Almost Done!! (with Laura Kline)
Photo: Kate Paice Froio
Cayuga Trails 50 was on Saturday. As always, it was awesome!! I have so many things to say about this race, I don’t know where to begin. If it seems like I’m rambling, I probably am. Here goes nothing:
I knew I was undertrained going into this race. I did some quick math last week and discovered that I was averaging 47 miles/week in the eight weeks leading up to Cayuga. In those same eight weeks, I did one run – yes, one – longer than 15 miles. With that in mind, I knew I needed a conservative race strategy.
My plan was to hit the halfway mark between 3:40 and 3:45. I made it in 3:46. Not terrible! I would have made it in 3:45, but I had to stop twice to get rocks out of my shoes. It happens.
The Race Begins
After a 25-mile warm-up, the real race began. I hit the aid station at mile 28 and Ian (the RD) offered me some free race entries in exchange for carrying a watermelon to the next aid station (4 miles away). It was tempting, but I took a pass. I was still hoping for a sub-8 finish and that wasn’t going to happen with a watermelon in tow!
One of the cool things about Cayuga Trails is there is “stuff” stashed along the trails. Pies, gear, etc. Basically, you pick up a card hidden along the trail and then exchange it for cool things at the finish. Right around mile 29, I picked up a card from Altra – awesome!! It was my lucky day (more on that later). I (barely) made it to the top of the big climb and started running again. A few miles later, I was having some gel and fumbling around with my handheld. I accidentally dropped some garbage, which I went back to pick up. Alas, I must have also dropped my Altra card, although I didn’t notice at the time. Sadness. Maybe it wasn’t my lucky day after all!
I ran pretty well into Buttermilk – I was 75% of the way through the race in 5 hours and 55 minutes. 8 hours was still possible. I got out of Buttermilk in a hurry and started heading back to the Underpass aid station. Right around this time, I realized it was getting hot. The sun was out, and the temperature was in the low 80s. Great for sitting on the beach. Not great for running 50 miles. I hit Underpass in exactly 7 hours. I had one hour to run almost 7 miles. Uh oh. At this point, I realized I wasn’t going to break 8 hours. I was starting to have a tough time with food and fluids, but I kept pushing on.
A short while later, I heard footsteps for the first time in ages. It was Corrine Malcolm – she was about 6 miles away from a National Championship. Pretty cool! We chatted a little bit, and eventually, she pulled away. A couple of miles later, more footsteps. Zach Ornelas, who I had passed at mile 37.5, was cruising along with Sabrina Little. Sabrina was putting in an impressive late charge, but I knew that barring disaster, Corrine was too far ahead.
With less than three miles to go, I could smell the barn (literally and figuratively). I heard footsteps one last time – a quick glance back and I saw my friend, friend of the blog, vegan and athlete extraordinaire, Laura Kline. She was killing it, and it totally gave me a boost that got me to the finish. We crossed the finish line together in 8:28. I thought we were SO cool for crossing the line together until I found out that everyone was doing it this year.
Brian Rusiecki and Ben Nephew
Brian and Ben have run a couple of hundred trail races/ultras between the two of them. If you are a trail/ultra runner in the Northeast, you’ve crossed paths with these guys.
Zach Ornelas and Sabrina Little
Photo: Elizabeth Azze
And the finish of the day, as well as the picture of the day, goes to Zach and Sabrina. Clearly, Laura and I need to up our game for next year.
Jared Burdick, me and Cole Crosby (left to right)
I’m pretty happy with my race. I was looking to rebound after my DNF at Zion and this definitely helped. Considering how warm it was, I really don’t think I could have expected anything more. Cayuga Trails is such a great race and Ian does an amazing job as race director.
Full results from Saturday are available here.
If my math is right, the finish rate this year was 68%. That is really low for a 50-miler – it just goes to show how tough the conditions were on Saturday. Congrats to Tyler Sigl for an out-of-this-world performance that will probably be the top graded 50-mile performance of the year. Congrats to Corrine who took down a thrilling race for the ladies and will fly under the radar no longer.
Check out this very cool video by Jared:
Here’s a race recap from TrailRunner.com.
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