Black Diamond Park to Park Star Posts


I’ve been slowly working my way through the challenge courses from shortest to longest, and it was time for the Black Diamond. @lynsayayer and I were planning to carpool and run together weeks ago, but poor air quality set us back repeatedly. Finally, today, we had clear skies and clearer schedules (fourth of July holiday!) so we dropped one car the Children’s Garden and drove up to the top of the BDT together.

We ran the first couple miles side by side, stopping once to enjoy some black raspberries that were abundant at the northern end of the trail.

We parted ways about mile 2.5 and I proceeded to get very hot and very sweaty in what felt like 100% humidity (it was 80%, I checked) in the beating sun. While I love the idea of a straight shot point-to-point trail that’s downhill to boot, I have terrible luck with the tiny bits of gravel getting into my socks and causing discomfort (solutions welcomed!) I found the last 2ish miles under the power lines to require a lot of willpower to finish.

I think my fueling/hydration strategy was really successful given the heat. I wore my hydration vest with 1.5 L of water mixed with 2 liquid IV packets. I also took in real food gels at miles 3 and 6 (Spring & Huma — the mango flavor is so good, thanks @Ian!) I had another 20 oz of water and snacks waiting in my car at ICG, and a second full bottle waiting in Lynsay’s car back up at Taughannock. I needed every last drop!

All this fueling and rehydrating meant I had energy to enjoy the rest of my day off! My husband and I continued our tradition of a day date on the Fourth while the kids are at camp. Today we went to Sheldrake (for a tasting), then FLX Cider for lunch & ginger bear (the greatest ginger beer I’ve ever tasted!) We stopped back at Taughannock and saw the waterfall at its most picturesque given all the rain of late. (Note: my hubby loving his new Goodrs from @finger-lakes-running).


It was a great day and I’m glad to say I’ve checked off that course!

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Many people use gaiters to avoid the small rocks getting into their socks. Something like this.

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Thank you!

He looks fantastic in Glacier, and are you sure that yours are fully in line w/ your color palette? Nice to the berries and work on the day.


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@mdoruska3 and I took advantage of the cooler weather yesterday and carpooled for a park to park run on the course.

The extra driving time was worth it for sure. The race elevation calculator I used told me it was equivalent to a 10 second per mile boost!



I ran the full BDT out-and-back from Cass. A little past halfway a group of kids, ages about 10-15, was operating a trailside lemonade stand. They said they were in town for a family reunion and decided to try to make some money. I passed on their offer on the way out since I didn’t have cash, but on the way back down they made sure I knew they take Venmo. Since I had my phone in my pack I bought two cups and filled my handheld so I could guzzle lemonade over the last 5 miles. Unfortunately they sold out of brownies before I got there.

I found a tick on my shorts when I got home, thankfully none on my skin. Don’t forget to check thoroughly, especially this time of year.



I had already run the Black Diamond course with an out-and-back from Cass Park, but I thought if I ran it downhill I could knock a few minutes off my time. Thanks to a little help from @KimJ who lives on West Hill, I was able to leave my car at the Turtle parking lot but start from the top. I invited Kim to run with me, but she had run Ludlowville yesterday, so she declined.

One thing you should know about the Black Diamond Trail course is if you run it from the top is that the first 200 feet or so feature… an uphill! Who put that there? After motoring past that, with Van Halen in one ear to keep me lively, I set out to see what I could do. My goal was for each mile split time to be less than 10 minutes. Probably it wouldn’t work out well for me if my times were less than 9 minutes. My body settled in at about a 9:30 pace.

On the plus side, the top of the trail is lovely this time of year. No cars, no brambles, no rocks or roots, no mud. Just lovely August woods and fields, smooth surface, happy times. On the minus side, I kind of needed to pee. On the plus side, the FLRC-sponsored porta-potty wasn’t too far down the trail. On the minus side, if you are running for time, you don’t want to stop. I picked up my pace once the porta-potty was in site. Luckily nobody else was in it. The mile with that stop in it had a time of 10:01.

As they say, it was all downhill from there. Although, to be honest, I was working hard and it seemed mostly flat or maybe even uphill.

I concentrated on the flowing feeling of a faster pace than usual, opening up my stride while maintaining good posture. I merged with the green around me. My Garmin kept ticking down the miles. I started to wonder why I was doing this. I was working too hard for it to be full-on fun. It was offset from fun. It was very… what? A passage came to mind from an article about riding an Icelandic horse in the latest Outside magazine: (The horse’s name is Salka)

We fly. I lose track of the ground—that icy surface I have spent all week worrying about suddenly feels like it is no longer below us. … Here I am again, against all odds. … In two kilometers there will be a hard-right turn, and I will have to collect Salka in advance of it. In two kilometers, or two years, or 20, I will die as we all will do one day. But not right now. Right now we have temporarily entered the sky, and the blues and silvers and golds of it. There is the sun over the the North Atlantic, smoldering, shimmering. Dare us to see how close we can get.

My hard-right turn was actually a left at the end of the trail, and then I was standing in front of the Challenge sign, with a line of sweat running down my cheek. My time was more than 4 minutes faster than before, with an average mile split of about 9:25.

I didn’t stop to take photos during the run, and I was too hot after the run to think about photos. I did hydrate with three of my favorite beverages: water, smoothie, and coffee, and I took a photo of all those bottles on my picnic table at home.



it was nice running into @Caitlin-loehr as we ran opposite directions on the Black Diamond this morning. I wasn’t going to run today but then thought it would be nice to cover some miles on the last day of the Challenge