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Posts Tagged ‘Sehgahunda Trail Marathon and Relay’

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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On a fine November day last year, Joel and I decided to sign up for the Sehgahunda Trail Marathon Relay. We ran it as a four person relay two years ago, which was fun, so we thought that it was a good idea to run it as a two person relay. Hmm…

The official training started in February. Luckily for me, Joel figured it all out. Run two short runs during the week and then a long run on the weekends. Seems easy enough. I quickly realized that running two days a week was not very feasible. Working full time and taking care of our daughter, the house, etc. kind of put a damper on my training plan. My weekday runs were 5 or 6 milers, so they worked well enough to run longer during the weekends. But once I hit the 9.5 mile mark, I also realized that I did have to run two days a week, otherwise I would not be able to start increasing my mileage without risking an injury. Luckily for us, my parents live in town so they have been very helpful with watching Julia for us so we can do this thing. I am super grateful for it! Even our neighbors helped us one weekend… so grateful!!

The 9.5 mile run was not too bad. On that run I surpassed my longest distance that I have ever ran since I started running about 5 years ago. Then two weekends ago, we ran 10.5 miles. “That was crazy!”, I thought. I felt super good and it gave me more confidence that I will be able to do this race.

Then, as I was running mile 10ish of my 11.5 mile training run on Sunday and Parachute Youth was blasting in my ear “Can’t Get Better Than This…“, I thought to myself… “Oh yes it can, actually!!”. At least I was in the woods and the song distracted me a bit and made me think of the mountain biking video where I discovered the song.

I remember after riding for a few years, a bunch of my friends were asking me why I was not racing. “You would do well!”, they said. My answer was always that cycling would become work. You have to ride a lot of hours to be able to have the stamina and fitness to be a racer. I ride because I love riding and because I love to explore the area on my bike. It is not my job… it is my hobby. The same goes for running. I love being in the woods and exploring our parks.

I recently read this article, which made me laugh but also resonated with me. It was called “I Hate Running” and the writer’s statement after finishing a 50 miler was on point. When someone congratulated him for finishing the race, his answer was something like “I just ran 750 miles… you just saw the last 50 miles!“. (Another great article to check out is “People Who Say That Running Is Fun Are Lying To You“.) Although my feat is not as great as his, this idea of running three times a week in order to complete a half marathon is kind of a chore. It has become work.

I am not sure why it feels this way. Perhaps all those years that I spent on the bike riding thousands of miles burned me out and this is starting to feel that way. Or perhaps the fact that I love to ride, run, hike, and other things makes me feel like I am stuck with this one thing. I guess that is the downside of having multiple hobbies. Ha!

Nevertheless, I am glad that I signed up for this race. I never in a million years would have thought that I would be able to run 10 miles, 11 miles, or even a half marathon. It is a good challenge and I do not want to stop. The race is on May 20th, so I am almost there. I guess that this race also made me realize that long distance running is not for me and that I am happier if I am able to do everything that I love instead of only one single activity.

As I write this, the weather forecast is calling for rain for tonight, on Thursday, and on Sunday. Another reason not to sign up for a race in Spring. Hooray for training!

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According to WordPress I have not written in 10 months. 10 months!?!? How can that be. But alas, WordPress is correct. This working parent thing is a bit laborious. You know, the usual work, cook, take care of toddler, husband, and everything else. No need for details. Ha! The time seems to go by so fast these days. Even more the reason why I cannot seem to find the time to write.

Last time I wrote, I revealed that I was going to run a relay marathon… the Sehgahunda Trail Relay Marathon to be exact. And a relay marathon I ran. I was able to run the 6 miles in an hour, which was super for me! It was my first trail race and I was super happy with my result. The rest of my team did fantastic as well. In fact, the team placed 9 out of 17. So proud!

I spent the entire rest of the summer cycling and running. We also camped 3 times around the Adirondacks and visited Boulder again, so we did a lot of hiking during those trips. It was definitely a fun packed summer. I even did a little mountain biking while in Boulder.

Then fall and winter came. It has been a pretty warm fall/winter so far, so running and yoga have been my primary routine.

I decided to race in another trail race in early December, in the #TrailsRoc 0 Degrees WTF Festival. It was super fun! The race was 5.4 miles through Powder Mills Park and it was not 0 degrees… I was wearing shorts. Ha! I managed to finish that one in under an hour as well, which was great!

