April 12th will mark our 4-year running anniversary. We started running using the Couch-to-5K program and haven't looked back since.
Even though it is hard and there are struggles, I wouldn't change our lifestyle for anything.
This past weekend, I set the ambitious goal of running the entire length (out and back) of the Seneca Trail. That trail is my favorite, it has just a little bit of everything, and I made a goal this year to run the entire length. Unfortunately, the entire trail isn't open all year round because of hunting.
I wanted to use this 27ish mile run as a training run for my 50K and because of races and hunting season this past weekend was the only opportunity to do so. I was a bit worried about the conditions of the trail, since our snow still isn't 100% gone.
Here I go!
Saturday morning at 7am, I set out to start making my trek along the trail. Mike dropped me off at the start, because you can't park there, and then he went to one of the places he could stop and park. I had four other friends meeting me about a tenth of a mile down the trail. As I came running up a hill, I saw them in the distance cheering for me.
The five of us continued on our way and we saw Mike in a few places before he went to get ready to join our group.
Running down the hill at Valentown
Another downhill around mile 4
This photo makes me laugh, we're all doing something different!
The trail conditions were varied. In some spots there was still snow and ice and in others we were trudging through almost knee-deep water. The mud was unrelenting in some spots, but we continued on. There was one water crossing that we did not do, except one of us, because the water was too strong. We had to detour to the road and then connect with the trail again.
Thanks to these people, I made it as far as I did
I love this photo!
When we made it to the halfway point, I thought about stopping. I thought about asking one of our friends for a ride back to Mike's car, almost 8 miles away. But, I popped a few pretzels in my mouth, refilled my water and kept trudging along.
We made it back to the barn where a few of our friends had parked their car and finished their run. Our friend, Todd, who had finished at the halfway point was there. He asked if we needed food or a ride.
I joked that I wanted the ride, but would be mad at myself if I didn't keep going. So I took some more pretzels and Mike and I continued on our way.
There was a moment when I thought I would keep going all the way to the end. Then the last stretch before Mike's car really started to take its toll on me. I was worried about doing the last 6 miles by myself (Mike did an almost 16 mile out and back), especially in the area that had the most water.
I stopped at Mike's car. I stopped at 21.27 miles.
I was too tired to even reset my watch, definitely NOT 10:08 average pace - that's lap pace
At first I was disappointed in myself that I didn't accomplish my goal (even today, I feel like I COULD have kept going). However, this was the furthest I have run in training so far this cycle and I had 5 hours on my feet. I may have been able to make it through the next section, about 2 miles, without injury but there's no way to know for sure. Mike would have had to come trekking through the water to come and find me if it started to take too long, and I didn't want him to have to do that (though I know he would have).
I am PROUD of what I accomplished. I know that without the mud and water (and maybe someone with me the entire time), I could have finished what I set out to do. I still have a little work to do on my mental state with running and training, but I am getting there.
There was no crying, no complaining (alright, there was a little bit of complaining), but I kept moving forward.
And, I have plans to tackle the entire length of the Seneca Trail again sometime in the summer. Hopefully there won't be as much mud next time!