I knew I was woefully under-trained but given the incomparable beauty of the course and the forecast of perfect weather conditions I had decided I would go out and try to "just enjoy the run".
It was a gorgeous morning with a slight haze as the morning cast took it's time burning away.
We made our way to the start that overlooked Lake Minnewaska.and after some pre-race instructions and some entertaining banter from the race director we were off.
I did the best I could to restrain my effort and get my pace under control as we completed the loop and headed out towards the long loop around Lake Awosting.
After the seemingly endless series of short uphills we briefly descended to Awostning Lake. The trail undulated along the side of the lake with some rugged footing strewn with brown pine needles from the scrub pines that lined the trail.
At 5 miles in I was feeling really tired and seriously considering a DNF. But to call it quits would have required turning around and putting in another 4 miles, When I considered that long walk/jog (of shame) back to the start would have resulted in 2/3 of the total mileage, I figured what he hell... push on!
We crossed the stone beach and entered the woods for the climb to Castle Point (the highest point on the course).
I struggled dearly as I made my way to the foreboding Shawangunk Ridge with it's unmistakeable white cliffs looming above.
|View from Castle Point|
At the highest point was the Castle Point aid station. I filled up my water bottle and ate my last gel. I hoped that somehow I would extract a reserve of energy to get me through to the finish.
I admired the views and took a few photos and was on my way to the finish.
Most of the final miles were downhill and although downhill running often isn't the easiest thing to do, it was a whole lot better than more up.
The miles passed as I tried to draw motivation from the beauty of the backbone of the ridge rising from the valley below.
I gauged my discomfort against the remaining mileage and paced my way to the finish. -- I handed in my finishers card found myself a warm cup of vegetable soup and called it a day.
Distance: 20k (12.4 Miles)
Elevation Gain: 1,003 ft