A year ago I had never heard of a 25K trail run. After Saturday I may wonder why anyone would do such a thing.

My daughter and I are signed up for the shorter distance for the July 1 Afton Trail Run at Afton State Park north of Hastings. Several of Cynthia's friends are embarking on the 50K version. They all ran it last year. A field of 800 runners is expected.

There is plenty of downhill running, the scenery will be beautiful and a great meal awaits us at the finish line. However to run downhill means we must go uphill too. Fifteen miles is a long way. It will be longest run I have ever done. Walking at times is part of the plan. I am realistic.

I was proud of the fact that I ran the entire University of Minnesota's Goldy's Run 10-mile event in early April, even if it wasn't always fast. I had a personal best time in the Smokin' in Steele 5K to benefit Owatonna Area Special Olympics in early June, finishing in just under 30 minutes. I have no expectation of maintaining that pace on Saturday.

The winding course requires a 4,670-foot elevation change for the 25K run. There are five aid stations. I've been advised to eat something at every one. I can get on board with that plan. I'll have some electrolyte replacements with me as well, and plenty of water. I've got my headphones charged up and a music playlist ready to go. High temperatures forecast in the 70s are a godsend.

They say people climb mountains, "Because they are there." I'll let you know if the same can be said for running through the woods. Though that wouldn't explain the excuse for those who run two loops.

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