Friday, May 13, 2016

Seneca7 Relay Race Recap - Part 3

Did you miss Part 1 and Part 2? Check them out, here and here!

Well, where were we?  Right. I had just finished my second leg of the day with the horrible uphill climb and Greg took off like a rocket.

 Off he goes on a 6.1 mile run!

We got into the van and made our way to the next exchange point. Greg's leg was the longest leg of the entire race, so even though he is speedy, we had some time to get to Note Fragrances.

At this point, I was getting tired, but I knew that I only had one more leg to run. We kept catching more and more teams, which was exciting since we had been alone for awhile in the beginning. I was hoping that we wouldn't have to deal with too much congestion in Sampson State Park later on, though.

Laura waiting for Greg

 Another leg down

 Off she goes!

We were almost 2/3 of the way done with the race! And time-wise, the last legs of the race always go the fastest since most of them are pretty short.

Last runner's turn to run!

 It was a great day for running

Gustavo was out running, and that meant our first runner, Jenn, would be starting her final leg soon. I started to pay attention to my needs since it wouldn't be too long before my final leg.

Looking strong!

Another exchange with a kiss, this time everyone around said, "awww"

Now it was time for Mike to get ready to run. His final leg was his longest of the day at 4 miles along some "trails" through Sampson State Park. He got to go around a snowplow, over some boulders and he ran by a state penitentiary. I made sure to use the bathroom at the golf course because there weren't going to be anymore port-a-potties before my final leg. Luckily, I got through the line before Jenn came through to the exchange.

Happy to be done for the day!

Mike's turn to finish up his legs

We had some time to get to the next exchange point, but I knew it would take a little while since we had to drive through Sampson State Park. Our theme for the day was, "be aggressive", and when we got to the exchange point we kept driving until we were right at the exchange and found a place to park.

I got ready for my next leg and then went out to cheer on Mike and Prem. Mike did great and finished out the day with a 4 mile run at 7:30 pace!

Finishing strong

 Prem's turn!

Next up, we had to be even more aggressive. Thankfully, the congestion wasn't as bad but we drove all the way until we could see the exchange before parking. Last year we had a bit of an issue and Greg made it to the next exchange before the van did, and we didn't want that to happen again this year!

 It's the truth! Photo courtesy of Jenn

 Here we go, photo courtesy of Jenn

I went over to wait for Prem and psyched myself up to run 3.3 miles. After a few minutes of waiting, we saw him running down the road toward the exchange point. I took the slap bracelet and took off for my final run of the day!

Admittedly, I may have started off a bit too fast but it was flat. My run took me through the tail-end of Sampson State Park and then back out onto East Lake Road. I hoped that the van would get through in enough time for Greg to be at the exchange point waiting for me!

I ran out of Sampson State Park and there were some people spectating and they cheered me on. As I ran by, they told me they liked my purple socks (calf sleeves) and that they wished they had my muscles! That made me laugh and I kept running toward East Lake Road.

I was still hoping that our team had made it out of Sampson State Park and I wondered if I was going to see them at all while I was running. I passed a few more people and after a little while, the van went by me and my team cheered me on.

As I got closer to the exchange point, I was ready to be done. I knew it wouldn't be too long before I saw Greg doing his wind sprints and after a few more minutes, I could see the exchange point.

"Take this slap bracelet, I want to be done!" Photo courtesy of Jenn

I ran as fast as I could at that point, and I handed Greg the slap bracelet. My fifth Seneca7 was done (almost)! I ran the 3.3 miles at an 8:12 average pace.

We got in the van quickly, because Greg didn't have a very long leg. We continued to be aggressive at the next exchange point and parked right near the road at the exit of the winery. After a few minutes, we saw Greg running up the road (I stayed in the van).

 This guy is so speedy and averaged under 7:00 pace all day!

Our team took off again and went to the final exchange point. Gustavo wore a safety vest because he would be running after 7pm. Once we saw Laura, we cheered on Gustavo and then we took off toward the finish line and team reunification point.

Last runner out!

 Off he goes!

The finish was a little different this year due to construction on the lakefront, but we were able to find a parking spot really close to the team reunification area. We waited for Gustavo to come down the lakefront path and we were able to see a few teams finish the race. Finally, we saw him running toward us!

We all joined him and ran toward the finish line. After 10:09:42, we were done!

