Today is the first Saturday in May, meaning it was time for the 16'th annual Runnin' in the Ruff 10K trail race in Milaca. This would be the second of 12 races in the 2009 MN Trail Run Series and also the 2009 championship race, so I was expecting a big turnout! I thought I heard the RD say that they had a record number of people registered for the 2 mile and 10K races, though I really didn't see many people that I recognized. I thought I spotted Keith warming up prior to the race and John P. heading towards the start, but I never got a chance to visit with them. Kate and I lined up together, but didn't really run together much at all.
The beginning couple of miles were pretty crowded - they moved the finish line a little bit, and therefore also moved the start further up the gravel road so that we entered the single track almost immediately. Full on love train at times. The twisty, turny single track is a joy to run, though it gets tough to pass people if you're feeling the need for more speed than those in front of you. Mildly technical, fairly flat, just enough small roots and rocks to make you pay attention to the trail.
Last year's race was the muddiest trail run I've ever experienced (if there had been any more standing water on top of the shoe stealing mud, we may have needed scuba certifications to run certain sections of the course). This year still had some very muddy spots, but also lots of soft dry trail. I remember trying to jump over a water filled ditch last year - this year it was completely dry. Similar to last year, the highlight of the race (for me anyway) was running past the bald eagle nest near the half way point. Just one parent home this year, but it's cool to look up and see an eagle perched in a tree watching people run through the forest.
The trail through this section of woods gets very twisty and muddy. You can see other runners on a different section of the course at various places and you're not sure if they are in front or behind you! Steve was manning "Confusion Corner" to make sure everyone stayed on course (and getting a well earned rest from racing this weekend). Eventually the trail runs parallel to the Rum River and through some pines before popping out onto a grassy hill below the cemetary. Just follow the course markers to the bridge crossing the river and in to the finish.
I didn't stick around for the post race festivities this year, though I did get a chance to meet Jesse and Dan who are planning to "shoot the moon" for both the Fab Five and MN Trail Run Series. Good luck guys!
I also learned that Drymax socks are not the end all solution to my inconsistently consistant blister problems :( Consistant because the blister occurs in the same place every time it happens, inconsistant because it usually doesn't happen at all. Apparently, my socks have nothing to do with it. Dayam!
All in all, it was another perfect day to be running in the North Woods. Congrats and thanks to RD John O, Cindy, and all of the volunteers for putting on a great event!
Hope to see many of you at Ice Age next weekend! I'll be doing the kiddie race (50K).
1 day ago