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Posts Tagged ‘Crescent Trail’

This past Saturday I ran my longest distance ever… 13.1 miles! I finally accomplished my goal of running a 1/2 marathon. Joel and I ran the Sehgahunda Trail Marathon and Relay as a two person relay. The race took place on the Finger Lakes Trail, which is on the east side of Letchworth State Park. It was super hilly. It was hard.

Two years ago, Joel and I ran this race as a four person relay. At that time, my leg happened to be leg 1 and Joel’s leg was leg 3. I felt amazing after completing my leg. It was actually pretty easy. Joel’s leg on the other hand was not as easy… he mentioned that it was pretty hilly and technical.

This year, Joel ran legs 1 and 2 and I ran legs 3 and 4. Julia and I sent him off and cheered for him along the way. He looked great at the end of leg one, which was 6.1 miles… he maintained a good pace and seemed happy. The next checkpoint was around 8.6 miles and he still looked great and mentioned that he would probably finish his second leg after an hour and 10 minutes or so.

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Off they go!

Julia and I caravaned to the third checkpoint and I prepared for my run. My allergies (or whatever it was) during the week leading up to the race were terrible! I was super congested, my nose was running like a river, and had headaches. The allergy pill that I was taking did not seem to do too much for it. I hoped that by race day it would be better, but no such luck. So after taking some acetaminophen and some saline spray in my nose, I was set.

Joel took a bit longer to finish than what he predicted. I was was not worried, but I felt a little uneasy. As soon as I saw him, I grabbed Julia’s hand and we headed over to the trail. He did not look as great as he did at the last checkpoint. He mentioned that the terrain got more technical and hillier. He was tired. He just ran 15 miles. I grabbed the timing chip race bib and off I went.

The Finger Lakes Trail runs along the Genessee River. There are about 8 inlets, which allow you to access the trail, and that is where the checkpoints were stationed. Those inlets were super muddy. Deep, wet mud gardens… I was tired of running in mud. Luckily the actual trail was in perfect condition.

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Stopping at checkpoint 6…

I felt pretty good during the run, I guess. It was definitely hilly and technical… lots of roots and some rocks. I cannot even tell you how many stream crossing I ran over. I remember a couple of times where I had to jump into the stream since the ground was eroded and there was no step. Also, a few places included a decent climb after crossing into the ravine in order to get back on the trail. The entire first leg, which was 6.5 miles, was pretty much up and down over and over and over again. There was no room for getting into a groove… no constant pace. My shins cramped a couple of times, probably due to all that constant up and down.

Checkpoints 4 and 5 were closed to spectators, so I finally saw Joel and Julia at checkpoint 6, which was at the end of my first leg. It was nice to see them! Joel was able to give me some Skratch Labs and a couple of gels. I told him that it was really hard.

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The last leg, which was 4.4 miles, was not as technical and was flatter. I feel like that was even worse than the first. It seemed to take forever. I was tired by that point and I just wanted to be done. And finally there was a road (on a hill of course, since all the finishes for all events have to end on a hill!!) and I heard Julia cheering for me. I was so happy to hear her voice. As I was heading towards the finish line, I saw her standing on the side. I yelled asking if she was going to run with me and she said yes. So that is what we did… we ran together to the finish line. That was the best part of this entire race!!

So I was not really done yet. The 2 legs that I ran equaled to about 11 miles and my goal was to run 13.1. So yes, I went back to run an additional 2.1 miles. That was the hardest 2.1 miles that I have ever run!! It seemed worse than the 11 miles that I just did. Joel told me about this other trail that was nearby, so I decided to run there instead of on the race trail. As Beck was blasting in my year… “WOW!”I imitated it as I came to this vista. The sight blew me away and for a moment helped me think of something other than my remaining mileage. As I continued on, I came across two other vistas. Since the trail was short, I had to do a bunch of laps to reach the 2.1 miles. Not even the vistas inspired me anymore. As soon as my watched read 13.1, I stopped. I was so happy to be done with the entire thing.

Once the results were posted, I found out that our team placed 5 out of 12. SO proud of us!! This was a huge accomplishment for both of us!

Looking back, I do not think that I could have done anything much different. Not being congested would have been a big plus. It did not seem to bother me too much during the run… I think that the acetaminophen and saline spray helped. I did have to ask for a tissue at one of the checkpoints and it made it better from a breathing perspective. But it definitely affected me. As soon as I finished, I was SO tired! I am sure that the congestion/sickness was a big culprit. Also, later in the day and on Sunday, I was in so much pain. I could not breathe without my chest and upper back hurting. I have spent the last 5 evenings with a heating pad on my back, chest, and face. I also started to cough, which did not feel too good. The run really did a number on my lungs and body.

The terrain was not too surprising, since Joel warned me about it. But I guess that talking about it and actually experiencing it during a race is different. I trained on the Cerscent Trail, Whiting and Gosnell, Bay Park West, and Mendon Ponds, which all are pretty hilly trails. I think that was good from a training perspective.

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This says it all!!

From a nutrition perspective, I think that I managed well. I had 2 gels, a PBJ sandwich, a bunch of watermelon, and some pretzels. The watermelon tasted SO good! That was my favorite. I also drank close to 4 12 oz bottles of Skratch Labs/drink mix and some water from the aid stations/checkpoints.

