On Sunday morning I ran the Vale of Three Falls 10k in Letchworth State Park. I finished the race in 53:54 which wouldn’t be a super fast time on a flat course, but with these hills it is something I am very happy with. This time is a course PR for me and an eight minute improvement over last year, and placed me 16th overall in the race.
Every time I run this race, I always forget how long the initial downhill is, as it goes for a full mile and a half for a very quick start (and a challenging finish). I felt ok throughout the first half of the race, and pushed up the turn around hill and ran the second half fairly steady.
The final climb to the finish was tough, but I found another runner to race against which helped push me to the finish. Unlike years in the past I completed the course without slowing to a walk (even when it might have made sense on the hills). While I didn’t feel particularly quick it is hard to argue with the results given the significant improvement from last year.
My next race is the Buffalo Marathon next sunday. My training feels a little behind, but I plan on going out with the 4:20 pace group and making the most of things.
On Sunday morning I ran the Vale of Three Falls 10k in Letchworth State Park. I finished the race in 61:40 which was just a few minutes slower than I ran the same course in 2018. Overall I wasn’t thrilled with the result, but I did finish comfortably in the top half of the field.
Having four years since I last ran this course, I had forgotten how much elevation this run had. As an out and back course with the entire first mile as a downhill, you at least know what to expect for the finish. I started off strong enough, but ended up walking the final hill before the turn around. But after the turn I was able to regain my pace, and only slowed down for a few stretches in that final uphill mile.
My next race is the Buffalo Marathon in less than a week. Honestly I am a bit nervous about it as what I was hoping would be my marathon pace is a tad bit quicker than I ran this 10k. At least Buffalo is flat, but this upcoming 26.2 is going to be a real struggle.
On Sunday morning I ran the Dam Good Trail Race at Mt Morris Dam in Letchworth. I finished in 2:48:50 which is a few minutes slower than I was last year.
As usual I started the race too fast, but felt pretty good for the first part of the race. There was a bit of mud, but after seeing these same trails in much worst conditions at Sehgahunda they didn’t bother me too much. While I did walk the occasional hill here and there, unlike my last race at Bristol Mountain the course was runable, and with plenty of tree cover to keep me in the shade.
I fell three times on this course (which is once more than last year, and three times as much as at Sehgahunda). The first tumble didn’t do too much damage, but after the second fall near the 10 mile mark I really lost the pace. Then I went down a third time just a quarter mile from the finish which was a tad bit annoying as I was ready to be done.
On Saturday I ran the Sehgahunda trail marathon through the hills (and mud) of Letchworth State Park. I finished the race with a time of 6:46:04 good enough for 152nd place. The was my first marathon on trails, and while I expected plenty of climbing, the mud turned out to be the bigger obstacle.
The run started off well enough, and was uneventful for the first mile. The mud started in mile two, and by mile three had a few sections where the mud was so bad it was better off to walk. I ran some of these same trails in Dam Good race last summer when the trails were in much better condition. Around mile five I tripped and fell. Inexplicably, the area where I fell was perfectly dry and I managed to stay upright the rest of the day despite much more difficult terrain ahead.
Turning off of the main trail to go to the checkpoints was the most difficult part of the course. The first two checkpoints were steadily uphill, and while not all that steep, the mud was thick enough that they were impossible to run. In fact even on the way down many of these sections had to be (carefully) walked. Being unable to run a gradual downhill hints at how bad this mud truly was. I reached the first checkpoint (6.1 miles) in 1:15 and the second checkpoint (8.6 miles) in 1:53.
As the longest section between checkpoints the 6.8 miles between two and three looked on the map to be the most difficult section. Instead it turned out to be the nicest part of the course. There were a few steep hills, but the mud in this area was minimal, and the trail was largely runnable. After another muddy climb to the checkpoint I reached 15.4 miles in about three and a half hours.
The run to the next checkpoint was short, but the downside of that is that a greater percentage of time was being spent on the muddy climbs to the checkpoints and less on the main trail. Around mile 18 was the steepest section of the main trail as this section had a mile and a half the mostly went straight down and straight back up.
The climb to checkpoint six at mile 21 was probably the steepest part of the course. It wasn’t quite as muddy as the other checkpoints, but the long climb combined with the fact that I was tired from running so far made it challenging.
The final three miles consisted of one mile of dirt road, followed by two miles of a flat path. These really should have been a section to push the pace now free from the mud and technical terrain of the previous 23 miles. Unfortunately I had already been on the course for over six hours at the point, and didn’t really have anything left in my legs and had to run/walk my way to the finish.
Next week I will be running the Buffalo Marathon where the will be no mud, and the biggest hill will be a highway overpass. Hopefully my legs can recover in time.
The trail on this race got narrow quickly, but I felt like I started off running at a decent pace. Unlike my last race at Bristol mountain the course was largely runnable, and while far from flat it didn’t have any major hills. In fact the worst part were these small creeks that were roughly the size of drainage ditches, but required you to drop down suddenly and then climb up the other side.
I fell twice in the race. I bounced up quickly from the first one around mile three, but I felt that my pace was a bit slower afterwards. The second time I tripped was near mile 13. I went down hard this time (my side still hurts a little), but I was close enough to the finish that I was able to just push through the final mile.
On Sunday I ran the Middle Falls 10K at Letchworth Park. I finished in 57:33, which due to the elevation was a decent time and put me into 17th overall.
The course was an out and back and started off aggressively downhill. I was running in the top six for the first mile, and while I knew that it was an unsustainable pace the downhills made it feel easy. I reached the half way point in 15th, and if not for a steep uphill for the last quarter mile, I would have put together a fantastic split time.
Of course when an out and back starts out downhill, you have to run back up for the second half. While I had expected half the field to pass me on the way back, instead I held my own, not seeing anyone at all until two runners passed me in the final half mile. I was happy with how I did in this race, particularly because I hadn’t decided to enter the run until I decided that I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to go to Letchworth.