Sinnemahone 25K Trail Run - Emporium, Pennsylvania
October 19, 2019 - After an early morning drive to Emporium, the day dawned to be a perfect one for hitting the trails. Temps were sitting right above freezing with no wind, so it was comfortable running in shorts. This is a small home-cooked race that I have wanted to run since its inception. Small field and nice folks. In that I had already knocked off my training to give my foot time to heal, I headed out from the starting cannon with not a step run since my previous race. It was nice, having no expectations. I was there just to jog through and enjoy the day.
The first mile plus from the downtown Emporium start is on the crushed limestone of the West Creek Rail Trail and the roads before hitting singletrack behind the Buttonwood Motel. From here the trail climbs straight up to the plateau in the next mile or so before hitting a rolling dirt road for another three miles out to the only aid station. I started at the tail end of the field and watched as nearly everyone started up the hill before I got there. It was just a leisurely run for me since my foot was still tender. It was hard not to put my hill-climbing skills to work, however, as I still pulled back a half dozen runners on the climb. Too lovely a hill to just walk the whole way!!! Upon hitting the dirt road on top I set about to keep a 5 mph tempo before the course turned back to singletrack for a two-mile plus bushwhack section.
The woodsy trail was marked well enough but largely occluded by thick stands of beech saplings. Aside from this race, it is doubtful that anyone else uses the trail, so it was really more of a bushwhack. I took one tumble and touched down once, but with no harm. The going was slow with a sore foot, but the day was so beautiful with full sunshine and all the colored leaves, I didn't mind at all. Once we emerged from the trail we followed the same dirt road back the other way to the aid station before retracing out steps the five miles back to the start/finish.
Despite zero training, my legs were surprisingly good, but I held back to run at a 5 mph tempo and was in no mood to race. My finish time of 3:08 was faster than I thought it would be, averaging better than 5 mph even with my slow start and the early steep ascent. This is a runner's course. Being fairly non-technical except for the bushwhacking, I could see rolling to a really good finish time if I was in shape. At this stage I am happy with just running comfortably and finishing without making things worse. End of season. Time to fully rest.