Although I constantly rave (rightly so) about Finger Lakes Running Company and the Finger Lakes Runners Club in Ithaca, I am very lucky to be surrounded by many fantastic trail communities here in Central New York.
This past weekend I had the opportunity to spend some time running and relaxing with the founders of TrailsRoc, the trail running mecca located in Rochester, NY. A group of amazingly talented runners started this group over 5 years ago and it has successfully put Rochester in a trail running boom. I had the pleasure of staying with Eric and Sheila this weekend and was taken on a run-tour of the Many on the Genny course Sunday morning.
We started a bit after 7AM which was beautiful for me and the weather was going to hit the 80s. Sheila and I glided along talking and taking in the scenery. I am so glad I was with her because I would still be out there lost if not. The course is beautiful, but a bit tricky.
I also find that since I am not a confident trail runner yet, I overthink things out there and pick the wrong way to go.
I used this preview as a way to practice my nutrition and also try out the gear sent to me by On Running. To be completely honest, I am confident in my eating ability out there. I can usually find something at all aid stations and carry things that are simple. Before getting to the Eagan’s, I stopped at Aldi markets to get Eric the 14 green bananas he requested in return for some #TrailsRoc swag. While I was in line waiting to pay, I saw a few products that reminded me of running nutrition products…so I bought them.
Fruit chew bars, sour Starburt-like candies and baby food. All less than 50 cents each and the exact same thing I could buy at a running store. I’m sold!
I tried out each of these things on the trail and they worked beautifully. I also made salt potatoes and drank Tailwind from the start. After about 13 miles, I set off alone, with Sheila and Eric crewing for me every mile or so.
This is what sets the trail running community and the TrailsRoc group apart. They willingly kept driving slowly along the course, giving me aid and telling me where to go. I did not have to ask, they were the best crew I could have asked for. People in this community just do that for each other. Sheila told me that she had done the first half and the second half of the course twice before and not only did Eric, but Michael and Lisa also have crewed for her. Crewing is not glamorous, it can be boring, hot and monotonous. These people truly love trail running and what they have created out here.
I forgot to mention, at dinner the night before I also had the opportunity to meet Michael Valone and has wife Lisa. Talk about an inspiring story he has! Perhaps I can interview him someday for the blog…
They crewed for me for another couple miles before I took a wrong turn (obviously) and ended up scrambling up and down some really steep hills. After basically swinging on trees down one of them, I realized that I was probably wrong. I thought about how many people would fall down this…so it was probably not right. I backtracked, ran a few more miles and then called it a day at 20.
I have been in a running slump since the beginning of May and really most of winter.
Trails brought me back.
People like Eric, Sheila and Michael brought me back.
I will be forever grateful.
All photos are by Eric Eagan.