The Benefits of Not Training (The Great Adirondack Trail Run 2015)

by nomeatbarefeet

When I finally got home from the race I really had to stop give a good laugh because everything the happened to me around this year’s race was simply a comedy of errors. Usually it is the last minute things that can go wrong or lead to confusion and chaos — this year, I knew well ahead of time that it was coming but the entirety of the race day was one mishap after another.

If you have followed this blog for any length of time you will probably have read one of our now 4 race reports of the Great Adirondack Trail Run. We ran the 3.5 miler in 2012 and 2013, and I ran the 11.5 miler in 2014. I have said it before but I’ll say it again: the feel of this race (really races) is like no other we’ve done. The laid back atmosphere is part of its enduring charm.

The morning came early as Hattie decided to have a party in her crib sometime before 6am — I hadn’t planned on waking till 6:45 but what are you gonna do. Katie had decided to sit this trip out so I was on my own, but I tried to give her a few more moments of sleep so I grabbed Hattie for a play session. After brewing some coffee and getting breakfast with Hattie I laid her back in her crib around 7 and — MAGIC! — she went back to bed. I threw the rest of my stuff together, grabbed some breakfast, more coffee, shoes and headed out the door. A little late but I would make up time on the highway in NY. Driving over the bridge to Rouses Point I let out a yell — I’d forgotten my wallet. Then, as I headed down I-87 I hit one, then two, then three one-lane construction zones. My hopes of getting to the race on time instantly evaporated.Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 9.33.22 PM

For this race, school buses ship runners from the finish at The Mountaineer to the start down the road from The Baxter Mountain Tavern. I arrived and parked my car, threw on my shoes and then let out another yell … I could not find my phone. After a frantic search I located it under the passenger seat. Now thoroughly late I ran down to The Mountaineer just in time to see a school bus drive away — this turned out to be the final bus to the start. Back to my car I went and up to the start I drove. (I was hoping that after the race someone would be able to drive me back to my car. Turned out to be one of the race organizes; pretty gracious of him considering all the stuff he had on his plate.) At check-in you have to fill out a waiver and then stand in line to have your number written on your arm in sharpie. I wound up being the final adult runner line — kind of cool cause I could see how many people I could pass on the trail. After the race was over I hung around until my ride brought me up to tavern. Back at my car I then drove back down to the start to dunk in the river, grab more water, and then headed home to go with Katie to her end of year teacher party (which meant missing the awards and the lunch).

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The race. I went in with virtually no training: I ran twice a week (sometimes only once) for the last three weeks, focusing on hill intervals and repeats. I also did lunges and mountain climbers at home while I was watching Hattie. Seriously, I trained nada. And yet, and yet … I ran a 28:11, my second fastest time on the course, and finished 3rd overall. Shocking. Really did not expect to do so well. My legs, while tired, felt really good (three days on, though, they are soooooore) — it was my aerobic conditioning that was severely lacking. I felt winded halfway up that climb and while I recovered a bit on the descent (which is really, really fun!) by the time I hit the straightaways at the end of the race I was really struggling to breath. I’ll have to do a lot more cardio work to help improve my breathing. So I guess it just goes to show that you should NOT train if you want to do your best…

…or, build yourself a really good base, which is probably more likely the culprit for my doing so well. This result bolsters my desire to (a) try another short race this year (Jay Peak 5k?) and see how I can do there, and (b) head back to Keene Valley next year — either to run again or to Hattie-sit while Katie runs. Either way, it will be a fun time.


These two little guys were the last two runners behind me. So a woman runner kindly stepped in to sweep up behind them and make sure they didn’t get lost.