This week for Tuesday’s on the Run with Erika, Marcia, and Patty, I am going over my first experience with the Clinton Lake Hawk course loop! For my first 50 miler (next month), I will be running 2 loops of the course that I ran last weekend…so let’s dive in! #Team2Loops
Clinton Lake Trails
If you have followed me for ANY amount of time, you might know that I love running trails and I am training for my first 50 miler!
I haven’t ever been out to the trails out at Clinton Lake – and these are the trails that I will be spending A LOT of time on in a few weeks! The map below shows the trails that will be ran in the Hawk Hundred, 50 miler, and Marathon.
The main meet-up time was 7am – while there were others that were getting in come early miles before the group meet up.
After some bug spray applications, we were all ready to hit the trails! There was a small group of us ready to run at 7 am and we met up with several more coming off the early start.
We headed up Sanders Mound!
At the top of Sanders Mound, we took a look at the lake and headed back down!
We started out on the BLUE trail. It is easy to get lost on the trail, so as long as you are following the single colored trail, you are on the correct path. If there are 2 colors on the cross trail, those are connectors to the campgrounds or other trails.
DO NOT GO ON THE TWO COLORED TRAILS…
We wandered around the trails, crossed some low creeks (no wet feet, yes!), enjoyed getting to know one another!
I met Kim – who ran just ahead of me most of the day. The Hawk is her first 50 miler (me too!)! Then there was Theresa – I paced her at another KC road race last year and she remembered me! We chatted about life, traveling, health, running, everything!
When we got to the Land’s End area, we took a small break and adjusted our sights to the RED trail. This area of the trail is more rugged and rocky (AKA walking/hiking pace). Some of the group continued down the BLUE trail rather than following to RED due to not wanting to slow down too much or other issues with the trail. The new runners took the RED…
During this section of the course, we worked through naming a few new Lawrence Trail Hawk members : ) I plan to register as a Trail Hawk (contributing to an awesome trail!) but I had some confusion about the timing. The conversations we had to name the new Hawks took several miles and made the time pass!
Once we got back onto the BLUE trail, we ran into some down trees and interesting stump formations : ) So natural! Ha!
Not long after the fort on the trail, Gary found a rock that he wanted to inspect more closely…without stopping his stride. He dusted himself off and we were back on the trail shortly after.
We met up with the other group when the RED trail transitioned back to the BLUE trail. We went on our way naming more new Hawks and eventually got to Cactus Ridge.
For every “area” on the trail, Gary had an awesome story to tell about the history of the trail. I don’t remember all of the stories, but they surely helped the time pass by.
Soon, we were ready to run the Bunker Hill and Goodwin Loop! This open grass area was a little more difficult due to the open sun, heat, and grass running.
Once we got though Bunker Hill, we looped around to the Goodwin Loop. Well, some of this area is also a disc golf course…and I couldn’t find any flags or tree tags… I knew that the sweepers weren’t too far behind me, so I just waited for them to catch up to me. We chatted through the course and made our way back to the group before they headed back into the trail.
Once we got back on the trail, I had something stabbing me in the ankle…so I pulled off to access my shoe. Due to my stopping and slower accent on the hills, I lost the first group again… I knew where I was to meet up with them again, so I was glad that they were still there when I came up. We planned on stopping for water at the campground – the 3rd stairwell up to the campground.
Again, after the pit stop, I lost the main group. I made my way thorough the course with some major hesitation!
When I would get to a cross trail, there were several instances of NO MARKINGS on the trees. With some of these trail connections, there were campground noises that I knew I didn’t need to head to…so I would turn the opposite direction.
Also, I kept stopping to check my map location – as well as the actual course map – to see if I was still on course. I really had to guesstimate my location on both maps and I would eventually find a marked tree. Thank goodness!
Once I finished my loop, I had little over 23 miles on my watch (a couple places where I forgot to re-start my watch made for a little shortage) – and I planned on going back up Sanders Mound to at least finish the mile. As I started back on the trail, there was a family walking towards me. They stopped me because there was a rattle snake stretched across the trail ahead… Well, that isn’t going to work…
About this time, Kim finished her extra Sanders Mount loop and was still a little short for 25. So we made a loop around the parking area and she was done! I kept going to my car since I was still a little short for 24 miles.
I chatted with Theresa, Barbie, and Gary for a bit before I ran around the parking lot a few times.
Once I was ACTUALLY done, Gary had set up a chair and started relaxing until the rest of the runners came back in. Barbie and I chilled out and talked with Gary for a bit.
Other than the oak mites and seed tick bites, I had a great day!
I was sure glad that I made the trip out to see the trails first hand. While this is not possible with every race, I am glad that the Lawrence Trail Hawks are so open to take new trail friends out on their trails : )
I am excited to see my new friends again in a few weeks – and possibly run more trails with them in Lawrence and beyond!
Do you try and run a race course before the big day?
Do you prefer road or trails?
Check out the Tuesday’s on the Run gang as well: Patty, Erika, & Marcia! I am also linking up with Annmarie, Jen, & Nicole for Wild Workout Wednesday 🙂 Check out the Coaches Corner linkup with Suz, Rachel, Debbie, & Lora!
I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment and start a conversation!
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