September 27, 2008

In Yan Teopa 10 Mile

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.

Much of the first half of the race is on wide grassy gently rolling trails in open terrain. Nice to have wider trails especially at the beginning so that people don't get too bunched up. I was feeling pretty good early on and tried to settle in to a comfortable pace. It seemed like there was a lot of downhill grade for the first few miles, which we would have to make up for later ;) Came to the first of several road crossings (I didn't remember that many road crossings before) and soon we were at the first of 3 aid stations. I had a hand held so I just ran through the first aid station and continued on. More wide grassy trail, but a little flatter now. I was grateful that the skies were remaining overcast, as I was starting to notice the high humidity. Took an S Cap and a Clif Shot shortly before coming in to the second aid station just past the half way point.

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 :)


Carl Gammon said...

Great job on another trail race. Running every one of these is some accomplishment. I've signed up for the Nerstrand Big Woods half, so I'll see you there.

SteveQ said...

Thanks for posting the elevation profile. I would never have guessed it looked like that! See you at Nerstrand.

SteveQ said...

Just did the scoring for the MNTRS. You got 100! Yay!

Jennythenipper said...

I had a pretty similar experience to you at the race. It was a lot of uphill at the end and I was really feeling it even though I'd prepared a lot, I felt.

This was my first time out at Frontenac and I will definitely be back. It's a beautiful course, but so much elevation change that my ears actually popped in the last three miles.

I'm curious to know how the elevation profile compares to Nerstrand. I know there's a similar long downhill and uphill from skiing there. I'm hoping that the beginning and the end will be as flat as a pancake. The big uphill climb at frontenac really wiped me out for the seemingly endless rolling hills at the end.

I've really enjoyed your blog all year.

Wayne said...

Nice job, Kel. You completed #11 and got 100 points to boot! :)

I'd probably camp out for sure for #12 if the race started in the park, and if I knew it'd be a nice warm weekend. hehe

Jean said...

Excellent job, Kel! Way to go. Looking at that elevation chart, I am guessing this course was much tougher than the 10 mile at Chester Woods?

Thanks for all the great race reports. I have very much enjoyed reading them!

Jeff said...

I became a trail runner in Yan Teopa. During the first couple of miles I noticed how good the soft ground felt even though it's slower and more difficult to run on than pavement. The scenery, the challenge, the change of pace, and not knowing what's coming up over the next hill make the runs much more memorable than your usual road race. In fact, it feels much more like a romp through the woods than an actual race. I kind of like it!