Over the Top Trail Run/ Mountain Bike Ride at West Mountain

So, I’m behind on my blog posts, but it’s never too late to catch up, right? Back in August, I signed up for my first ever duathlon, a 5K trail run and 10k mountain bike ride at West Mountain in Queensbury.

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image from West Mountain’s facebook page

I really had no idea what to expect from this race. I signed up for it with a few of our friends, and none of us got any emails or anything about the logisitics. We just knew it started at 10:00am at West Mountain Ski Resort. We got there at about 9:15, picked up our shirts and bibs and headed over to the starting line, which was at a different area than the main lodge where packet pickup/ the afterparty was located.

I set up my bike at the transition area (a first for me!) and got ready to run.

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The only picture I got from the whole race, my mountain bike at the transition

The run portion started off great. But soon, the hills began and I found myself walking a lot. But my only goal for this race to was to have fun (and finish it).

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Run Time: 36:08.7
Pace: 11:39

Transition time: 2:04.2

I got on my bike and pedaled away. The first part of the bike course was on the same course as the run, which was weird. But then I found myself going up the mountain. I guess they don’t call it “Over the Top” for nothing.

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There were some nice views at the top of West Mountain! But I was on my bike so my phone was in my pack.

Bike time: 1:01:33.4
MPH: 6.04 (I am SO SLOW at climbing on my mountain bike. So not efficient.)

Total Time: 1:39:46.4

There were 20 individuals in this race (some people were competing as teams) and my friend Aubrey was the 3rd fastest woman! I was the 3rd from last. At least I wasn’t last!

After we all finished, we loaded our bikes back up and drove back to the main lodge for the post-race party, where hamburgers and beer awaited.

Overall, I think this was a nice little race. The volunteers were friendly it it seemed to be organized well. The course was marked  well, too. I would do it again!

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2015 After the Leaves Have Fallen Half Marathon

Sunday I ran the After the Leaves Have Fallen Half Marathon for the second time! I raved about this race last year due to the gorgeous scenery and this year it did not disappoint! We had chilly weather because it was a little breezy but once I started running, I was fine.

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This race is held at Lake Minnewaska State Park Preserve and runs through the Shawangunk Ridgeline. Beautiful!

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The course also loops around Lake Awosting and Lake Minnewaska.

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Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 8.17.47 AMI think the race ran in the opposite direction this time. The first half went up the mountain. Yikes. There was a total elevation gain of 1,012′ — and after a few months off from serious hiking I could tell because it was a struggle.

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Last year my time was 2:43:15–this year I finished in 2:34:12–still one of my slowest races, but my goal was to just have fun and enjoy the views.

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{A view from the beginning of the race–one of the many!}

I love this park, I’m planning on coming back here to mountain bike and snowshoe!

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Fall (Winter?) Trail Running at Thacher

Sunday I decided to go trail running at Thacher with two of my good running friends, Jenna and Meredith. I’m running a trail half in a few weeks and wanted to get some more trail running in before then. The foliage was out in full force this past weekend!

We parked at the Carrick Road parking lot at the North end of the park and ran to the cliff lookout and hang glider lookout, about 6.6 miles total for the day! It even started to snow mid-run, which isn’t too strange considering this IS upstate New York. It was pretty.

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Ragnar Trail New England

A spot opened up on my friends Ragnar Trail New England Team and I got in last minute to run last weekend!

I’ve done Ragnar Relay Adirondacks a few times now so I was pretty pumped to try their trail relay. It was held in Northfield, Massachusetts, about 2 hours from Albany, at Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environment Center.

The concept behind Ragnar Trail is a lot different from their regular road relay. A team consists of 8 runners and you set up a “base camp” at the location.

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Each runner has three trail loops to complete and each runner runs the same amount. For us it was the green loop of 3.5 miles, followed by the yellow loop of 4.8 miles, and finally the red loop of 6.7 miles.

Trail Map

Our team captain Loretta set it up so we actually had two teams so we could double up and run with a partner, which in the end was a fantastic idea.

