After knocking off the Ludlowville course over the weekend, I decided to try my luck on this course this afternoon. I haven’t run 13+ miles since last year’s Challenge, but I’ve been doing plenty of 6-7 mile runs and Ludlowville went fine, so I was confident I could make it as long as I started slow and had some fuel & fluids. I allowed myself 2.5 hours to finish and that was almost perfectly accurate. The lake views toward the back of the first half were lovely, then the hills on Lake Rd were a bit of a surprise (but I ran all of them, unlike Ludlowville). As you might expect for a weekday afternoon, the trail was pretty empty - I saw only two other runners, a couple walkers and some people fishing in the pond near the start.
Since I sadly could not participate in the Gorges HM, I decided to do a solo HM race. I am grateful the FLRC challenge had a course mapped out for me already so I didn’t have to figure out my own.
Early this morning (early for me anyway ) drove out to the trailhead.
(Very thankful for the portapotty at the head of the trail btw )
Armed with two bottles of Tailwind, 2Liters of water, and snacks in all pockets, I started my audiobook and hit the trail.
There was lovely fog and cloud cover as I started out. Grass was damp, and with a slight breeze that kept me refreshed throughout the run. The trail was quite and with the book playing, the miles just clicked by. During the last two miles the sun at last peaked through the clouds.
This was the third time I have run a HM distance and I really love seeing/feeling the improvements in my running performance over the years. And even though this wasn’t a PR, it was the HM I felt the strongest. There are so many other aspects of progress besides just the time on the watch.
and if you haven’t tried Tailwind, for fueling&hydration, give it a shot. I love it.
After trying a bunch of the single serving flavors I upgraded to the large pack.
I love the idea of celebrating running accomplishments other than time. Feeling good during a long distance (whatever that distance is for you) is great!
Silence is punctured
Bog is abound with music
Of ten thousand frogs
(I’ll do a full 100k write up soon. For now it’s the haikus I thought of while running the courses.)
Part 1: This was my favorite challenge course when I ran it starting in the dark one morning last month, and since it is one of the closest courses to me (an hour drive away), and since it is flat, I decided it would be a good course to run for some heat acclimation today. While eating breakfast, a check of the Activity Log shows Pete Kresock @Petorius is over halfway through the Ultra Challenge that he started the evening before. I continue to follow his progress all morning. (Congratulations, Pete!)
Kick off time is shortly after 7 AM and I wonder what to expect for wildlife this late in the morning. There are numerous dog walkers out, which may explain why I only see a few rabbits on the trail. (The trail stays rather busy all morning.) I do see a few deer off in the fields, their big ears turned out towards me as I pass, but otherwise they remain statues. Numerous birdsong and the babbling waters of the adjacent creek accompany most of my trail journey. There are sounds of the occasional woodpecker and owl hidden away.
Daytime running exposes the scenic countryside as I head south.
The bloom of the colorful wild phlox is past and now numerous other wildflowers are present. Most dominant is the yellow bird’s-foot trefoil (Thank you, PictureThis, for this and many of the other identifications!), which also is known as eggs and bacon. It does not remind me of eggs or bacon, and when I crush some of it between my fingers, it smells like neither to me. Nonetheless, it lines many miles of the course and brings to mind the yellow brick road. For a brief time, “We’re off to see the Wizard,” plays on a loop in my head.
The grassy stretch after crossing Springhouse Road is still dewy enough to soak my socks and make my feet squish mildly in my shoes for a bit. For this stretch, a mini-swarm of gnats also joins my run. Fortunately, they aren’t gnasty gnats and I can ignore them.
I cross Main Street in Dryden and begin the Jim Schug section, which is a top-notch stretch of rail trail. I love the ponds and wetlands it passes by.
The smooth trail allows me to scan both sides for wildlife. There are various small birds, but no ‘pterodactyls’. I do see a mother mallard with at least a half dozen ducklings swimming near the grasses in the water. She is near where I saw the couple last month, so perhaps it is the same one. Just before the end of the outbound trail, I do some acrobatic maneuvers to avoid stepping on a snake the same color as the cinders. He sidled off to the weeds but only a few strides later I came across this little serpent stretched across the trail.
