Larry Pederson, RD for the Fall Superior Races, put together yet another Zumbro Bottoms Fat Ass Run for those of us lucky enough to be a friend/acquaintance of his.
The Zumbro Bottoms river area is an incredible place to run. There is over 50 miles of trail; along the river, up in the bluffs, the views are incredible. There is a very nice park like area that makes for a nice relaxing aid station/start/finish with picnic tables, a shelter, bathrooms and a fire pit. Larry mans it all for us.
I almost didn't make it to Zumbro yesterday. As I was traveling East on 94 near Albertville I came across a horrific accident that had just taken place on the West side. 2 tour buses were travelling with High School students from Pelican Rapids, travelling home from Chicago from a band concert competition. One of the tour buses hit the ditch and over turned. I came upon the accident right after it happened. They hadn't yet completely closed 94, I only waited 25 minutes and was able to travel past. Because the rest of the family was already busy with other things, I decided to wait it out and arrive at Zumbro late. I'm glad I decided to.
3 hours later I arrived at Zumbro Bottoms. I saw Larry sitting in front of the fire and then watched another car pull up, as late as I.
I collected a map from Larry, asked who was all out on the trail, and saw that Lynn Saari was the other late arrival. Lucky me!
Lynn and I filled our bottles, decided we'd go out for about an hour, then come back to the rest area to refuel, and head back out for more.
We both admitted that neither one of us was very good at map reading or navigating. Larry mentioned he may offer a map reading instruction to members of UMTR. That would be a good class for me!
Once Lynn and I were able to find the trail, we had a great time. I have only spoke with Lynn a few times before so we were had plenty to talk about. The trail was muddy, some ice and snow, we were able to follow our trail shoe tracks back down the hill to the aid station. On the way back we ran into Alicia, Karen,Tom and Nancy, Wayne, Carl and Jim. We all trotted back to the aid station to refuel.
After filling my bottles I found that only Lynn and I were going to head back out. The rest were either taking off or were going to hang out and visit for the remainder of the day. Lynn and I looked at a map and headed back out for more. Lynn was looking to get roughly 20 miles in and I was up for whatever anyone wanted to run. 20 miles? Fine with me.
As we were running to the trail Steve and John were coming back. We said hello and that we were going to go out for a bit, and asked if they would like to come along for a while more. Steve and John are the fastest of the group, they had already been running for a few hours and had run more miles than anyone. John couldn't resist another run, and let Lynn and I away as Steve ran back to the aid area.
John knew the trail well so I put my map away. We spoke about John's WIN at Arrowhead, besting his already course record by 10 hours or more this past February. Crazy. John led us across the bridge, up into the bluffs and up a hill from hell. Steve and he had run up the hill during their previous loop; Lynn and I walked up the hill, huffing and puffing, sweat rolling into our eyes, amazed at how hot we felt. The snow was over our ankles but it was 60F. The first SHORTS run of the season! I had fabulous fun. I loved being out there so very much.
We ended up running over two hours for our second session, totalling 18 miles for Lynn and I. John ran much more than we did, and was running faster than we were. We all agreed that we had a great run and were ready to join the rest at the picnic area. As we ran to the rest area John yelled out to Scott to get a burger ready for him. Scott did just that.
After changing into some dry clothes and settling on a blanket with Maria, I spent the afternoon chatting with my good friends. It was a great way to spend the day.
I am thankful each and every day for this great group of friends that I have met. I would have never met them if I hadn't become an ultra runner.
Today Topaz and I headed out to the trail for a 10 mile run. Most of the snow is off of the trail now, we had a great relaxing run. His paw pad is all healed up and no longer tender to the touch.
Guess I should let up a bit before McNaughton is here. I suppose I'll rest on Friday, as I drive to Pekin. This is the first time (out of 4) that I'll be travelling solo. Wynn is holding the Chippewa 50K this Saturday so most of my friends are heading to his race instead of McNaughton. I heard that Chippewa is under 1.5 feet of snow. A 50K snowshoe race would be awesome fun!
Oh, and a plug for John. He is the NEW RACE DIRECTOR for the Afton 25/50K races. Check out his website and check out his race! We'll have a great time :)