Saturday, June 14, 2008

One Day to 7-Day Race!

I just came back from the Lake Mingo 7.1 mile trail race. It was very wet and muddy. I walked most of the race and ended up finishing in about 90 minutes. Not even close to being last place! Darn. Legendary Curt got me a beer at the 5 mile aid station. It didn't even last to mile 6. Fortunately, there was plenty of beer at the finish line. And veggie brats, soda, & chips. Kennekuk throws a good party. I couldn't stay long. I needed to rest. Tomorrow at 5am the "Buffalo Trace 7-Day Stage Race" begins!

The start of the trail (mile zero) is pictured at the left. Zola, the running wonder dog, should appreciate the doggie bags placed at the start. The course is a 5-mile trail through forest, meadows, prairie, and some farmland. It is very well maintained by the Champaign County Forest Preserve (with some extra "volunteer" help from Jeff). I took several pictures of the trail today--they are uploaded to my Picasa web site. Every major turn has a brown post with an arrow. Every mile is similarly marked. Actually every half-mile is marked. FOLLOW THE BROWN SIGN POSTS FOR ALL TURNS AND MILE MARKERS. (Ignore the yellow disks on the ground--those are for the high school XC course.) Jeff and I will have some trail maps at the starting parking lot. Maps (and directions) are also on the 7-day race web site. I'm happy to walk (or run/walk) an entire loop with anyone that is worried about getting lost. I can, and often do, run the whole trail at night without a light. It's a very tame trail so you don't need to watch for rocks and roots. A perfect venue for a 7-day event. Well, almost wouldn't hurt to have restrooms, running water, and shelter at the start area. BRING YOUR OWN AID and plan on being self-sufficient.

The park officially closes at 9pm (it might be 10pm in a week or so), but there are no gates that lock you in or out. The restroom on the east parking lot (not our main start/finish area) is locked in the evening. People are free to come and go as they please. There are several convenience store/gas stations in town, plus one grocery store (IGA). Not the largest assortment of restaurants, but Mahomet does have a few fast food spots (Arbys, McDonalds, Subway, etc) plus pizza (Dominos & Monicals) and a few casual sit-down restaurants. I plan on eating food from Los Zarapes (Mexican) and The Wok (Chinese) almost everyday. I am promising no aid, but will probably have a 5-gal cooler with ice water out there each day. My personal snacks will be in my car--I'm happy to share food, drinks, electrolyte pills, etc if you are around when I forage for grub. After just 7 days on the trail, it'll all be over. Here is a photo of the trail finishing at the parking lot. Once you see cars, you are almost done! Best of luck to everyone. Be safe out there and take care of yourself. This is supposed to be a "fun run" not a real race. So have fun.

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