This year I was fortunate to be able to participate in the Rock the Ridge 50 mile Endurance challenge at the Mohonk Preserve. In 2014 this was my first 50 miler. I registered in 2015 but had to defer because of Plantar Fasciitis. It was a long journey for my recovery so the word GRATITUDE can’t even describe my feelings being able to train and participate this year.
One week before the event there was a brush fire at Sam’s Point. The fire escalated and burned almost 3000 acres before it was contained and stopped. Up to the day before the race we were not sure if we would be permitted to run the part of the course that used Minnewaska State Park. The night before the race we received word that all was well and the race would go on as planned. Minnewaska re-opened to the public on April 30 after being closed all week as a precaution.
I had the honor of being an ambassador for the race as I often do my training runs at Mohonk and have recruited several people to participate. I also had the pleasure of singing America the Beautiful at the start of the event. Singing and running- these are a few of my favorite things.
The weather on race day was made to order. Cool, dry, partly cloudy, with a slight breeze. The race starts at 6 AM which means getting up at 3:30am for me. The check in is impeccably organized. This makes for a low stress start. Drop bags marked and dropped off, ankle bracelets for timing, a few announcements, a little singing and off we go.
There were plenty of aid stations. Some with just water and a few snacks and a main one at Lyons Road (that you hit twice) with hot food and some fanfare. This event is created specifically for runners and hikers of all levels. There is a generous cut off of 24 hours.
I had an amazing day. I had many months of excellent quality training runs progressing from several 20 milers to a 32, 36 and a 40. My training consisted of hard/ easy weeks with lots of cross training. I was well rested. I was mentally and physically ready. I am a fat burner so I ate very little during the event. A few pieces of summer sausage, a few pieces of cheese, some hot soup, lots of water. My boyfriend, Jim Porter crewed for me and brought me a hamburger, a few pieces of bacon, and hot coffee for later in the day. I know-I’m a lucky girl!
I started out slow averaging 14 minute miles for the first half. The second half went well and I was able to average 12- 13 minute miles. Jim joined me and ran with me for the last part. I finished in 11 hours and 13 minutes. My goal was to finish without injury, have fun, and enjoy the day on the trails. Mission accomplished.
I love living in the Hudson Valley and I treasure our local trails. I am delighted that I can support the Mohonk Preserve by participating in this event right in my own back yard.