9 Miles on the Lake Minnetonka LRT Trail

In the past I've made it clear that I prefer running on not-pavement surfaces when I can.  In the cities and suburbs, not-paved trails are hard to come by.  Local favorites include the River Bluffs Trail and that thing from Buffalo to Montrose. I'd always heard that Lake Minnetonka LRT trail is also crushed limestone but it seemed too good to be real.  I found out today: true.

Plan:  I'd wanted to do 8-10 miles.  Before the start of the run, I knew it was a bit too hot for 10. I decided on 9 miles with the mental agreement that I could shorten it to 8 if I wanted to.  Because it's always good to have a backup plan.

Route: I knew I was going to finish the work day very close to the Lake Minnetonka LRT trail, and that it'd be a new trail for me to run.  I like to run out and backs when I'm on new trails.  LRT trails lend themselves to out and backs anyways, because where else was I going to go? When I run at the end of the work day the biggest challenges I face are parking, a place to change my clothes, a place to fill up my water bottle, and a place to go to the bathroom.  So I started the run at a point the trail ran through Excelsior, an adorable little town that took good care of me. From Excelsior I headed southwest for 4.5 miles, then turned around and came back.

Weather: It was kind of warm.  I mean, we've had our moments of fall like weather and there was one day when I saw frost on an early morning run.  But today is was 75* and sunny in the afternoon with an occasional breeze. 

Execution: I'm beginning to understand ultra distance runners who say it takes them 20 miles to warm up.  It took me a solid 6 miles to feel warmed up and loose.  The final 3 miles were really fun.  After the run, I did a 'finisher' of standing bicycles, standing leg lifts, and calf raises, counting down from 10 reps to 1 rep of each.  Then I did some dynamic stretching and then static stretching.

Nutrition:  I'd like to thank my body for getting sick before I even started the run.  By the time I headed out, things had settled a bit. I had 2 little bottles of water and a pack of chews with me.  I ate two chews at mile 4 and two more at mile 5.  Even though my stomach was more stable, it was still in 'don't touch me' mode so I didn't want to put too much in it.  I felt stronger as I kept going anyways.  I had one bottle of water on the run, and finished the other off at the end of the run, then refilled both bottles and drank those too.

Pictures: I mean, seriously.  I could not get enough of this trail.

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