Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tanglewood Trail 20K

Thing 1 & I at the start
Trail Buddy & I at The End
I was going to title this DFL, but then I remembered that I've already done one with that title...and besides, so what we were Dead you-know-what Last...it was tough, incredibly challenging and we ran the pace we wanted to as we approached it as a training race for the 50K. So yeah, we DFL'd but we were still AWESOME!!!!! That's right! We are AWESOME!  Plus my awesome kid came and indulged his mother & her crazy friend by running too! He did great, did the 10K in 45 minutes, finishing 6th overall and then had to wait another 2 hours for us to finish...which is a pretty patient thing to do when you are 15. 

When last, no chance of stepping on a rattlesnake!
Coughing up a lung on the 1st assent - 75% grade!
The race takes place at Tanglewood Nature Center, which is a fabulous nature conservancy with museum, educational facility and hiking trails.  Unfortunately, the Timber Rattlesnake is one of the protected residents of this place...well, really of NY state.  Thing 2 and I have hiked here before so I wasn't too freaked out by the signs.  I didn't think this trail run could be quite so hilly compared to the last one we did.  I was wrong.  It's not so bad if you are only doing the 1 loop option, however, when you choose the 2 loop, 20K option, you end up combining the bugger of a hill that is the 'end' of the course.  A long, slow half mile or so that never seems to end, with the really steep, cough up a lung portion of the 'beginning'. I'm not exagerating when I say there was one part of the beginning that I had to had to concentrate & push on my legs with my hands to make the next step! Together, they make you rethink your decision to run this race.  There was a moment when I realized as we were starting the second loop "Oh crap, that hill is coming again". Luckily, our frame of mind was that this was a training run for us.  Practice at following trail markers and trying to run together at projected 50K race pace, with our fully loaded backpacks....which never, ever contain just the hydration bladders! 

Elevation Sign at the highest point...beside the cell tower!
Elevation Sign at the lowest point
It was a very well organized race.  Signage from the road welcoming runners and then a well organized registration table.  I had pre-registered but Trail Buddy & Thing 1 still had to register.  It left plenty of time to use the indoor plumbing without any wait.  There were around 125 people in the race.  Most did the 10K (1 loop), but 40 of us persevered through a 2nd loop. We actually ran really well considering all the walking we had to do for the 1st loop. We came through in 1:16, which was sub 15 (which I know is really slow, but is not so bad when you think it is our 50K pace & it is a tougher course). We were actually not the last runners to finish the 1st loop.  There were a couple of 10K runners that were behind us.  Although the hills were tough, one of the places we had the hardest time with was a cliff edge that descended but was full of loose rocks plus banked sideways too.  In theory you could try to fly down this portion.  We chose life instead ;-D

Anyway, it was a fun race for us.  We ran steady for the 1st loop, then chatted & took pictures while running together at the end.  I promised Thing 1 that I wouldn't stop to sightsee during the race...I made it through 1 loop! I thought that was pretty good!  We were not too far behind the others.  One we glimpsed periodically through the trees & according to Thing 1 we were only a few minutes behind the last half dozen runners or so. Everyone at the race was really supportive and positive...they cheered when we chose the 2nd loop instead of finishing and I was surprised when there were still a ton of people hanging out waiting for us to finish.  They all gathered and cheered us across the finish line! The Finger Lakes Running Club is a great bunch of people. In fact, the Finger Lakes trails & running club was featured in the Trail issue of Runners World. Check it out if you haven't!

11 days to Finger Lakes Fifties!!!! We are ready!

The cables that crossed the trail...you had to climb through them!


Michael said...

Holy Moly that elevation is insane!!! I can't even fathom that kind of elevation! Great job on finishing, that's what matters!!

Frickin' Fabulous at 40 said...

Love your new cover photo!!! Great job!

Suz and Allan said...

Nice job on finishing! This looks really tough!

Jamie said...

Congratulations!! As you said, who cares that you were DFL you had a great time!

Ransick said...

Nice race and great pics (as usual)! B

Coy Martinez said...

I've found that there is no real way to explain the pain of those trail climbs until you do them for yourself. Even 14 minute miles are fought hard for on so many races ya know! You did awesome!! Rattlesnakes scare me. I think they scare me more than bears. Is that normal??