After I handed the slap bracelet to Jenny, we made our way to the next exchange point. We knew that this part of the day was going to go a lot quicker because most of us had relatively short final legs.
Jenny running into the exchange point
Starting off the final legs
My mom took off and we made our way to the golf course, which was one of the more crowded exchange points but it was great to see so many runners having an amazing time. I hit the port-a-potty for the final time, some of the exchange points didn't have any and at this point I wasn't really drinking water anymore, and cheered for Sarah as she ran by us.
My mom ran strong all day!
Off she goes
One of the most challenging exchange points to get through, for the vehicles, was the first exchange point in the park. I wish I had taken a picture because there were vehicles lined up on both sides of the road and there was barely enough room to get through! Cat was amazing and she was more aggressive than any of us would have been and she parked right at the end of the road so we could get out quickly.
Tons of runners
Sarah and Mark both got to run through Sampson State Park and some of the route included trails. Sarah had a goal of running sub-10 minutes for all of her legs, but this one was a little bit trickier and she was just above 10 minute pace. She still did amazing and really improved a lot compared to last year!
Handing off to Mark for the final time
Another challenging exchange point to get through was the final one in the park, but we parked closer to where we would have to exit to get to Mike's exchange point. This ended up being a good thing!
Mark is done!
Paul was our fastest runner, averaging 7:22 pace for the entire day, and as we were driving to get to Mike's exchange point we passed Paul as he was approaching the exchange. We decided that Mike should jump out of the van and get right to the exchange point. Luckily we timed it perfectly, Paul and Mike made the hand off and my dad (who went to look out for Paul) and Paul jumped in the van before we even parked.
Mike's final leg was 2.6 miles and I knew I wouldn't have a lot of time before he got to the exchange point. About 5-10 minutes after we got there, I saw him rocking it up the hill. He finished out the day running his final leg at 7:39 pace and had his only partial or full mile above 8 minute pace the entire day (the final .59 miles of his leg was at 8:03 pace)! Mike averaged 7:40 pace the entire day, such an improvement over last year!
Waiting for Mike
Bringing it in up the final hill
My final leg was also just 2.6 miles and it was described as "rolling". I guess I thought it was more downhill than it ended up being, but I knew that I could push through anything for 2.6 miles.
I started out running below 8 minute pace but I reigned it in a little bit because I was already starting to feel fatigued from my previous two legs. I just kept thinking that I could handle anything for about 20 minutes, and I thought about Rena who had run this leg for our team last year.
I didn't have anyone really close to me in the beginning but I could see someone in the distance. I didn't know if I could catch her, but of course I tried to give it my all. The first mile came in at 8:12 pace.
I kept cursing on the inside because I had really hoped for more of a downhill than I was getting but I still felt relatively good. I knew I had another sub-9 minute pace leg in me as the second mile came in at 8:29 pace.
I kept thinking that I was going to get to the exchange point, but then I saw runners up ahead of me running up one last hill. As I got closer to the woman who I had seen from a distance, I saw my dad on the sidelines cheering for me and waving me in (and signaling to Jenny that I was coming). Right as I got to my dad, I passed the woman as another runner passed me and I made my way down the hill to my team.
Almost at the end
I definitely wanted to be done!
Last few feet of my day
I handed Jenny the bracelet as she took off for our final leg of the day. I hit the last .62 miles (the only leg over the amount that it said) at 8:38 pace and averaged the final leg at 8:24 pace for a total time of 22:01. The entire day I averaged 8:26 pace, a really big improvement over last year for me as well!
Look at the determination on Jenny's face
We left the exchange point and cheered Jenny on as we passed her in the van. I had run this leg last year and it was nice to drive by the familiar points back to Geneva into Lakefront Park. After parking the car (we needed to do a 100 point turn, ha!) we all got out and went over to the team reunification point where we would run the last hundred yards to the finish line as a team.
Mike at the team reunification zone
I love the shoes hanging up there
Pretty soon after we got there, Jenny came flying in and we all took off! We had decided as a team to cross the finish line with our hands over our hearts to honor the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.
Our team bringing it in
I look like I ran the final leg and not Jenny
Around 6:45pm, "Sole Sisters and their Misters" crossed the finish line in a finishing time of 10:45:18. As a team we averaged an 8:18 pace (our estimated team pace was 8:30) and we came in 67th out of 208 teams. We placed 38th out of 131 mixed teams.
We did this for Crystal
I love this race so much, it is one of my favorite events ever. I was a little worried that this year wasn't going to compare to last year (since it was such a great time), but I think it may have even been better. Not because we ran faster, but because we had a great group of people enjoying the day running 77.7 miles around Seneca Lake.
Mike and I will definitely be doing this race again next year!
And now only because I love all of you, here are some hilarious jumping outtakes.
And that right there my friends, is what Seneca7 is all about.