Race Recap: Camp Chingachgook Challenge Half Marathon

14 Aug

Grab a cup of tea and settle in, you’re going to be here for a while.

There is so much to say about Saturday’s Camp Chingachgook Challenge half marathon! In short, this course was both absolutely beautiful and considerably challenging. If it’s any indication, I ran today after following my 3-Day Rest Rule and my quads were still a little sore!

My amazing friend, Jaimie, joined me yet again for another half marathon and my husband Mark came along to cheer us on and take photos. This is becoming quite a tradition for the three of us!


Are we ready?

The half marathon starts near the southern tip of Lake George and runs along the lake to YMCA’s Camp Chingachgook. If you aren’t familiar with New York, Lake George is on the Eastern edge of the Adirondack Park, the largest protected area in the U.S. (fast facts).

chingachgook rbb

Fun fact: Mark went to this camp when he was younger!

The atmosphere of the race felt very laid back, casual and friendly – campers volunteered at packet pickup and waterstops but the event production crew didn’t even show up until about 10 minutes before race time!  We also started a few minutes late to give runners in the bathroom a chance to lineup. This was almost unnerving to someone (read: me) who likes to get to races super early due to pre-race jitters. Still, before I knew it we were off!

At about mile 1.5, we came down a hill and right in front of us was this incredible view of the lake. The sun was still low and there were parasailers, creating a breathtaking scene. It was so gorgeous that there was an audible chorus of “ooohh” as the lake came into view. After the race, I made Mark drive us back to that side of the lake to get a photo.


Lake George

The lake was in view, at least in part, for the majority of the race and there was plenty of shade. I was very grateful for that, because even though it was between 60 and 70 degrees (F), the sun was shining bright!

You know what else this race was full of? Hills. Rolling. Relentless. Endless. Hills. My suspicions that I had not done nearly enough hill training were spot on. I had even looked at the elevation chart when I registered and somehow didn’t think, “Hey, I should really make sure I get my hill repeats in.”

camp chingachgook challenge elevationAs you can imagine, many thoughts ran through my mind during the race. I’ll give you the clean version.

Mile 1.5: “Ooooh that’s pretty! Really wish I had a camera on me.” Average pace – 8:00

Mile 2-4: “This isn’t so bad. Just keep the pace here. You can do this.” Avg. pace – 8:10

Mile 5-6: “Oooh K. This is getting a little hard. Just hang in there, take a GU and keep going. Just keep going.” 
Avg. pace – 8:12-8:20

Mile 6.5: “I’m halfway there! Wait, really? I’m only halfway?! Oh God.” Avg. pace – 8:34

Mile 7-9: “Another hill? Seriously?! Breathe, just keep going. Trust your body. Come on, legs… AHHH they hurt!” Avg. pace – 8:30-8:44

Mile 10-11: “Only 5K left! Can I just stop and curl up over there? OK, time to sing…you can go haaaaard or you can go hoooome….can I really go home? Please? No? Another hill?!” Avg. pace – 8:50

Mile 12: “Only one more mile, you can do this! Just keep running. Just keep running. Just. Keep. Running.” Avg. pace – 8:26

Mile 13: “AGGGHHH!!!” Avg. pace – 8:36

Mile 13.1: “I DID IT!!!!!!” Total time – 1:48:12. A 9 second PR!


Really wish I smiled at Mark…but I was too determined!

As completely trashed and sore as I was at the end, finishing this race felt incredible. I was overwhelmed by a combination of feelings may be only be understood by fellow long distance runners – an intoxicating mix of elation, pride, and relief.

Three down!

Three down!

To add to this sense of accomplishment, a special “Tough Enough” award was presented as a surprise to runners who ran both this race and the Jog4Jugs half marathon in May. Apparently, there is pretty hot debate in the area about which half marathon is more challenging. Since there is no definitive answer, they recognize people like us who are crazy enough to do both. They gave out giant candy apples to everyone and the people with the fastest combined marathon time also got a bottle of wine. If you ask me which one is more challenging, I don’t think I could honestly tell you. The only thing I could say is that my body was in much more pain this time!


We’re Tough Enough!

I know this is long, so I thank you for sticking with me and making it all the way down here. I promise I’m almost done.

Maybe it’s because I’ve had a few days to recover from my firey legs of jello or maybe I’m still high on those post-race feelings, but I am glad I decided to run this half marathon. And I’d even dare say I’d be willing to run it again. It is a perfect blend of a challenging course, breathtaking scenery, friendly atmosphere, and post-race food and fun.


Off the shore of Camp Chingachgook

It is clear that those involved in putting this race on and volunteering are passionate about this event and really care about the camp. And to top it off, most of the proceeds go right back to support Camp Chingachgook. I look forward to returning to meet this challenge again!


2 Responses to “Race Recap: Camp Chingachgook Challenge Half Marathon”

  1. jon928 August 14, 2013 at 11:05 pm #

    Well done. Great effort.

    • Nikki August 14, 2013 at 11:07 pm #

      Thanks! I can’t wait to see what I do with the flat half marathon course in October!

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