During the holidays, we visited my sister in DC and we ran twice during the trip. The weather was super warm so it was nice.

The highlight of the trip was running on the monument mall… a 6.3 mile loop among the monuments. It was super fun! We started the run around 7:30 am, so we were pretty much the only people there. Even nicer!

I was really hoping to do a bunch of cross country skiing this winter, but the temperatures keep fluctuating and there is not much snow at all… it is actually kind of nonexistent. The humongo east coast storm completely missed us, so that was that. I guess that it is only the end of January, so you never know. :)

In the coming year, I am hoping to do a few more trail run races. I have not settled on any ones in particular quite yet. Unfortunately, the Sehgahunda race sold out already so I will not be able to run that race again this year. I was pretty bummed when I found out. That was such a fun run!

I am also planning on riding a bunch. Last year I rode pretty much every Wednesday night, so I am hoping to do the same this year.

I have also been cooking a bunch, of course! I am hoping to share a few of my delicious finds soon.

Cheers!

 

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I signed up for a relay marathon. That’s right… you read it correctly. A relay marathon. And to top it all off, it is a trail run… on the Finger Lakes Trail in Letchworth. “But you are not a runner. Cycling is your thing.”, you say. I know! What am I thinking!!!

Sehgahunda is the REAL DEAL. It may just be one of the hardest trail marathons in the east. It’s 26.3 miles of single track trails, over 3000 feet of climbing, with more than 100 gullies that need to be traversed–and an 8 hour cut off.” reads its description. Yikes!!! Again… what am I thinking!!

I took up running a little before I had Julia. I never really liked it. Once I had Julia, it was an easy way for me to exercise and stay in shape. Running for 20 minutes is less time consuming than cycling for an hour or more. And running for 20 minutes is a better workout than cycling for 20 minutes. Cycling for 20 minutes is nothing… for me at least.

The relay includes 4 legs… a 6.1 miler, a 9.3 miler, a 6.5 miler, and a 4.4 miler. I signed up for the 6.1 miler. I have never ran for 6.1 miles before… especially not on a trail. The longest run that I have ever done was last summer and it was 4.2 miles. That should not even really count though, since Joel and I ran with Julia to a playground and we hung out there for 20 minutes or so… so it was not really a straight run. For the longest time I could never get myself to run for more than 20 minutes either. It was plenty. Lately, I started to run for 30 minutes and that seems plenty too.

This 6.1 miler really worries me. How am I going to do it?? I spoke with a few friends who are runners and all of them seem to think that I should not be so worried. They must know something that I do not know. I think that is it… I do not really know what to think and to expect from a longer run since I have never done it before. I remember when I started cycling… riding even 15 miles seemed impossible. But after riding for a while, 30 miles, 50 miles, and even 100 miles was doable and felt fine. I remember my first century… I was super worried about. And of course I chose a hard ride… it was part of the Highlander Cycle Tour. (I see a trend here!) It was an organized ride and I felt that it was going to be easier since there were rest stops and other people around me. It was one of the hardest things that I have ever done… physically. But it was doable and I rode it again and again for 4 more times after that. It is definitely a mental thing, more so than a physical thing.

So two weeks ago I ran 3.7 miles. I ran it at a pretty decent pace too. I averaged 9:24. That is typical for me. I must admit that it felt fine. Then last week I ran 3.4 miles at a faster pace… I averaged 8:57. I was super proud of myself that I was able to do that run. I felt pretty good too. It definitely felt fast but not too bad.

And then yesterday I ran 4.7 miles… and I averaged 8:54. It was crazy!! I felt fine up until mile 4. My neighborhood is pretty hilly, so as I was running up a hill, I started to feel dizzy. This reminded me of a ride that I did in my early cycling days. I was also riding up a hill and I overexerted myself and I felt dizzy and even blacked out for a few seconds. I definitely paid more attention to my body after that and figured out my limits.

Luckily I did not black out during my run, but I was a little upset with myself. I do not know how to pace myself during a longer run. I definitely ran too fast in the beginning, but it felt fine up until mile 4. Just like with my early cycling days, I need to figure out what my limits are for running. I only have two months to figure it out. Eeek!

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