Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Tuesdays on the Run : Best Race Ever

Happy Tuesday everyone!  I'm happy to be joining the Tuesdays on the Run Linkup with PattyErika and April.  Today's topic is a fun one: Best Race I've Run.  I'm going to be switching it up a bit and writing about the hardest, craziest, most fun race I've ever done : the (half) Marathon on the Mountain in Seven Springs.
marathon on the mountain review

First of all, I love running races and traveling.  Seeing new areas and visiting new states is part of the fun of running for me. Sometimes, though, races can get monotonous and blend in to eachother.  They're all pretty similar: expo the day before, large and excited crowds, water stops, medal at the end.  I'm not able to remember details from every race I've done (I don't even keep track of how many I've done), but the Marathon on the Mountain will always stick out in my mind.

Here are the reasons why it was my best race:


1.  Marathon on the MOUNTAIN is completely accurate.  The course runs up the ski slopes of Seven Springs.  The first mile is a pretty long and steep uphill (about 1.5 miles) and the hills keep coming the entire race.  The biggest hill is at mile 10 and is really brutal.  I would add a lot more hill work to my training for the next time I run this!
seven springs marathon


2.  It's a really fun course.  Most races I've done have been in the streets and that can get monotonous after 13 miles.  I spent most of my early running days running on trails, so it's always my running surface of choice.  The course runs through woods, on ski slopes, around lakes and down an old airport runway.  The road composition is constantly changing and the views are amazing!  The course also takes you around a few small lakes and ponds, so it's truly beautiful and lots of fun!


3.  It challenges you like no other race.  Not only was this one of the most fun races I've done, but also the most brutal.  I had to push myself to limits I didn't know I had, and keep pushing.  The entire race I switched between questioning my sanity for signing up for the race and have the time of my life flying down beautiful trails.

4.  It was organized extremely well.  Most races in their first year have a few bumps here and there, but this race went off perfectly (as far as I could tell.)  The course was marked really well and it was impossible to get lost!  The medals and shirts were also great quality and I loved the design.

5.  It ends on a downhill.  This was a huge deal to me in this race!  It's such a challenging course and full of hills from the start, but the final 5K was downhill.  In the course description, it says "prepare to fly" at mile 12, and I did!  It was the most glorious feeling to run downhill and be rewarded with crossing the finish line!

If you enjoy really challenging races or love to run on trails, I would highly suggest registering for this race!  It will always stick out in my mind as the hardest and best race I've run.  Even though I was no where close to a PR (and gave up tracking my time by about mile 3) I was never more proud to get a medal at the end of a race and couldn't wipe the huge grin off my face!

Here are some tips if you're thinking of running:


1.  Take it easy at the beginning.  The first hill is just one of many, so don't kill yourself going up and take it easy.  It should feel really slow, but will help you later in the race.

2.  Don't worry about time or hitting any pace.  My goal was to hit 2:00:00 and my first mile was almost 10:00!  Other miles that were mostly downhill were closer to 7:30, so I just let my legs go and make it to the end

3.  Have fun!  Going along with the last point, don't stress and just enjoy the race.  I don't think many people can PR on this course, so just enjoy it!  It's a spectacular, beautiful course so enjoy the sights. 

4.  Add hill repeats to your training.  I mentioned this above, but I wish I ran more hills in training.  I had to walk up some of the steeper hills and lost a lot of time.  It was also pretty miserable towards the end, so I wish I did more hill repeats and less track workouts.

5.  Be safe.  As fun as the course was, it was also scary in a few places.  I saw a lot of people trip and fall and twist their ankles, so make sure you're paying attention to your footing on the trails.  Do some training on more rugged dirt trails to strengthen your ankles so you won't twist anything or get hurt on the course.

This year's race is November 7, 2015 and costs $70 now through June 14.  Here is their website if you're interested in more information!  The half marathon and full marathon run the same course- the full does two laps and the half does one. 

What's your favorite/best race ever?
Would you sign up for a trail race?

24 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh, that looks brutal! I love that such a hard course was your favorite though! I would prefer a challenge to a flat boring course ...

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    1. Me too! It means so much more to finish, and I think it's more fun than just a flat course. It uses different muscles with all the uphill and downhill, and really challenged me mentally and physically!

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  2. I visited seven springs resort last summer and they were advertising that race while I was there.

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    1. Cool! How was the resort in the summer?

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  3. Oof! That looks like such a challenge with all those hill. Why do courses seem to have the worst hills at the end? It's like it's mocking us.

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    1. I agree! I wonder how many race organizers actually run the course. Maybe it's some sick joke to them!

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  4. I really want to try this race just simply because of the hills. I think it would a rewarding race to say you finished a race that was mostly hills. I think I am going to look into this race.

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    1. You should! You would love it. I hope you'll sign up and let me know what you think :)

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  5. That looks insane! But fun insane! ha! Too close to MCM for me to attempt this year, but maybe another year. I always say I want to do more trail (and I mean "real" trail, not like the North Shore or Southside) but I am terrified of critters, specifically snakes. I am an emotional basketcase over the 1 or 2 a year on the trails I just mentioned..lol

    My favorite race and my best race are kinda two different things. Statistically my best race is the Great Race 10K, but it's not my all time favorite race to run. My favorite is MCM. Just because there is so much meaning behind it to so many people, and it is truly an event not just a race.

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    1. I didn't see any animals at all during the race :) I agree though, I get freaked out in the woods that something will get me. I usually take mace with me if I'm running on trails, but luckily I've never had to use it! I bet MCM is amazing..I've heard so much about it. Bucket list for sure!

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  6. Just reading this makes me tired! haha. You should be so proud of all of your accomplishments lady!

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    1. Aw, you're so sweet Carissa! Thank you :)

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  7. That looks like a Really Brutal race course!! I love a challenge, but maybe not that much haha! I can understand why it would be your favorite!

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    1. It definitely was a challenge:) you might like it- just run up LOTS of hills beforehand lol!

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  8. WHAT! I didn't even know that was a thing. Wow, I can't even imagine running that! Those hills are steep!

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    1. Haha it was definitely tough and the hills were super steep! last year was the first race so that's probably why you haven't heard of it! maybe in a few years you could do it!

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  9. This looks like an awesome race! I'd be scared to tackle those hills but what a challenge! Great advice too. Having a well organized race is huge - it eases your stress when race day comes!

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    1. Thanks Janelle..glad you liked the advice! I hope it helps someone who wants to try it out :)

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  10. I have never had the desire for a trail race or even a trail run but I know so many people really love it! My favorite race is probably a cross between the Runner's World Hat Trick of races and my first ever half at Hershey Park!

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    1. I would love to do the Hat Trick one of these years (their headquarters are just a few hours from Pittsburgh) and Hershey is great! Are you doing it again this year?

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  11. Wow, that sounds like an amazing race! I have never raced on a trail, but it sounds like that course would be beautiful. Not sure if I could handle those hills though!

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  12. Did you use a GPS during the race? If so, did the course length come out to a true 13.1 miles for the loop?

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    1. Hi Derek! I just checked my stats from the race, and my watch actually measured 12.06 miles. It was in a heavily wooded area for a lot of the race which may have interfered with the satellite, because my map is really wonky. I hope that helps! Are you doing the race this year?

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  13. Did you use a GPS during the race? If so, did the course length come out to a true 13.1 miles for the loop?

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