Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Camp Saratoga 5K trail race series 2012

Photo courtesy of

The Saratoga Skier and Hiker, first-hand accounts of adventures in the Adirondacks and beyond, and Gore Mountain ski blog.
Near ideal conditions Monday night allowed me to log a solid time (22:08) for the first race of the Saratoga Stryders' 5K trail race series at the Wilton Wildlife Preserve & Park. Not a PR for me on that course (I ran it faster twice last summer), but not far off.

It's amazing how many variables contribute to a runner's outcome in any given race. On Monday evening my legs felt strong, I was reasonably well rested, I hadn't eaten anything I regretted earlier in the day, the weather was a coolish 72 degrees, the trail surfaces were firm and slightly damp. But my head was foggy and I wanted the race to be over before it even started. When the starting gun went off (actually just a "Go!") the first several hundred yards was congested and I had trouble getting around other runners and establishing a good pace. Halfway through the first mile I settled into a comfortable race pace and got my focus back. I didn't concern myself with my 1- and 2-mile splits, and was somewhat surprised when I finished at just over 22 minutes.

The majority of my running takes place on a bike trail (the Zim Smith). When I'm not running on the bike trail I mostly run foot trails in the woods near home. If you're a runner and you're not already including trail running in your training, you should consider doing so. There are many benefits, including:
  • softer surfaces reduce impact on your body
  • trail running develops balance and agility and helps develop other muscles
  • changing terrain helps with focus and concentration
  • roads are for cars. Well, not exclusively, though many drivers behave so.
  • an opportunity to connect with nature and the outdoors

If you enjoy trail running - or even if you are brand new to it - you should consider coming out for some of the remaining races in the Camp Saratoga trail series. The next race is July 9 and continues every other Monday evening through August 20.


  1. Thanks for the reminder on the 5k Series; I've added it to my hit list this summer as part of my prep for Ragnar. I run mostly on the Zim too; assume you know about the trail that starts behind Shenentaha Park and hugs the creek going East, comes out by the bridge connection Ruhle Rd No-So. Not very long but lots of obstacles and rolling hills that make for a great trail workout.

  2. Good luck in the Ragnar relay Craig, my wife Beth will be running in that too. See you at the next Camp Saratoga 5K.

    Here's another write-up on the Camp Saratoga 5K trail series, from the Times Union's Runners Blog earlier this week.

  3. Jeff, I run many long runs on the Zim too. I had no idea that is what it was called.... I always call it the Shenantaha trail. Did most of my long run training for VT city there. I usually get at least one trail run in a week at Kinn's park because it is right next to my house. I agree it is a great part of a training plan.