I have been running through both sunny and shady sections on the trail, but that ends as I begin the road section. The roadside presents me with blue wild chicory, orange wild lilies, and more yellow trefoils!
My admiration for these blooms delays recognition that the preheat stage is nearly over and the road pavement will begin cooking later this morning. But, for now, I enjoy the scenic countryside, the farms, and the view over the lake. My pals are out again, but for some of them, I am old news as they seem rather aloof.
I circle back down to the trail for the inbound leg returning me to the car. I scan the wetlands for more wildlife to no avail, but it is still a pretty section to run. The grass is still a bit dewy and the gnats waited to accompany me again for the ¾-mile stretch from Elm Street to Springhouse Road. It is 10 AM and the temperature is approaching 80 degrees when I reach the end in Freeville - my day is not over yet…
Part 2: After completion of the first lollipop loop, I drank two Mountain Dews, downed a Snickers, and polished off several cold wedges of watermelon. I did this while resting in the shade and checking the status of Pete Kresock’s Ultra Challenge progress; he only had Blueberry Patch to finish. A dry shirt, a dry buff, a water refill with some ice, a nutrition restock, a rest of 50 minutes… I hit the trail for a second loop starting at 10:50 AM.
The temperature is 84 degrees with lots of sun but there are still shady spots on the trail and a cool breeze whenever the occasional small cloud hides the sun. It is not that bad and I chug along at my mid-summer, mid-day pace around 13 minutes per mile. This loop is all about time in the heat. The trail is not as busy as morning, at least not for dogs, but I still see a good number of kids and adults throughout. There is less birdsong than before, perhaps due to the heat, or because it is mid-day?
The gnats are still there… but the grass is dry.
As I cross onto the Jim Schug, the clouds are bigger and more numerous but they do not block the sun. On the south side of South Street, I find a brand new Finger Lakes library card with the key tag still attached. It was not there when I passed through inbound on the last loop. I decide to pick it up and show it to the trail folks I see shortly ahead. The first is a girl walking a dog. As I show it to her, she reaches for her back pocket. Yep, it is hers.
Shortly ahead are two boys just getting off their bikes to start fishing from my favorite pond. I pass them and then pause for a while to ‘bask in the brilliance of the pond.’
The sign at the 1.5 mile point of the Jim Schug trail tells me the shrubbery with the red (and sometimes orange) berries all along the trail is Tartarian Honeysuckle, a highly invasive species. I never knew that.
Small birds are the only wildlife I see on this loop. But I do ‘pic’ a nice bouquet of wildflowers:
The road section is definitely hot but I am not bothered as much as I expected. This is a good heat acclimation run. Every runner knows it is important to replenish electrolytes, especially on hot days… which is why I ordered the Salty Caramel Truffle ice cream from the (trailside!) Station Creamery in Dryden on the return.
I tell ya, it is sure some awesome replenishment! I am really liking this new concept of ice cream shop aid stations right on the course! (Shout out to Cornell Dairy Bar again.) I may get spoiled. July is National Ice Cream month and this kept my July streak going, too! So, I walked the trail while eating this delicious, cold, creamy “aid”. Apparently, it does double duty as gnat repellent. They do not swarm around me until seconds after I finish it.
Upon reaching the end in Freeville, the temperature is 87 degrees and it is still sunny! This calls for another Mountain Dew and more cold watermelon wedges. But, it also calls for some post-run recovery, which I find here:
Oasis is certainly the right description! A trail with TWO ice cream stops! I also nominate Toad’s as ice cream people of the year! I walk up to read the menu and the lady at the window immediately asks if I need some water. I said I was fine and then as I continue to read the menu, she asks if there was something special I wanted after my run. I said, ‘No, I am just looking at all the flavors.’ Then I order a medium Rocky Mountain Raspberry, to which she says a medium is pretty big but I look like I can handle it. Good people like that are going to get my business any chance I get! What a great end to a great day of running!
I enjoy reading your write ups! I appreciate the details of the trail and humor!!
Ice cream, times 2, for the win!!!
Great write-up of your double Dryden Lollipop run. I enjoyed all the photos. Also I’m glad you doubled up on the ice cream shops.That is dedication to Team Ice Cream!
