Fifteen Miles at Salt Fork

My run began this morning at 11 degrees F.  Not that bad out, but my hands suffered in the first two miles.

I took my hiking poles out with me.  I got very disenchanted within a few minutes with them.  The ground here is frozen-but just on top. The poles kept sinking down into the mud below.

My hands also were freezing. I mean seriously freezing. I was even wearing my new fleece gloves, but my hands were actually hurting. (Well it was only 11 degrees out, and windy.) I don’t think clasping metal poles-even with their rubber molding-was helping.

I jumped off the trail about mile two, to abandon the poles. I retrieved them later from the road.  After leaving the poles, I made a conscious effort to move my arms up and down to get some blood flowing to them.  My hands finally warmed up about mile three or so and I had no more issues.  (But this is a good point to note. I do have those hand warmer items, and I could have started my run with those to keep my  hands warm initially.

The schedule called for 15 miles and I needed trails!  I meant to start at the Dog Park Beach at Salt Fork, but they had the road closed past the first parking lot for the beach, so I parked there, and headed up the trail.

I followed the Bridle Trail, then met up with the pink blazed trail which marks the Bigfoot 50K.  Lots of frozen mud and ruts left over from the 50K.  I had a bunch of time thinking about trail races.  There was a  trail running race in the Alum Creek Area which apparently destroyed about six miles of mountain bike trail due to the mud conditions.  The bridle trail at Salt Fork State Park-which is most of the Bigfoot 50K loop-was also very chewed up.  I spent a good deal of time contemplating on trail stewardship-who is to determine how many runners can be in a race? Should loop course races be allowed?  What kind of mathematical formula could be involved to help determine numbers? 

 Although most of the trail was frozen, there were parts that were very chewed up from runners.  I run this loop year round, I see it dry, wet, muddy.  So I know what it looks like, pre-race, and I am seeing it a month post race.  (And incidentally, I just ran 15 miles, in a loop, at SF, so I could cobble together a 2 loop course, rather than a 3 loop course in the same course.)

I got to the Lodge about mile five, stopped and drank from my water bottle and refilled. I was wearing my old UD Wink Pack.  But I was storing my water bottles in it instead of the bladder. Also carrying a few items that I will need for TWOT. In other words, this was a training run for TWOT.

 Not a bad training run either, with the frozen ruts the trail was more technical.  I did more hiking than running, and that is going to happen at TWOT.

 The Lake is almost frozen.  I really liked the patterns the snow and wind left on the Lake.

I had a good run/jog/hike today. I got my fifteen miles in, more mental fortitude built up for TWOT.  Clothing choices were good for today.  I wore silk long jowns under my tights. I wore a singlet under my wool shirt, covered by my rain jacket.  That was enough on the top and very warm on the climbs.

A very good return to the trails today. TWOT is rapidly arriving.

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