While I am back in New Hampshire this summer, I decided I should enjoy the scenery and assortment of running trails as much as possible. Great Glen Trails is an amazing trail system about 15 minutes from my house that is open for different outdoor sports year around. They offer different weekly race series, including a spring and fall trail running series and a summer mountain biking series. I participated in the bike series twice when I was younger (with my mom, brother, uncle, and grandfather) and placed first in my age group both times. Additionally, I ran three races there during my high school cross country days. I figured the $45 fee for 8 weeks (I was only able to do 5 due to moving) was a great price for running awesome trails and having the opportunity to win awesome raffle prizes at the end!
Week 1: 42:55 (3.7 miles)– This week was admittedly a disaster. I went in undermining the difficulty of the course- the previous races I had run at Great Glen were all on the wide, groomed trails. Much to my demise, I went out way too fast and was shut down by the single track trails. Additionally, I realized during the second week that I took a wrong turn and ran an additional .5 miles on an uphill, switchback, single-track trail. I felt miserable when I finally crossed the finish line.
Week 2: 35:11 (3.2 miles)– The second go-around was much better than the first. I went out slower and respected the course more. I realized around .3 miles in that I had to go right at where I went left the first week which made life much easier. I walked significantly less than the first week and felt more comfortable. I even passed a few people this week! I started to really enjoy adventuring on the different terrain.
Week 3: 34:11 (3.2 miles)– This week was rainy, and I ran garminless. I liked the freedom of not having my watch. In regards to the course I felt better than last week – I walked less, but still an amount that I was not happy with. I made it almost all the way up the huge, torturous hill in mile 2 withough stopping to walk. I rolled my ankle in one of the trail sections, but kept going!
Week 4: DNS – Got stuck working. Ugh.
Week 5: 33:52 (3.2 miles)– This week was the best of them all, which is fitting since it was the last week. I achieved my fastest time, only if it was by 19 seconds. My most proud moment was reaching my goal of not walking throughout the whole course! I struggled with the huge uphill around mile 2, and the last ascent at mile 3 – but I was determined not to walk. Sure, I ran as slow as a sloth, but I still kept on moving. After the hill in mile 2, I was hitting a 9:15 pace on the groomed parts of the course, and took it slower on the singletracks.
Unfortunately, because I couldn’t run Week 4, I wasn’t eligible for any raffle prizes 😦
Doing this trail series was a great experience! I was challenged, but I also was able to see improvements each week which was awesome and just what I was looking for. While I went in and had set my expectations a little too high for how I achieve, the challenges I approached were so beneficial. During the last week, I found myself more aware of my pace, and conserved myself in the first mile to prepare for the hard second mile – even running a negative split! I would love to participate in the Fall series if I wasn’t moving!
I have fallen in love with trail running, and will keep going back to Great Glen to use the trails throughout the summer as a break from the roads (and the sun!). The hills will help prepare me for what I know will be a hilly half marathon in September. I can’t wait to also find and explore some trails in New York when I make the move!