Saturday, October 31, 2009

Chestnut Ridge Challenge 10K

It was a nasty fall day. Steady rain, lots of wind. That wasn't going to hold me back, oh no, I was running the Chestnut Ridge Challenge! I have spent sometime in the park, including my mud fest last week. This course isn't run through the woods, but that didn't make it any easier. The rolling park streets are intense, especially the section they call "Mother", as in Mother F'er, I assume. I'd add a few more vulgarities, but you get the idea. The eighty or so brave souls lined up promptly at 9am.

I went into this race, with no strategy. Usually, I try to set a pace goal, but with not knowing exactly what to expect the only thing I could come up with is somewhere less than 9min mile.

Mile 1: Pretty much rolling, not too intense. Elevation gain of 202 and loss of 136. I was feeling good and looked down to notice a lap time of 7:45. Nice!

Mile 2: Very much downhill. Noticing that this was also the last mile, only that would be up hill, I tried to take advantage. The only problem was that the roads were fairly covered with fallen leaves and with all of the rain, I wanted to make sure that I didn't slip and wipe out. I know, WIMP, but I erred on the side of caution, thinking about saving some for this uphill at the end. Elevation loss of 245 and lap time of 7:28.

Mile 3: More rolling hills. Legs getting a bit tired. Elevation gain of 74, loss of 109, time of 7:55.

Mile 4: Oh boy, getting fun now! Much more climbing than descending. Then it comes, that nasty thing called Mother, right at the end of mile 4. With a climb of 187ft in .1 of a mile, the grade comes out to be 35.4% incline. Ugh! Just about killed me and my time. Elevation gain: 401, Elevation Loss: 203, Time: 9:10.

Mile 5: In survival mode now. Marking myself with runners ahead of me and trying to keep up with them. More rolling hills. Elevation Gain: 278, Elevation Loss: 317, Time: 8:48.

Mile 6: One last hill to climb. I can do it. Legs burning, lungs burning, intense craziness, why am I doing this again? Elevation Gain: 276, Elevation Loss: 298, Time: 8:47.

Last .2: Over the hump, and yet another incline, why? My body is really fighting each step now. This is the point where I really had to dig down, deep down. I willed myself to the line. I'm done, completely spent and yet, thrilled! Elevation Gain: 123, Elevation Loss: 0, Time: 2:01 (8:33 pace).


Mileage: 6.24
Time/Pace: 51:57/8:19
Avg HR: 169
Elevation Gain/Loss: 1353/1309

Not only did I complete the race, I bested my previous 10K time by almost 5 minutes! This is huge for me not only because of a PR, but more importantly because of the challenge of the course.

I must give a huge thanks to my blogging buddy Erin C. I was able to keep her in my sites for the entire race. I caught up with and passed her on that horrific climb, but she blew past me in the downhills. I was determined to keep up with her and it was all I could do to keep up. So, thanks for the inspiration!

Legs are sore right now, so I'll rest, but thinking about a nice easy 12-miler early tomorrow, just to keep things loose.


  1. Hey, glad I could help, FGR. Congrats again on your great effort today!

  2. I also ran in this race, and enjoyed your commentary, as well as the name of your blog. Very adequate description of the course. How did you get the elevation gains and losses - with a Garmin? I didn't wear mine for this race....I've noticed the elevations are not at all accurate with my model.

    I guess I'm more of a skinny guy running. I have a blog called Mark and Eric's running if you're interested in taking a look.

    Your fellow runner,
    Mark Raybuck

  3. Mark, Welcome to my blog. AS far as the elevation goes, I use my Garmin 405CX, it seems accurate enough for what I'm doing. Nice work on the race, I have to say that was probably the toughest race I've run to date.

  4. Thanks, Molly! It was fun, but tough!