Semler breaks 25K record, Hutchins wins 50K at Superior Trail Races

From the Spring Superior Trail Races website:

The weather cooperated like it never has before and we had 60 degrees and a cloudless sky for 2010’s races. Though we had the biggest field ever, only one record was broken (Leslie Semler’s 25k race), probably due to the muddy conditions on the trail.

We appreciate all of the volunteers and runners who came to Lutsen in 2010 for the races and hope to see you again next year. If you have pictures or race reports from this year’s race, email me at gretchen.perbix at and I’ll post links to them from here. For now, you can view the photos I was able to take from the finish line and also those taken by Jen Pierce at

Read more here

Killian featured in Women’s Running Magazine

In the Jan-Feb 2010 issue of Women’s Running Magazine, Megan Killian was featured in the Women Who Move section of the print magazine.

Winter Running is Delightful

Original article from Silent Sports Magazine, written by Megan Killian

I live in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. “Da U.P.,” where the north shoreline gets real buddy-buddy with Lake Superior, the largest freshwater lake in the world. Sometimes Superior freezes over enough the snow stops falling in the winter, but this is a rare. That only happens once every 25 years or so. Otherwise we can expect 200 to 300 inches of white, fluffy, crisp snow.

Sometimes it pummels us. Sometimes it floats nicely – carefree – from the sky, drifting side to side until it finally makes contact with the ground. Watching it puts you in a trance. It calms the soul.

Then there are days in early December, like today, that offer a mix of both. The sideways-falling snow always makes me laugh. I look out from a ninth floor window to see the snow making mini-tornadoes on the Northern Michigan University campus.

I can’t help but smile on days when I walk to school under hovering dreary gray clouds only to look outside around lunchtime to see big white snowflakes falling from the heavens. I love it! I’m especially excited on days like today, when the snow comes down hard. I knew my evening run with Margot would include some white-frosted trees and other pretty cool sights.

We donned our reflective gear. Well, Margot did. I forgot mine in my locker. We rolled out of West Houghton Lake Campground. Our first treat was the sight of the Mont Ripley ski hill covered in snow, making me antsy to ski. I haven’t felt that way for a long time, but hey, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed triathlon training this past summer.

It wasn’t long before I started to feel my feet sliding. Ugh. I hate that, especially with my knees acting funny lately. I proceeded cautiously, as did Margot. I realized then that my beloved Brooks Trance running shoes were probably not the best choice for winter road running.

Because it has been so warm, the roads were a bit wet. Obviously, the new snow meant the temperature had dipped below freezing. This left the roads covered with a sheet of ice. That’s not a problem if you stick to non-roadways, like the snowmobile paths. But since we started at 4:30 p.m. and it gets dark 30 minutes later – well, you can imagine. We were slipping and sliding, especially on the downward slopes, of which there are many in Houghton. The snowmobile trail was a beacon, the ground there crunching under our feet.

After an hour and a half of crisp, wintery air, we made it safely back to Margot’s house. Finally, dear winter, I welcome you with open arms.

Winter running tips

Here are some rules I live by when going out for a winter run.

1) Dress warm, but not too warm. I’m out there to get my sweat on. But if I am too warm at the start, I will do nothing but sweat, getting cold and miserable. If the temp is between 20 and 30 degrees, I usually don a lightweight hat – the Icebreaker Pocket 200 is awesome; lightweight gloves – you know, those cheapo nylon ones that cost 99 cents? Yeah, those; tights; and two lightweight dry-wicking shirts – Craft poly over a Brooks HVAC long sleeve is what I chose today. When it’s colder, I like to wear thicker gloves, another shirt or a vest and some heavier-duty pants – Swix Nordic ski pants or Mountain Hardwear Transition pants are great on windy days in the U.P.

2) Dress in layers. Wearing two shirts gives me the option to remove one if I get too warm. When in doubt I bring a lightweight jacket or cycling jersey. If I get too warm, I take it off. No harm in that. If the conditions are somewhere between rainy and snowy, I wear something water resistant so I don’t get too soggy and wet.

3) Wear shoes with traction. Trail shoes are perfect for winter running on slick pavement. Last year I bought a pair of La Sportiva Imogenes from Downwind Sports in Houghton. They are comfy and have a great grippy sole made out of sticky rubber they call Frixion. The tread is deeper than normal trainers, so it can grab onto the snow.

In 2003 I bought a pair of Montrail Hardrocks, and although they had mega-tread, they didn’t quite fit right. I’m going to give the newest rendition of the shoe a shot this year, though. I’m not a super-fan of YakTrax, a rubber and metal traction device that slips over the bottom of your shoes, mainly because my runs take me on varying terrain that includes snow, ice, rocks, pavement and cobblestone. The YakTrax Pro, recommended for use on snow and ice, get pretty slick on clear concrete and sound like tap shoes.

Some other good trail running shoe options include:

Brooks Adrenaline ASR: These shoes have a medial posting, which helps direct the foot for people with pronation issues. ASR stands for All-Season Running, and the shoe upper is weather resistant. No soggy shoes at the end of the run with these.

