the new year's day marathon (and shorter distances) was the third holiday race organized at van cortlandt park in just over a month. i ran the 10k on thanksgiving day and missed the christmas races. the course, a 6.55 mile loop, in the wake of the christmas blizzard, featured snow-covered trails! i had planned on running the full marathon, but once i saw the conditions i scaled back my plan to just the half (2 loops).
on friday afternoon, volunteers (hiro, jeff, kino, and lucimar) not only went out and marked the course - but they also strung a rope down from "holiday" hill to assist on the climb. we found out, soon enough, that someone had gone and stolen the rope!! despite the vandalism, everyone managed to survive the steep, snowy climb! given the above average temperature (i ran i shorts), the trail conditions were good at the start, but the footing got trickier as the day wore on and the snow began to melt.
aside from emmy, hiro, sal, and lucimar, i was pleasantly surprised to see don at the race! he had done the half on christmas day and was back for another go at the trails. i hadn't seen don since the norwalk half in september - so it was great to catch up with him! during my first loop i ran a few miles with other runners, but on my second time around there was no socializing. by that time i wanted to get it over with and warm up!
the first loop took me 1:08:14 to complete - a solid 10+ minutes longer than i took to run that loop under dry conditions on thanksgiving morning. in between loops i took a couple of minutes to drink a can of ice tea. i didn't carry fluids with me on the course, so the 12 ounces double as hydration and some easy calories/caffeine. i basically ran the second loop alone, with a couple of runner sighting alone the way. it took me, including the break, 1:13:46 to finish the second loop.
the 2:22:01 finish for the half was okay, given the conditions. but it was a hard trail workout regardless of the time it took to run. i learned afterwards, as i talked with some runners at the finish, that i had mistakenly gone off course twice - the same place on both loops! at the end of the back hills, just before we crossed the southern bridge back to van cortandt park, i ran on a trail parallel to the correct one - further north as it turned out. the trails converged just before the bridge and, except for the sensation of being lost with trail markers to follow, the distance covered was roughly the same.
hiro finished just ahead of me, and emmy came in just after i did. we waited for don - who had run the first loop and a half with emmy. she even ran back out to look for him when we didn't see him coming back. but it turned out that don skipped the second tour of the back hills. he cut the run short when he got back to the parade grounds. it was a bummer because we wanted don to join us for the post-race socializing. hiro, emmy, and i headed over to the bronx ale house to warm up, drink great beer - and eat! in a first for me, the culinary highlight was the fried pickles! who knew?!
all in all, even with the snow - it was a great day to be out on the trails!! and, stay tuned, according to the race directors more holiday marathons are on deck. the next one scheduled for valentine's day next month!
here are some pictures i took.