1. Let it load. It's big and if you don't wait, it'll keep starting and stopping...downright annoying!
2. On the top right of video, click on "View HQ Video"
3. On the bottom right where the "Google Video" button is, click on "Original Size" and "Smooth Video"
4. Lastly, keep your trigger finger on the pause button. With that many pictures, each one only stays up for 2 seconds and on some pictures, there's a good amount of text to read that gives direction on the course. You'll never read it all if you don't pause it. If I hadn't done that, this video would have run for 20 minutes! Right now, I think it's just over 4 minutes.
View it here.
In true fashion of putting the cart before the horse, I thought I'd take today to give a pre-Fools Report...mostly about the course. I've run all parts of this course many times and it is hands down, my favorite trail system to run in the area. I like it because over the length of this course, you will get a little bit of everything: roots, rocks, smooth-n-groomed trail, muddy, dry, grass, and gorgeous scenery. The 50K is just two loops of the 25K course. With that being said, the 25K course is essentially broken down into 5 main sections:
1. The course begins at Pine Hollow and heads east in the grass to Little Meadow and at about 1 mile in, you're on the Cross Country Trail (1st main section). This is a nice, rolling, challenging, muddy area that has a few lung-burner hills in it. My advice: do not burst off the starting line running full tilt towards Little Meadow. This course deserves respect and if you do that, it'll make you pay starting on the Cross Country Trail.
2. Just before Mile 3, you'll enter a row of pines on the Lake Trail. You'll be here only briefly because at Mile 3.3, you'll leave the Kendall Lake area and head on over to the Pine Grove Trail in order to be connected to the Ledges Trail (2nd main section). On the way out, you cover the west side of the Ledges. Be careful here: the tendency is to gaze at the awesome rock formations. However, this is one section to never remove your eyeballs from the trail, otherwise you'll be face-first on the rocks and a bloody mess.
3. Once you've finished 1/2 of the Ledges and you're at the northern point of this trail, you jump on the Haskell Run Trail that takes you to Happy Days and the Aid Station at Happy Days. Once re-fueled, you cross the grass and hop on the Boston Run Trail (3rd main section). Boston Run trail is a 3.25 mile loop and you'll end right back at the aid station. This trail got really beat up over the winter and it's a mess. It is by far, the muddiest section of the course. With the warmer temps coming, it should be interesting out there! Get dirty!!!
4. Once refueled again at the Happy Days Aid Station, retrace your steps on the Haskell Run Trail to the Ledges Trail and complete the east side. (You're at 9 miles when you get back to the Ledges) The east side has a whole different look and feel to it with lots of pines and moss. If it's a really warm day on April 5th, you'll feel the cold air rushing out of the Ice Box cave, too. Again, keep your eyes on the trail.
5. Once you complete the Ledges, you'll come to the stairs that originally brought you up to the Ledges. Trace your steps back and when you reach the right-handed entrance to Pine Grove, take it and run the Pine Grove Trail counter-clockwise (4th main section). This is a fast, non-technical 1.5 mile trail. Enjoy the easy terrain because the 5th section is going to eat you up! You'll eventually see a sign-post for Kendall Lake. That sign is at the top of the stairs that you came up earlier to get to Pine Grove. Again, re-trace your steps and return to Truxell Road. This intersection of Truxell/Kendall Lake entrance is also an aid station.
6. Hop back on the Lake Trail and go back the way you came but instead of turning up the Cross Country Trail, stay straight on the Lake Trail and proceed through the tunnel. Stay on the Lake Trail until you see the orange barricade then follow the detour signs which will lead you to Salt Run Trail (5th main section). Salt Run....a great leg-burnin', lung-burnin' trail to run. At just over 3 miles, you may swear it is much longer. It is very rooty and technical so watch your step. You'll hear traffic throughout as well. At first, that's Truxell Rd on your right, then it's Riverview Rd. on your right, then it's Quick Rd. on your right. When you get to Quick Rd., you'll come up on a metal guardrail. You are 1/2 mile from the finish now. Finish up Salt Run, crest the grassy hill, and there's the Finish Line!
Overall, I'd recommend you pace yourself and don't ever get over-excited and think the hills are going to stop...because they don't. Ever. You're almost always climbing or going down. It's definitely a challenging course and a very well-designed one at that. Respect it and run smart!
On the final stretch just before I got back to Truxell, I came up on a young but very brave deer. Luckily, my camera was ready so I shot a little over a minute of video of him/her. Quiet and peaceful and not much else. Enjoy!
Happy Trails, everyone!