Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Dam Good Trail Race Recap

On Sunday, Mike and I participated in the Dam Good Trail Race in Letchworth State Park. It is a 14 mile (or so) trail race on the Finger Lakes Trail and it was our first time running this race (we had done a training run back in the spring on this course, though).

To be honest, this race kept slipping my mind. Our other goal races, our trip to Alaska, spectating Ironman Mont Tremblant (and registering for next year!) and starting SOS Triathlon and 50 miler training took over.

 Before chip cutting!

We ended up volunteering at a triathlon all morning the day before the race. We probably did about 300 squats while body marking and bent over a lot cutting timing chips off. The next morning while I was petting Bernie (and squatting), Mike realized that's why we were so sore!

Combine that with not really running on trails much lately and all of the traveling we have done, I was going into this race as a training run for my 50 miler in November. I am a slower runner on trails (I am more cautious) so I wasn't sure how I was going to do. I just wanted under 3 hours and I would be happy!

Mike and I woke up pretty early (but not as early as the day before) and got ready to drive the hour to the race site. They only had packet pick-up the morning of the race and we got to Letchworth around 7:30am. There were still plenty of parking spots available!

We talked with a few friends, used the really gross bathroom and then waited for the start of the race. After some brief pre-race announcements, it was time to start! I lined up somewhere in the middle of the pack and then we were off.

 Mike at the beginning of the race! Photo courtesy of Anita Cornell

 Within the first mile or so. Photo courtesy of Anita Cornell

I probably took off a bit too fast, but the first mile or so is flat. I settled down after that and got into a groove. My legs were pretty sore, but I just focused on putting one foot in front of the other. I skipped the first aid station about 2 miles into the race, since I had my hydration vest on, and started making my way up some of the first hills of the race. I decided to walk up most hills, since I will be doing that in November.

I kept telling myself to get to about 4-5 miles and then I would be at an aid station, and start a nice downhill. I didn't stop at the aid station but they cheered everyone on as we went by.

The toughest parts, other than some of the uphill portions, were the sections that were out in the open. Luckily, most of the race is in the woods but there were some grassy parts that had a lot of sun. I just tried to get through those parts as quickly as possible!

Here I am looking somewhat normal, photo courtesy of Beth

 And here I am bringing out the cheese face, photo courtesy of Beth

I saw our friend, Beth, who was out on her bike taking some photos and I made sure to cheese it up for her as I ran up a small hill!

Pretty soon after that, the leader went by me! So crazy fast! A few other people in the front of the pack went by, which is hard to do on single track but we all made it work.

After seeing some friends making their way back, I finally made it to the lollipop section of the course. I saw our friend, Heather (who was on our Seneca7 team) and she cheered me on! I told her to tell Mike that I said hi (since I hadn't seen him yet and figured we were on opposite sides of the lollipop). This section was the worst for me. It was pretty muddy and I walked a little bit. Our other friend, Liz, and her friend caught up to me and we all ran this part together.

I stopped at the halfway point aid station and grabbed some sports drink (which I didn't like) and one Swedish fish, ha! Then we continued on our way through the grass and mud. We eventually made our way back to Heather and started the return trip back. I knew at this point that my watch's distance was off from the advertised race distance (it is advertised as 14 miles but I got less than that).

 Mike heading back, photo courtesy of Beth

Not as cheesy as before, photo courtesy of Beth

I saw Beth again, she informed me that you could in fact ride tri bikes out in the woods! And then I kept going. I knew that the biggest hill of the race would be coming up, luckily the majority of it is gradual so I was able to run up most of it.

Liz and I kept passing each other for the rest of the race. It was nice to have someone I knew nearby!

I eventually got back to the mile 4 (or mile 10ish) aid station and knew that the rest of the course wasn't too bad. I was able to pick up the pace a little compared to the middle miles. I was alone for about a mile or so and then I caught back up to Liz, who had gotten ahead of me when I started to walk for a few seconds.

We got to the final aid station, where I took some sports drink again, and then I just focused on finishing the race.

 At the end of the race, photo courtesy of Beth

With about a mile or so to go, I fell! It wasn't too bad, but of course my shoulders hurt and I scuffed up my knee a little bit. Liz and another girl made sure I was alright and I walked a bit to shake it off. I started running again and then we finally got to the open section of the course and I knew we had less than a mile to go. I got ahead of Liz and then started to pick up the pace when I ran by a mailbox in the woods (I think you get a park passport or something in there, ha).

 Almost done! Photo courtesy of Anita Cornell

I was running sub-9 minute pace in the end and right before we ran out of the woods I made it my goal to pass a girl in front of me. I ran by her and crossed the finish line.

My finishing time was 2:32:29, not bad considering I used it as a training run! Mike finished in 2:19:57 and had a great run!

 Post-race photos looking normal and then laughing at something, photos courtesy of Kirsten

We hung out a bit for the awards and post-race food and then we started to make our way home. I would definitely run Dam Good again, not sure if we can next year because of Ironman Mont Tremblant, but we will sometime!


  1. Happy trail time! It may be cheesin', but your photos are great. You're having so much fun!

  2. I did IMMT, I wish I knew you where there. I will be there volunteering next year so hopefully we meet up. I will be at Musselman as well, not sure what I am doing yet, I have time to decide.