Free to Run Trail Marathon (Pittsfield, MA)
Finish Time: 5:47
Temp: 79 degrees
Conditions: Overcast but very Humid
Run For: Claire
This trail Marathon in the Pittsfield State Forest is one of the harder trail races I’ve ever done. This trail marathon takes place in the Pittsfield State Forest in the Berkshires out in western Massachusetts. This race has a total elevation gain of almost 5,000 ft. with 1,500 happening within the first few miles. This elevation gain so early in the race makes for a tough way to start running. To be perfectly honest, I got to the two and a half mile point and had some serious doubts about finishing. I got this point in the marathon after running uphill in the mud, breathing heavy and just feeling the tiredness in my legs. I wasn’t hurting but I was just tired, and overall general tiredness. With my body wanting to quit, I knew I had to make sure mentally not to give into what my legs were telling me. As a coach, I tell those I’m helping to try and always stay and think positive. Thinking positive thoughts really does help keep you going when running gets tough. Being in the right mental state will help keep your body responding to the demands you are putting on it.
I did a quick assessment and realized that nothing hurt and I wasn’t in any pain and determined that I was just tired. I told myself, everyone out here is tired and eventually the hills would level out (I hope) and even turn into downhills. This positive thinking really does work and by the time I got to the mile 4 aid station (which was at elevation and had the most spectacular view) I felt really good and the thoughts of wanted to stop were gone.
The weather was cool and overcast but the humidity was really high so conditions weren’t bad, but trying to stay hydrated was going to be a challenge. It had also rained the previous week so there was a lot of mud and some very slick spots out on the course. All that being said, it translated into what ended up being a fairly consistent day of running for me. I felt great on the downhills and I feel like my trail running descending has improved and I was able to pass some runners on these sections of the course. One of the surprising highlights from today was when I finally crossed the finish line, I was quickly greeted buy one of the race directors who handed me the 3rd place finisher prize. I figured I was running well but I have no idea I was in third place. It was a total surprise and I think my response when she handed it to me was “wow, really?”
Marathon #18 was for run for Claire. Claire is the team manager for the New York chapter of Team Challenge. Being involved with the foundation in her role means she is in contact with many patients and care givers. By being so open about her experiences and about her ostomy bag is amazing. People immediately feel comfortable around her and when I first met her it was so evident how friendly and awesome she is. I feel so fortunate to have her as a friend and running a marathon for her, sharing her story was something I felt I needed to do. Thank you Claire for all you do for yourself and for all those who fight. You have touched so many lives already and I know there are so many more people who are going to get to meet you and that makes me so happy!
18 marathons are now done and I was honored to run another one for one of my hero’s! Thank you Claire for being a part of Team Challenge and for all you do for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. This 26.2 was for you Claire! 26.2 For You!