And it was an absolutely glorious day. Not externally, as it was raining and in the low 40s (we were basically freezing the entire time we weren't running), but it was the absolute best of low-key local racing!
I met up with friend B. (we've known each other since I was seventeen, truly a lifelong friend, and he's doing his first marathon in May in Wales) at the Staten Island Ferry. We got a taxi (the driver did not have the appropriate skill set, leading to some fairly comical moments) out to Wolfe's Pond Park and obtained the driver's card so that we could get him to pick us up when we were done.
I hadn't been able to get much information beforehand on the race, other than that stream crossings might be involved, and in the end it was not at all overkill that I wore my waterproof socks.
It is in fact a wonderful and extremely demanding course - I soon realized that my current road training pace was going to be many minutes faster than this race pace. True technical trail running: single track, steep ups and down, tons of roots and stones and stuff all over the path. I loved it, though hats off to those who do 50-mile or 100-mile races on this sort of terrain, especially at night! The only part that wasn't technically demanding trail was - get this - sandy beach, which is of course even more challenging running....
The 10K was a two-loop version of the 5K course, and towards the end of the first loop (which brutally has this stretch of sand as it finishes) I was passing and being passed by a very steady runner who I ended up running with for the entire second loop, which was very enjoyable: the course was well-marked, but there is a comfort level for me in having someone else in view so that I am less likely to get lost! We had a negative split for the second loop, mostly by dint of pushing harder through the sandy stretch at the end, and we must have been almost the last two finishers (my time was 1:28 - just for context, my fastest road 10K, at admittedly greater fitness levels, was a bit over fifty minutes, and I would guess I'd currently go something like 1:02 on a road 10K with rolling hills). A great workout - I am sure my lower legs will be having all sorts of curious twinges tomorrow, you just don't work those muscles/hip flexors/etc. at all comparably when you're not having to do such agility work with the feet!
1:28 trail running