Thursday, August 25, 2011

Camp Saratoga 5K Trail Race Series wrap-up

Monday night was the final race in the Saratoga Stryders' Camp Saratoga 5K trail race series. Before the race even started, I knew I had essentially no chance of winning the Ironman Award for the fastest cumulative time over the 5 races. I was in sixth place after 4 races, and even though attrition plays a big role, I would need the 3 or 4 fastest guys to stay home to have even a fighting chance. But the Ironman Award was never my goal anyway – like most runners my only real goal was to run my best time.

Runners approaching the finish line at the Saratoga Stryders' final 5K trail race, Aug 5 at Camp Saratoga.

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For some reason the middle mile of this course is always the slowest for me. It’s not a matter of terrain, since miles 1 and 3 are hillier. Adrenaline likely accounts for a faster first mile, and motivation to just get the damn thing over probably accounts for a faster third mile. The middle mile just sort of languishes in between. Tonight followed that familiar pattern with sub-7 splits for miles 1 and 3, and a 7:15 for mile 2.

Maybe the cooler, less humid weather Monday evening played a role, maybe I was well rested following a week’s vacation, or maybe it was one of the hundred other factors that determine the outcome in a race. Whatever the reason, I ran my fastest time on this course to date, just under 22 minutes.

I had wanted to improve my times in this year’s series over last year, and I’m pleased with my results. I took seven and a half minutes off my cumulative time, or nearly a minute and a half improvement on average per race.

I hadn’t specifically planned on any road 5Ks this year, but maybe I’ll have to squeeze one in this fall to see what kind of time I can put up. Results for a road 5K should come in 10%+ faster than on a trail course, so I’d be looking for something sub-20. I’m not going to win any races with a time like that, but I should at least be competitive within my old-guy division.

Thanks to the volunteers of the Saratoga Stryders and the Wilton Wildlife Preserve & Park for putting on such a fun, well-organized race series. For local runners looking for a fun, low-key series of races in a beautiful setting, please consider joining us for next year’s trail series.


  1. That's a nice improvement year over year. Within five years you should be winning the event. :)

  2. The improvement is mostly due to the fact that last summer (2010) was my first season of running after a 5 or 6 year hiatus, so the bar was set pretty low. As for winning, it's all about running your best regardless of who crosses the finish line first. That said, I don't want to be too far back in the pack! ;)

  3. For a fun, fast Fall 5k, I'd recommend The Greno Industries Run for the ROC. I ran it last year for the first time. It is flat, not too crowded (ie little/no lost time at start) and takes you on a very cool tour of the Saratoga flat track and backstretch. Oct 2, 11am. I can post the reg link if you want it.

  4. Craig, that 5K wasn't on my radar screen at all, so thanks for mentioning it. I think that date is open for me (gotta check with the "boss") - if so I will run it. The link would be great if you'd like to post it. Thanks.

  5. Sorry for the delay!

  6. Craig, thanks for the suggestion. I did the Run for the ROC on Sunday and got a good time (20:24). Great course, fun race - thanks again.