 Crazy finish line selfie, photo courtesy of Gustavo

FIT1Runners! Photo courtesy of Jenn

Our team came in 31st overall and 17th for mixed teams, not too bad! We had originally been given a 27 minute penalty because we deviated from our predicted team pace by more than 10% (we put 7:00 and ended up averaging 7:50 pace), but the race directors decided to only give penalties to teams that were more than 10% faster than their predicted pace. This year did seem a bit unusual with all of the penalties and disqualifications, regardless, we still had a great time!

I love this race and I can't wait for our 6th time running it next year!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Seneca7 Relay Race Recap - Part 2

Did you miss Part 1? Check it out, here!

After I handed Greg the slap bracelet, he took off on his almost 5 mile run. However, since Greg runs at sub-7 minute pace, we knew we had to hustle a little bit.

 Off he goes! Photo courtesy of Jenn

We got to the scenic overlook and had some time to take photos. Some of our friends were on a bike team (they had to ride around the lake instead of drive in a van) and they decided to "goose-bomb" us! (They were on a team for Goose Adventure Racing).

What a lovely group of people!


Soon we saw Greg come flying down the road and Laura got ready to run. I remembered running her leg a few years ago and I knew she was going to enjoy it.

Our team went to the next exchange point and took some more photos together. Gustavo was about to run his first-ever Seneca7 leg! We waited for Laura and then in the distance we saw her coming (you can see the exchange point for a long time during this leg)!

 Fun times! Photo courtesy of Gustavo

 Last runner out on his first leg!

At Glenora Winery we were able to use real bathrooms (the only time during the race) and it was nice to be able to wash my hands! We were almost 1/3 of the way done for the day, and as usual the race was flying by. Jenn was nervous about her next leg (most of the runners have a challenging second leg), but I told her to just enjoy the waterfall and not worry about the uphill too much.

When Gustavo came running down the hill, they exchanged the slap bracelet (with a kiss) and Jenn was off. There is no van support for the runner during this leg, so we took our time and made it to the next exchange point.

Off she goes!

At this time, I knew I didn't have too long until my next leg. I had stopped eating and started to reduce the amount of water I was drinking (because I didn't want to have to go to the bathroom right before my leg).

Mike's next leg was a "gently rolling" 2.7 mile run. When Jenn came running down the road, happy she was done with that leg, he took off. We made sure to get in the van quickly since we knew it wouldn't take him very long to run this leg.

Jenn is happy to be done!

 Sprinting away!

Right around this time, we started to catch the earlier waves. This was nice because it gave us some extra motivation to try to run as fast as we could. We got to Lakewood Vineyards and waited for Mike to come running around the corner.

When Mike came in (at a blazing 7:15 pace!), Prem took off on one of my favorite legs of the relay that I have run so far. It is an amazing downhill into Watkins Glen. Unfortunately for me this year, that meant that I had to run UP out of Watkins Glen.

 Crushing it!

Our entire team (except me) is in this photo
Photo courtesy of Jenn 

We got to Clute Park, and parked "aggressively" (close to the exchange point), and I went to the bathroom one final time. Our team noticed that some runners were having trouble following the course through the park and also weren't sure how to start the leg I would be running. There were no volunteers there either, which was odd, but we made it work (and luckily, we knew what we were doing).

Prem came running through the park, and then it was time for me to take off! My leg was a steep uphill out of Watkins Glen to Hector Falls. The leg was a 3.5 mile run and I tried to not think about the hill too much.

Prem running the correct way on the course, photo courtesy of Jenn

 Smiling, but secretly terrified of the hill I have to run, photo courtesy of Gustavo

Right before the steep incline, photo courtesy of Jenn

I was able to have the van drive by me before we went separate ways on the split in the road, and I saw the hill coming. I tried not to walk, but I had to a walk a little bit. I was able to pass some people on this leg and the route did flatten out for a few miles as I ran by Hector Falls (so pretty). Another team's van drove by me, and cheered for me, but all I could think was, "you are going the wrong way" (vans weren't supposed to follow the runners on this leg).

My pace wasn't too bad for the middle miles of this leg and I just focused on the runners I saw ahead of me. I was able to pass three people on this leg (and almost caught a 4th runner).

Eventually the route started to go uphill again and I tried not to walk, but I had to walk one final time. I told myself to only walk to a mailbox, and then I ran. Eventually I rounded a corner and I could see the exchange point. Even though I was running uphill, I just told myself to keep running to Greg.

 Happy to hand over the slap bracelet!

I heard my team cheering for me and handed the slap bracelet to Greg, and he took off on the longest leg of the day.

