Tuesday, July 14, 2015

High Bridge 5k a review like you've never read before.

Lets shake the dust off of this blog, bog, log, hog and talk about venturing into money making Manhattan for a trail race.

First off, yes you read that right in Manhattan, the Big Apple there was a 5k trail race that had some of the most intricate single track i've ever run.

Let me start form the beginning.

I picked up El Presidente Mark Vogt, and Lady Diane Sassone and we drove into jersey, over the GWB into upper Manhattan. We drove around for a few minutes and found a spot around 178th st. off of Amsterdam Ave. Hold on, I want to make sure you saw that it was 178th st.  not 78 stone the Upper East Side, no this is another 100 blocks up. Way Way north of Staten Island, and the Greenbelt but we ventured out for the adventure.

We got there, signed in and then we went for a little warm up run ie. scout out the course run. Right away I noticed that the locals, who were already setting up for their picnics in the park full grills, warming trays, etc. etc. looked at us like we were insane running through their park. Not in a bad way just in a " what are these people doing here?" kinda way.
We shuffled our way back to the start and waited for the race to officially start. As we lined up to start we learned that half the course was on paved path, and the other half would be trail.

And were off! the race begins, we bound down the paved path, through the cooks preparing their feasts and past two guys who were a derelict Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. They stood there, leaning on each other in their ragged attire with looks of disbelief on their very worn faces. As we continued down the course we turned into the woods.  These trails are tight, twisty, and incredibly fun. I bounded through the best I could thankful for my new Salomon SpeedCross 3s that tore into the course. I watched a lot of other runners slow down, and slip out in the switchbacks while i dug in and pushed ahead. As we ran through this part of the course our friends Tweedle Dee, and Tweedle Dum had taken their own footpath into the wood and again stood there in stupefied wonder as we yet again ran past them. I assume they were headed into the woods to do something illegal, but they could have been in their to remove invasive species, or something else beneficial........Probably not. Out of the woods and back onto pavement, but only for a short while as we were directed back into the woods for a second go round. this time we really had a lot of fun. The trails were steeper, with sharper switchbacks and more natural obstacles such as roots, rocks, and fallen tree limbs. The path got really tight and twisty and I saw a backlog of runners ahead of me. I saw why, instead of running we were now climbing up a steep rock wall to get back onto the paved path. I started out slow but eventually picked up a nice pace on the paved path since it was nice and flat. Past the water table was the famed High Bridge. Recently restored and looking amazing it was a quick run down to one end and back and the race is over. NO! NO, it isn't. Once you finish the bridge there is one little, teensy, thing left to do. 97 steep steps to the finish. Running a tough 5k is not a new thing but finishing the race by running up 97 steep steps is not a standard way to finish and that's kinda expected in when Matt and George put on an event.

To sum up I will list pros, and cons

This race was amazing, a mixture of fast paved paths, and very intricate trails.
Outstanding views
unique finish
Overall this race was a smashing success

This gripe has nothing to do with the race directors, or the NYC parks dept.
the course had a lot of broken glass, due to Tweedle dee, and Tweddle Dum, and their band of Merry men.
I know there was a concerted effort to clean up the trails and i'm sure they did all they could.

Who knows maybe this race will create a renewed interest in hiking the trails of High Bridge Park and Tweedle Dee, and Tweedle Dum will have to either clean up or move on.

We shall see how things look next year when we do it again!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Muddy Marathon, High Rock Challenge, Big Mud races whats better..... a taste test like the Pepsi Challenge.

On April 11, 2015 13 runners from Staten Island participated in the Muddy Marathon, an amazing experience that was a 6.2 mile race for most of us and an attempt at a marathon distance for one.

After the event it was an almost universally accepted opinion that the day was an success. The one nay vote was from an idiot who fell upside down into a drainage ditch so its her fault really.

The discussion lead to how the Muddy Marathon was way better than Big Mud events. I agreed for numerous reasons which i will detail below.

The cost, Big Mud races are really expensive. The Muddy marathon was reasonably priced.

The amount of people, Big Mud races are very crowded, which is great for them but can be annoying for the participant. the Muddy Marathon was a small field which made it feel like a special event but not a lot of cash for the race director.

The course itself, Big Mud courses are a lot of fun, running obstacles, etc. etc. etc.
The Muddy Marathon was course that had zero man made obstacles yet was tougher than the B.M.R. Why? well the running led to a lot of climbing up very steep rocky terrain and then there was a lot of bushwacking through the woods that were expertly marked but there was no trail to run on so it slowed you down.

Post race, After a B.M.R. you gat a beer ticket and some swag and a general feeling that you accomplished something amazing which is true. After the Muddy Marathon you get free beer some swag and the same feeling that you accomplished something amazing, because you did.

In conclusion, if you like doing B.M.R. you should keep doing them because in the end I don't care what you do. but if you do like B.M.R. than I would suggest you try the Muddy Marathon because in my opinion it is a strong test of your running, and overall fitness level. Try it you'll like it.

Oh yeah, the High Rock Challenge.

This is an event that I hold dear, It has such a tradition of excellence, since it is a mix of running, obstacles, and it incorporates other activities such as kayaks, and mental challenges things that the other events do not have. Making the high Rock Challenge a true Adventure race. It's a big event but still feels like a local race not overwhelming like a B.M.R. can feel like. Technically it is a local race with 1,000  people it is a big local event.

You finish the High Rock Challenge with a big smile just like the B.M.R., and the Muddy Marathon.
The difference is when you around Staten Island you will see High Rock Challenge shirts through out the year from past and current participants and there is a sense of camaraderie. I see people wearing B.M.R. shirts but since there are B.M.R. races all over the world the sense of camaraderie isn't as strong.

I personally stopped doing the B.M.R. a few years ago for all the reasons I stated above, and I will continue to run events like the Muddy Marathon, and the High Rock Challenge because of the reasons posted above.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Is the fastest runner the best runner?

Thanks to SIAC Master of ceremonies Josh Pesin for linking individual members blogs to the SIAC website.  Doing so has prompted me to update the old girl. i will say that I am actually quite active on this blog. i am working on a long term project that is none of your business at this time.

Now, on to this blog and the controversial title.

Today I was doing a little speed on the Nature Center trail.... hold on a second I was doing speed work not speed, who do yo think I am some biker selling Meth to scabby faced junkies. No I did a quick speed workout session to loosen up the old running sticks before tomorrow's Wolfe's Pond 5k.

As I was running I started thinking about runners, and various styles of running. Sprinters, distance, fast runners, slow plodders, runners who might not be the fastest but have been running for a long time and I started thinking what is the best runner?

I think this is an interesting question.

Someone who is extremely fast but prone to injury vs. the slow and steady runner who doesn't really improve as a runner or health wise which might have been the reason they started running in the first place. These are two realistic examples of the extreme ends of the running spectrum, so is it the mushy middl that wins?

A runner who is not the fastest but strives to improve, yet doesn't obsess. A runner who sees the big picture but also has their sights on short term goals. Running smart to avoid injury as much as possible, and will be proactive when a weird twinge shows up instead of bulling through it?

Just a random thought that shot through my head as I was shuffling down the nature trail back to the Nature Center.