A few weeks back, two of our runners, Amir and Philippa, represented #TheMVMT during the Rock the Ridge 50 Mile Run on Mohonk Preserve. We often say that running is an inclusive sport, engaging people from all walks of life, backgrounds, and paces. That spirit is alive and well in Ultra Running, and we wanted to capture how two of our runners experienced this. For this week and next week, we will share their stories.
Prior to May, the farthest I had ever run was 37.2 miles during the NYRR 60K. That was my first ever ultra-marathon, but it lit a fire within me that continues to burn bright. Having so much support proved that I could go even further.
It was only right that I set my sights on a 50-miler. Alison had asked Mary Arnold for a good recommendation and she said we should definitely run in the “Rock The Ridge 50” on the Mohonk Preserve produced by Kevin & Todd. It wasn’t long before that we signed up and it became real.
I was already training for Boston, which was two weeks prior. I was logging miles and hit a few milestone long runs, but the hardest part, which is the most important was getting used to running on tired legs, within a training plan that can be summed up in back-to-back long runs (e.g. Sat – 4 hours; Sun – 2 hours).
Fast forward to the day of the race, I actually forgot my hydration pack at home, but was fine without it. I was carrying less weight and only had a water bottle with a strap to keep it snug on my hand. 50 miles is quite a long distance, but I can recall every moment. I’ve summed up the entire experience in sections of mileage
Start to 1.5 - From a quick downhill to flat and quickly grew into a steady incline
1.5 to 5 – All uphill! My only goal was to keep my legs moving and to not stop
5 to 15 – Up and down with some areas where I was feeling myself and picked up some serious speed
15 to 18 – One of the first areas where I had to walk for a bit and continued to run/walk
18 to 22 – Met a fellow runner from Philadelphia who was enjoying his first 50-miler before having to be consumed by daddy duty; @ Mile 22 I saw Alison and Philippa’s friend
22 to 25 – Steady incline and then all uphill, but the real treat was a beautiful waterfall
25 to 27 – A few necessary aid stations to get us ready for what was to come
27 to 33 – This was a lonely 8mi loop. Lonely because there wasn’t any support or assistance. It was you against the elements and your mind
33 to 40 – The downhill felt so good at this point and I was cruising until meeting up with Alison again and was able to see Philippa & Denise off as they pushed forward
40 to 50 – Home stretch and much harder than I thought it was going to be
The last five miles I pushed through a lot of pain and fatigue. Seeing the finish line in the distance with a mile to go had me energized! After hours and hours I had completed my first ever 50-mile adventure. I was only focused on finishing, but ended up coming in 6th place.
The support was absolutely phenomenal and I would highly recommend this race to any and all takers. There were a ton of people walking/hiking and even groups who participated in the 50-mile relay! When there wasn’t too much fog, the views were gorgeous, and the spirit of the land was soothing. I was in my head a lot and then really connected with the space I was able to run on.
Have you ever visited the Mohonk Preserve? Is a 50-miler in your future? Would you run the relay? Thank you for sharing in the experience and comment or answer below.