October 25, 2008

2008 MN Trail Run Series Revisited

I did it. I shot the moon and ran all 12 of the 2008 MN Trail Run Series races along with Wayne, Jim, and John. What a whirlwind it was! It seems like just a few weeks ago we were all lined up at the early spring races, wondering how to dress for the weather while tromping through snow and mud. Then heat and humidity. Now tripping over rocks and roots covered by leaf litter. I thought it would be fun to think back about some of the highlights from each race:

Trail Mix - I was so excited to see my running buddies after a long winter of slogging on the hamster wheel! We were gathering for the start, all wondering how to dress for the 40ish degree temps on a cloudy, windy day. Most of us decided on shorts, and we all had pasty white legs ;)

Runnin' In the Ruff - Two things really stand out about this one: the ankle deep shoe stealing mud with knee deep water on top of it, and running directly under a bald eagle nest with both parents present. A very windy day - all of us were huddled together on one side of the picnic shelter waiting for the awards and door prizes. Keith scored some home made chocolate pecan bark, Wayne got a martini mix, and Kate got the coveted pink garden hose. Oh, and Steve suffered the first of what would turn out to be a long string of injuries by rolling his ankle.

Superior 25K - Beautiful double rainbow over Lake Superior the evening before the race. Race day was very windy, and there were A LOT of blown down trees on the course - one of which I became stuck on. A few days later, one of the Lutsen condos that some runners stayed in burned to the ground.

Chester Woods - Man, I have never run in a down pour like the one that occurred during this race! It was so dark in the woods I felt like I needed a flashlight, and I had to keep tugging my water logged shorts back up before they fell off. The Burma Shave signs and post race dill pickles were fun, and legendary running coach Segred Levert stuck around to chat 'til the very end.

Sour Grapes - I ended up being in a sour mood for Sour Grapes since my neighbors had an all night party the night before and I didn't sleep. At. All. This was the race where I learned who the 4 runners who were trying to "shoot the moon" were - Wayne, Jim, and John in addition to myself.

Afton - Last year's run was my first trail race, so I had a time to beat. And I didn't, even though I felt like I ran much stronger. Bummer.

SMU Trail Scamper - What a fun little low key race! Just the 4 of us "moon shooters" and the first time I saw Adam all season - Jim and Adam both won age group awards. Put on by the SMU student athletes, they had a last minute land dispute which forced them to change the course from a 4 mile to a 5K just a few days prior to the race. I'm glad I didn't know about the timber rattlers that were on the course until after the race.

Days of Old Track and Trail - really fun trail when we finally got to the trail - unfortunately that was only about half of the race while the other half was running on dirt roads or along the shoulder of a highway to get to the trail. Lots of UMTR folks showed up for this one, so it was a fun social event.

Moose Mountain Marathon - This was the one I was looking forward to all season. It didn't disappoint, even though the trail seemed to be overrun by bees. An awesome race held on one of the most beautiful trails on Earth. Did I mention the bees?

Mpls Trail Loppet - With all of the trails in Wirth Park, I was hoping to run on more dirt rather than busted up concrete, old asphalt, or a sidewalk parallel to a freeway.

In Yan Teopa - I'd done this one last year too, so I had another time to beat. This time I did it. Very pretty run! Jim gave us a little scare by taking a scenic detour to get to the race and almost lost his bid for shooting the moon.

Big Woods - The final race of the series! Wish I had a picture of the sunrise in the dense fog - it was surreal. Another very pretty run through rolling, open woods with nice fall colors.

Thanks to those who shared the trail with me during this epic journey. What a ride!


MN Ultra Runner said...

Great accomplishment Kel! Maybe I'll see you next weekend at Murph, volunteer work only for me.

Andrew said...

Wow, quite the impressive list, congratulations on your accomplishment.

Ran the race loop at Murphy today - had to jump a couple fences but most were open. Thanks for posting the map earlier.

Karen G said...

Congratulations Kel, and nice re-cap of the year.

Wayne said...

Congratulations, Kel! This is a nice write-up summarizing all the races -- hard to keep them all straight. And there's nothing like a big exclamation point at the end of the series by doing Surph the Murph... have a good week and taper well!

phillip said...

Great Effort and Terrific Summation of the races.
Kel Rules!

bryan said...

That's awesome! Great job.

Steve said...

Well done, Kel! Surprisingly, we still haven't met on the trails yet. Unfortunately, I will be missing out on Surf the Murph and the awards dinner tomorrow because I have family visiting from out of town. So, we'll have to wait. I want to see you do an ultra next year. You can do it!!