Cayuga Trails 50 was on Saturday. It was my fourth time running the 50-miler, and it’s been one of my favorite races over the years. Once again, it was serving as U.S. 50-Mile Trail Championships.
For purposes of this recap, I’m going to break the race down into four parts:
The Start to Mile 13
My plan for the first 13 miles was simple – find a group to run with and do not go out too fast. Mission accomplished. I found myself running with Daven Oskvig, Zach Bennett, Colin Sauter, Jim Mollosky and a few others. The pace was smooth but not particularly fast. I fell on my face at mile 10 but no harm no foul.
Mile 13 through Mile 26
The earlier group thinned out a bit. I ended up with Colin and Daven, and I heard I was in 13th place. It was warming up a bit, and I was taking in lots of fluids and gels. My strategy was to make up for my lack of training with a smart approach, and it was working.
Mile 26 through Mile 38
I headed back out for the second half with Sabrina Little who was in the process of crushing the course record (Sabrina finished 5th overall).
I was running alone for most of this stretch, but I was moving well. At mile 36 or so, I ran into my friend Rich Heffron. He was directing traffic on the course, and he got me fired up for the descent into Buttermilk. As I cruised by, he let me know I was in 8th place.
Unfortunately, this was my low point of the day. My stomach was turning against me, and I had to walk for a little bit and regroup. I was able to run the descent, and the good folks from #TrailsRoc got me excited to bring it home!
Mile 38 to the finish
The climb out of Buttermilk was relentless. Steps, steps and more steps. Also, people, people and more people. The parks in Ithaca are gorgeous/gorges and there was lots of trail traffic to contend with.
I was still in eighth at this point, and I felt like I could probably hold that spot. I stopped for a minute at the water crossing and cooled off as best I could. By this point in the race, it was pretty warm. I was overheating on the climbs, and I had one decent one to go.
I made it to the Underpass Aid Station with about 7 miles to go and I saw Jim Mollosky catching his breath. I grabbed my bottles and took off, temporarily moving into 7th place. I held that spot for several miles until I finally ran out of steam on the crowded trails leading to the finish. Jim passed me back with a mile or two to go and I held on for 8th place (6th place USATF and 9th place overall).
My official time was 8:29:06. I’m happy with both my time and place. My training this year has been light (48 miles/week and 3000ft of climbing per week). When “they” say this sport is 90% mental, they aren’t kidding.
My next race is either the Jug End 6-Hour on Saturday or Twisted Branch 100k in August. To be determined.
Thank you to Ian for once again putting on a great race. Thank you to Rich, Kelley, Eric, Laura, Ron, Shannon, Dan, Nancy, Norah, Susie and Megan (and all of the many other people I’m forgetting) for providing support out on the course. You’re amazing and your efforts don’t go unnoticed.
Top Three Women
1) Sabrina Little
2) Sarah Keyes
3) Ellie Pell
Top Three Men
1) Seth Marcaccio
2) Tyler Sigl
3) Patrick Caron
Full results of the Cayuga Trails 50 (and marathon) are available here.