Southern Maryland is incredibly beautiful. Seriously, it looks like a freaking postcard. I left work at noon on Friday and drove up, temps were in the teens and there was solid snow everywhere above the VA state line. I got to cross the Potomac River on the Price Bridge, so I didn't have to go all the way into DC. That makes the drive only about 4 hours northeast of Raleigh. The bridge had some traffic stalled for about 10 minutes, so that let me see something amazing!
|The Potomac River|
My bucket list has a bullet point to see a bald eagle flying in the wild. Well, sure enough, one flew up from the left side of the bridge, then over the bridge, and down to the water on the right. This bird was huge! It picked up a huge fish out of the water next, then started flying towards my car. The talons went in, and then you barely saw a ripple in the water before this thing pulled out a 2 foot fish. The river was about half frozen over, so the eagle set the fish down on the ice, then pinned it down with its claws and started eating. That was freaking incredible. I got a couple of pics of the dinner from my phone that had to be cropped down to show the bird.
|The beak is dipped down into the dinner|
|Welcome to Maryland!|
|Lots of farmland|
|May be annoying if you're used to it, but I think that's really cool.|
|My aide station|
|Finish line aide station|
|The lake we were running around|
|Ready to run! Let's get this party started so I can finally get warm.|
|The view coming down into the finish line|
|Got my game face on. Ready to rock.|
We hit the starting line and took off. First into some single track, then it came around into a field and across a dam. The entire forest floor was covered in a foot of snow.
|The frozen lake we ran around|
|Single track trail. Plenty of elevation change in there.|
I was glad there was no active rain or snow falling. First trail race in months without active rain. But that snow caused a little condition called sliding. Every. single. footstrike. was hit and slide. It was literally 2 steps forward, slide 1 foot back. I fell a bunch of times. To call it tough running wouldn't do it justice. This trail was brutal.
|That's single track alright.|
|Still happy? must have been early.|
|Keep the lake on my left.|
Also, and this is more common in small races like this, I couldn't see anyone running in front of me or behind me. yet I was not alone. Suddenly as I'm running along I hear the distinct howl of a wolf. There is no mistaking that sound, I promise. It was definitely in the distance so I don't think it was howling at me, but I was certainly lost alone in the woods in the foreign land of southern maryland. And we call that motivation.
|Postholing to show how deep the snow was.|
|Tight single track through a really cool cluster of trees|
|That white ring around my face is frozen sweat. I'm done.|
I talked to the race director at the finish line, apparently lots of people missed that turn. In fact, out of about 135 starters, they only had 29 finishers for the 50k. Another 20 people went out for the second loop before bailing.
|Sad face for the DNF|
|Back in the car for the final stats|