Eleven down, 1 race to go in the 2008 Minnesota Trail Run Series! Today's race was the In Yan Teopa 10 mile at Frontenac State Park. Wish I had brought my camera along - this is a beautiful park located among the steep bluffs along the St. Croix River south of Red Wing. The course is mostly gently rolling, non-technical trail in open terrain with a couple of steep, noteworthy climbs through singletrack in the woods. The fall colors are just starting to turn - it will be spectacular in a couple of weeks!
Met up with the usual gang at the start, but noticed that someone was missing. There are 4 of us attempting to complete all 12 races in the MN Trail Run Series, and Jim gave us a scare by being uncharacteristically fashionably late ;) After taking a scenic detour to get to the race, he somehow managed to drive 80 miles in an hours time to make it to the start line just as we were all heading down the trail. We half joked about camping at Nerstrand the night before the Big Woods Half Marathon just to make sure we make it to all 12 races. Half joked.
The second half of the course is more difficult (read: uphill) and also has more singletrack through the woods. I was starting to feel overheated from the high humidity, so it was nice to catch the breeze every now and then. My pace was starting to slow a bit, probably from the uphill grades in addition to feeling hot. A few wide switchbacks up to more singletrack, then the really steep switchbacks with lots of stairs leading up to the third aid station at the top of the bluff. By now, my hamstrings were threatening to cramp, so I had to slow down a bit. Topped off the handheld with water and headed out for the last few miles.
More gently rolling hills in open terrain - the sun was starting to pop through the clouds and I was really feeling hot even though the temp was only about 70. Still feeling like my hamstrings were going to cramp any time we came to an uphill grade, so I was walking even the gentle uphills. Took another S cap and kept going. One or two people passed me before we got to my favorite section of the course - the winding singletrack in the woods just before the finish. Finally popped out of the woods and trotted into the finish just in time for the awards ceremony.
I had originally planned on running the course a second time to get a 20 mile run in, but there was no way that was going to happen with the way my legs were feeling. I had also forgotten my Nathan vest at home, where it was loaded with water and gels ready to go. Oh well.
Thanks again to RD Larry & Colleen and their awesome volunteers for putting on another great event! I will have to pull my weight next year by doing some volunteer work at races instead of running all of them :)
1 day ago