As always, I must give a huge thank you to Red Newt Racing and Strong Hearts Vegan Power for all the support and love. I would not be where I am without my teams running behind me.
If listening to Christmas music on the drive to your race is somehow a good luck charm, I’m totally doing it for every future competition! That’s what happened on my drive to Mendon Ponds Park this past Saturday to race the Mendon Ponds 50K.
Thankfully, although I think I sang “Let It Snow” twice during the drive, the weather was perfect for racing and I did not have to worry.
Mendon Ponds Park is located in Rochester, NY, is part of the Trails Roc racing series and was put on by Rochester Orienteering. Directions to the race and parking were very straight forward and easy. Everything began and ended at Stewart Lodge which made logistics, something I stress over, a breeze.
In addition to the 50K, there is a 10K, 20K and 30K going on at the same time. The 50K started at 8:00AM and the other races began an hour later. This was nice actually, because I got about 1.5 laps in when the other race began and did not have to worry about trying to pass or get passed by too many people immediately.
The 50K was 5 loops of the 10K course. I quite enjoyed this set up because, being a relatively newbie on trails, I could figure the course out in the first loop and then get faster with each loop remembering what spots were difficult and where I should race faster.
I saw fellow SHVP teammate Jason at the start and since he had run 100 miles a few weeks ago I had some crazy idea that I could stay with him. Nope. He took off like a cheetah and I ran next to a few people before the race thinned out. The first loop I just got my bearings. I ran with a guy named Tom for the first three loops, which was really nice because talking and making friendships is what I like about trail running. The first three loops were nothing really special. I focused on not falling and on taking in a lot of Tailwind at each aid station.
Last race, I took in a cup of Tailwind at each aid station, but this one I managed two each time. This is a big win because I can get faster later (as you’ll see) in the race and avoid bonking.
After the third loop, Tom told me not to wait for him as that distance (about 18 miles) was the farthest he’s ran in 1.5 years (!!!). I ran the fourth and fifth loops solo, but also not solo when I passed the 10, 20 and 30Kers on their own loops.
The fourth loop was probably the hardest mentally at the beginning. I knew I still had two loops to go, but had already run so long already. Also, the bigger climbs were at the beginning of each loop, so I felt it in my legs during miles 20-24. However, after that, I felt really strong, especially in the final loop.
A combination of the nutrition from the aid stations and then just feeling confident to run fast on the downhills and maintain my effort on the uphills worked in my favor. I felt like I was moving!
I finished in around 4:16 or so (I don’t have official results yet), first female, 6th overall and set the course record by more than 20 minutes. To say I was thrilled would be a complete understatement. What I enjoyed most was feeling really strong on the last loop and pushing myself then. I think I can go faster if I ever do it again.
My legs are trashed today, so I think that’s a signal I ran downhill hard 🙂
Oh yea, and I forgot to mention:
Jason won. Of course he did.