Indian Ladder 15k is one of my favorite races. I missed it last year from being in Alaska and was excited to return. My mileage has been consistent, I had a great week of running and cut back just a bit on cross training to give my legs a chance to catch up. The last time I ran this I was hiking more and I think that made a huge difference in my overall run.
I had no problem getting to the race, both my friend and my dad struggled to find the parking lot, but since I've been there for two years of Indian ladder and one Hairy Gorilla I knew where to go despite the lack of signage. Once parked I headed up to pavilion, I wasn't 100% sure I was going to be running until Thursday and had missed the online registration. It was only 20 dollars day of and I was there early enough to get a small t-shirt.
I used the bathroom, went back to the car to finish eating breakfast and some water while waiting for Jessie to show up. It was a small group, even with the 3.5 race going off at the same time. The race director gave fairly long instructions, including telling us that the course was short (which both Jessie and I found to be untrue) and explained some rerouting. It had been 2 years since I'd run the race, so listening to him explain it only confused me more. But I've never gotten lost at this race, so I wasn't worried. He also went into great detail about the post race spread, includin the many flavors of ice cream. At 9:07 we were off. Like the last time I ran it, it was bottle necked as it heads onto the escarpment trail. Also like the last time, I was behind the "trail beast" I knew starting out slow was in my best interest so I just followed the path along. ( I had taken some pictures but my phone needed a complete reset and therefore lost most of the more recent ones)
It opened up around the same spot that the 3.5 and 15k split, I headed off across the street with a handful of other runners. Mile 2-3 are almost completely up hill. Occasionally there are flat sections but overall it is up. A man and I kept leap frogging, I'd run past him up the hills and then he'd pass me when it flattened. This continued until after the water station around mile 3 until he conceeded and ran behind me at about mile 4, I had to tie my shoe so he was in front of me but then dropped back and I didn't see him again until the finish. At this point I was running completely alone.
These miles 4-6 are near the pavilion and also where I impressively stubbed my toes. I love my lightweight skoras but they did not offer any sort of protection against roots. I kept going hoping I would soon forget the pain, which I did when I entered the big open field. After the hot sunny field, there is a massive hill. There were runners headed down, but I only saw 5 or 6 I chugged up the hill and was disappointed that there wasn't water waiting for me.
After looping through some grassy single track I was joined by 2 men who said they had gotten lost earlier and ended up on the 3.5 trail. Once we hit the lower road, they kicked it into a higher gear than I had and cruised. I was very relieved to finally see some water at mile 7. After several near falls, I was back a the hill but thankfully running down. I liked the "reroute" which includes the trails rather than the open field again.
I had no idea what my pace was or my overall time until I saw the clock at the end. I had my watch on, but I spent most of the time avoiding falling so my focus was elsewhere. I was disappointed to see my finish time of 1:51:16. which was 6 minutes slower than 2013. I know the course was different, but I felt like I should have had a similar time. However, I am not one to beat myself up about race times. I am a long way away from being a pro-athlete. I ran this race as an alternative to a solo long run around SUNY Albany, my main goal was to finish uninjured, which I did. Interestingly enough despite finishing 90th out of 99, I did manage to snag 2nd place for my age group with my friend Jessie placing first. Unfortunately I didn't hang around (because I didn't think it was possible to have placed) so if I received an award, I didn't get it.
I still love this race and think others should take on the challenge. I noticed on their history that entries have been steadily declining, but I am hopeful that they will stick it out and next year will have a better turn out. Its a cheap race, a great course (must love hills), and excellent post race spread.
There are certainly worst ways to spend a Sunday.
|Second & First Place :)|
|My dad came to read the paper and watch me finish the race!|