Last night I set out to measure what I hoped would become my regular winter hill training course. McNaughton has 1000 feet of ascent over each 10 mile loop. I don't think that's terrible, but after 50, 100 or 150 miles I'm sure it's going to suck, bigtime.
So, I've been looking for a rolling hill course with some steep sections and some flat sections spread out over a respectable distance. I was thinking maybe a half mile.
I also want to do the hills somewhere that I have a nice warm-up available. Something not too strenuous to start off with. But something that taxes me a bit before I start on the hills.
I think I found the perfect course.
Starting from the marina at Shawnee Mission Park head to the mountain bike trails next to the tennis courts. Run the orange trail heading West. When you get to the 4-way trail intersection take the purple trail that heads "left" as you come off the orange trail. Take this to the furthest West trail entrance, head off the mountain bike trails, onto the paved streamway trail. Head down the hill to the streamway trail loop. Before you get to the loop take a right on the fireroad/horsetrail. Run this gravel road until you get to the camping area just before the gate on the fireroad. That's 2 miles exactly. It's relatively flat and it's a comfortable way to warmup. You have to run on pavement for about 200 yards. Whatever, I'll take it.
Now you're at the start of your hill workout. It's simple. Run the power lines heading East. The workout starts with a quick uphill followed by a short flat section. Then you hit a massive hill which I still find un-runnable. After this it's a gradual uphill into a nice rolling section. Once you hit Ogg Road keep going straight. At this point you're running along Tomahawk golf course. There's a line of trees between you and the fairway - but I'd still hope that nobody's slice is acting up too bad when running this section.
Keep going until you hit the "road" coming out of the golf course. You'll know when you hit it as the trail just kinda stops. It's exactly 1.5 miles. That's a nice round number - another reason why I like this course so much.
My Garmin tells me it's almost 500' of ascent for the out section. You end up higher than you started so the trip back involves less ascent. About 250' as best I can tell (I didn't measure it exactly). So, run this twice and you get have a nice 6 mile workout with somewhere around 1,500' of ascent. That's not bad. 3 round trips gives me 9 miles with over 2,000' of ascent - a good training run.
The grass is a bit clumpy along the trail. I'm not sure what to do about this. This might sound crazy but maybe I could take a weed-wacker to it one afternoon. Just to cut a more runnable path through some of the sections.