the pools of water that went on forever and went to my knees, the hills, the rocks, THE VIEWS that were so amazing you had to stop and look around, the volunteers who would grin at you and hand you whatever you needed and cheer you on, the other runners who passed you with words of encouragement. Everything about Zumbro was absolutely amazing.
The mud on this race was so very slippery. There was no grip at all in most places. On the flats (of which there weren’t many) this was ok and I just barreled through the lakes (they weren’t puddles) instead as it was safer than the slick mud that threatened to pull my shoes off or cause me to slide onto my butt or face…but on the hills? Wow! So. Much. Laughter. And swears! Going up sometimes meant sliding backwards. I gripped trees and used them to swing as my feet slid out from under me in the mud or went from rock to rock to rock in big strides attempting to avoid the mud, frequently failing and falling. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed or fallen so much while running before. It was exhausting and exhilarating. Downhill was sometimes sliding on my butt (not on purpose), free falling, swinging from tree to tree, and a lot of yelping. It was like being a child splashing through the largest puddles ever and playing in the mud.
The aid stations were incredible. Each had volunteers who were full of smiles and immediately asking “what do you need?” “you’re doing great!” I was excited whenever I saw an aid station looming.
When the finish line of Zumbro came, I was ready to be done. I couldn’t really feel my feet from all the dunking in the ice bath lakes. I had fallen enough that my ankle was twisted and I knew I had some bruising going on. My bastard leg was saying it was tired of this and my laughter was making my tummy hurt. I finished with a grin…covered in mud and again the daughters distance coach was there. I received my wooden medal from him this time. Then? Bacon! Seriously. They had bacon, eggs and coffee at the finish of Zumbro. This was the BEST. RACE. EVER. I hope someday, I can be badass enough to do the 50 mile.
There you have it. This report didn’t do justice to Zumbro at all. The 100 milers went through sunshine and heat, hail and torrential downpours, and had to battle insane trail conditions on exhausted legs. The 50 mile runners started at midnight just before the trail turned into a slip ‘n slide and ran that craziness THREE times. I’m in awe. Zumbro is a beast of a race.
Results (unofficial) are up! 80 SARAH St. Paul, MN F0-39 03:38:09.81 13:04 17 11 742
Am I proud? Yep. Link to Full results (All races)