I am done. My God, I am so happy to be done!
I have never done a course write up and I feel like this is a course to be survived. For those of you who have not done this yet, prepare yourself! This is a LONG and HONEST post.
I wanted to do this on a cooler day and start early. I would suggest starting at 7 (I started at 8). I’m sure I would have been fine doing the course alone, but I’m glad I brought my dog. (She’s a trooper!)
The RunGo directions are 98% accurate and take you to the Treman side (8.5 mile course) first. I don’t know that starting the Lickbrook side would’ve been any better for me. Both are uphill, both ways! (How is that possible? I don’t know, but it is.)
There are so many lovely places to run along this bear of a course - but beware! You cannot be lulled into daydreams while running this course. The tree roots! The rocks! The random fallen trees and animal holes in the trail! They are all there to trip you, wake you up, and quite possibly cause a fall.
I stumbled to the left at mile 2 and my left outer quad and the top of left foot were hurting pretty badly. Then, around mile 2.5, I kicked a rock with my right foot and my first three toes were NOT happy. Remember to pick up your feet! (Do as I say, not as I do, because I’m not a great trail runner.)
There is a section where the trail splits in a Y (between Thomas and Woodward Roads) before the directions tell you to run along another road. STAY LEFT. I went right and got lost. Twice. Don’t be me.
I almost ate it in the creek bed very close to the turnaround. My left IT band was hurting a lot. I got to the turnaround and realized I was about .5 miles over. UGH. So it was going to be a 13+ mile day.
I was happy for the downhills on the way back, but had to go slow so I didn’t fall. I did twist my ankle, though. I was about a mile from the parking lot and my ankle was hurting pretty badly. I was thinking, “WHO THOUGHT THIS COURSE WAS A GOOD IDEA?!” and then realized I’d never been there and wouldn’t have ever known about it if it weren’t for the Challenge. I also realized that there are some really good trail runners in this group and they want some fun as well. I was thinking all of this while trying not to fall.
I got back to the parking lot, refilled my Camelback, got a bar, and gave my dog some cold water. I didn’t eat enough before the run and didn’t bring any gels/bars. That was stupid. Bring some fuel.
My dog decided to poop about 1/4 mile up the Lickbrook trail, so I picked it up and took it back to my car. More unnecessary extra distance and time. Then we were off again.
I almost exclusively walked the Lickbrook side (even the lovely flat parts). I just didn’t want to injure myself. The switchbacks even had my dog stopping and out of breath. I was worse. So much climbing!
The second time I got lost was after crossing Town Line Road. The blazes turn to orange and there is a part where the directions say to follow the forest/blue blazes where the trail splits and not to go to the field. I did that and it was wrong. DO NOT follow the blue blazes! Just stay on the trail as it runs along the field.
There are two new tents at a campsite that are set up directly on the trail. It felt a bit intrusive, but I just stuck to what seemed like the trail (there weren’t any colored blazes that I saw). Got through that and rejoined the orange blazes, got to the electric line clearing road up to King Road, then took it slow all the way back. I did jog some of the straight switchbacks, but walked all the stairs and downhills. I didn’t trust my ankles or legs. I did jog from the dry creek bed (after getting down from the switchbacks) to the train bridge, then all the way to the sign.
I’m done! I’m done! 14.08 miles later, I’M DONE. (Can you tell that I’m happy to be done?)
I ordered coffee and a rosemary salt bagel ahead of time from Ithaca Bakery on Triphammer (nowhere near the run, but close to my house). It was sitting in the car, just waiting for me, and was the BEST rosemary salt bagel I’ve ever had!