Lime Kiln Trail Runs, Rosendale, New York

August 6, 2016 - This eleventh-hour addition to my running schedule turned out to be one of the more fun events for the year thus far. I wanted to run in the mountains in preparation for the following week's Eastern States 100M, sharpening my climbing and descending muscle groups in anticipation of the tests the upcoming hundred-miler would bring to bear. After a return to do the Great Range Traverse with friends, my encore would be to run three races through the woods in and around the Williams Lake Resort in the lower Hudson Valley, testing leg speed, strength, and heat tolerance.

The Lime Kiln runs are a unique and creative variation on the usual racing fare. Sequential events of a Half Marathon, 10K, and 5K with little time for recovery in between challanged everyone in unanticipated ways. With on-site camping at the resort for two nights, dinner and breakfast served, swimming in the lake, and a party in the cave above, it afforded an opportunity to spend quality time with like-minded trail enthusiasts before and after running as well as on the trails. People brought their kids and pets, making it a real nice family weekend outing with good eats, a good splash, and abundant smiles and good conversation, ie. far more than "just another race".

Rosendale, in its heyday was a cement manufacturing giant, cooking limestone from local quarries in rows of kilns to produce the cement that would become the mortar that held together the great buildings of New York City when development was at its peak most of a century ago. The area is a geologic wonder with its endless network of caves. Certainly one of the most unforgetable highlights of the weekend was running through the large open limestone cave above once during each of the three events.

Amy, Mendy, Chris and I arrived early Saturday morning after returning late the night before from our foray in the Adirondacks. They were volunteers on the course with Red Newt Racing; I participated in each of the three events, being one of 26 finishers of all three. The Half Marathon was first at 0800. While I was tired from the previous day's effort and certainly calorie deficient after not eating either dinner or breakfast, my legs and feet were good and ready to roll at the start. Without a warm-up, everything was limber and I found no difficulty in engaging the rolling climbs and applying leg speed to the long downhills and flat rail-trail sections.

The initial miles took us across a trestle of historic signficance before we ran below it for a look back up at the bridge, then climbing above it to look back down. The trail was varied and certainly not boring as it wound around the property and across some private land through the expected Eastern deciduous landscape. While I was motoring along with good control, I still took time to look around, especially at the limestone outcroppings and caves. There was always a nice cool draft to refresh when passing by one of these subterranean portals. I had fun, but the best part was still running through the big cave with its 50-degree cooling temps in nearly total darkness. If it wasn't for people ahead of me wearing very light clothing, there was little reference to guide me through with my poor eyesight. As the day progressed and temps climbed, running through the cave became even more refreshing.

It was a sweaty morning, so I used three fresh shirts for three races, soaking each one in turn. With a finish time of 2:07 for the first event I had most of an hour until we were headed out again for a quick 10K. By this time it was evident that not eating anything left me entirely flat, so rather than panic I just dropped it down and enjoyed a leisurely jog through the course. Same for the 5K. I was not racing after the half marathon and would wait until I was done running to take in a much-deserved repast.

As pure sunshine raised temps to the eighties in the afternoon, everyone sought shade, food, beer, and a dip in the lake. Hanging out with folks in the aftermath was as enjoyable as the racing, maybe more enjoyable. After a tasty dinner those of us that remained walked back to the cave where socializing by campfire continued until after 2100. Feeling sleep deprived and glutted with food and beer I retreated to my hotel on wheels before the party ended, crashed until morning, and got up to roll on to Pennsylvania before the breakfast cooks had cracked their first eggs.

Very good concept for a weekend outing with other trail runners. Totally entertaining. Afterwards, my muscles showed more sign of fatigue from running faster at Lime Kiln than from climbing hard in the Adirondacks. Guess if I don't run fast during my hundred miler I'll be okay. I think I can handle that part.