Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Clinton Trail Conditions

What a difference a week makes. On January 31, I was running 28 miles at the Riddle Run in 4-6 inches of snow, with a little ice thrown in for good measure. The temperature at the start was about 2 degrees! A week later, on Feb 7, I ran 20 miles at Clinton Lake. Very little snow and ice, but lots and lots of deep, slippery mud! Temperatures were in the 50s. The Clinton Lake trail is a mess. For those that ran the race the first year and thought it was muddy, you haven't experienced anything compared to this past weekend. Of the 10 mile loop, probably 8 miles had serious mud. Right when you thought it was going to get better, you'd hit a nasty, squishy, section of mud. And with the hills, twists, and turns, it was hard running. Heck, it was hard walking! Some of the buffalo runners had their shoes sucked off. Others developed bad blisters from the continuous shoe slipping & sliding. I still have odd aches and pains from muscles used to keep my balance. The treadmill is looking pretty sweet right now.

The race is 46 days away. Hopefully we'll have drier conditions and the mud will give way to nice firm terrain for the racers on March 28. There are short sections that always seem to be moist and muddy, but let's hope it's just a couple 100 meter segments and not 8 miles per loop. There are now "permanent" mile markers on the course visible going in both directions starting at the boat access lot (which is the race start). I didn't have anything to do with the creation or posting of these mile markers, but they sure will be handy for race day. I have a feeling it wasn't DNR's latest work project...maybe a bored runner? Or just a committed hiker?

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