Posts Tagged ‘trail running’

The Escarpment 30k Trail Race is the type of event that doesn’t just chew you up and spit you out – exhausted, wounded and mud covered, it also points and laughs at you!  Running the extremely technical 18+ miles from Windham, NY to North Lake in Haines Falls, NY demands the ability to focus on a narrow trail 3-4 feet in front you for several hours.  Lose that focus for more than two or three seconds and it’s likely you’ll be on the ground, before you even knew you fell.  Despite one’s best effort however, the rocks and roots will still probably reach up and grab your foot at some point during the race.  Maybe you’ll fall, maybe you won’t, but you’ll probably fall.

A look at the Escarpment website and it seems that the race founder and director, Dick Vincent spends more time dissuading people from doing the race than inviting them to come attempt it.  He makes it very clear that you need to be an experienced runner with a history of trail running to toe the start line of this race, otherwise he will be pointing and laughing at you.

2013 start

2013 Start – by: Paul Mueller

This year rain was added to the mix.  The ground was fairly dry prior to race day and was able to absorb a lot of the water, so mud wasn’t a huge factor.  It was the wet, smooth rocks boulders, ledges etc. that made things a bit more interesting.  This was my second Escarpment race and despite the rain, I was able to take 6 minutes off my previous time, finishing 6th in 3:18:39.  This race remains the most challenging endurance event I’ve ever done – more mentally demanding than the VT Spartan Beast, harder than the Boston Marathon and more exhausting than a 50k x-c ski marathon.

Since the race was at the end of July, too much time had passed and I’d given up trying to put together a mile by mile race report for this year.  But then I found this race report by Kirk Kittell.  It’s a very entertaining and well written recount of the race.  It was written after the 2010 race but is fitting for any year.  Enjoy!

top of Blackhead Mtn.

Top of Blackhead Mtn. – by: Mountain Peak Fitness

Have you run the Escarpment Trail?  Or are you planning on running it for the first time?  Please share your experiences, advice or questions in the comments section below!

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On Sunday, I ran in the first annual Sleepy Hollow Mountain Race.  This race is the first of six in the USATF New England Mountain Running Series, with other races in Vermont, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

S.H. Mtn Race

The race was co-organized by 2011 U.S. and World Mountain Running Champion Kasie Enman and held in her back yard (literally) on the trails of the Sleepy Hollow Inn and X-C Ski Center.

With the preceding two weeks of wet weather here in VT, it was expected that the 10K course would be on the muddy side… and muddy it was!!  There were sections of ankle deep mud and saturated meadows that looked dry until you ran through them.  There were also sections of runner friendly single track and wide grassy trails.  Oh, and hills.  There were a few hills to run up, and down.  After all, it is part of a mountain series.

Uphill Start

Uphill Start

The race started with a climb for the first 9/10 of a mile to the highest point.  To make things interesting, there was a special prize (VT Maple Syrup of course) for the first man and woman to reach the top of the first climb.  The entire second mile was downhill.  This is where we encountered some of the first serious mud of the day.  Mile three sent us back up hill rather abruptly for the longest climb of the course.  Just over a mile long, the second climb continued with the muddy-trail motif.  Mile four sent us back down hill, this time on some drier terrain.  Mile five offered a little more single track, less mud and less climbing.  Mile 6 was all down hill again along a wide soft grassy road that let you enjoy the run instead of deciding where and where not to step.

Choosing an aggressive soled shoe for this course was very important.  I decided to wear my Inov-8 Oroc 340’s because of the giant lugs on the bottom and because I converted my Talon 212’s into road shoes by shaving the lugs off them.  I noticed that the Inov-8 Talon 212 was a popular choice for this race, as was the Roclite 295. As a Physical Therapist, I really like the Inov-8 brand.  I think they have a great philosophy and design.  I was curious to see what other styles of Inov-8 were at this race.  Here’s what I found.

X-Talon 190

X-Talon 190

Roclite 295

Roclite 295

Terafly 303

Terafly 303

F-Lite 230

F-Lite 230

Oroc 340

Oroc 340

I noticed that even Scott Mason, the race photographer had Roclites on.

