It’s been four years since I ran the Camp Chingacook Challenge; I don’t have a race recap on the blog because it was before I started blogging. I think it was only the second time I’d met Darlene @ Myfirst5k. The last time we ran it Chester was still alive, and we went up to Lake George (where the race takes place) the night before and stayed at a hotel with Lola and Chester, who were able to come to the race with us — sadly, they no longer allow dogs.
There was a great deal of back and forth on whether or not to do this race. It seems every year my friends sign up, and every year it’s way too hot or chance of thunderstorms and they bail. There’s a 10k and a half, and Rachel @ Runningonhappy really wanted me to do the half.
In the end, I decided against it, partially because I wanted to go with friends — but none of them were running the half and it would have meant getting up very early. Again. And a long drive. Again. And I wouldn’t have seen much of my friends at all, as the half actually starts in a different location from the 10k anyway. One of our original Wineglass girls, Alyssa, did run the half — and she totally crushed it — but she had family to stay with the night before.
The other reason I didn’t want to do the race was that it’s tough — it’s very hilly. Rachel was quite impressed with the elevation chart from the 10k, although with the half, you just run down 13.1 miles. The 10k is an out and back so you are just going up and down then down and up the entire race. It’s truly a rollercoaster of hills!
If I didn’t do the half, Rachel wanted me to do my long run the day after the race. I’m afraid I balked at that, too. I’m usually a good little soldier but everyone has their breaking point!
Instead I did my long run on Wednesday — and it really was a horrible, miserable run (you can read about that in my Weekly Wrap).
Getting There & Hanging Out
Running Buddy D kindly offered to drive me and Running Buddy J. We got there quite early, but that made parking easy, and gave us time to hang out, something I haven’t had time to do with my running buddies lately.
We picked up our bibs with no issues and used the real bathrooms . . . multiple times.
We got so lucky with the weather. It was the coolest day we’ve had in a long, long time. Had it been as hot and muggy as most of this week, I’m sure that finish time would have been very different.
My Race Plan
Going with the theme for much of the summer, there was no race plan. This race took the place of my tempo run this week, but it’s also an unGodly hilly race. I ran mostly just by feel, because I find it almost impossible to tell how I’m really pacing myself when I slow down on the uphill and speed up on the downhill.
So how’d that work for me?
- Mile 1: 10:43. Normally I would say this was just too fast for the first mile. And maybe it was. But it was also before my legs were exhausted from the relentless hills and I finished strong, so #sorrynotsorry.
- Mile 2: 11:19. It didn’t take at all long for those hills to get to me.
- Mile 3: 11:06.
- Mile 4: 11:23. I believe this is where the turnaround was, and I took an extended walk break to take some photos. Or maybe it was just another hill I took an extended walk break on . . . or both.
- Mile 5: 11:14.
- Mile 6: 11:04. Seriously, I was so tired of hills by this point, and it’s not like it was just downhill to the finish, oh no. It was also in this mile that Alyssa, yes, the Alyssa who was running the half, caught up to and passed me. I knew she’d finish before me!
- Last .15: 9:31. Yes, according to my Garmin, it runs a bit short, but then again, there’s no real starting line. Last time I ran it I came up with 6.16 miles. One of my friends said she got a bit over 6.2. Interestingly, in 2014 it shows a 272 ft elevation gain/loss and this year a 234 ft gain/loss — I’m guessing that’s because I’ve changed watches since the first one. But it felt tougher.
1:08:19 — Official Time
11:00 Average Pace
2 out of 4 in 50-59F division
52 out of 88 runners
Damn that 51 year old that beat me! But she finished 10 minutes ahead of me. I guess she earned that first place AG award. And unfortunately they only give out awards for first place! I initially got very excited, thinking I’d won my AG, but I didn’t realize it was 10 year groups.
But ladies and gentlemen, yes, it was a PR. According to my Garmin the course is just a tad short but I’ll still take it! And I guess I have my work cut out for me in my next 10k if I want to prove it wasn’t a fluke.
Was the race well run?
The race is very well run. Packet pickup is in the main dining room at the Camp, along with real bathrooms. You can also register the day of. There’s even a small wooden medal for the 10k finishers. Because I registered very late, I didn’t get a tee, but then again, I have plenty of tees and I have to admit the race tee wasn’t exciting.
One thing to know about this race is that it takes place on a two lane road with basically no shoulder and it’s not closed to traffic — as you can see from the video here (and in many places the shoulder wasn’t anywhere near that wide). And considering it’s pretty much peak season for Lake George, there’s a fair amount of traffic on the toad. I did spend a lot of time running towards the middle of the road, and you do have to pay close attention, but most of the drivers were really good about going around us.
Obviously there’s no spectator support during the race, and while there are aid stations, not many. I carried my own water so I didn’t stop. I believe there was just one aid station at the turnaround — really, there’s nowhere to put them!
There’s free food after the race — actual summer picnic type food: hot dogs, hamburgers, cole slaw, macaroni salad, chicken breast, watermelon.
Unfortunately we had taken our time cheering everyone in our group in, then walked back to the car to get stuff and change, and by the time we got back . . . the pickings were slim and almost all the racers were gone (even though campers were coming in to eat — the race starts and ends and benefits a YMCA youth camp). I had a chicken breast and a protein bar I’d brought with me.
Like many summer races, I really wish it had an earlier start. 9 am is pretty darn late for a late Summer 10k! The half starts at 8 am.
Interestingly, there were 145 runners in the half marathon, but only 88 in the 10k. Those half marathon runners are hard core!
Would I do this race again? Seriously, it was hard. Harder than I’d remembered. I spent a lot of time thinking just why did I agree to do this? I’m sure if my friends sign up again next year, I’d sign up too. But I probably wouldn’t go out and run it by myself.