Red Trail Attempt 6 | Running | New York
This has been a very interesting experience for me. I have never taken on a course and tried to run it faster and faster over a period of time before. Outside of the few exceptions of some races I have run multiple times over the years, but there aren’t many of those.
Running one route 6 times in one month. Trying to get faster and faster each time. This is new.
Do Something New
Taking on this project on trails is even more interesting. Unlike roads, which essentially remain the same throughout time, trails are almost never the same. Each run on the same trail can offer a different experience. The trail conditions can vary over time.
On the first couple of attempts at the Red Trail the leaves had recently fallen and they were thick and fluffy on the ground. I couldn’t really see the ground under my feet or feel secure in my footing at all times. Over the course of the month the leaves were crushed down, worn out and and ground into dust and the trails became more visible and I could run with more confidence.
Then there are trees. There have been a variety of trees fallen on the trails during my runs. Some have been cut and moved off the trail. Some have remained all month. And there have even been some new trees that have fallen during the month to add new challenges even as I get faster.
Attempt # 6
My friend and I have been wanting to get after it on this trail together at some point during the Run For The Hills! challenge at Tanglewood. We were finally able to make it come together and hit the trails today for a good hard run on the Red Trail.
The trail conditions on this run were going to be different than all my other runs. It has been mostly dry on every attempt I have had so far. But it has been rainy the past few days. And it was raining for a few hours this morning before we planed to run.
We planned to start a little later in the day to let it warm up some. We hit the trails at about 10 AM. It looked like it was going to be a nice bright sunny run.
But then Upstate, New York decided to be Upstate, New York. Around 1 mile into the run it started to drizzle. Then it started to rain and sleet. The wind picked up. A nice little storm whipped though the area. (When I got home it hadn’t rained at all there and I live just a few miles away.)
These were not the ideal conditions for trying to set a personal best on a given route, especially one you’ve already improved on a couple of times.
Run More to Run More
This week I had run more than I have in a given week in over a month. My running this week included a 10 mile run two days ago. I hadn’t run double digit miles since mid October. My weekly running has mostly been the 6 miles I put in here each weekend.
How the trail run went
As I started out on this run my legs felt a little tired and I could not help but think that all the running I had done this week was going to be a detriment to this attempt.
I was really pushing as I went up the first bigger climb you reach. I felt like I was working hard. But I did not feel like I was going particularly fast.
I was really happy when I clicked off my first mile in 9:30 as I checked my watch. The fasted I have run it in out of all my attempts by a few seconds and fifteen seconds faster than any of my recent attempts.
On mile 2, I was able to hit a sub 9 minute mile for the first time. That was nearly a 20 second improvement over any of my previous attempts during that section of the run.
The third and final mile clocked in at just under 14 minutes. This was not my fastest time on this part of the trail, but it was pretty good for me. My legs were getting week. I did not have much gas left for this climb.
I started off running up the section that is not too steep. Then I had to power hike up the steepest section. After that I started to alternate between running and hiking every 10 breaths or so just to give my legs and lungs time to recover. Then as I neared the top where it begins to flatten out I extended my running time over my hiking time.
I could see the finish. I “sprinted” with whatever I had left. and I was done.
On my 6th and possibly final attempt to run the fastest time I can on the Red Trail at Tanglewood Nature Center I was 44 seconds faster than my previous fastest time. I clocked in at 33 minutes and 10 seconds. I started and finished every attempt at the trail maps station before you head out onto the trails.
This was a super fun new challenge to take on. I need to find more fun hard adventures like this to chase.
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