Hey Daintycakes, you bum, maybe you should finish writing about the Ham Run!
Yeah, sure, ok. When we last left off, I was getting ready for a big race! Race morning conditions were cool, a little cloudy, and kind of damp. The cool and cloudy part I don’t mind, but the damp part made for a somewhat clammy start. Also, the race started about 15 minutes after it was supposed to, so that makes for a bit of restlessness that no one wants when they start a two hour anything.
We all line up to prep for the start of the race. The first ½ marathon I did was the Get Lucky in St Paul, and there were something like 2600 people in that race. For the Ham Run, there were about 140. The scale and feel were much smaller and less nerve-rattling and there was a more comfortable amount of room for everyone before the race started. Of course, then the race started, without any kind of countdown or anything, so off we went!
The first mile or so of this race was on gravel roads and was, painfully, mostly uphill. Since I do a fair amount of hill training, it wasn’t so bad, but man, it does not make for a fast start.
As I mentioned, the Get Lucky was about 1857% larger than the Ham Run. Additionally, the Get Lucky course was a down-and-back, meaning that if you were maybe middle-pack running (I was a little slower than middle pack) you could see the really fast runners after they’d turned around at the half way mark. The race already felt like you were there with a big crowd, which was cool and made for some really good motivation, and you could cheer the frontrunners as they went past you. The Ham Run was a straight shot. And with only 140 people to start, runners spread out fairly quickly. I suspect that between miles 3 and 10, I had about ¼ mile on either side of me that was totally empty. Combine that with that whole area of Minnesota looking like a post-apocalyptic wasteland, and this was the most visually boring thing you can imagine.
Keep in mind, I’m not a fast runner. I spent roughly an hour and a half looking at nothing but rocks. Sure, I had my podcasts with me, but really, NOTHING to look at at all.
At about mile 11, it started to drizzle, which I don’t really mind so much when I’m running. However, it was already kind of clammy to start with. So, while I was running, I wasn’t cold really, just wet. Very wet. Just as I was finishing it started to really really rain.
If you’ve run in the rain before, you know it feels awesome right up until the moment you stop running. I crossed the line, caught my breath for a few minutes, and then became freezing cold. Beefcake had the presence of mind to bring me a towel and a dry shirt, so we made our way over to the very crowded tent to dry off and get some ham. HAM! This ham was the entire reason I entered this race!
If you’ve ever done something super exhausting, like run a race or build a fireplace or maybe fight a shark, you know that whatever you eat immediately afterwards is THE BEST THING EVER. I’m not sure why, but everything I eat after doing a distance run also tastes sweeter, which is just fine with me.
Beefcake and I ate a bounty of ham and fixins’ and went to take a nap. After, we decided to go down to a hiking trail we’d seen nearby and hike that trail. We found a couple of suitable hiking sticks and started working our way down the trail. I think we probably went about ½ mile before turning around, but this was for real “climbing and moving fallen trees” hiking.
We also went to go see some rapid that the proprietor of Way of the Wilderness told us about near one of the campsites. They were pretty, but we weren’t able to see any fish spawning.
We spent the remainder of the evening in our bunkhouse eating noodle bowls, playing Pandemic and listening to the Nerdist podcast. Monday morning, we got up, packed up and started our drive back home, and ran smack into the thickest fog I’ve ever had the terror of driving through.
Guys, this is in the middle of the woods. Winding roads, without distinguishable markers, no street lights, nothing. It was scary. We took it slow, and finally made it out into clearer weather. By the time we reached Duluth, it was a beautiful, perfect day for the rest of our drive. The end!
Posts Tagged Canada
Hey Daintycakes, you bum, maybe you should finish writing about the Ham Run!
So, this past weekend Beefcake and I made the very long trek up to the Gunflint Trail so I could participate in the Ham Run Half Marathon. It was a very adventurous time! This is part one!
We left Friday morning around 1030 or so. It’s a pretty straight shot up to the north shore from the Twin Cities, though driving through Duluth makes me dizzy. We stopped at a really neat rest stop just outside of Duluth, it had an awesome view and a map pointing out everything of note that you could see from on top of the hill. Next, because I realized about twenty minutes into the drive that I had forgotten to bring my knitting, we made an impromptu stop in Duluth at Yarn Harbor, where I bought some very pretty Colinette Jitterbug and some Cascade 150 Heritage, and a needle. Because I have huge brains, I managed to recall the lace pattern for the Sagebrush Shrug (which was my intended project) so I cast on for that with the Cascade.
We stopped in Grand Marais next to get dinner at Sven and Ole’s. We were told to get a cheeseburger pizza, which we did. It was served with pickles and was delicious.
Now, we were staying at a place called Way of the Wilderness, which is basically some bunkhouses WAY WAY up north. So the next hour and a half were spent driving, nearly by ourselves, along the Gunflint Trail up to our bunkhouse. People, this is for real “murderous hillbilly” country. When we got to the office, we saw this:
So, we just followed the directions. Got to the top of the hill and the view right outside our bunkhouse (sorry, “chalet”) was really nice:
We brought in all of our stuff, setting a few things up and taking in our surroundings. The bunkhouse we were in had a second floor, so we went to check it out, and that’s when we saw the biggest spider we’ve ever seen in real life:
Fortunately for this spider, we just released him outside instead of panicking and smooshing him. Spiders are good, they eat other bugs, but I wasn’t interested in this guy crawling into my mouth for warmth in my sleep.
Saturday, we slept in. The beds were remarkably comfortable and despite the frogs and bugs yelling at each other all night, we both slept really well. We went for a brief walk around the Trail’s End loop and checked out the view from some of the campsites. We then took a leisurely drive back to Grand Marais, and stopped at some scenic overlooks along the way. One of them was not actually a scenic overlook, and we walked for probably 20 minutes before giving up and turning around. I flipped off Canada too.
The next site we went to, Beefcake scared some ducks with his Mountain Dew and we found a sign for a picnic site that was probably made by wolves to trick humans.
We finally got to Grand Marais, and took a stroll across the break wall by the harbor. It was super windy and cold, but we were just gearing up for the next stop…
…PASTA FEED! They held a spaghetti dinner as part of the race the night before the run, so we went and ate a gross amount of spaghetti. Because I’m a terrible blogger, I did not take a picture of my spaghetti, so you’ll just have to believe me.
We drove back to Way of the Wilderness and spent the rest of the night playing Pandemic which was awesome (we bought it just for this trip) and listening to the Nerdist podcast. Up next: The race and the rest of the stuff!