Tuesday, July 8, 2014

4th of July Fun!

This past weekend, as our last Vermont 100 mile tune-up, Brian and I jumped into the Independence Day Star Spangled Trail Marathon at the Paul Smiths VIC in NY.  I wasn't sure what to expect - in terms of competition, terrain on the course, or anticipated race time - however, for both of us our goal was just aiming for one last solid effort in the training cycle. 

The field was small, with a mix of competitive and ability levels - so I ran the race mostly alone.  I saw a few guys in the second half, as they faded, but otherwise it was me versus my head.  The course was awesome - two laps around a circuit of the VIC trails, which included everything from groomed jeep trails, unmaintained xc ski trails, tight single track, and off camber (wonky!) hiking trails.  I had so much fun with the different types of terrain. 

It was a two lap course, and I finished the first lap in 1:58 (with a few wrong turns, but I don't think I lost more than a few minutes).  With the day heating up, I decided I would aim for a 4-hour finish time.  Knowing that I sometimes struggle with the mental aspect of keeping the pressure on while running alone, I hoped this would be a realistic goal.  I popped in my mp3 player and listened to some music as I tried to stay aggressive yet relaxed with my running.  I was pleased to negative split, even with the increasing heat, and finish in 3:48:52 for the race - a course record and good enough for first female and 4th overall!

It was a great confidence boost for my Vermont 100 build-up, to know that I could run a solid time on some mixed (and sometimes technical) terrain.  The biggest victory was to stay mentally strong throughout the miles, even while running solo almost the entire way. 

Not to forget Brian - he also won, finishing in 3:28 and change - and it sounds like he enjoyed the mixed terrain and laidback atmosphere as much as I did!

Of course, the best result of the day was my nephew, Calvin (age 5), who ran the kid's race and had a blast!  He was also super helpful with helping me refill my water bottle as I lapped through! 

(Myself, my sister Jenny, and Calvin, with Desi Davila at the Boston Marathon Expo)

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