Sunday, June 5, 2011

Buffalo River Trail Run

Yesterday was the my first trail race -- the first annual Buffalo River Trail Run, and it was great! They offered both a 5K and a 10K run. Our whole group had opted for the 10K. The weather was perfect -- low 60's, sunny with a light breeze. A group of us met at the Fargo K-mart parking lot at 5:30 a.m. so we could car pool to the race. It turned out that Rick and Kristy were taking us all in their motorhome "Eunice." That's what I call travelling in style! It was fun to be able to visit with everyone along the way. The group included the people I've been running with: Rick, Kristy, Jon, Erin, and Maria, and I was introduced to Penny and Rachel who also rode with us.

Jon had said that almost every runner he knew was going to be at this race. He seemed to be right! The last I heard there were about three hundred runners. Once we arrived I met more new people -- Heather and Doug. Doug wasn't going to be running because of an injury, so he agreed to take some photos of the group.

Kristy, Maria, Penny, Me, Rachel, Erin, Jon, Heather, Rick
The race started and ended at the Minnesota State University Moorhead science center which is right next to Buffalo River State Park. Most of the trails meandered through tall prairie grasses and wildflowers. The wooded sections were shorter, but even a little bit of shade felt wonderful.

Prairie trails

Heading back into the woods
 I ran the whole race with Kristy and Erin. Rick ran with us for the first mile before kicking it into a higher gear. We started at the back and enjoyed a comfortable pace. Less than a mile into the race we had a deer bolt across the trail just in front of Kristy. I don't know who was more startled, the deer or us! The trail wound around toward the state park and we could see the line of runners ahead of us. I thought it was a pretty cool sight.

The line of runners ahead of us

Planks across one of the muddy sections

While most of the trails were dry, there were a few muddy sections. There were planks across the worst of them, but I was a little concerned that the boards would be slippery. I stayed off of the planks at the first "mud hole" but used them at the remaining muddy sections (I know, I know. It's a trail race. You're supposed to get dirty! Next time I'll run the mud, I promise). This part of Minnesota has a little more roll to the terrain, but much of the course was pretty easy running. The race director had us running up a couple of hills right at the end. Of course you put the hills at the end. Now usually when you run up a hill you can look forward to the corresponding downhill. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't been there, but I swear to God that these hills were just uphill! There was no noticeble downhill on the other side!

Rick, Jon, Penny, Heather, and Rachel finished ahead of us and were cheering for us at the finish. Rachel placed second in the women's division while running the thing barefoot (notice she is sans shoes in the group photo). Kristy, Erin, and I crossed the finish line together in 1:11 and some change. Maria came in shortly afterward and kept saying how much fun she had. It really was a fantastic race and a great way to start a beautiful weekend.

The organizers did an amazing job of putting together their first race. The course was well marked. They had volunteers keeping us on course and handing out water at the aid stations. The Red River Radio Amateurs were spread out along the course and could radio for help in case of any emergencies. All-in-all it was a great race, and everyone plans on running it again next year.

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