The day on Friday began early–we got to Northfield Mountain at about 9:30AM. I was runner eight so I had a while to wait to run my first leg with Loretta who was my team partner. The weather forecast for the weekend looked grim, but it turned out to be a beautiful weekend! Such good luck.

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I hung out with my team at the start/finish area watching runners come in.

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Finally, at around 11:30PM, Loretta and I started our first leg.

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It was my first time trail running at night, but we were prepared. I carried a small flashlight and wore a headlamp. It was pretty thrilling out there! My first leg was supposed to be the yellow loop, but because we were so behind on time due to our pace as a team, Loretta and I decided to run the shorter green loop instead. We definitely weren’t in this for any prizes so we knew it was okay.

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I didn’t connect the app until about a half a mile in, so the pace is a little off for this leg. I was pleased at how strong I felt on the trail! After we finished, our two Runner 1s were up for their longest leg. Loretta and I went back to camp and enjoyed a hard cider and a late night snack. Then I went to bed until about 7am. Another awesome aspect of this race–no sleeping in vans!  My second leg, the actual green loop, was next up at about 9:30AM! The hardest part about all of the loops was that the first mile or so was directly uphill.

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leg 2

Because we were so far behind on time there was no way we could actually finish in time. Ragnar let us start to double up on runners so we could all finish our legs. Everyone who had the red loop remaining was going to run the red loop (that would be me!) and everyone with the yellow loop left was going to run yellow and so on. About an hour after my second leg, it was time to run the most difficult loop, red.

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Teammates going in to run the red loop.

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Since we were each pretty tired and this trail was so steep, we hiked the majority of it. We knew we would finish the 6.7 miles in about 2 hours. Karen and I decided when we saw the time at 6 miles in that we would aim for a time under 2 hours. We did it!

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Check out that elevation profile!

Needless to say, it was tough! At about 5:30PM when everyone had finished their loops, our team finished!

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Overall, Ragnar Trail was a great experience and a really fun time. Ragnar really knows how to organize events and they did a great job with this one also. I would really recommend it!

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Hairy Gorilla Half Marathon

Yesterday I ran my first trail half marathon!

I had been wanting to run this local half marathon held up at Thacher Park for ages. I first ran the Squirrelly Six mile race three years ago, but the year after it was cancelled. Last year I was marathon training so I didn’t want to risk running 13.1 on a trail…finally this was the year!

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Christine and I dressed up as Minnie Mouse and a cat.

One of the reasons I love this race is because it is Halloween themed! There are runners in costumes everywhere.

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The trails are decorated with gravestones and there are bats hanging from the trees!

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The first six miles of the course (the Squirrelly Six), are the toughest. There are a lot of big hills…I was prepared to walk them because I wanted to save my energy for all 13.1 miles.

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Eeek.

When you hit the point where the six mile runners split, you have the option to go with them, which was kind of tempting, but I wanted to run the full 13.1 distance, so off I went, and the runners thinned out A LOT!

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The second half was a lot easier than the first, elevation wise. But my legs got pretty tired and I felt myself stumbling around for most of the last five miles. I expected to fall, but thankfully I didn’t! There were a couple of spots with big crevasses that I was sure I was going to trip and fall into, but I managed not to.

There were really great aid stations all throughout too, something I was worried about since running MHR Half two weeks ago. I made sure to drink enough, and even ate some m&ms at the last few stops because I was getting pretty hungry. They definitely helped!

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Pretty soon there was 1 mile left, and for most of the second half I was running completely alone, which was kind of nice. The trail was very well marked with mini gorillas hanging from the trees, as well as with pink tape, so I never got lost or wondered where to go.

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Hairy Gorilla Half Marathon
Distance: 13.1 miles on the trails @ thacher state park
Time: 2:34:33
Average Pace: 11:47/mile

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Afterward ARE puts on a BBQ, which was awesome! Neither of us had any appetite, so we waited a bit, changed and then drove down to Jake Moon for some brunch.

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The Clarksville Scramble, yummmm

It was such a fun day yesterday! And now my legs are super sore. Hope everyone has a great week and HAPPY HALLOWEEN! 😉

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