Northern Minnesota Track Club (NMTC) Spring Trail Series has started!! Most races are held on Wednesday and they tackle some of the toughest trails in the Duluth/Superior area. Need a little mud, hills, and technical trail - this is the series for you!
Tonight was race number 4 in the series - Goat Run. While not technically held in the Goat Hill neighborhood of Duluth, it is nearby and involves a scramble up some steep bare rocks and a lot of climbing and descending in a 3.5 mile course.
Since I only live a mile and half away, parking is limited, and race turnouts have been large (115 tonight) I opted to run to this race. Loaded my trusty REI Half Dome with some Nathan products to deliver to Team Mega Tough teammate Leslie and some warm clothes for after the race if I decided to stick around for some post-race socializing and headed up the hill.
My house is about 300 feet off of the Superior Hiking Trail and I have found it a gentle way to access Skyline Boulevard which runs above my house. The rest of the commute was on the boulevard, and with the wind at my back (gusting to 30 mph) it went by pretty quickly.
Arrived at the race start, paid my $1 and promptly found a spot out of the wind to wait and adjust my layers. The thermometer at my house read 50 F, but I had not taken into account wind chill. Opted to keep my long-sleeve Icebreaker top on for the race. This would turn out to be an excellent decision!
The course utilizes an access trail that quickly takes us into the Piedmont hills. After reaching what appears to be the summit, it is a quick descent into a valley, then a quick climb back out on what is a snowmobile trail in the winter and part of the mountain bike trail system the rest of the year. This trail leads to the Piedmont Ski Trail. The turn onto the ski trails equals some easy running, with good footing and plenty of space to pass (or be passed). I know the trails in this area very well as it is close to home and a favorite for running, hiking, skiing and biking.
Now, as with most folks in colder weather, my nose had been running a bit. No problem right?! That's what long sleeves are for after all. Well, I reached up to wipe my nose only to discover it was bleeding. Great! I ended up spending the rest of the race mopping up blood, trying not to let it distract me from running and occasionally wondering how bad this all would look to an outsider (and hoping I wasn't spattering anybody but myself).
The race finishes on the same bare rock face, but this time its a pretty exciting descent! I gathered my finishing place number and answered a few questions about all the blood (and was wishing I had a better story than a spontaneous nose bleed). After turning in my number and having my name recorded for the results I grabbed my backpack (a little lighter after delivering the gear) and headed into the wind for the run home. Sam joined me for awhile which gave us a chance to catchup and wish each other good luck on upcoming races.
Next up: Superior 50K (May 15) Isle Royale - backpacking trip (May 19 - 23) Firefighters 10 mile Road Race (Thunder Bay, ON May 24)