It was a much needed cutback week and I spent most of it recovering from last weekend’s runs.
Monday: complete rest day, stretching
Tuesday: replaced my run with a 6 mile cycle
Wednesday: 4 mile roads, easy (9:30 pace)
Thursday: 5.2 mile trail run (10:57 pace) & 5 mile cycle
Friday: complete rest day, stretching
Saturday: 7 trail miles (11:12 pace)
Sunday: 13.25 Buck Ridge Burn Trail Half (9:51 pace) PR and 1st in Age Group!
Buck Ridge Burn
This is a local race that takes place in Pine Grove Furnace State Park. I wanted to do it last year, but it was too close to the Ironmaster’s 50K. This year it fell perfectly with my schedule. They also offer a 5K option. We couldn’t have asked for a better day than today. Blue skies, sunshine, and perfect running temps (40 to start and 60 by the finish). My friends from work ran it too. For some it was their first trail half. So exciting!
Here’s a pic from their website regarding the elevation. Along with the super fun mix of ups and downs, you get a little taste of single-track, double-track fire roads, climbs, beautiful views, rocky downhills, and creek crossings. We had a lot of rain recently so there were a ton of water/mud sections too! A few of us ran part of the course last weekend and it was wet even then.
Since it was a cutback week I wasn’t sure if I was going to take it easy or push myself. Thankfully the extra cycling this past week brought my running legs back from last week’s miles and elevation, so I decided I would start this race off moderately and if i felt good after mile 7, I’d push it more.
I’m terrible about remembering specific parts of a race but I remember a creek crossing up to my shorts in the first mile, running along the creek, getting onto Buck Ridge, then the climb up to Hammond’s Rocks, the loop where we got to see the lead pack coming back through, the small dry and unique pine trails, the Ravine Trail (my favorite) that went straight down a rocky descent along a creek. I had so much fun running recklessly down that trail. I am definitely going to find my way back there again one day! The views from Hammond’s Rocks were picturesque but I didn’t want to stop to take any pics today. I’ll get back there too one day and share them in the future :). During the ravine section, I passed a few people because I knew I wanted to run fast there. I continued doing that pretty solidly and realized I was feeling good and could possibly PR if I ran all the hills. There were some fire roads after that (fun memories of meeting Jen popped into my mind), another short climb, and then a fun twisty trail through the woods around mile 11. I caught up to some people I’d been trailing for awhile and continued on. Around mile 12 we crossed another stream and I recognized the trail. I had run on it before on a training run and knew that this was the last uphill. So I embraced the burn and ran up. Once at the top I decided to run as fast as I could and see if I could get under 2:10. 2:12 was my PR. I passed a girl at the top of the hill (who ended up being in my age group), and booked down the trail and onto the road toward to the finish. My watch said 2:10:40. Not sure of the official time yet, but still a PR and good enough for 1st place AG. The RD was at the finish line congratulating everyone and cheering us on. I gave her a hug and thanked her for an awesome race!
Pics from after the Buck Ridge Burn
I met people today that drove an hour or more for this race. I would highly recommend adding it to your calendar for next year if you can. The course was incredibly well marked (best I’ve ever run), and is so well organized. The volunteers were awesome and like all trail runs, it was just a fun atmosphere with the trail running camaraderie that drawls us all to the sport. If anything, do it for the views!
Following the race I felt great. I am sleepy tired from pushing myself and running faster than my training runs, but I am not sore at all. My training is working! Time to ramp it up this coming week.
How was your weekend of running?