For our Summer Vacation Marathons, this year we picked the Charlevoix Marathon in Michigan and the Dances With Dirt Devil Lake trail marathon in Wisconsin. After Charlevoix, we spent the next two weeks camping on the UP of Michigan and the north shore in Minnesota. I was chasing dragonflies, while Marla and Cheyenne spent most of their time fishing. I didn't run very many miles or days between these two races, opting to rest my tweaked left calf muscle. Unlike at Charlevoix, my leg held up the whole race at Devil Lake.
With this as only my 2nd trail race of marathon distance or longer, I really didn't know what to expect. I knew that this course would be hilly and rocky, and that there would be places I couldn't run. There were a lot of folks running both the 50 miler and 50K, and in places, particularly in the first 10 miles, the trails got crowded. Some of the trail was singletrack, and some were gravel roads. There were a few stretches on pavement running through the State Park Campground as well. I only fell twice, once on a smooth, flat, soft stretch of single track (I have no idea what tripped me), and once coming out of a really rocky section where I tripped over a rock and banged my knee on another rock pretty hard.
I started out with the notion that I was mostly going to run this by feel. However, I knew from looking at past year's times on this course, that my "easy" pace times gave me a shot at winning the thing. However, this year there must have been some folks show up with the same idea, as there was a pack of 5 runners that started off pretty fast. I just let them go, and although I ran what is a slow time for me (3:51:47), I still finished first in my age group and 5th overall . . . which really speaks more to the difficulty of this trail run (with over
5000 feet of elevation change). Trails were not marked as well as they could have been - I missed one turn/aid station on the first lap so I ended up running about 8 miles between aid stations that lap. The course was wonderfully scenic, and was shaded almost the entire way. Starting temps were around 60 degrees, and the temps at the finish were close to 80, but didn't feel that warm in the shade.
A couple of details about this race. The post-race party was nice (free beer) and had a decent spread of food. If I had been racing this one (trying to win it, which I probably could have done on fresh legs), I might have found the trail congestion as we caught up with the back of the pack 50K and 50 mile runners a bit annoying, but it wasn't that bad just running for fun. Since it was an ultra event, aid stations were very well stocked with snacks.
Shoes: I ran in Altra Lone Peak 2.5s, size 11- very comfortable.
Shorts: I ran in maroon and white Asics split shorts. Worked great.
Shirt: No shirt this time to avoid the heat.
Socks: Injinji medium weight crew length toe socks – my standard "trail" socks.
Compression: 2XU calf sleeves on both calves
Fuel: I carried 3 Apple/Cinnamon Hammer Gels, one taken at mile 6.5, 13.1, and 19.5. I ate 3 or 4 Gummi Worms along the way. I took lots of water and Gatorade at every aid station.
Hat: Marathon Maniacs classic hat. Very comfortable.
Glasses: no sunglasses since this was a run through the woods.
Watch: Garmin 610. Worked great, as usual.