snow! [Day539]

Maybe it was the last snow this winter. Nothing sticked but was still exciting. It snowed in the middle of the night.

Some snow dusting at Sky Meadow where I hiked the following day / it really has nothing to do with the race, just a pic for the blog. Cold day

I was afraid the next day our 50K run would be canceled. Last year, in similar condition, the race was canceled for fear our runners would ruin the trail.

Every year since the pandemic I have been running this 50k trail race, the Seneca Creek Greenway. I probably could find old reports and maybe I should. I love to reread the old race write-ups and see how they differed from this year.

It was an ‘easy’ 50k, similar to Holiday Lake I ran couple weeks ago. We have some hills maybe like couple hundred feet ups and downs. Most of them are small hills. It was fun to run on them.

Yet it is quite tiring too. This year I started slow. I took my time through the Seneca State Park, to Riffleford, for about first couple miles. I remembered the first time I ran this, I went out full blast and gave everything before even getting to the Riffleford road crossing.

Once we were on the Greenway Tr, I stayed with my pack of about 4-5. After couple miles, the pack kind of disolved. The fast people ran ahead and the slower people dropped back one by one, I was left with with just a runner in front and he was walking.

Interesting, this runner was not slow. He walked from time to time but just by the look, I knew he was a fast runner. He was just humoring us by walking. Actually I have no idea why he even walked. For the next hour, I was following sometimes far back, other times within arm length.

We passed a mill. And finally the guy took off. I had a hard time trailing him. The trail by now cleared up. I still trailed him all the way to mile 7 or 8 at Rt 28 aid station. We crossed over to the otherside of the road to enter onto Seneca Bluff trail.

It was uneventful all the way to mile 15 ish where we headed back north using the Greenway trail again. We crossed a creek about halfway. I remembered in former races, this was a choke point where everyone would stop and we would cross it one by one. This year, there was no one around. The creek was kind of flooded. I couldn’t hop across rocks there but waded through the stream.

By mile 15, I came across Sergio, whom I stayed with him maybe for a mile or so. Sergio said he has a bad knee. He ran this race before but today he was not feeling well. He hadn’t been eating or drinking much. Not long after he was saying that, his hamstring cramped up and he felt over on the trail.

I helped him up and hoped that by walking it off he would be fine. A runner came by and offered him salt tablets. Together, we walked to the aid station. Once there, I knew he should be fine. We separated. I knew if Sergio chooses to continue, it would be a long day for him.

We were about 3 hours in. I expected the second half would be a bit longer. I was hoping I could finish earlier than former races. Though I felt like more a straggler this year. Former years, I usually see a lot of people walking in the second half. This year, I rarely saw anyone.

I caught up a few people who had gone out a bit too fast. The second half, my pace degraded a bit and several runners passed me. That is the natural of racing. Even at the last mile, I thought I was in a comfortable position, then someone passed me running quite strong and it was impossible for me to keep up.

Anyway, I finished at 7:39:00. It was much longer than I thought. Sergio said he recorded 33 miles on his watch. The trail is maybe a bit long but it is the same distance every year. We know it is trail racing neither our watch is accurate nor the ‘official distance’ is accurate. Trail racing always is measured with an estimated-ish distance.

  • comparisons:
  • 2020: 6:30:36 (report)
  • 2021: 7:14:17 (report)
  • last week, Cowtown 50k, road, 6:03.
  • two weeks ago, Holiday Lake 50K, 7:07

I was much slower this year. time of 7h and 40 mins, so it seems about 30 mins to an hour slower than former years, depending which year or race to compare to. And wow I ran 6:30 the first year. Not sure why I am so much slower. I think probably doing three 50K back to back, kind of took away time for me to recover.

Anyway, time was not too important to me. I want to run faster of course, but not meeting a prior year’s time was fine to me. My goal this year was to have some the time on the trail. Because it would build me up for a bigger race that will take place in May (the MMT 100).

Weather-wise, the day was cold around 40F but with strong winds making the wind chill at time feels like 30F. I wore double layer and a windbreaker over. Gloves and cap were a must to keep fingers and ears from freezing. The race opened for 9:30 hours. I stayed there pretty much until closing.

Food was adaquate. They had warm food for us. I drank a cup of warm coffee and that was the best thing that warmed me up. There were plenty of volunteers. I think the race was well supported, which is a reason for me to go back year after year.

My memorable moment after getting all the food I needed, was when I went back to my car to put on warmer clothes so I could stay out to watch runners finishing. A family there was waiting for Sergio. I did not know Sergio’s name at the time. I started talking to the family and they said, that is probably Sergio. I was curious to see if indeed they were waiting for the runner I met on the trail. Sergio came in a bit after 9 hours. He did the full 50K. After having the cramp in his leg, he had to walk. I knew it would be a slow race for him. He said it was very tempting to quit halfway but he found a fellow companion and they walked all the way and did the full 50k.

The heroic thing for Sergio about this race is near the finish at mile 27.5, you could make a decision to cut ‘short’ the race by finish as a marathon or you could add 5 more miles to get the 50K finish. Sergio could have finished a bit earlier (maybe couple hours earlier) as a marathon (and many people did). We were tracking Sergio on the phone and saw he took the other path and we knew he was aiming for 50K. So we waited. It was worth it to get 50K distance.

As for me, it was a decent race. I havr another race next week (and I will report on that when I did it). The week after will be my 100 miler (OBX, or Blackbeard’s Revenge). And so forth. This week, I did some planning for my Toronto trip (and I am excited). I will write more when the time comes. There are races stacked up until end of May.

Seneca Park’s Clopper Lake maybe only two miles from the finish. We had to run around this lake. It is bigger than what is shown.

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