solid conditions today on the trail - a tiny bit of snow, some ice, and a bit of mud in the afternoon despite the below freezing temperatures. i don't think you can get much better conditions this time of year - there were a lot of frozen mud pits so really glad i didn't come on a warmer day. the trail was very popular today, lots of hikers and a few joggers and bikers out there - i wasn't counting on that and i imagine it gets worse on a nice day, so future runners might want to consider that in their plans (maybe come on a weekday). starting at the northern terminus was great - those first couple miles have a lot of vert, not too technical (mostly stepped out) - but it's fun to get punched in the face right out of the gate. things gradually flatten out but those first 5 miles are still where you get a majority of the vert. after that it's a mix of flatter singletrack, road crossings, a bit of paved bike path, and some areas where the running trail and mountain bike trail share a path and you feel like you are constantly turning/banking. the last few miles to the south were tough - kind of a swampy area, tons of roots, twisty trails, lots of bog bridges (some of them falling apart), lots of intersecting trails. overall - this trail certainly looks easier on paper than when you actually run it! it also doesn't help that strava seems to discount the vert quite a bit - total on my watch was 3400 for the round-trip, strava things 2400.
i ran unsupported with 1L of tailwind which ended up not being enough for the effort and duration. i didn't bother to bring the filter but did see a couple spots in the south where there was flowing water that looked reasonable. also lots of swamp water with lots of wildlife swimming around - not my cup of tea so to speak, but if you were desperate enough i guess you could fill up there. most of the standing water was frozen today.