This is the longest run I've ever done in Nebraska. Completing this loop had kind of been a tacit goal of mine ever since the 8th grade or so, so it was kind of neat to finally actually do it (although, a 30 mile run is surprisingly unremarkable for me anymore).
The first five miles were pretty rough because I was breaking trail through all of the new snow, but after that I was in a new township, so the road was already plowed. I was wearing the brand new Slingshots because they didn't have any holes in the toes, and even though they seemed a bit big they at least didn't bruise my toenails.
I actually had a lot of fun cruising up and down all of the hills into Verdigre. The surface on Highway 84 was the worst of the whole run because it had been plowed and the 1/2" of snow still on the road was a crappy ice/slush mix. After running down the main street of Verdigre I hopped on the creek road over to Bob Liska's, and it was gorgeous: all the new snow plus the moisture in the air had covered everything in frosty white. It really looked like Christmas.
I ran into Rory Liska plowing the road heading up out of the valley, so that helped the footing, but that mile-long climb is still tough no matter what. I took a gel at the 3hr mark when I got to the high-point of the run over by Pavelka's, and then I decided to head home from Sparta on the township roads instead of the county roads because they are more intimate and scenic, even if there was more snow. I was doing fine until about the last 30 minutes when my legs got really tight and I had to just kind of ease it in instead of feeling strong the whole way. All in all, a great run.
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