Until yesterday (Thursday... I am still on Friday time despite it being 9am Saturday...) I had no intention of completing my second night run this weekend. I had thought about doing another one but was figuring I'd find a weekend in August (surely there are more weekends in August that currently listed on my calendar??). Then I saw Matt's email with his plan to run Afton starting at 5pm Friday. A few others were joining through the evening and night. That got the wheels turning... and by 7pm Friday I had both Kami and Eric signed up for it. No mention that Eric and I had just biked 50 miles and Kami had run for 90 minutes in the heat of the day. It's all about training the legs to move when tired, right?
We got to Afton just after midnight and I was delighted to see Matt, Jim, Zach and others in the carpark. Matt had already completed 2 laps and the others had gone various distances. Seven of us soon set off for a counter-clockwise loop. I was happy to have Matt leading the group as I would not have found my way on the snow-shoe loop - regardless what direction I was going. We did push on a little when we got out onto the grassy trail by the final aid station (surprisingly no sign of Nancy & Tom!... you had to be there...). And after a few wrong turns found our way around the rest of the course back to the car park in around 3:30. My feet were bothering me so I taped them up, changed socks, and after a mug of coffee courtesy of Matt (who was ready to call it a night - nice work going 40+ out there!), I was ready for off again. We decided to just head out for a shorter loop given we all have busy weekends ahead. And there's Voyageur next weekend. Taper? Never heard of it.
This time we started out along the direction of the race and followed the course for a few miles before returning to the carpark via a new route. Ended up at 22.5 miles in around 5 hours. And then the hunt for Starbucks... not terribly impressed that Woodbury doesn't open until 7am on a Saturday. What kind of service is that? But we made it back to the cities and refueled our tired bodies (and minds).
Certainly there are many ways to spend a Friday night. But how often do you get the chance to run with friends in one of the most beautiful parks in the country, starting out as the moonlight shines through thick forest, and finishing up as the sun rises over the sleeping prairie, the birds awakening it with their song? Time well spent.
Looking forward to another opportunity to move the legs when tired tonight as we dance the night away at Karen & Tim's wedding!
I meant, Good Morning.
end of post.