September 8, 2009

Some Runs in the Park

Murphy-Hanrehan Park

I've been getting some fun runs in ever since returning from South Dakota a couple weeks ago!

Last Saturday a bunch of local runners showed up at Afton to help Karen celebrate a big birthday. I did a 7 mile hill loop which included zipping up to the top of the Africa Loop, but skipped running around Africa and the Back 40 and just came back down to the river, then did Nigel's Hill and Campground Hill before heading to the visitor center for our vegetarian picnic. Lots of fun hanging out with the gang! Felt good to get some hills in after running flatter stuff in preparation for Lean Horse and Grand Island.

Sunday I headed out to Murphy-Hanrehan to check out the south end of the park. I'd only ever run the hillier north end in the past, and thought it would be fun to see other parts of this gorgeous park that sits only 20 minutes from my house. Got about 6.5 miles in on the sandy trails that are a little more rolling hills on open prairie compared to the steep, hilly, wooded north end. Saw more horses than people on the trails. The 2009 Surf the Murph course includes all of last year's trail plus these southern trails, so this run really got me thinking about doing this race again.

This past Saturday, I headed back out to Murphy-Hanrehan to meet up with Les (Surf the Murph RD) and Wayne for a tour of this year's Surf the Murph course. Wendy and Steve were also doing the training run, but they were running well ahead of the three of us most of the time. We had originally planned on doing the full 15.6 mile loop, but ended up cutting it a little short and just did 13+ miles since some folks have a rather longish race looming large this weekend ;)
I didn't remember so many steep hills on the course last year - I think some new ones have been planted! There are a few extra loops that are not on the trail map that provide some little surprises too! The prairie grasses are really pretty this time of year, and some trees are already starting to show fall colors. Running with the RD has got me seriously considering taking another crack at 50 miles this October!

So Sunday, back out to Murphy-Hanrehan I went. This is quickly becoming one of my favorite running spots and I can get there in half the time that it takes to get to Afton. I still get a little turned around on some of the trails and need to take a map with me. Ended up doing just 6.5 miles in the northern hilly section and only met one other person on the trail. I'd say that in general, the hills at M-H are shorter, steeper, and more plentiful compared to the longer hills at Afton.

This weekend I'll be working the aid station at Oberg on Saturday, giving all of the runners at the Superior races one last gentle shove towards the finish line. Hope to get some hikes/runs in on the Superior Hiking Trail Sunday - perhaps the Bean and Bear Lake loop near Silver Bay.

Great stuff!


SteveQ said...

I may stop by and say hello as I go to my station a few miles back along the trail.

Karen G said...

See you up there at Oberg.

Wayne said...

You went back out there on Sunday? Good for you. You'll definitely have that place figured out for your Halloween run. See you at Oberg... save some of the good stuff for me. :)