Last Friday I was able to talk 7 people into doing a super fun night run in the snow. I wanted to get in one more all night run before Rocky, so I conned 5 of the other Rocky runners and 2 just plain crazies to join me. We met at 11pm at Clinton Lake.. which technically was closed for the evening, so it gave the run a bit more of a "dangerous" thrill! The original plan was to bang out 24 miles and then go grab some breakfast somewhere, nap in our cars for 30 minutes or so and then join the regular Saturday morning group run for 10 more miles. The first wrench in the plans came when we tried to get to the trail access place where we planned to stash some water and provisions but the road was closed. So instead of doing a large 24 mile loop we decided to just do 2 10 mile loops and a short out and back section so we could grab aid out of our cars. The other wrench in the plans came the morning of the run.. Mother Nature decided to give us a nice new coating of fresh powder.. only a couple of inches but it slowed us down considerably.
We met up and got the loop plans worked out and started out.. temps were in the upper 20's so as long as we were moving we were OK, but if we stopped for too long the icy wind made things COLD. The plan was to stay together so we went out at an easy pace.. the footing was pretty slippery and the snow hid the rocks very well so a slow easy pace was needed. We had a few tumbles through out the night but luckily nothing serious. The moon was a gorgeous bright orange crescent rising through the trees, but it was hard to spend any time admiring it.. one wrong look and boom! You were gonna tumble on the slippery rocks. The run was filled with silly stories, songs and much Rocky discussion. 4 of us are first time 100 milers so we had lots of questions for Gary, who did it last year. Actually Gary DNF'd last year at Rocky so he's ready for revenge. After we finished the second 10 mile loop we decided to bag the last couple of miles, since we were all so darn cold.
We threw on some warmer clothes and headed to IHOP for some food and coffee! The waitress wasn't sure what to make of us.. bleary eyed and salt covered demanding much coffee. When Gary told her what we had been doing she simply raised an eyebrow, said "uh-huh" and walked away. I'm sure the overnight shift is filled with crazy people, so a bunch of night runners would be downright normal.
We warmed up, ate our fill and 4 of us headed back out to Clinton Lake. The 2 non Rocky runners went home to get sleep and 1 guy had his kids basketball game to get to. I curled up in a blanket and cranked the heat in my car and dozed for about 45 minutes until a friend knocked on my window. I put on dry shoes, hat and gloves and headed out with the group. I was amazed at how good I felt, at least for the first 6 miles... after that I was pretty wupped. I finished up the run with Christy and Lisa.. Christy was finally coming back from a knee injury and Lisa who had never run more than 5 miles before. We took it easy and engaged in much girl talk and enjoyed the run.
I headed for home as soon as we were done, and crawled into bed for a few hours of sleep before having to be at work at 4 pm. It was a super fun way to get in 30 miles and helped me realize just how much I like running at night. Of course running at night after having run ALL day will be a much different thing I'm sure. I'm still scared shitless, but oddly enough I'm also feeling pretty darn ready for Rocky.