Race season is FINALLY here and I could not be happier about it. The months of winter training have proven themselves worth it as we have launched into our second consecutive weekend of races. Today we raced the Allegany Adventure Run for the second year in a row and although I am extremely sore right now it was definitely worth it once again. The race offers three different distance options so everyone who wants to participate has an option available to them including a 6K, 13K and 27K that all start and finish at the Summit Trail Head in Allegany State Park. Robert and I both ran the 27K today although we think the mileage was slightly less than a 27K (our watches were closer to 15 miles instead of 16.75).
The race is part of the Eastern Grip Trail Series and is put on by HeartRateUp which hosts many of the trail races Robert and I run throughout the year. The 27K race started at 9:30, followed by the 13K at 9:45, and the 6K at 10 this morning taking people through the beautiful trails at Allegany. It is a bear of a course with a net gain in elevation. Robert’s watch tracked us at 1463 ft of ascent and 1447 ft of descent which seems pretty even when reading the watch, but in running the race the last two miles are a straight incline… for the FULL TWO MILES. There are no plateaus during that last stretch of the race and getting through those last two is QUITE the challenge both physically and mentally at that point in the race.
The above pictures are all compliments of Sarah Anderson.
The race went from a 22K last year to a 27K this year with the addition of three miles of mountain biking trails. I loved this addition because it added another component to this race. The normal route that does not include this section is difficult in and of itself because of all the climbing the hills entail. However, this new section made the race so much more enjoyable for me. I love the technical parts of trails that are full of roots and rolling hills- they are my absolute favorite to run on. This section was full of all my favorite things starting around mile 8 of the race and letting you out of its twists and turns at mile 11. As happy as this section made me there was a slight drawback. It wound in and around itself with switchback turns so I kept seeing people who would then disappear and I did not always know if I was ahead of them or behind. That was well worth it though because I broke away from the pack I had been with up until that point and managed to get my way up to a new pack by the end of this section simply because that type of running is my strong suit.
In terms of marking and support along the trail I had no problems with finding my way simply because the majority of the race is along a path that is not single track and has an obvious route to follow. At the points where the path split, along with a person there to help direct traffic, the “wrong way” was completely taped off so there was really no excuse of getting lost today. In terms of support there were four or five aid stations along the route with water and gatorade available to runners around mile 1.5, 5, 7.5, 11, and 13. The course website said that there was one at the five mile mark and not the 11, but I distinctly remember the one as I came out of the mountain bike trail so I am not sure if they just simply added one in today and did not list it on the website. The aid station workers were great and the stations were fully equipped with water and gatorade for runners.
The post race festivities were great too. There was ample food and full water bottles available and someone handed me grape juice as I crossed the finish line… I wasn’t sure about that but it was sweet of them to have something there along with water! After we finally changed and ate some food it was time for awards given out to the 6K and 13K races first and then about 20 minutes later to the 27K racers. The race director also had door prizes that he gave out and everyone got a raffle ticket when they picked up their race packets in the morning. Robert and I did not win anything, but it is still nice that the director does it. Along with the tickets we got when we registered we also got t-shirts, pins, stickers, and some food samples in our SWAG bag. I love the bear theme for this year. The awards for the 27K were great. The overall winners won trophies and GPS watches. Age groups were every ten years and awards were given out for the top three finishers in each age group. First, second, and third place winners received medals and first and second place also received a jar of Once Again Nut Butter. So how did we do?!
Robert came in 12th overall and took 1st place in the 20-29 male age group. I came in 33rd overall and was the 2nd place overall female. I placed first in the 20-29 age group. All in all it was a great race not only because team McMillan was successful in our age groups, but because we had a great run on beautiful trails that challenged us. Now I have a weekend off before our next race on May 22nd out in Sprague Brooke as I start my taper before Vermont. As always I can’t wait for our next race!