Even though I’ve not been feeling my strongest (tight hamstrings, vacation, illness in the house…), I decided I needed to give Taughannock an attempt at a faster run. It was definitely a challenge to pick this run over blueberry picking which opens today at Hall’s Hill but I figured I would take tomorrow off to get an early start in the blueberry patch. Since I am leading (go figure?) the trail runners for the Finger Lakes Trail Club County Hike #4 on Saturday, 11.4 miles, I figured it was best to run Taughannock today and rest tomorrow by picking blueberries. On Sunday I will head out of town for another week and who knows what the start of August will bring.
Being a master at delayed gratification, my strategy was to start at the opening to the waterfall trail and head up the North Rim stairs first. This way I got the stairs/big hill over with and I got to finish fast on the slight down of the Fall’s trail. Conditions were not ideal as it was very humid but luckily not too hot and I even got sprinkled on a few times. The trail is in excellent condition and I probably didn’t need the bug spray I had applied.
I treated myself to a cool down walk out the Falls, since I didn’t allow myself time to few it on the actual run. Not much water. I wonder if we are in an official drought yet?
For some reason I’d been dreading this course it’s the farthest from home and also the hills!
Arrived in parking lot around 730 nice cool morning. Sten pulled in the parking area right behind me we took one quick glance at each other and said “finger lakes challenge”. Yes! Sten took off and we wished each other well. I had never been to the upper falls overlook so that was a nice item to add to my Ithaca sights! The run felt pretty good, I hiked the stairs and a few power hike breaks on the up hill back to the finish.
Today marks my first course of the Challenge, starting just about as late in the game this year as last! What fun it just was to read all the inspiring posts in this topic. Awesome folks producing great activity! I biked to and from the trail today in order to get some miles in the saddle and add some bonus points since I’m likely to do just a one-and-done of the courses. Might do that for the closer courses, not so sure about biking to and from Long Loomis and Jim Schug. Taughannock’s trails were great today although not much water. I locked my bike at the junction of the BDT and the Rim Trail, swapped out my shoes and carried one of my water bottles, which I sorely needed in today’s heat. I took the stairs (up) super slowly and needed to refill my water bottle at the Overlook (fountain/spigot to the right of the Overlook viewing area). I’d like to say I charged to the finish but it was more of a slog. Kept a low gear/high cadence on the ride home with a welcome breeze even if it was a headwind! Pictures next time?
We ran Taughannock again, parked at the bottom and first walked over to the lake shore to admire it. Of course the lake looks clean and beautiful as always, though there is signage everywhere warning of HABS and no swimming. Sigh. We ran the flattish part into the falls first, then around the rim trail.
The Inn At Taughannock has this very cute food truck that I really wanted to check out, but alas it is only open on weekends. So I went back into Ithaca to Greenstar and bought more kale to make myself a nice healthy kale salad.
As I was marching/stomping up the South Rim stairs, I got stung on the leg (~ 2 miles into my run), right where the end of my compression shorts sit on my thigh. I don’t know if it was bad luck or the stinging beast was angry that I was stomping on/around his home on a Sunday morning.
I crossed paths with @amy-dawson on the North Rim Trail. I guess we should have coordinated our runs a little better?
I tried to get an early start, but it already felt humid. I was thankful for the shade.
I decided to brave the Grassroots crowd (hoping it would be relatively at that time of day and it was) to stop at Shur Save for a chocolate milk and a corn ice pack. FYI the owner (?) of Shur Save is an amazing supporter of our community.
Scott and I ran/hiked 24 miles on Taughannock Rim and Falls trail today for our 24th wedding anniversary. Here’s my story.
The quick highlights in case you aren’t up for reading!! We ran into @melissa-weiner and Walter who are also celebrating their anniversary and Arthur (he and and Emilie are also celebrating their anniversary) and nabbed a picture of our whole crew!! We ran 3 solo and hiked 2 together and finished in about 7 hours (Scott’s prediction). It was GREAT fun!!
I will admit that I hadn’t previously considered running the number of years you’ve been married as an anniversary activity, but it seems like a great goal, even if it takes more than a day for some of us.
I did this run this morning, enjoying the mild temperatures that the tree cover provided. There rim trails were nearly empty, and there were only a few people near the falls down below, so my pace was largely uninterrupted. This run felt great until I hit the stairs on the north side, just after the bridge. After grinding up the stairs, it was hard to get the legs moving again for the rest of the climb. Afterward I was hoping to go to Robert Treman State Park to swim and cool off, but the swimming was closed due to e.coli levels in the water.
Because my swimming cool down was derailed, I cooled down with some peanut butter cup ice cream from Cornell Dairy Bar closer to home, as well as another pint for later in the week.
I’m late starting the Challenge this year, as I’ve been training for a few big races and focusing most of my runs on elevation gain. But in this part of this training cycle it’s time to add some bigger miles, so the plan is to use the FLRC Challenge to complement the current training load.
Of course, I had to start with one of my favorites: Taughannock Falls.