The last thing that I want to mention is all the checkpoints. The 2 legs that I ran, which as I already mentioned was 11 miles, included a lot of checkpoints… 6 to be exact. I was required to run to all of them since each checkpoint had a timing mat that you had to cross over. Honestly that was too much!! Especially since a bunch were only after a mile or so. I feel like that made the run seem longer. I realize that I did not have to actually stop at all of them, but it was definitely an incentive. The volunteers were there for a reason and I felt that I had to use them. The worse part about it is that Joel’s portion was 15 miles and only had 2 checkpoints. I realize that this is due to the access points along the Finger Lakes Trail, but it seemed unfair to have 2 checkpoints for a 15 mile run and 6 checkpoints for an 11 mile run. They could definitely cut it in half or something like that.

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It has been 6 days since I completed the race and I am still recovering. My legs are completely fine and my chest no longer hurts, but I am still a little congested and coughing a little.

Now that this is done, I am looking forward to riding my bike a bunch! It has been too long!!

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Since my pregnancy is coming close to the end, I started reminiscing about it. I have been so lucky to have such an easy pregnancy, which allowed me to stay fit all along. As I look back, I did do a lot of things as far as fitness goes.

I ran my first race when I was a little over a month pregnant in the Webster Turkey Trot. That was definitely an experience in itself. I did enjoy it more since I ran it with my sister. I told my sister that I was pregnant that same weekend and I remember her saying that she felt bad that she pushed me to keep going. HA!

At the end of the race…

I kept running for quite a while after that, since it was a fairly mild winter. Unfortunately at about 21 weeks, I had to stop running since my legs and feet hurt. I guess my legs and feet could not handle the extra weight that I was carrying. I tried trail running, but that did not feel any better. It was fine though, since there were other activities that I could still do.

During the winter months, Joel started to rock climb indoors. I decided to join him one day. We went to the Red Barn at RIT. Most of the climbing there is bouldering and not wall climbing. That part was a little better since I could not really wear a harness. It was definitely fun, but my belly kind of got in the way. :) Bouldering requires you to be close to the wall to keep your balance. Since my belly was sticking out, I could not really do that. HA! I did have fun, nonetheless, but I realized that it was not a good idea to keep it up.

Climbing at the Red Barn (16 weeks pregnant).

Cross country skiing was another activity that I did during the winter months. Although we did not have much snow this winter, I did manage to get out at least 4 or 5 times. The place to be this winter was at Bristol Mountain, since they made the snow for the cross country ski trails too. Even though the trail was not too long, it was still fun. I was lucky enough to have a few friends come with me, which made the outing more fun.

Cross country skiing at Bristol Mountain (17 weeks pregnant).

Once the warmer weather arrived, I started to bike again. There were actually a few times that I was able to ride in March due to the warm weather. I was able to ride a fair amount throughout my pregnancy. However, the closer I got to the last few weeks of my pregnancy, the more uncomfortable it got. I also felt tired more easily.

Riding belly shot! :) (22 weeks pregnant)

The last ride that I did was at 34 weeks. That was pretty good in my opinion. :) I felt lucky to be able to ride at all, especially as I was getting closer and closer to the end of my pregnancy. I was also lucky to have Joel and my friend Jane ride with me, since I did not think that riding by myself was a good idea. The miles went from 24 miles to 9.5 miles. It was interesting to experience the effects of pregnancy on my riding. The fact that your hips change greatly affects the sitting bones. The outcome is an uncomfortable saddle. Also, as my belly grew, I could feel it more and more while pedaling. That part was not uncomfortable, but I felt bad for hitting the girl with every pedal stroke. She probably did not appreciate that too much. :) It was also interesting how easily tired I got. This was even more noticeable during the rides that I did closer to the 34th week. I could only tolerate about 45 minutes of riding by that point. I must admit that I was a bit sad to give it up, since I really love cycling. But I am sure that I will be able to ride soon after the girl arrives.

After the ride (31 weeks pregnant).

I started taking a yoga class before I found out that I was pregnant. I think that the class has been helping a ton. I am always relaxed due to it, since the class is a restorative class. The poses have changed a bunch throughout my pregnancy. I no longer can lay on my back, among other things, and most of the poses are very supportive. Nevertheless, I still feel great after every class, so it is definitely beneficial. We have also been practicing breathing a bunch, which is good no matter what. I also think that the class has helped keep my balance intact. Everyone mentioned to me how pregnancy causes your balance to be off. That was not the case for me at all. I wonder if cycling helped with it as well.

32 weeks and 1 day pregnant…

Aside from all the activities that I mentioned above, walking and hiking was something that I always did, since they were tame on my legs and feet. I was lucky to have my friend Kristin join me a fair amount of times. I remember a couple of times we decided to go for a run, but then it turned into a hike or a walk. She has been super supportive of my changing body and abilities. We were always just happy to enjoy the outdoors and chat (of course!). :) Mendon Ponds Park, the Crescent Trail, and Dryer Road Park have been my favorite spots to hike. The canal has been a good spot for walking.

Hiking at Dryer Road Park.

As I mentioned already, I have been super lucky to  have such an easy pregnancy, which in turn allowed me to be stay active. I feel like being active was great for me as well as for the girl. I hope that it will continue after the girl arrives too. I am also looking forward to introducing the girl to all of these awesome activities. :)

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