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Seneca Greenway Trail 50k race report

1629 Views 14 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  corrade
(sorry, this a bit random and discombobulated)<br><br>
Highly regretting my missing the boat on signing up for the B&A<br>
trail marathon, I decided yesterday to sprinkle this race in. Can't<br>
really beat it for $20 and the ability to sign up on race morning!<br>
Ultras are almost always a good deal, but this one really takes the<br>
cake. There is a "marathon" option and a "50k" option, both of<br>
which are known to be approximate distances, the marathon<br>
being more like 27.5 miles and the 50k being probably around<br>
31.5 miles (not too far off). I thought of this race as just a bit<br>
beyond a fatass race, so I planned to push it just a touch, but<br>
try to stay far enough below the pain bar. The race being 95%<br>
dirt trail, I had expected lots of mud with some of the recent rain<br>
storms. I thought considering all, the course was in great shape<br>
with muddy areas, but pretty much all runnable. It was quite<br>
cool at the start with temps not too bad, but a very cold, brisk wind.<br>
I rode down with Melissa, who was doing the "marathon" option<br>
because she's doing B&A trail marathon tomorrow - her first<br>
double! Hence, she was taking things very conservatively.<br>
This is a point to point race, so you park near the finish at Seneca<br>
Creek and you take a bus to the start in Damascus, about a<br>
20 minute ride.<br>
We ran into my friend Martin at the start, who is clearly now fully<br>
infected with the ultra bug. You must be<br>
prepared for this race - there are no mile markers and no cups<br>
at aid stations. I carried one 20 oz bottle, which was sufficient,<br>
filling up with ultima generally, until the 2nd to last aid station,<br>
which had gatorade endurance. I'm fine with either, but ultima<br>
has almost no calories so you need to factor that in. I didn't<br>
eat much during the race, but I did snack on a PB&J quarter,<br>
a few handfuls of cheez-its and potato chips, and some other<br>
crackers. One aid station had Coke which is my favorite ultra<br>
drink, so that was probably the bulk of my calorie intake! The<br>
race started at 8, with a good downhill segment covering 95%<br>
of the asphalt that makes up the course. After that we jumped<br>
on the trails, which were your typical trails with ups, downs,<br>
roots, rocks, and a few stream crossings. Frequently, you<br>
were running along the river, which made for some nice views.<br>
I felt fairly well through the race, taking things very conservatively,<br>
just wanting to make sure I felt good at the end. At roughly mile<br>
14 or 15, you come to an aid station where for 50k, you add a roughly<br>
4 mile loop, or for the marathon, you continue on. So I started<br>
the loop, which had some pleasant new scenery and more<br>
riverside running. However, it also had many roots, bringing<br>
back memories of Rocky Raccoon a few weeks ago!<br>
About 1/2 mile into the loop, I missed one of the guiding streamers<br>
and headed onto the wrong path. After 1/4 - 1/2<br>
mile, I was dumped out onto a parking lot, wondering where<br>
to go. I finally saw a streamer onto one of the trails and headed<br>
in that direction. About 10 minutes later I found myself on a path<br>
that looked very familiar, like the one I had come out on at the<br>
beginning of the loop. Shortly thereafter, I came upon a pair<br>
of runners going in the other direction. Not having seen anyone<br>
coming in the opposite direction on my way out, I came to the<br>
conclusion that I had added a loop by missing a turn. I turned<br>
around and followed the two runners, this time noting the streamer<br>
I had missed the first time through and heading on the proper<br>
trail. Ok, I'm back on track now and I slowly but surely pick off<br>
the 10 or so runners that I was ahead of before the loop. Well,<br>
for me it ain't an ultra if I don't get lost or add distance somewhere.<br>
At least it's only a 50k! I finished the loop coming back upon the<br>
aid station, thankful not to have been thrown off too much. At<br>
this point, I came upon Martin, who was doing very well, moving<br>
along, apparently with plenty of time in the bank to choose the<br>
50k option. After this point, you begin to approach the marathoners,<br>
so from here on, it was just a matter of passing folks on the single<br>
track. Around mile 26 or so, I came upon the "peepmania"<br>
aid station, where the main course was peeps (the little marshmallow<br>
kind). You knew this was coming because for the 2 or 3 miles before,<br>
there were a number of signs with a peep theme. At this aid station,<br>
I avoided the peeps, but loaded up with Coke and some chips. The<br>
aid station crew told me it was about 10k to go. I was happy to know<br>
a distance and I then started to watch my GPS and count the miles<br>
down. With about 4 miles to go, I came across Melissa, who was<br>
doing just fine and I ran with her a bit. She wasn't happy with<br>
her race, but, really she had to be conservative for tomorrow. I went<br>
on my merry way because it was now time to have this race end. I've<br>
had enough. I had picked up the pace a bit to minimize the rest of<br>
the time I would have to spend out there. With about 3 miles to go,<br>
I came upon the 3rd place woman, who was doing quite well, but<br>
not interested in pushing the pace. She stayed close behind because<br>
she finished not too long behind me. I counted down the miles from<br>
the aid station and just longed for that one mile to go point. It happens<br>
to be where you leave the trail and head out on a dirt road where everyone<br>
was parked. This road lasts forever. You just keep going with no sign<br>
of the finish, just wondering if you're going in the right direction. My only<br>
solace was my GPS which was still within the 10k "promised" to me.<br>
Sure enough, the finish line appeared, 6.23 miles from that aid station!<br>
I was none too disappointed to be done with the race! 5:11 - certainly<br>
not my best 50k time, but nonetheless a decent day. Lots of good<br>
food afterwards, and even a hat! Then to follow that, they drove us<br>
the mile back to the car! Never had so much for $20. I would certainly<br>
do this one again.
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Awesome report. You're obviously learning something out there. I don't know what it is because I have never run so damn far, but great job out there! Wisely run man.
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