Thanks for sharing what sounds like a truly lovely day! I’m not sure I can promise there will always be ice cream stops on our courses in the future, but I’m definitely going to try!
the Dryden Lake course had an other-worldly look to it this morning, covered in fog for the first 40 minutes or so of my run
Great day for a half marathon! Loved the scenery along this course and I was able to take my time and stop for some photos. (I did see Jesse at the start, but I think the timing was just a coincidence, and passed at least a couple other FLRC runners out there!) Saw one osprey, a doe and her fawn, and too many rabbits to count. Also some truly spectacular daylilies and chicory flowers along Lake Rd. Got lucky with slightly cooler temperatures and cloud cover, even a slight breeze, but was still very warm and sticky by the end.
Tip for anyone who hasn’t run this yet: Agway sells cold bottled water and Gatorade! If you pack some money you can enjoy a nice “aid” stop at mile 10. They open at 8 most days, 9 on Sundays. I was just a little too early for ice cream, Toads Too doesn’t open until 12. I did drive to Dryden and celebrated finishing the challenge with some excellent slices at Carrozza Pizza Co. Best pizza of my life.
This run was a sizzling slog but I wasn’t in any hurry, just wanted get the miles in. I started at the small lot where the trail crosses Route 38, just south of central Dryden, and ran the out-and-back west to the railroad depot so I could stop for water at my car halfway. I carried a 20 oz bottle with Gnarly Nutrition electrolyte drink and ended up needing every last drop. My car thermometer read 82° when I finished and I swear it felt more like C than F. At least I’ll be rewarded with some extra plasma in my blood.
Finished the Dryden Lake Lollipop course or should I say it finished me. Little cooler today, but an ice cream cone in Dryden helped.
What a perfect morning for a run. I’m deep in the build portion of half iron training and have been feeling sluggish and uninspired. When I got to the end of the end of Dryden Lollipop I almost turned around and ran it again! Warm with a cool breeze and gorgeous puffy clouds… It reminded me why I sign up for races in the first place.
well, turns out last nights’ storm had really high winds on part of the Jim Schug Trail. As Anne and I got closer to Dryden Lake, we noticed several trees had broken, but already been moved off the trail. But just after the West Lake road crossing we were stopped dead in our tracks by this big machine busy clawing broken trees off the trail. We couldn’t see past him, but talked to the driver and asked if we could climb over his rig to continue -and he said that there were 50 trees down all over the trail up ahead so we wouldn’t be able to get through anyway! So -we did a little creative re-route-ing and pieced together a 13.1 mile route (as measured by Anne’s Apple Watch) by running over on West Lake Road to Lake Road, then right on Lake Road up far enough to make the distance turn out right, then turned around and did the rest of the Lollipop route as designed. It’s the best we could figure out to do, and made it a bit of an adventure
Wow that’s nuts. I was just there last week and the rail trail was business as usual. Always amazing at how quickly things can change with just a single storm.
Crazy! Sounds like Dryden is on top of it, but people might want to hold off a day or two on running this course to make sure it’s clear.
It was a hot and sticky morning but Jamie and I decided to attempt the Lollipop this morning since we didn’t get to run much while we were away. We were prepared to take the detour but I am happy to report that the trail has been cleared. On our why out they were still working to finish off the last of the branches in the path but we were able to skirt around the trucks. We could see lots and lots of trees that had fallen and been cleared from the path. By the time we returned the trucks were gone and the trail was all clear. Hooray! Climate change is very sobering.
Thanks for posting about the trees on (and then off) the trail. @gumbywhale and possibly @Gretchen and I are going to attempt this route on Wednesday, August 2, starting at 4pm. We plan to park near the “butterfly bench” and then run out the Jim Schug trail and around the lake. When we get back to the cars, we’ll take a quick water break and continue to Freeville. We should reach Toad’s at about mile 11. We’ll get ice cream and walk the last 2+ miles back to the cars. If anyone wants to join, get in touch with me to coordinate on details.
(I plan to keep on training for a half-marathon distance and hope to run the entire course at the group run later in August, but I want to “cover the ground” sooner in case of bad AQI or other issues later.)