Race Photographer Scott Mason

The race photographer – Scott Mason

There were 136 runners at this years race and ZERO injuries that required medical attention!!  Overall it was a great day!!



A much deserved rest

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I spent this past weekend in the Adirondacks of NY as a coach/counselor at Trail Running Camp.  The camp was held at Dippikill Wilderness Retreat in Warrensburg, NY.  I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I had a pretty good feeling it would be fun.  This was the 4th year of the camp which is organized by The Albany Running Exchange (ARE), a running club of Albany NY…more specifically the Albany Running Exchange Event Productions (AREEP) which is a race logistics branch of the ARE.

The AREEP is a company that…well in their words is [copy,paste] “a vertically-integated company that specializes in race timing and event technology. Utilizing our own propetiary software, including a fully dynamic race timing and online registration system, text messaging, mapping tools, and more, let us combine today’s top timing methods with our professional team to provide your event a seamless experience.”

The Lodge

Day 1

The campers arrived later in the day on Thursday and got to know each other during the first easy trail run, dinner and post dinner gathering.  Everyone got familiar with the layout of the camp and headed off to bed.

Day 2

Depending on a person’s perception, campers either enjoyed or were subjected to a full day of events on the first full day of camp.  A pre-breakfast run of varying terrain and distances started at 7:30.  After breakfast, I gave my injury prevention talk which was followed by an hour break before a yoga and core strength session.

Balance Drills

Lunch seemed to come quickly that day.  By the way, all meals were prepared by Andy and John.  Andy is a culinary student at Johnson & Wales University and John seems to be capable of anything.  They worked very hard during the camp and never failed to impress people with what they created in the small camp kitchen.

After lunch, the amazing weather called most people to the lake, while others heard a more prominent call from their bed in the cabin.  Either way, a few well earned hours of relaxing were in order.

The afternoon run session focused on safely negotiating hills, up and down.  If that wasn’t enough, and it was for some, following the hill run was an agility drill class by Dick Vincent.  Dick is a trail running icon of the East and is the person responsible for organizing the Escarpment Trail Race every year.  Since trail running requires fast (and sometimes fancy) footwork, these drills were designed to help people develop the strength and fast reaction time to help tame the trails.  As the video at the end of this post shows, add a little music to an agility drill session and you’ve got yourself a party!

Ladies & Gentlemen, Dick Vincent

Dick put away his various balance enhancing devices and took out his guitar after dinner to entertain the campers.  When Dick stepped away for a brief intermission, leaving the microphone unsupervised, the variety show ensued.  *Note: it was not called a “talent” show – see video below.

Day 3

This day started with an early breakfast.  Then we loaded everyone up in the vans and went tubing!  But not without first running 5 miles to get to the tubes!  The tubing company happily dropped us off a few miles from the real drop off point.  Running first made the relaxing river trip even more enjoyable.  John and Andy enjoyed a break from the kitchen because lunch was a cookout hosted by the tubing company.

After the tubing trip, I gave my Barefoot Running presentation which was followed by either yoga, a trip back to the lakefront or a nap.  A couple inspired folks even went barefoot running for the first time!!

After dinner, the night entertainment was the talent show.  Campers and counselors demonstrated their ukulele, guitar, singing, magic and acting skills for the group.  With the impending end-of-camp-race the next morning, people made their way back to their cabins…if they were lucky.

Finish line cheering section!

Day 4

Trail running camp ended with an event that allowed the campers to use all the skills they’ve acquired over the last few days, a 5 mile trail race.  The “Froggy 5 Miler” covered the familiar trails of the Camp Dippikill property and included wide gravel roads, narrow single track, scenic vistas, treacherous downhill and a segment along the shore of the camp lake.  As with many ARE races, a pot luck style cookout followed as people shared stories of wrong turns, falling and friendly rivalries.

By noon, campers began departing with smiles on their faces, already talking about “next year.”  If success was measured by great weather, laughter and fun, this year’s ARE Trail Running Camp was a HUGE success!  I’m already planning on being a part of it next year!

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