Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon 2016 Race Report

This Summer we went camping and traveling through Minnesota, and I couldn’t resist the lure of the Curnow Trail Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota! Every 2 years we go to the mainland for about a month of family reunions and relaxation. This little trail marathon was super fun, and definitely an adventure. Almost a little too much adventure . . .

The people were way fun, and super friendly. I’ll admit that I felt a little overwhelmed lining up on the starting line with hundreds of people! That was something new. The energy was great and I was looking forward to some mainland miles.

In the weeks prior to the event I started experimenting with a ketogenic diet to see how I’d fair with it. Experimentation is a blast for me and this was definitely an extreme experiment for me. In fact, I had thoughts as one point that this might have been my first DNF. Yikes!

Anyone who’s started a keto diet can testify to the challenge of trying to figure out what to eat at first. This, combined with traveling, camping, and staying with in-laws sometimes resulted in me just deciding to pass on the main dish that was being served. Not eating has never been terribly challenging for me. I wrestled in high school, where I basically starved the whole season. (I even had a bagel talk to me once. It sad, “Eat me.” And, I ate it.) I figured that even if I didn’t eat, my body would use fat for fuel and I’d be golden.

The nights before the race were basically sleepless. Our tent happened to be next to the potty-mouthed neighbors who were probably drinking all night.

And, my dinner before race day was a glorious “salad” from the local Mexican take out. It turned out to be a little plastic tray with a meager handful of slightly wilted shredded taco lettuce. I ate it and hoped for the best.

In the morning, I skipped breakfast because there was none, and headed over to the starting line. Oh wait, I did drink a bottle of water with some ketosis generating powder in it.

The first 6 miles were pretty cruisey. I was flying along at a good pace, heart rate was low, and I was feeling light. In retrospect, maybe I was lightheaded from lack of food. Anyway, I decided to believe that I was all tuned up for a great race.

I was especially stoked when we hit this rocky, slick and muddy downhill section that everyone dreaded. That felt just like home to me! I flew down it feeling like I was on a muddy-licious section of the Judd Trail on the HURT course. I passed all the fast guys, but knew they’d catch me in the flats, witch they did.

Then about 8 miles in, the engine started to drag, legs felt heavy and it was a constant push to the end. I almost DNF’d, which would have been odd for me since, it was basically a training run distance.

What did I learn? A ton! First, you gotta’ eat. Starvation is not the key to ketosis. Next, I discovered new places to dig deep and draw strength from. And, celebrate your strengths.

On this day, I thought of my youngest daughter and decided that I’d finish and give her my medal, or award, or whatever was at the end. That kept me going, and I gave it to her.

Here’s the super bright light at the end of this tunnel . . . at about mile 22, my energy returned! I was stoked to have my energy back, feeling like I could go all day, and a little bummed that the finish was just a few miles ahead. I guess ultraman was just waiting for the right time to come out. He did, and wanted to keep going.

It’s a great race with beautiful scenery that I’d definite do again!

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