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 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.
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.
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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