What a perfect morning for a trail run! Crystal clear skies with stars twinkling, no wind, temps in the mid-30's, frost on the grass. Got up at 5 am to make it to the trailhead for the start - about 60+ people showed up for the first "official" Surf the Murph 25/50K races (there was a fat ass last year). Bonnie and Donny wheel measured and marked the course, and Donny mentioned that he planted some animals in the woods. We lined up in the dark with head lamps and flashlights for the 7 am start, then off we went into the woods for either 2 or 4 laps of the 8-ish mile course.
It was pitch black at the start of the race, so everyone was pretty laid back with their pace. The wide trails made it easy to pass or run side by side with another runner. The first 4 miles were pretty hilly - some were steep and had loose gravel, kinda like Afton. Then we got to the previously locked gates and finally got to sample the south end of the park. [As it turns out, hikers are apparently welcome on all of the trails and the closure signs are primarily to keep horses and 4 wheelers out of certain areas of the park. They still don't want folks trespassing during nesting season for the rare bird species....it seems like the park staff could do a much better job of marking/explaining the trail closures, especially if they apply only to certain modes of travel (ie horse, bike, ATV, or feet)]. The south end was much gentler, although there were some sandy and/or rocky bits. Nice little piece of single track shortly after the 5.5 mile aid station - I think that was probably my favorite part of the course.
I ended up running a liesurely pace with Wayne for the entire 25K distance, then he continued on for another 2 laps. It's nice to have company during longish runs - makes the hours and miles fly by! We saw 2 white tail deer bound across the trail directly in front of us, then a pair of wild turkeys later in the day. Thanks for the animals Donny ;)
My finish time for the 25K was one of my slowest, but I really didn't care. I wasn't pushing at all - just enjoying a great morning in the woods. I'm glad I didn't continue with the 50K as my left heel was getting pretty sore. Not sure what that's about - perhaps it's time for some new shoes.
Thanks to RD Les & Cindy and all of the volunteers for a great event in a beautiful park! I hope to be back with my snow shoes in a couple of months!
1 day ago