Loop de Loop

Yesterday about this time I was crossing the finish line of the inaugural Loop de Loop Half-Marathon here in Decorah.

I would have written something about it yesterday but, Hello, Just ran a half-marathon!  Some people.

The course followed the new Trout Run Trail which surrounds our town (more on that below).  Weather conditions were cold – 38 degrees at start- and breezy with winds about 15mph and gusts up to 25mph. Being the first race, there were only about 120 people running the Half but that meant it was a nice friendly affair.

All things considered, I’m happy with my performance.  My goal from the start had been to break 1:50.  Far from a PR but this course isn’t designed for a something like that.  Three miles into the race is a .75 mile hill that just leads to more rolling hills.  It doesn’t really flatten out until almost 7 miles in.  So yeah, PR = Not Gonna Happen.

I finished in 1:40:08.  I felt better on the hills than I did the flats due to the wind.  The course ended up being a bit short – about half a mile, which is disappointing since we all trained for a full 13.1 miles.  Still, challenging course and when I look at my pace, I still would have broken my goal even if it had been the full distance.

Steph came through at 1:50:28, beating her goal of 2:00.  She too was happy.

So, the Trout Run Trail.  This has been a big project for our little down that started about half a decade ago (though I think the idea has been around for a lot longer than that).  The goal was to get a biking/walking path that showed off everything our county had to offer.  The folks found a way and construction finished just a few months ago.  Turns out that one of the access points is about a quarter of a mile from our house so Steph and I end up running on portions of it just about every time we head out the door.

It’s a mix of hard hills and nice flats with scenery all about.  At one point, the trail goes past the famous Decorah Eagles Nest.  Which is pretty cool except when there are hordes of people blocking the path that don’t seem to notice the bikers trying to get by.  A beautiful bridge takes us over the really busy highway intersection (long a bane for us runners and bikers) and there are tunnels everywhere else so we don’t have to jump on the roads.  In short – we like it.  Have some pictures.

 

Pic from Cedar Rapids Gazette
Trail through the Cut

 

Bridge over Highway 9 and 52
Taken from the peak of the final hill about 7 miles in.

 

One of the smaller bridges that cross the streams.

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