Friday, December 9, 2016

2016 Racing Season: Mendon Trail Run 20K, Mendon Ponds Park, Honeoye Falls, NY, November 5, 2016

The parking lot is full for the Mendon Trail Run 10, 20, 30, and 50K Races.

The Mendon Trail Run 10, 20, 30, and 50K races were run on November 5, 2016 in beautiful Mendon Ponds Park, Honeoye Falls, NY.  Some of the trails included in this race were from one of my earliest blog posts back in 2014, East Esker Trail, Mendon Ponds.  I enjoyed running those trails back then, and I thoroughly enjoyed going back and racing them in the 20K.

A note on why I chose the 20K distance:  For the last four years in the Fall, I have raced either a trail marathon or 50K, (one year attempting to do both but acquiring my first DNF as they were too close together with a 15K PR sandwiched in between!), but this year...has not been the last four years.  I knew I could do the 10K pretty easily, the 50K no.  That left either the 20 or the 30.  I figured based on my training and lack of long runs, I would be able to do the 20K, though even it might be a stretch, but the 30K...not so sure this time around, so I stretched to the 20, but decided not to push it.  I am glad I did so.  The 10K would not have been worth it, the 30K might have been possible, but the third loop might have been tough.  Like Goldilocks, the 20K on this day, was just right.

It was a beautiful day, cool, but not too bad, shorts and long sleeves.  The leaves were still brilliant, golden in some places!  The course was a 10K loop, starting and finishing at one of the lodges. While the 50K races had started earlier in the day, the 10, 20, and 30K racers all started together.  I saw several people either in the events or as spectators from the local trailsroc group that I knew.  

Taking pics while moving is always hard, I tried to stop and slow down, but this still has that warped look!

The sly thing about Mendon Ponds Park is that because it is located at the edge of a large city, you might be tempted to think it isn't very hilly...and you'd be very wrong!  The course description for the race said that it had 1000 ft of climb per loop.  My Garmin would drastically disagree with that, being closer to around 400+ ft of gain and around the same loss per loop, for maybe a total of 16-1700 ft of total change for 20K.  But whether I am right or the race organizers are, that's still a fair bit of "rolling hills" tucked back in those woods.

As I noted above, I chose the 20K, primarily because I really have not had very many long runs or any type of solid consistency to my running this year as we moved half way across country and started new careers.  In fact, this race was probably my 2nd or 3rd longest run of 2016 which is totally opposite 2015!  But, this was a fun 20K...I simply went in with a good attitude and a desire to run, race, and enjoy it, especially as it was kind of a birthday present from earlier in the week.

Nearing the aid station on loop 2.

Back to the course:  the 6+ mile loop is very rolling and mostly secluded in the woods.  Most of the course is wide or double-track.  Very little if any was wet.  There are stretches where you have to watch your footing due to roots, rocks, and the fact that the leaves were falling, but it's not too bad in terms of tripping hazards.  But, as I noted back in 2014, one of the great things about running an esker is that you often feel like you are higher up in altitude than you actually are in reality.  I always feel like, (maybe it's my imagination running away with me again...), I am running in the mountains. That feeling, combined with perfect weather, and awesome fall scenery, made this a fun day.

Sorry for the blur again, but you can tell it was golden out there!!!

It was also a fun day, because I knew much of the course even though I hadn't raced it before, yet it wasn't so fresh as to be boring.  I was able to keep a fair pace, and down the final stretch I actually had enough left in me to sprint it out.  I came in 48th out of 72 for the 20K and was satisfied with the day.  It was simply a great day to race and I loved it.  This race was more about just enjoying the chance to race along with the beauty of the day, and the challenge of the course.  Praise God for an awesome time!

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