Blog Subtitle

Reverse-engineering the Ultramarathon

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Just a Little Trail Run with my Girl

2012 Highland Forest 1-2-3

Here we are at the finish sporting our matching
"Big Dog Trail Runners" shirts
(Photo credit - Karen McHenry)

Yesterday my daughter Kim and I did the Highland Forest 1-2-3 together. The HF course is a ten mile loop through Highland Forest County Park in Onondaga County. Each loop has about 1400' of elevation gain (and 1400' of descent). You register for the number of loops you want to do (hence the '1-2-3') but you can change your mind on race day - mid-race even.

I had signed up for two loops, figuring I'm just getting my trail/hill legs back under me after a lot of flat road training for MTD - and with MTD just two weeks behind me and Laurel Highlands 50K two weeks in front of me I didn't need to throw in another ultra!

I'd put the bug in Kim's ear as long ago as last fall to come out and run a loop with me and asked her seriously when she got home from school last weekend (Kim is an Animal Science major at Cornell). Mind you she's never run regularly but has shown some interest in it. She does a lot of walking at Cornell though, and the campus is very hilly.

She's also got an adventurous, competitive streak that I knew I was appealing to. "Challenge accepted!" I filled out the registration for her before she had time to change her mind.

Actually, Kim said she was doing it, "for the lulz."

We got her a brand new pair of New Balance Minimus trail shoes (Kim's a confirmed anti-shoe minimalist) and got out for a couple of runs last week on a little local trail we've run before, just to make sure she had a feel for watching her footing in rough places again - and that was it. Her longest run prior to Saturday (ever) was 5-6 miles.

Entering the trail right after the start.
(Photo credit - Natalie Werner)

Well, we had an absolute blast! Kim was amazing, and I think she may have found a real love for trail running out there. I ran everything I wanted to run, made no effort to moderate my pace (I mean, come on - if I moderate my pace any I'm walking) and Kim hung in there with me the whole way - through TWO loops!

Here we are coming into the home stretch on the first loop.
(Photo credit - Natalie Werner)

Yep, we got to the end of the first loop and she decided she hadn't had enough. She was totally good through the first half of the second loop (had to be pushed a little to bring it in from there but still did well) and we came in together just under five hours - ahead of four other two-loop finishers.

We bring it in together - 20 miles!
(Photo credit - Karen McHenry)

                            2 LOOPS - 20 MILES

Place Name                   Sex Age City                 St Time     
===== ====================== === === ==================== == ======= 
   27 Kimberly McHenry       F    19 Jamesville           NY 4:53:45   1: 2:06:25 2:06:25
                                                                       2: 2:47:20 4:53:45 

   28 Patrick McHenry        M    51 Jamesville           NY 4:53:45   1: 2:06:24 2:06:24
                                                                       2: 2:47:21 4:53:45 

I think Kim loved it all. She loved the 'journey' feel of a long trail run - the flow of a developing story that there is to it. She loved the 'epic' downhills with the adrenaline pumping. She loved passing a former teacher (Mr. Ben Clardy - a three-loop finisher) and hearing his excitement to see her out there. And she loved the mud!

Evidence of a really good day
(Photo credit - Karen McHenry)

And me? I loved it all too - every moment of being out there with her, watching her experience something new, discover what she's capable of, maybe find a new passion. I've certainly gotten a lot of satisfaction out of my own small accomplishments in ultrarunning - but I don't think I've ever had a better day.

Update, 2012-06-18:

Some time after the race some additional photos surfaced taken by photographer Kristin Hrebin. She got some great shots of Kim and I out on the course and graciously made them available. I've included the ones I liked best below:

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