I finished this leg in 32:22 at 9:15 pace, not bad considering the 300 feet of elevation gain!

Our team was on our way to being 2/3 done with the race!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Seneca7 Relay Race Recap - Part 1

It's the end of April, so that means it is time for Seneca7 again!

FIT1Runners at the start! Photo courtesy of Jenn

Mike and I love this race, we have run it every year (except the first year since we just started running) and we don't plan on missing it any time soon. Even though I have been in a funk with running, I was hoping this race would help snap me out of it - and it did!

This year our team was made up of the remaining members of our team from last year, another team's remaining members from last year (plus their driver) and one other friend (who had never run the race before). Our team name was "FIT1Runners" (since the majority of us either teach or go to FIT1) and we were in the 9am wave this year.

Excited to run and be in a van all day! Photo courtesy of Gustavo

We all met up on Sunday morning and drove to Geneva for the start. We got there right as the 8am wave was starting and we cheered on our friends who were running in this wave. After that we went into the Smith Opera House so that we could use a real bathroom one final time before the race started.

Our order this year was Jenn, Mike, Prem, me, Greg, Laura and Gustavo. A few days before the race, I had been contemplating switching legs with Mike since I was worried I was going to slow our team down too much (and my second leg had a monster hill). We both ended up with the least amount of miles this year (just happened since we are running out of runner positions left to run) with around 9 miles.

I finally decided to stay with the order we had decided on, and hoped for the best.

The 9am wave is off!

 Jenn is excited to run!

Right before 9am, Jenn went over to line up and start the day off! We actually started at 9:02am and then it was time to enjoy the day running around Seneca Lake.

As we made our way to the first exchange point (we didn't have to use the shuttles this year since we started so late), we were able to see Jenn running.

Beautiful day for some running

I knew we were going to be one of the slower teams in our wave since most of us were a little out of shape from not running as much. We had put a predicted 7:00 average pace, and I just hoped for the best. We were in a wave that included 7:30, 7:00, 6:30 and 6:00 pace so I knew we would have enough time to get around the lake before the time cutoffs.

 Mike is ready to go

 "You're going to be hot"

Jenn came in and then Mike ran his first leg. He did really well! He did mention that while his body felt fine, his lungs felt like they were on fire. We haven't really been sprinting much lately! Regardless, he still ran his 2.7 mile leg at 7:07 pace!

Mike finishing up his leg

 Prem's first Seneca7 run!

Then it was Prem's turn. He was the only one on our team who had never experienced Seneca7 before (Gustavo had never run in the race, but he was another team's driver last year), and he looked like he had a great time all day!

 Waiting for it to be my turn

While at Anthony Road Winery, I made sure to use the port-a-potties and then I started to wait for Prem. He had a longer leg at almost 5 miles, so I knew I had a while. After deciding on not wearing my arm sleeves, we thought we saw him coming. Unfortunately, a lot of people were wearing orange so the first few people weren't him. Then we finally saw him!

 My turn!

As he ran down the hill, I got mentally ready to run! I grabbed the slap bracelet from him and then took off!

This looks more impressive than it really is since it is two feet into my run, photo courtesy of Gustavo

My first leg was short, only 2.2 miles, so I knew I had to push it. It started off on a downhill, so I tried to take advantage of that as well. Though, I did start out a little bit too fast (for me at this moment) and I hoped that I could sustain a decent pace.

Even though I saw the markings on the ground indicating the turn to the right, I still wondered if I went the right way. I didn't see any other runners the entire leg (since we were so far back in our wave) and there weren't many Seneca7 markings or signs on this leg. Eventually, I saw a sign that indicated I was in fact going the right way.

The first mile came in at 7:17 pace and I tried to hold on. I did slow down a bit as the road flattened out and then had a small incline over a railroad track, but the second mile came in at 8:03 pace.

After running over the small hill, I thought I saw the exchange point in the distance. This was a new location for the exchange point this year, so I wasn't entirely sure where it would be.

 Greg is ready to run! Photo courtesy of Jenn

 One leg down, two to go! Photo courtesy of Gustavo

Then, I saw Greg doing some wind sprints while waiting for me and I knew that I was almost done with my first leg. I ran down the small downhill as fast as I could, and handed him the slap bracelet.

I finished the 2.24 mile leg in 17:24 at 7:45 pace, and considering we haven't been running much or that fast lately I was happy!

We took off since Greg is so speedy and continued on with our day.

More about that in the next post!