Saucony ProGrid Xodus: These shoes look sweet. Plus they have a Vibram sole, which means that the rubber is a little stiffer and tractiony, if that’s a word. I have a pair of KEENs with a Vibram sole and it’s amazing how sticky they can be on slick, leaf-covered rocks out in the woods.

Salomon XA PRO 3D Ultra GTW: That’s a mouthful. These shoes have Contragrip that provide great traction and a lacing system that eliminates sloppy and slappy laces. And, they look pretty cool.

4) Bring water. Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you aren’t sweating. In fact, you’re working even harder to keep your body temperature up. Plus, breathing in cold weather is an easy way to lose fluids. That steam you see is water leaving your body. I love my Nathan Quickdraw Elite hand-held water bottle. My camera fits perfectly in its zip-up pocket. If I ran with my cell phone, this would also be a good spot for it.

5) Wear bright, reflective stuff. It’s not always bright and sunny out there. It might be when you start running in the late afternoon, but not by the time you finish. How many people actually have time to run before work when it’s light out? Up here, the sun doesn’t come up until 8 a.m. and it sets by 5:30 p.m. Wearing a headlamp will make dark roads easier to traverse.

When it’s snowing, motorists have an even harder time seeing you. And in an area like mine, being aware of hunters is important. Even if it’s daytime, being visible is incredibly important.

6) Get low. If you aren’t sure if the road beneath your feet is icy, bend your knees more and take shorter steps, anticipating a slip or a slide. Lowering your center of mass can help reduce your chances of falling. Of course, running on drier and rougher surfaces is a safer bet.

7) Don’t break a fall with your hands. Sometimes falling is inevitable. But falling on ice while bracing yourself with your hands can lead to serious injury. Your butt has way more cushion. That isn’t to say that you won’t get bruised or beaten up by taking a blow to the rump. Still, you’re better off falling with your hands behind or in front of your head. The key to falling is to stay limber. Let the fall happen. Don’t try to stop it. Stay loose and let more of your body absorb the impact.

A Nice Fall Training Ride

See the original post from Stinger Buzz here, written by Nate

Leslie wins, Lisa 4th at Surf the Murph 50K

Results are posted here on Surf the Murph’s website

A Beautiful Day for the First Wild Duluth Races

Read the original post here at Wild Duluth Races- 100K and 50K


“The women’s 50K may have been the most exciting race of the day.  Leslie Semler from Hermantown, MN led local running champion Rochelle Wirth of Duluth, MN through the early aid stations before Rochelle overtook Leslie, relying on her ultra experience to win the 50K with a super time of 5:13 and place 5th overall.  Leslie finished a very strong 2nd just over 5 minutes behind Rochelle and 7th overall.  Duluthian Anne Flueckiger placed third.  The women were really moving fast over the rocky course throughout the day and also set strong standards for others to try to match in coming years.”

Addicted to Endurance

Original article from Monroe Evening News, written by Niles Kruger

Megan Killian claims she has to sleep at least eight hours a night.
It’s hard to figure out how she fits that into her schedule. The 26-year-old Erie Mason graduate is finishing work on a PhD in biomedical engineering at Michigan Tech.
And, in her spare time, she trains for marathons and iron woman competitions.
“I definitely know what my body is capable of now,” she said.
Killian loves the solitude of distance running.
“It’s something I kind of have to do,” she said. “In endurance racing, you’re not really racing other people. You are racing against yourself. If you don’t keep your head in the game, your race is pretty much ruined.”
Killian made it to the state meet four times in cross country and three times in track and field while running at Mason.
After graduating in 2001, she moved on to Michigan Tech where she ran track and cross country for four years and was a member of the Nordic ski team for one season.
She got away from running for a while earning a master’s degree in health and human development at Montana State-Bozeman.
But in her second year of grad school she decided to start training for marathons.
She ran her first during Thanksgiving break in 2007, competing in an event in Napa Valley, California.
Killian finished in 3 hours, 22 minutes and 16 seconds. That was good enough for 16th place overall and third in her age group.
She has run three marathons since and has hit times good enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon in all of them.
“Eventually, yeah, that’s my goal to run in Boston,” she said. “I plan to do a marathon in every state before I’m done.”
That’s an ambitious goal, but she already has knocked off California, Washington, Nebraska and Wisconsin. She will add Ohio to her list when she runs in the Columbus Marathon this weekend.
But marathons are not enough for Killian.
She recently went to Wisconsin to compete in an Iron Man competition that consisted of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a full marathon.
“It was the first triathlon I’ve signed up for,” Killian said. “There were a lot of crazy people there. The swimming was probably the hardest. There were 2,500 people who started at the same time.
“It was an in-water start. We had to float around and tread water until it started. There was a lot of hitting and smacking and punching going on. Some people have fun doing that.”
Killian finished in 11 hours and 26 minutes. That was 8th in her age group.
Only the top two qualified for the prestigious Iron Man competition in Hawaii, but Killian wasn’t far off the qualifying mark.
The second-place woman finished in just under 11 hours.
“The fun and challenge is holding back parts of the race where you are feeling really good and to keep going when you are feeling bad,” Killian said. “I knew if swam as hard as could, the bike would not that easy. And if I biked as hard as wanted or was too aggressive out there, I would not have that good of a run. Mentally, you have to pay attention to what you’re doing the whole time.”
Killian never swam at Mason because the girls swimming season was the same time as cross country season.
But she had a little experience as a middle school swimmer and was a manager for the boys swimming team.
She plans to ask recently retired Mason swimming coach Jack Michaels for some pointers on improving her swimming stroke.
“I definitely hope to pick his brain soon,” she said. “I hired a coach to help me with my swimming, but since had I had Coach Michael in middle school, swimming wasn’t something I really had a problem with.”
Killian’s normal schedule is about 12 to 14 hours of training per week, but she kicks that up to around 20 hours when she is getting ready for an event.
She likes to vary her work outs with running, biking, swimming and even cross country skiing.
“I give myself one day off a week,” she said. “Running is so hard on the body. Putting swimming and biking in there makes it a lot easier.
“When you put in more time on the bike and swimming, your body doesn’t get as beat up. Plus, you don’t get as bored.”
The daughter of April and Ed Killian of LaSalle plans to run a 62-mile race in Tennesse this winter.
Luckily for Killian, her boyfriend also runs marathons and iron man competitions and is a member of the same PhD program.
They understand each other.
“The thrill is being able to push myself for that long,” she said of her addiction to endurance sports. “It’s a different kind of pain. It’s not the kind of pain where you run a 5K race and for 20 minutes, you’re hurting whole time.
“In longer races, you hurt, then you feel good, then you hurt again, then you want to stop, but you keep going. There are a lot of ups and downs.”

