October 31, 2010

Surf the Murph 25K 2010

Hard to believe that it's the end of October already, but that just means it's time to run Surf the Murph! This is a fun, low key event where the only awards given are for those who run their given race in costume.

Karen and Wayne ran the full 50 miles in costume.

Since I'd only run about 10 miles total since North Country in August (boring story), I decided that I would just be hiking the 25K this year. Actually, I reasoned that I would do the course at a 100 mile pace, but stop after finishing only 17 :)

Got to the park late enough that I missed all my buddies who were running the 50K or 50 mile since their races had already started, but had a chance to chat with a few folks before we lined up to start our own race shortly after dawn. I quickly realized that I had overdressed - it was already in the low 40's and shaping up to be a beautiful day. Found Mike near the back of the pack - he had a conservative plan too since his ankle is still tweaked - so we both were planning on taking it easy. About 3 minutes in to the race, my Garmin started wigging out. Again. This is something that I've been battling all year, but each time I think I've got it fixed it starts acting up again. I'm trying one final effort of a hard reset before throwing it in the garbage.

Anyhoo, back to the race. Ran with Mike for the first 20 minutes or so before I needed to get my jacket off and fix a shoe lace, so I let Mike go ahead as he blasted down a long steep hill. Soon I was at the North AS and headed south towards some of the steeper hills. This is a fun roller coaster section, wooded and a little rocky, with several short steep hills one right after the other.

By now I had the trail mostly to myself, though Duke came flying past me on his second of 3 loops shortly before I got to the Horse Camp AS. He would go on to repeat his 50 mile win! Shortly after leaving the Horse AS, I started having cramps in my left peroneus muscles and the arch of my foot. WTF? This early cramping non-sense has got to stop. I took an S-Cap and kept hiking on the flatter, open sections that are typical of the south end of the park.

Beautiful day to be out in the woods - I kept stopping just to look around and enjoy the scenery. Soon I was at the festive Natchez AS and lingered a bit to chat with Helen and Lisa. After a very short single track, we were back on the wider trails. The course had been tweaked a little bit this year to add some distance so that the 50 milers would only have to do 3 full loops (last year we had 3 loops plus an additional short loop). One of the new additions was a fairly long section of walking through grass that was taller than I am. Glad I got there after the 50 milers and 50K runners had beaten it down enough so that I could see where to go ;)

More meandering through the open prairies before arriving back at the Horse AS - last stop before the finish. My stomach was feeling "sloshy" so I took another S-Cap in preparation for the fun stuff to come. These last 4+ miles might be my favorite of the whole course since there are gnarly little single track sections to liven things up.

This is where you get to find the blown down trees, get caught up in some prickly ash, and climb a ridiculously steep hill - thankfully it wasn't muddy like last year - before arriving at the top of a hill with a clearing that allows a view of the Minneapolis skyline in the distance.

Nice view of the Minneapolis skyline.

Probably only about a mile to the finish now, but I managed to miss a turn and did a little bonus before figuring it out. Fortunately, I am a little bit familiar with the park and last year's course, so I noticed pretty quickly that I was off track and didn't waste too much time. Before I knew it, I was crossing the finish line in my slowest ever but possibly most fun 25K (which was actually 16.8 miles). The 100 mile pace thing probably wouldn't be too far off (except that I currently have no plans to do a 100 miler). Famous last words.

Fin. Photo courtesy of Jen Pierce.

Hung out for awhile and tried to see as many of my buddies come through the start/finish as possible. It was nice to catch up with folks since I haven't been running much this year and haven't seen many of them all summer. One of the best things about ultra and trail running is the people :)

Many thanks to RD Les & Cindy (who are relocating to Hawaii), Molly the Trail Boss and Future RD, and all of the volunteers who did an incredible job taking care of the runners!

Hope to see you all soon on the trails!

October 22, 2010

Pederson Benefit Run

During the recent floods in southeastern Minnesota, Larry & Colleen suffered a tremendous amount of damage to their home.

Who are Larry & Colleen?

They are the race director's for the Zumbro 100, Superior Sawtooth 100, Superior 50 Mile, Moose Mountain Marathon, and In Yan Teopa 10 Mile trail runs. They helped found the Upper Midwest Trail Runners club, the Minnesota Trail Run Race Series, the Fab Five Fifties ultra running series, and the Gnarly Bandit ultra running series just to name a few. Many of the trophies awarded at these events are coveted works of wooden art, hand crafted by Larry in his wood shop. They are tireless volunteers who show up to help at most of the other trail runs in the area when they aren't directing one of their own. In other words, if there is something involving trail running in Minnesota or western Wisconsin, the Pederson's have been there to lend a hand.

Many of the local trail runners turned out to help with the clean up in Zumbro Falls and saw the devastating damage first hand. We wondered, what more could we do to help? That's when the idea of the Pederson Benefit Run was born.

When: November 27, 2010
Run starts at 7 or 9 am - your choice
Potluck and silent auction start at 1 pm

What: Trail run to benefit the Pederson's clean up effort starting at 7 or 9 am depending on how far you want to go. The course will follow the Afton 25K trail race map. Distance is anywhere from Zero K to whatever you want. Potluck and silent auction start at 1 pm in the visitor center.

Where: Afton State Park - the start/finish area is near the visitor center.

Who: You! Whether you're a seasoned trail runner or just want to give it a try, here's a perfect opportunity to share the trail with awesome people and help raise money for a great cause at the same time. You can run as little or as much as you like. You can skip the running and just show up for the potluck. If you can't make it to the event, you still have an opportunity to donate to the cause.

For more info about how to register or make a donation, check out the blog or the Facebook page.