Trail Monster Running
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Saturday, January 21, 2012
Today's run on the Beautiful Loop was kind of like running on a beach. Except it was 10 degrees, and snowing. But the snow was the consistency of beach sand. I guess since most people were planning to run the snowshoe race tomorrow there wasn't a very big turnout for our Saturday run this week. Just Zak and I, and luckily we had the same plan.
The Brad received about 7 inches of snow on Thursday night, and I assumed that the snowmobiles would have been out on Friday to get the Beautiful Loop packed down for us, but the snomo community kinda let me down. Many parts of the loop were only packed by one or two snowmobiles, and a few short sections hadn't seen any traffic at all. It made for another very challenging run, I estimate that in good conditions we could take at least 1/2 hour off our time for the loop, or about two minutes per mile. Compared to last weeks run it was at least less painful running, no postholing through a layer of ice with each step, but the softness of the snow required a lot of extra energy and our time was only a little faster than last week.
It did occur to me during the run that despite the lousy conditions it could have been much worse. I wondered how many different snowmobilers had to come out and ride various parts of the Beautiful Loop in order for the whole thing to connect. I'm fairly certain that no snomo'er starts at the park and completes the loop they way we do, so I'd guess it takes at least a dozen different people riding different parts of the loop to make it complete. And they pretty much did this within 24 hours of the last snowfall which is pretty darn good for us.
There were only three areas along the route where the packed track diverted significantly from my planned route, and at least the snow was light enough that it wasn't too hard breaking trail through 7" of fresh powder. The result of course was that my feet did get a bit wet, and despite wearing gaiters the snow managed to work it's way into my shoes and collect around my toes. I've realized that the Roclite 295's are a little too porous for snow running. I wasn't aware of having cold toes during the run, but once I changed in to dry socks and shoes afterwards, and the blood started flowing again, I could feel the burn that indicated a mild case of frostbite. By the time I got home and took a shower the end of one of my big toes was black and quite painful. Last year I got mild cases of frostbite on several occasions and it seems that the more it happens the more likely you are to get it again.
Speaking of cold... I found a neoprene sleeve for my CamelBak hose that Chuck gave me a few years ago, and it seemed to work pretty well to help keep the hose from freezing during the run. I also filled my bladder with hot water, and after each time I took a drink I blew a little air back into the hose to clear the water out. The only issue I had was that there was just enough water in the mouthpiece for it to freeze right away. I tried to take my first drink about 8 minutes into the run and it was already frozen. I stuffed the end of the hose down the front of my jacket and this was enough to thaw it out and keep it from re-freezing during the rest of the run. Maybe one day Nuun will make an antifreeze drink mix and I won't have to go through such lengths to keep my drink from freezing on such cold days.
The worst part of the run, or best part of the training depending on how you look at it, was the run up Lunch Break Hill at the end. Snowmobiles only go about 1/4 of the way up so most of the climb we were breaking trail. Killer. The run down the Terrace Trail from the summit was fun, not much foot traffic so it was a little slippery but I love running fast down that hill, especially in the snow.
Now hopefully I didn't overdo-it before tomorrow's snowshoe race. I never planned to taper, but I certainly don't want to suffer through it any more than one normally suffers in a snowshoe race.
distance: 15.71 miles
conditions: loose, light snow, on not-well-packed snowmobile trails
weather: overcast & snowy, light wind, single digit temps
gear: Inov-8 Roclite 295 with screws, sock liners, wool socks, tights, long sleeve top, short sleeve top, jacket, gloves, mittens, buff, nathan HPL #020