But first - Thanks Wayne for explaining to me how to make links work!!! And - all that after running an ultra (or was it before? I may not have ultra brain, but I do have ultra aid station brain complicated by driving 2 hours ;->)
Congratulations to everyone at the Chippewa Moraine 50k! Met a few bloggers (Kel, Matt) for the first time and said hello to a few others I have met (and run with in Wayne's case) in the past.
The weather was pretty interesting over the last two days. Being optimistic I left Duluth Friday morning wearing shorts. Figured I would layer a lot on top and would be okay. Then I opened the doors and discovered it was quite nice outside (only in northern Minnesota do we consider 61 degrees shorts and t-shirt weather). Ran some last minute errands and headed south to New Auburn, WI. Heard it was going to be a warm day, with a threat of rain/thunderstorms in the late afternoon and evening. Figured I would still have time to get the long run in and wasn't too worried about the temperatures as I figured I could handle 70's. As I got closer to New Auburn the car kept getting hotter and hotter and I became a bit worried about the temperature.
Found my way to the Chippewa Moraine Interpretive Center and got out of the car to discover it was really hot! Hmmm, I do not like running in the heat all that much. Oh well, I had made plans to meet up with another aid station volunteer to run so was committed (or should have been!).
We set out to run an out and back on the race course. After running the same loop twice we found our way onto the Ice Age Trail. By then I was ready to pack it in, but persevered. There was much discussion about how far we really wanted to run in light of the heat - and our lack of acclimation. We ended up running out 7.5 miles (per Pete's gps) and then turning around. We had been out for 1hr 35 minutes so figured we would be back by 3 hours. Not to be. On the way back we found the actual trail and ended up running a bit further (and enjoying that nice uphill to the finish). Pete and I split up on the way back so we each got to "enjoy" being on new trail to us, with an unknown distance to the Interpretive Center, alone. I ended up running for 3 hrs and 29 minutes!
Highlights of the day: hepatica in bloom (both violet and white); bloodroot in bloom (at the turn around point); sandhill crane; the lovely Chippewa Moraine Trail.
Arrived back at the Interpretive Center to discover the temperature was in the low 80's! I was ready to sit in the shade and drink - lots. Visited with Wynn and Larry Pederson for a bit while waiting for friends to arrive. Interesting stories.
As the afternoon progressed storm clouds moved in and shortly after heading out to Chetek (and the hotel and then dinner) it began to thunder, lightening and pour rain - and hail. Hmmm - hoping this all would pass before Saturday morning or it would be an interesting day for a race - though I guess rain is better than snow!
Woke up Saturday morning to temperatures in the low 40's and drizzle. Ran into Andy H. in the hotel lobby, who would go on to win the race. At this point I was glad I had packed a backpack full of warm clothes and picked up a very large tarp to use as a wind/rain break.
Pictures from the start:
And at the aid station:
Wayne (see above link)
Kel (see above link)
After closing down the aid station I returned to the Interpretive Center to return dropped items, watch runner's finish and visit. Then it was off to home. As I drove north the skies cleared, though the temperatures did not improve much. But, that said I do have flowers blooming in my yard!
scilla siberica - one of my favorites. There is a yard on my running route to work that is covered in a light blue variety of this flower.
Daffodils are not far behind!