I hate when recaps of this race are over, but here is the final installment of our 2014 Seneca7 Relay experience!
Our team kept making its way around Seneca Lake all afternoon after I got us to the bottom of the lake in Watkins Glen. Steven ROCKED the huge hill on his second leg, Rob continued to have an amazing day and then it was Mike's turn to run his second leg.
Steven and Rob finishing up their second legs, photos courtesy of Jenn
Mike's turn to run his second, and hardest, leg! Photo courtesy of Steven
When I was the 6th runner last year, the second leg was the WORST. It was a change from the previous year and it included a huge hill I had to run up the first time we did the relay. The short downhill (for about a mile) does not make up for the huge climb you need to make for the rest of the 4.9 mile leg.
Just running up a huge hill for three miles, no big deal. Photo courtesy of Jenn
Mike finishing his leg and Jenn heading out on her second leg
I should have known that Mike would kick butt like he always does. He finished the 4.9 miles at an average pace of 7:42 and Jenn was running her second leg. We were almost 2/3 of the way done!
Mike being weird in the background, Beth and Kirsten ROCked it on another team
The four original team members!
Someone is happy to be done!
Teammates supporting each other, photo courtesy of Jenn
Mark was rocking his leg and Sarah and I got ready to run our final legs in the park.
Always so happy, photo courtesy of Steven
While waiting for Sarah to get to the exchange point (after dealing with a TON of traffic on the small park road), I kept thinking everyone wearing red was her. It started to get ridiculous, but finally there she was!
My final leg was short, only 2.6 miles all within Sampson State Park, and described as "varied". I started off on the gravel road until I got to a left hand turn near the Military Museum within the park. At this point I passed a few runners and tried to get to some others that I saw in the distance.
Not from the day of the race, this is part of the Musselman bike course too
After making a right hand turn, I ran across a grassy section and then over two footbridges. I enjoyed that the terrain was different for this leg, another reason that I wanted to be runner 3. There was a slight uphill after crossing a gravelly section and then we had to make another left hand turn.
I was starting to get tired and my pace for the final part of this leg was above 9 minute pace. I didn't want my final .6 miles to be the only time in the entire day that was above 9 minute pace so I forced myself to run faster. I was also starting to worry about my team getting to the exchange point in time because my leg was so short, and this was still one of the most congested parts of the race.
The final part of this leg was interesting, in the description it said we would run on trails but after two other runners and I followed one guy ahead of us we realized we had missed a turn. We were running through a grassy field and we had to just run through until we got back onto the road.
No smiling, just wanting to be done! Photo courtesy of Jenn
I forced myself to pass all of the runners that were with me, and when I heard Jenn yelling my name I relaxed and knew my team was there! Only Jenn and Steven were at the exchange because they had jumped out of the van so that they got there quicker (I guess they made it by three minutes).
After giving the bracelet to Steven, I was done! I ran the final 2.59 miles in 21:58 at an average pace of 8:28 (8:26, 8:17 and 8:53 for the final .59 miles). My average pace for the entire day was 8:15 and I ran a total of 12.19 miles, the most for any runner on the team.
The only time we saw Steven out on the course, one downside of being runner 4. Photo courtesy of Jenn
After being reunited with my team, we quickly got going again. The rest of the legs were relatively short and we didn't want any trouble at the exchange points. For the next two exchanges, our runners actually got out of the van early to make sure they were there in time.
Ready to get this thing over with!
It wouldn't be a relay with Mike if there wasn't some mishap, Rob and Mike botched their final exchange of the bracelet. It was all good though! Photos courtesy of Steven
Mike ran his final leg of 2.6 miles over rolling terrain in an average pace of 7:20! He did great the entire day and I was so proud of how much he improved over last year.
With our final runner out on her final leg of the day, we left the exchange point and drove to the finish line. Mark had a bit of a mishap with one of our cowbells, it broke and part of it flew out of the window! Jenn said that at least he was cheering for her enthusiastically!
Rocking that tutu!
One of my favorite parts of this race is being reunited as a team at the team reunification spot. While we waited for Jenn, we got to see lots of other teams being reunited or waiting for their final runner. When we saw her coming in the distance, we got ready to run our final steps as a team.
Team "More Misters than Sisters" crossed the finish line at 7:21:04pm, with a finish time of 10 hours 51 minutes and 4 seconds. We came in 66th place overall, 39th in the mixed category and our average team pace was 8:21.
I can't even describe how happy this race makes me. I love it. I will continue to run it every year as long as I can. I only have love for Seneca7, even if it does make me feel sore for a few days after!
Three years, three amazing teams!