The first trail race I did this summer was the Forge the Gorgeous- a race run by the Finger Lakes Runners Club at Fillmore Glen State Park. It was 3.5 miles and it was tough. I've hiked here before, but I've never tried to run the gorge. It's not for the faint of heart. I love trail running, and I do it enough to know how I like to attack it (slowly). I always follow the same pattern... I power hike up the hills, settle in on the flats and then coast my way down any hills. With 600+ feet of climb there was a lot of power hiking happening, as some flat out walking as I cursed myself for agreeing to this torture. The run back down was awesome, I hit the down hill and flew, flattening out when I hit the bottom of the gorge to coast into the finish. I was exhausted, but it was totally awesome. It took me almost an hour to finish the race, but considering the terrain and the temp I was totally fine with that! I'm really looking forward to doing more of their trail run circuit in the future!
Today I ran the Baltimore Woods 5k (was actually closer to 2.75 miles). I have mixed feelings about this one. These are my hometown trials, I grew up running them. I LOVE running them. Due to several circumstances this race did not work in my favor. We started on the road with a big downhill. I thrive on the trail (slowly, but still...) but on the road my knees take a pounding and I was hurting before I ever even hit the dirt. Then there were several no-passing zones where the trail was single track. Just by virtue of where I landed in pack I found myself stuck. Everyone hiked up the hills (totally fine), but then they also wanted to walk down the hills and I couldn't pass, there was nowhere to even step off. So for the fist 1.5 miles or so I felt very stuck. When the trail finally opened up on a downhill I took off, and from that point forward the race felt great. I settled in behind an 8 year old with about a half mile to go and we pushed each other up the final big hill before racing it in the finish (she won by one second). Overall the race itself was great, even if I didn't have my best run. I'd definitely do this one again!