September Runner of the Month: Leslie Semler

Read the original post here at Northland Runner

The September Runner of the Month is Leslie Semler of Hermantown.  A dominant runner in the Duluth running scene, Leslie has taken her training and racing to a new level in 2009.  We first profiled Leslie in 2007 after winning the Steve Chadwick 5k in Duluth.  That article is available here.

In 2009 Leslie focused on improving her fitness level from last year.  Starting in January, Leslie followed a Pfitzinger training plan to prepare for Grandma’s Marathon.  Her dedication to the program paid off when she ran 3:06, a personal record.  Other highlights from Leslie’s season include: setting the course record at the Superior Trail 25k (2:12), achieving a half marathon personal record at the Lincoln Half Marathon (1:25), winning the Wildwoods 25k (1:50) and winning the Walker Marathon (3:24).  In addition to these accomplishments, Leslie won the NMTC Spring Trail Series and is currently battling for top position in both the NMTC Fall Trail Series and the Minnesota Trail Series.  Leslie and a team also competed in the Great River Ragnar Relay, winning their division.

Since Grandma’s Marathon, Leslie has been crafting her own training program to help her achieve her race goals.  Her program has consisted of base mileage, rest weeks, and speed work.  Leslie’s next goal is a venture into a new arena for her.  She currently is training for her first Ultra – the Wild Duluth 50k on October 17th.  If that goes well, she also plans on trying the Surf the Murph 50k on October 31st.

Besides hard work and quality training, Leslie credits a few additional factors for helping her reach her peak condition this year.  Leslie cross-trains quite a bit, biking two or three days a week.  Someday she would like to incorporate swimming into her training regimen and possibly complete a triathlon or two.  Leslie also tries to eat healthfully and makes sure she includes a variety of foods in her diet.  She tends her own garden and has experimented with making her own yogurt, bread, and pasta.  She also credits plenty of sleep and yoga for keeping her body healthy.

Leslie’s advice to other runners is to have fun training.  Whatever type of training program you are involved in, you should enjoy it.  If it hurts a lot, something is wrong!

When you bump into Leslie on the race circuit, congratulate her on a successful season and wish her luck in her first ultra race!

Area quartet to challenge Ironman

TMT member Megan Killian featured in new article.

See the original article from the Daily Mining Gazette, written by Brandon Veale

Three MegaTough Women Finish Well in 2009 KTRF

Original article by Great Lakes Endurance. Read the entire article here:

(Overall women’s winner) Hauswirth was chased by Margot Hutchins (Houghton, MI), who finished second in each event.  Andrea Metz (Rothschild, WI) was third overall, finishing 4th in the 10K and 3rd in both the Hill Climb and 25K.  Fifty seven women ran all three events.  Walzak was followed by Ryan Piippo of Detroit, who like Hutchins, finished second in all events.  He finished with seconds of Walzak in the 10K and the 5.8K Hill Climb, but Walzak built his lead with a 7 minute margin in the 25K.  Robert Ellerbruch of Indianapolis finished third overall with consistent 4th place finishes in all events.  Photos of the event are now available.

TMT Note: Christy Hoppe also completed all three events, finishing in the top 10 overall for women.