Chalk up another super fun training run!
Today I ventured out to a trail I hadn't run upon before. Les of the MN Dog Pack was hosting a run on one of the trails at the Murph-it was a 1 10 mile loop with steady rolling hills, thickly wooded, some prairie, some mountain bikers. It was a blast.
I left home at 530AM, with a full two hours before start time. I woke early enough to bake 2 sweet breads and frost them to share at the start, eat breakfast and hit the road.
I had a pretty good idea where I was going as I ran Buck Hill in Burnsville quite a bit this summer for Superior 100 prep. This trail wasn't far from the hill. Well, one glitch. Burnsville Parkway wasn't marked due to construction so I ended up driving up and down Co Rd 42 into Savage and back to Burnsville over and over looking for it. I finally stopped at a gas station, asked for directions and was told to turn at the Abdallah Chocolate Factory. Yeah, I had driven past the Chocolate Factory half a dozen times. It was now 730 and I was late for the start. My sweet breads were cold. Oh well.
740 and I pulled into the trail head. I could see a big train of runners looping around the hill and was thankful that I at least knew which direction to start running in. Cindy was manning the start/finish aid and gave me a quick run down on where I should begin and an outline of the course 'rules to run 50K'. I was off and running!
The trail was really cool. Lots of short, steep ups and downs, 10 miles of trail contained in a 2.5 mile area. It was crazy fun. I would hear people talking and laughing near me, then would see people through the woods, and was amazed at how long it took me to catch them!
Pretty soon snow began to fall! I couldn't believe it. The snow actually stuck to the ground and covered the leaves. It was fabulous. The snow fell for a few hours, eventually quitting and warming up a bit.
After a good 7 miles I finally caught Les, Dave, Mick and Maynard. I chatted a bit, they didn't want to let me pass, so I had to knock Maynard to the ground. Then they let me through! Ha! Maynard really did fall down, but it wasn't my fault, really!
I ran on, finished the first 10 miles in under 2 hours. I ran it hard, trying to catch runners. I was surprised I didn't catch anyone going out for another 10 at the trail head. There were two runners, but they were finished after 10 miles. I filled my bottles, grabbed a few gels from my pack and headed back out for loop 2. I was rather disappointed that I ran loop 1 alone. I was looking for some company on loop 2.
After a few miles Maria spotted me. She told me she'd walk, that I could catch up to her. It was deceiving to me as to how far away she was! I ran and ran and ran and FINALLY caught up to her! We fell into a great conversation and pace and the miles just clicked right off.
2:20 or so later we were back at the trail head, filling bottles and grabbing more gels, ready to head out for miles 20-30.
Loop 3 and we didn't pass another runner. Every once in a while we'd see Les and Co running through the woods, would shout out a hello, and be on our way. Les had dropped off a cooler of bottled water, Coke and Powerade for us to fill up along the course. It was really nice to only have to carry a handheld bottle and a few gels in my pocket.
Instead of eating solid food today I tried all liquids and gels. It worked very well. I had no cramping of the stomach and my energy was high. I had 1 bottle of Accelerade, 1 bottle of Cliff Cranberry something or another and a bottle of Heed. I just mixed up whatever was available. I had a bag of Margarita Cliff Blocks and 3 Hammerheed gels. It was about 35F so I didn't need any Scaps, didn't need any Advil. Nothing ached, I felt great.
There were probably a dozen or two bikers out there to share the trail with. They were very polite, shouted out when they needed to get past us.
Maria and I finished the 50K in 6:40. Oh, I guess since I began 15 minutes later I actually finished in 6:25. I really had a blast. I'm thankful that I hitched up with Maria.
We wrote down our finishing time on the recording sheet and noticed that 30 runners had been out there with us! 30! Over half of them ran 10 miles and a few ran 20 or more. I believe 7 of us: Paul, Pierre, Maria, Me, Les, Ed and Dave ran the full 50K.
After we packed up the goodies Maria shared at the aid station we headed off for Les and Cindy's home, as they were hosting a pot luck following the run.
Upon our arrival Cindy offered me a hot shower. Oh, what a treat! I washed away the filth and the chill and hung out visiting with friends for a few more hours.
What a fabulous day! Thank you to Les and Cindy for their hospitality.