So last Wednesday, on 7/27, I spent a mid-day running the Challenge course there, and LOVED it. I’ve run the BDT, sections of the North and South Rim trails, and I’ve hiked the Gorge Trail. But this was my first time running both Rim trails and RUNNING to the falls along the gorge. The only thing I was sad about was it ending.
I wasted no time supporting a couple of local businesses! After completing my run at Taughannock Falls, I stopped in the gift shop to pick up an Ithaca is Gorges t-shirt for my husband (I already have one), and similar stickers for my daughters and myself. From there, I headed to Ian’s store to grab my FLRC purchases and pick up a few items there, including one more Patagonia Capilene Cool Lightweight shirt. For the intensely warm and humid days we’ve had, I live in these shirts now when I run. They are amazing at wicking away sweat and dry so fast after washing. I always manage to find useful items in Ian’s store and was happy to get one more of these shirts there, rather than somewhere else.
I’m in the parking lot as we speak! Just finished the course and honestly, I loved it. It was great to revisit a few sections of the CT50 and also see some new-to-me sections. And I found so much of it to be runnable. Now I’m off to squeeze in one or two more Challenge courses and will post about all of them tomorrow. Thanks for the heads up!
My new mini challenge is to complete the courses enough times to receive an average score on all of them. Today was my third time running this course, and I really enjoyed most of it (the climb is brutal). It was warm and sticky this morning, so I was thankful that most of the course was shaded. I again started at the base, ran the gorge trail then headed up the North Rim where I hiked (more than I would have liked) on the steeper parts.
I came up with dramatic descriptions of what I was experiencing only to recognize that it wasn’t fair to people who truly is experienced to what I was comparing. So, I shifted my thoughts to gratitude that I was able to move my body through such a beautiful course.
Oh, and it’s been a busy week for my family. My kids are exhibiting their Brown Swiss dairy cows at the Chemung County Fair. I’ve had to sneak in early and late runs (for me) in order to help at their shows and manage the heifers that are still at home. I must brag on their accomplishments!
Their homemade chocolate syrup is amazing, so I had a chocolate milk and coconut lime bread which I highly recommend (if you are into those flavors, the coconut is subtle and the lime is a glaze). I also picked up a snickerdoodle blondie for my oldest kid.
Last night I invited @amy-dawson to run this course with me. Much to my surprise, she declined.
I parked in my usual spot at the start of the Gorge Trail. I ran the Gorge first then headed up the South Rim. I don’t know if it’s in my head, but I think I prefer the ascent up the South side over the North.
As I was finishing, I ran into a friend walking her dogs. I headed back up the Gorge to complete 5 miles then enjoyed a walk to the falls with my friend. It was a lovely treat!
I ordered breakfast from Ithaca Bakery and picked it up on my way to work.
Today was my last run of this course for the challenge. It will be my last run on this course for a bit - maybe a long bit. I don’t actually know yet. I ran this 76 times (enough to tie my kind husband @scottpdawson who was kind enough to let me catch him so we can legit share the sign). I thought I’d run it once. Interestingly enough, this course was kind of like trying a new food. Hated it. Disliked it a little less. Learned to appreciate it. Started to really like it. Scott has long loved this route, preferring to run it over the straight up rim trail. It wasn’t until toward the end of this challenge that I started to see this. It is actually easier than just running the rim trail because you get a flat portion that feels like recovery. If you allow yourself to look up every now and then on the base trail it is truly beautiful.
Today I ran the downhills and the flats with my friend Christina. She’s not part of the challenge, but she started doing this when I “had to get credit” so I needed to do more than my normal rim. I’ll miss this course for just a bit, but now that I have done it, I have a feeling it will be a new bar for me. It may be hard to go back to just doing the rim trail!
When I got home, Scott and I popped out to celebrate our tie with a latte at Gimme. We took our usual walk around the grid as we enjoyed our drink.
On our final weekend, I decided to revisit one of my lower point courses to see if I could knock a few minutes off my time. My IT band was flaring up after the downhill pounding of the last few miles of kick brook a couple weeks ago, but otherwise, it was great!
I started at the overlook but headed down the north rim first, then ran to the falls, then went up the south rim and around to finish. My thought was that last time, climbing up the north rim was so brutal at the end, I’d rather do the ascent closer to the middle of the course. This meant running down the north rim & stairs, which were so steep! Not sure which was better, but I think I preferred this direction.
The path to the falls was really crowded, which meant a lot of “on your left”s and weaving between dogs and leashes and families. I’ve never seen it so dry!
The whole way up the south rim I played with either running the stairs and then walking the flat to recover vs. walking the stairs and then running the flats between. Not sure which is more efficient! But the views are always breathtaking.
The most exciting bit was right as I came down the north rim trail to finish, there was a full wedding party milling about the overlook and path, so I had to sweatily burst through them to complete the course.
This was the last course I needed to complete the Challenge. I just got over a cold so I wasn’t feeling 100%, but when the trail started to flatten out a bit I settled into a quicker pace. Then I got to the north rim stairs and that was the end of that.
This being my last course, I celebrated with a Run Wild IPA on the grassy clearing next to the Welcome Center. (It was only 10 a.m. so I went with a non-alcoholic option.)