The Mendon Ponds 50k is in Rochester, NY, in a beautiful park that has meandering trails through meadows and woods. I happened to be in Rochester yesterday getting my swim stroke analyzed by Coach Mary (more on that soon!), so I took advantage of my time and went for a little run. The course itself is a 10k loop that is run 5 times. (There is also a 20k run on the same day for people who are not as crazy as myself!)
Now let me just say that I have been known to have some directional disabilities. You can read about another one of my trail running adventures from last week here. Since I have been known to make a wrong turn here or there, I emailed the race director and got some specific directions, including a map. I downloaded the map to my phone, and took my phone along for the ride.
Not that it really made a difference because there are no street signs in the woods. Every now and then there was a tree with a big green splotch on it. Of course when the trail split there were green splotches in both directions. Needless to say, my 10k loop turned out to be about 6.4 miles with lots of doubtful walking thrown in. The course, and I think I saw most of it, is beautiful and very, very hilly. I think it is going to be a tough race.
The run started off on the road, and across the street on the hill right where I started I spotted a herd of about 10 deer. All through my run, deer would flit across the trail or watch me as I ran by. At one point I almost felt as though I was one of them, they seemed so accepting of me being there. It was almost as if they were running along with me, taking a short cut through the woods to meet me further down the trail.
This little guy stood still for at least a minute while I fumbled with the phone to get a pic.
This hill seemed much steeper in real life.
This picture actually does the hill that I just crested some justice. See how it seems to just drop off?
Yeah...it was tough.
My 10k ended up taking me around 1:13, but I definitely learned a lot about the course and was super glad I took the time to get over there.
Today, I had another long run in the schedule, so I went back to Green Lakes to attempt the GLER course again. I have run this 12.5k loop once with my friend, Ben, who knows it well. Molly and I attempted it last Friday with no success...I mean, we ran, just not the course! So today, I went armed with a map. There was NO WAY I was going to mess this up again!
In less then a week since I was last there, the leaves are becoming more vibrant. It was cool and windy today, but not raining like I was fearing this morning at 4 a.m. when the rain was beating down on my window pane. I felt like I was doing a great job navigating according to my map, when all of a sudden the trail ended. Definitely not right. I turned around and backtracked a bit, until I came across some women walking their dogs. One of them pointed me in the right direction. After a bit of climbing where my face was literally like 2 feet from the ground I was so leaned over...
...I was rewarded with this view...
And they just kept coming...
I'm pretty sure I made another wrong turn along the way, because I got back to the car much earlier than expected, and that was after having to ask directions, AGAIN!! Still, I was able to get in almost 8 miles, albeit a little on the slow side. I'm going to take another stab at it on Sunday, maybe I'll get to see the whole course!
I am falling in love with the trails. There is just something about being outside, running through the leaves and the mud, with only my thoughts to keep me company. It is really bringing running full circle for me, and I love the way I can intertwine training, meditation, and gratitude into one big muddy package!!