Wednesday, June 15, 2016

2016 Racing Season: Thom Bugliosi 13K, May 14, Hammond Hill State Forest, NY

Part of the 13K trail loop for the Thom B 13K, 26K, & 52K in Western NYS.

This year's racing season has gotten off to a slow start.  Originally I was scheduled to race the Hawkeye 25K back in April, but couldn't due to the fact that I was in New York State at the time interviewing for a new job.  So, while continuing to look for a new job as well as a new home for my family and I, I have had the opportunity to meet up with some of the local trailrunners in the Rochester, NY, area, especially through  One of them, Anne, is also a friend of mine on Twitter.  So, back on May 14, we carpooled along with a friend of hers, Shari, our driver as well, and headed down to Hammond Hill State Forest to run the Thom Bugliosi trail races, aka, the Thom B Trail Runs. On offer was a 13K loop, which you could race once, twice, or four times.  The 52K started awhile before us, but the 26K & 13K runners started together that morning.  Anne and Shari were running the 26K, but I decided to elect for just the 13K since my training had been somewhat all over the place in recent weeks.  Much of this course takes in the Finger Lakes Trail, a well known trail system in the area.

Heading out of a beautiful stretch of pines and into the sun on the Thom B course.

After the start, we headed up a dirt road that eventually went from double-track to single-track.  I started out a little quicker than I probably should have that morning, typical first race day of the season antics.  The course went back and forth between beautiful, but often technical single-track, to easier double-track.  As typical with much of Northeast trailrunning, there are lots of roots to be aware of as potential tripping hazards.  It had been several years since I had run out East, but I remembered fondly those first trail runs I ever did in Massachusetts and all the roots along the way.

Anne coming off the trails to start her second 13K loop.

I had the good fortune of running behind one of the race directors for a while who was running herself with Margaret Webb, author of Older, Faster, Stronger: What Women Runners Can Teach Us All About Living Younger, Longer.  I say good fortune, because I think I would have missed an important right hand turn about 8K in or so that I believe others did miss.  This stretch was a bit of route finding at times as it went over little streams and under trees.  Definitely worth having the Co-RD in front of you!  
Shari coming around to start her second 13K loop just a few minutes behind Anne.

 As I noted, my training has been a bit inconsistent due to the major transitions going on in our family's lives right now, so I found myself lacking a bit of the endurance that was such a strength last year through the mountains of Montana, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Colorado.  (Aka, I walked more than I probably should have during the race!!!)  The final downhill to the dirt road and into the finish area was very welcome and I was glad to push it through the final stretch and cross the line, finishing 71st out of 90.  Welcome to NYS trails!

A group shot before the start, from L to R, Brad, Shari, Anne.
Anne and Shari finished the 26K together in 26th and 27th, doing a great job!

The Thom B races were run well, had a great course, and good eats afterwards including hot coffee which hit the spot in the cooler weather, and cannoli chips with frosting spread!!! What is that!?!  It was awesome!!!  Totally made the suffering worth it.  Many other people from the TrailsRoc group ran one of the three distances, so we hung around to see them finish, including some tough 52K finishers.  

Even in the midst of our struggles and sufferings, God so awesomely provides, and that was true this day, a great day at a great race with great new friends.

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