I wanted to complete a 50-mile run as part of my Burning River 100 training. I looked at our family schedule and determined that this weekend would be the time. I also decided to do this at night. I did not want to run this alone so I posted a note on the Burning river news group about the Nite Owl 50 mile FA run. All I wanted/needed was one other crazy person to join me. Thankfully, 7 other people decided to join me for part and 3 of them joined me for the entire distance.
We departed Happy Days parking lot with a simple route: Follow the BR100 course until ONeil Woods. Then turn around and run back. The early pace was fast, too fast. But it felt good. The trails were in good condition and the sun started to set. Headlamps were turn on and we continued onto the Salt Run trail. When we exited the woods again at Pine Hollow, the full moon was just rising over the trees, providing an incredible view. Onto the Wetmore trail.
Yes, it was muddy, yes it was technical, and yes, we were still running too fast, but boy oh boy was it fun! We listened to the owls hooting back and forth to each other and as we passed by the goat farm, a "Baaaa" sound joined the owls! Pretty funny.
3 members of our group decided to call it a night at the Covered Bridge while the rest of us ventured onto the Perkins Trail. Again, muddy, technical, however the pace finally slowed down. The 'fun factor' dropped a bit too... Back to Covered Bridge where 3 more of our group called it a night.
Greg, JP, Kurt, and I then headed down Ira Road to ONeil Woods. We listened to the chorus of bull frogs at the pond near Hale Farm. They were very loud had quite the songs going. As we climbed the hill into ONeil Woods, the coyotes joined in with the night chorus. Pretty cool. We stopped at the top of the hill before we entered the 'real' park. We did not want to risk the wrath of the park ranger since the park closes at 11pm.
We decided to do an out and back on the tow path instead of another lap around the Perkins Trail. JP's wife, Maria, met us at the Covered Bridge with pizza! It was a great break and treat and really hit the spot. We were starting to feel the effects of our poor pacing choice earlier but continued on. Before we knew it, we were back at Pine Hollow and the sun was up! Greg was chomping at the bit and took off at his faster pace since the sun was up. JP, Kurt, and I continued to complete Salt Run again and headed back.
I arrived back at my car after 12 hours and 21 minutes of moving through the night. I felt good most of the night. My nutrition worked and I was happy that the Chia seed gel worked really well. I will certainly use this for the race in July. I only have two small blisters on my left heel. This is mainly due, I think, to my old socks that I wore. I had a small rock embed itself in my sock and I have a sore spot on my right heel. Gaiters are on order...
Great night, great trails, great friends! It does not get much better than this! Thanks JP, Kurt, and Greg for the company and support. Andy and Mike, get ready to rock on July 31st!
If you see this on Saturday..
19 hours ago