Monday, January 31, 2011

"Still Plugging Away"

The reading on the sled thermometer is 19 below as Rick nears the 48 mile mark at 10:33 p.m. Pray that the overnight hours go by quickly for the racers and without incidence. Kristy W.

Eight p.m.

From Rick...
16 below on the thermometer.
Going good.
Hopefully, I will be at Melgeorges by the time everyone heads to work in the morning.

After two hotdogs and a Coke.......

Rick is back at it - leaving the Gateway Store at 6:25 p.m.

Gateway Store

It looks as though Rick made it to the Gateway Store (approx mile 35) at around 5:04 p.m - a place to grab something warm to eat and to get geared up to head out for the first night out on the trail.

I'm not as cold as I look

Call from the trail

Rick called at 1:30 p.m. and reported that he was just reaching the 25 mile mark as per his Garmin. He said that all was well. Temp reading at 5 degrees, cloudy. The trail started out horrible but has gotten better. The trail groomer passed him at around Mile 20.
post by Kristy (Wagar)

Only 16 below. Nice

Only 16 below. Nice

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Calm Before The Storm

Got to I'Falls yesterday afternoon. Gear check went OK but after, when I went to check in at the hotel, they had lost my reservation so I kind of had to scramble. I'm in a remote building from the rest of the hotel and there wasn't a coffee maker in the room so I had to make a trip to Kmart last night to buy one. I'd be in rough shape tomorrow morning without any coffee. The weather for the morning is looking typical for Arrowhead at -20 or so with highs right around zero. I guess it wouldn't be Arrowhead if it wasn't cold. The cold firms up the trail but it's been snowing the past few days and it hasn't been groomed or packed so it will be a bit mushy. Maybe the trail groomer fairy will be out tonight.

Off to a meeting, dinner and then some r&r. Getting anxious to get this thing going.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Check out the Arrowhead website,, for lots of information on the event. They hope to keep the "results" page updated so people back home can see how everyone is doing. You of course can follow my progress by tracking me throughout the event by clicking on "Arrowhead Tracking" on the right hand side of the page.

My wife, Kristy, will post some updates on the blog from time to time to keep you updated on how I'm doing. Cell coverage is pretty spotty and it's hard to push the buttons with gloves on so the contact I'll have will be minimal. If things are going well and I have coverage, I may post something myself from the trail as well. It may not be real pretty so cut me some slack. I'm excited to bring you with me as I head out on the trail and I appreciate your support and encouragement. Knowing I have people with me by following along helps a lot when things aren't going well.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Arrowhead Weather

Looks like the weather for Arrowhead will be typical. Every year at some point during the event it has reached -20. Even at the start three years ago it was 20 above and during the day it got up to 25. Hot by Arrowhead standards and really makes for some awful trail conditions though it would be shorts weather. By Wednesday morning it had dropped to -20. The official low for Cook, MN was -14 though for some reason it is always 8-10 degrees colder on the trial. I suppose being everything is covered with snow there is nothing to absorb the suns energy. Doesn't really matter anyway as I haven't yet found a way to control the weather. Just deal with it. Prepare for the worst but hope for the best.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Arrowhead Round 3

For the past 3 winters I've been really look forward to this time of year. When all we hear about is how cold it is here in Fargo, how slippery the roads are and how many miles we are now putting on our treadmills, I pull out the sled, winter survival gear and head out for an icy run. Arrowhead training.

Twice before I have been fortunate enough to participate in one of the planets most difficult endurance events. The Arrowhead 135 which takes place in northern Minnesota starting out in International Falls. Both times I did not finish.(DNF) Some would say that at Arrowhead, DNF means Did Nothing Fatal. I'd like to think when I decided to pull the plug I wasn't on the verge of dieing but when the body is getting colder and your mind can't figure out what to do about it, it's time to quit before something happens you might regret. Some would say that would be entering Arrowhead in the first place though both times I've DNF'd I was already thinking of what I'd do differently for the next year if they'd have me back.

Next week at this time I'll be resting up in an I'Falls motel room for the 7 a.m. Monday morning start. We'll get 60 hours to cover the course which is the snow covered Arrowhead State Trail. Looks like a record number of entrants this year with about 140 total signed up in the three category's of bike, ski or foot. My first year there was a finish rate of 30% in the foot division and last year it bumped up to 42% so the odds are getting better. I'm looking forward to the challenge.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


With a later than normal start to the 50k part of the Tuscobia Ultra (10 a.m.), Friday night I stayed in a motel outside of Duluth and then would make the 2 hour drive to Park Falls Wisconsin in the morning.

Getting up and looking at the weather, the temps had remained fairly steady overnight around the 8 degree mark and looked to remain there for most of the day on the Tuscobia Trail section I would be running. I don't keep a very good log of my runs as far as the weather and what I wore so I rely mostly on memory for what to wear on specific weather days. I remembered a run I did with a friend on a cold, calm December Saturday morning and what I had worn. I looked up the date from my Garmin data and then looked at the weather almanac for that day. It was a match. The days would be very similar being overcast, relatively calm, and 5-10 degrees so that is how I dressed.

Riding the bus to the starting line I was noticing the dress of the other runners. Most of them looked like the were crossing the Antarctic. I couldn't help but think I was going to be under dressed though I kept going back to my past runs. No, I hadn't run 31 miles that day a year ago but for the 12 miles I did that day the dress was perfect so that's what I was going with. If I got cold I would just have to work harder to create more heat.

Also on the bus I watched a young lady prepare her feet for her 31 mile adventure. She had on 2 pair of winter socks and 3 foot warmers in each shoe. I couldn't help but think she'd be cutting off the circulation but I guess you have to go with what you know. What works for one doesn't always work for another. I wear a single sock ( ) and keep my shoes loose with the thought of keeping the blood flowing. Arrowhead friends will sometimes use the toe warmers though they will put it along the ankle to warm the blood flowing into the foot.

Getting off the bus at the starting line I hoped to see people shedding some of their clothes. It didn't happen. I continued to have doubts about my dress. My drop bag was right there and I could have thrown on another layer as I was shivering but I kept going back to the saying, "Don't let what you don't know affect what you do know". I knew I was dressed right for the day and I was going to stick with it. Too late now anyway as they called out "2 minutes to go" and before you know it, we're off. I think there were 30 starters with 1 on snowshoes and 1 on skis.

The trail was firm and the pack split up quickly. I was running by heart rate so I found my spot and stayed there. Within a couple of miles I saw some of the runners ahead of me taking off their jackets. I wasn't wearing a jacket though at the 5 mile mark I slowed down to take off my outer layer which was a fleece pullover. I was slightly chilled at first though after the sleeves of my shirt dried off I was just right. Carrying my hydration on my back and some calories in my waist pack I put it on cruise and was enjoying the day.

At mile 15 the trail turned kind of mushy. It was difficult and kind of frustrating to find good footing. I think I put an extra mile on going from one side of the trail to the other search for the best spot to run on. In the last half of the event, there wasn't one. That's the way it goes. Just like the weather, you can't control the trail. All you can do is deal with it.

I past 2 guys in the last half. Both expressed their frustrations over the footing and I offered some encouragement as I went by. I was happy to see that they both finished not far behind me.

All in all it was a very good day. It was 6 degrees at the start with a high for the day of 10. Looking back, I guess it was kind of bold of me to take the start without a jacket on though I knew that if I got cold I would have to work harder. I used the cold as my motivation to not slow down and just keep an even effort for the entire 50k which is what I did. I don't know how this success will translate into my Arrowhead effort though I know I have something to build on.