Trail Monster Running

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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Beautiful Loop - Seasons Best

After two weeks of missing the Beautiful Loop (not for lack of running though) I was anxious to get back at it. My plan to run it every week didn't work out but this would be my 7th time around in 9 weeks this winter. Excuses: two weeks ago I did 21 miles at Linda & Val's Fat Ass, and last week there was 8" of fresh snow on the route one day and a snowshoe race the next.

I was surprised to see a relatively small group at the park this Saturday. Stephen and Jeremy were there to run the BL with me and Jim and Andy came along for 5 miles out and back. I set off with Andy and we compromised at a pace that was faster than I wanted to run for 15 miles and hopefully not too boringly slow for him. We cruised along at a good clip (for this loop) in conditions that were less than ideal but really pretty decent, about 2" of sugary snow over a packed base.

At 5 miles Andy and I stopped to let the others catch up, Jim turned around and Andy decided to keep going with Jeremy, Stephen and I. For the next 6 miles Jeremy chased Andy-the-Rabbit while Stephen and I ran at a slightly more comfortable pace. We'd periodically re-group when Andy was uncertain of the route, and then he'd pull Jeremy along the straightaways.

Shortly after turning from the power lines into the woods at 10 miles we bumped into Mindy and Val coming towards us, half way through their 10 mile run. They turned and joined us for a little while, but we were anxious to get out of the headwind and pushed on at a pretty quick pace. Andy soon disappeared ahead of us and Jeremy dropped back to run the last 3.5 miles with Stephen and I. We definitely slowed down in these last few miles, a later comparison of splits from when I ran this loop with Emma three weeks prior showed that although my time with Emma was about 6 minutes longer than today's our last three mile splits were actually slower today.

Regardless of the fact that I started out too fast and slowed down quite a bit towards the end I was pleased to run this route in my fastest time this winter, and in what was definitely not the best conditions of the season. I consider anything under a 9 minute pace on snowmobile trails to be a pretty quick pace for me, and for this distance on these hills I was psyched to average just under 9's.

time: 2:15:44
distance: 15.14 miles
pace: 8:58

weather: mid 30's, rainy, windy

conditions: sugary/slushy snow over firm packed trails

gear: Inov-8 Oroc 280 with Ice Spikes, wool socks, 3/4 tights, long sleeve top, t-shirt, gloves, buff, Nathan HPL #020

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