Race Report: 7 Sisters Trail Race

I'm here to tell you about the 7 Sisters Trail Race I did last month (May 5, 2018). Last year it felt like the hardest thing I'd ever done. It took me four and a half hours to run/climb 11 miles back and forth over the Holyoke Range in Massachusetts. This year I ran it again, and cut 15 minutes off my time.

I believe that running a hilly 50k as preparation worked really well. When I was slogging up rocky pitches I would think, "At least this race won't take 7 hours. It'll be over so quickly in only 4+ hours!" I had also added several "vert" training runs up and down local mountains, and these gave me confidence during the race.

May 5 was a gorgeous day for a trail race. It was 60˚ F, breezy and clear.

The trail runs along the tops of the hills in the Holyoke Range. This is just south of East Hadley in Massachusetts.

The race started at the far Eastern point, ran up and down over 400 hills (well, see elevation for actual profile), then turned around and did the whole thing in reverse. I swear it's steeper going back. (Those two long downhills at mile 1.5 and mile 4 are now UPhills on the return.)

Now and then there were beautiful prospects of New England in the springtime.

Look at these cool rocks! This is the trail, by the way. 

An exciting landmark of the race is the Summit House, which is in Skinner State Park. The race course goes right up the steps, across the deck, and down steps on the other side to plunge downhill for about a mile to the turnaround. 

View from Summit House, Skinner State Park
So how did it go though? I felt pretty good during the whole race. Strong. Persistent. I wasn't FAST, but I was proud of my accomplishment. I didn't have to just stop and breathe like I did last year. I kept moving as much as I could. 

Around mile 9 when I was toiling up another hill, a white-haired guy caught up and said "How's it going?" I said, "Well, I decided that SLOW is better than NO." He laughed. I asked, "And how about you?" "My son has probably already finished--he was way ahead of me. I'm getting by with the mantras people tell me, including yours." Then he trotted off ahead of me.

SLOW is better than NO. One foot in front of the other. Just keep moving. 

And now I'm in search of the next hard thing. In my mind, this one has been tamed.

Parting shot—trailside object.