We met at 6:15am in the hotel parking lot on Sunday to make the short drive over to the trails that we started this adventure in. The previous night, I gave everyone the option of trails or roads (the IM course) and everyone, well except for one, chose trails. The idea was to run out 1 hr, starting on the dirt road and then the horse trail to the damn, and then to turn. As we all started out, Ed pointed out the trail head going left that read Mt Von Hogenburg (sp?). He had never done it, but I said what the hell, let's be adventurous. The trail began as a single track trail with quite a few roots but also some great pine needle sections. You could easily run your natural gate here so long as you lifted your feet and avoided tripping on the roots. I love this type of running - it's fun and it's great for developing and strengthening lateral stability as well.
We came upon a swamp or bog. It was actually a river I think and had a bunch of stones and logs to get across, yet we all got a bit muddy. Then we started climbing. It was so steep at many points that we were walking hand and foot basically. There are a few that don't like this type of adventure - they are so regimented in their training that they feel this isn't running or productive. If you look where your heart rate is during these sections, you can easily see that you are getting a great cardiovascular workout. Plus this build a lot of strength and most triathlon runs become all about strength. Ed and I were up front and after all this climbing, we came upon a rocky ledge near the peak. It was simply amazing. We had views of an amazing valley way down below and of the mountain range that includes Mt Marcy (the highest peak in NY for those that don't know this). To the left far in the distance, you could see the two ski jumps popping out of the woods like cranes in a swamp, and just beyond that, the town of Lake Placid. The cliff we were standing on was certainly not a great place to be for those scared of heights, but the views were outstanding. This trail, and look out, was a gem of a find, especially on the last day and last session of this camp. Ed and I waited for everyone else to arrive and we all hung out and took it in for a moment. I think many were taking in what they accomplished at this camp. I pointed out that trails like this may take us out of our natural stride and gate, but soon enough, we'd be back beating ourselves up on our same old familiar home courses.
We ran in the trail a bit more then headed back to the dirt road, arriving there with about 20 minutes still left to run. I lined a group I was with up in a pace line and had them run Indian sprints, before cooling down. We finished this camp the same way we started, with a memorable amazing run.
As I left LP that morning for the long drive home (not as long as you poor Cleveland saps!), I stopped at a recommended quiet breakfast/lunch spot and had the best ham, egg, and cheese on sourdough sandwich I've ever had. the food was amazing and therefore, I'll selfishly keep this place top secret.
It's been a few days now and I have some very fond memories:
- The calm before the storm or training hard and laughing hard with Molson the two days before the campers arrived. Jeff has attended 8 camps now and to be honest, he adds so much that the camps wouldn't be the same without him there. He's become a very good friend (even if he feels otherwise and even though we are both stubborn about certain points in training).
- Avalanche Lake.
- chilly swimming in mirror lake.
- pacelining along rt. 9 on day 1.
- pulling the group back on 86 on day 1.
- climbing to the tollbooth.
- Brad and Jay - the dynamic duo and their mechanicals.
- eaves dropping on Pam and Margit.
- a great dinner at Ed's - probably the best in all my camps!
- Greg P. setting up a computer lab outdoors for analyzing bike fits.
- sun, heat and wind on Saturday.
- The Half Yard guys with cameras everywhere.
- pulling Jeff back up 86 on his second loop after he bonked badly.
- headless beavers.
- Lots of Ben and Jerry's.
- assless chaps.
- Mt. Von Hogenburg trail run and lookout.
Great stuff. Thanks to my cohost and dear friend Angela, and to my crack crew Big Rocks and Kenny! You guys were more help than you may realize.