When we left off, Mike had just taken off on his second leg of the day. The rest of us got in the van and took off, we went a different direction than the runners so we didn't get to cheer him on while he was running.
Mike about to run leg 14 of the race
Eventually, I got this feeling that we had gone too far and I looked at the directions and asked if we went by Townline Road. We had. Greg turned our van around and then we were back on track. By the time we parked and I ran my way down toward the exchange (as a brief warm-up), I knew I didn't have much time before Mike would come in from his leg.
I went across the road to the port-a-potties and the exchange, and asked if anyone in line was the next runner. One person said she was, and most of the people in line let us go ahead of them. I went to the bathroom and then when I came out, a few minutes later Mike was making his way up the road.
He did great on his second leg and ran the 3.1 miles in approximately 22 minutes at 7:11 pace!
I grabbed the slap bracelet from him and took off on my final leg of the day. My last leg was 3.7 miles and described as "down, down, down". While it was mostly downhill, there were still some rolling hills throughout.
Since we had caught the earlier starters, I passed quite a few people on this leg. The van drove by me shortly after I started and they cheered me on as they continued down the road. My first mile came in at 7:32.
As it was around 4:30pm, it was still hot out but I tried not to let that get to me. I just told myself that these were the final miles of Seneca7 (for me) this year and I didn't want to let my team down. The hills in the second mile slowed me down a little bit to an 8:12 pace, but I was still passing other runners.
The third mile had some nice downhills and unfortunately another runner passed me. It was the same guy from the second leg who passed me (I only recognized him since he had on a team shirt that said, "6 Mikes and Will" - I should have asked if he was a Mike or a Will!) When my watch beeped for the third mile (7:52 pace), I knew that the golf course had to be right around the bend in the road.
And it was. I could see the final turn for the exchange point in the distance. From doing this race so many times I knew that I would still have a bit of a run to the exchange point, but as I turned the final corner I saw one of our friends (the driver of team "Trail Heads") cheering me on. He told me that I knew how much was left and I kept going. Then I saw team "Trail Heads" walking toward me and they all cheered me on as I ran through.
So close to the end!
This part of the race is a bit congested since runners are running through the parking area for the golf course/exchange. I dodged some people and then I heard my team cheering for me. For some reason, I couldn't see Jamie and asked where he was (I thought he'd be wearing his grey shirt). Finally, I saw him and handed the slap bracelet off to him. And I was done!
Jamie's turn to run his final leg
I ran the 3.7 miles (I had slightly over on my watch) in 29:10 at 7:48 pace! Not a bad way to end my race.
Since Jamie had a slightly longer leg, we didn't have to rush out of the golf course. So we walked back to the van and I FINALLY could eat more than a few bites of food! The next legs took us through Sampson State Park and from previous years' experience, we knew that it was going to be really congested.
All the people!
Jamie finishing up his third leg
We got through Jamie and Erin's exchange point with relative ease and then we got to where Erin and Greg would exchange. This was so congested! Greg finally jumped out of the van (of course he was driving) and we parked. Mike and I walked down to the exchange (it took FOREVER and randomly I saw someone with a sweatshirt from my high school in Maine). We just barely made it to when Erin and Greg made the exchange.
I love this sequence of photos!
We saw our friends from Trail Heads (and we were calculating if we could catch/pass them!) and turned around to get back to the van in a hurry. Greg is super speedy (6:00-7:00 pace!) and I knew we wouldn't have much time before he would fly into the exchange. Mike, Erin and I saw the rest of our team and we hustled as much as we could back to the van (we really should have ran back, why we didn't I don't know, ha). As we were driving to the exchange, I was getting really worried that we weren't going to make it in time.
As we drove on the road that the exchange was on and we didn't see Greg, I knew we were going to cut it close. Finally, we saw him. RIGHT before the exchange! We told Heather to jump out (but to make sure that she crossed at the proper place, or we would have been disqualified)! We drove our van through the exchange and saw Greg running across the field toward us. He told us he was only standing there waiting for about a minute, so luckily the congestion didn't cost us too much time!
We didn't even stop at that exchange point and we continued on our way to the next stop. We chatted with team Trail Heads there, all while Mike was thinking we may have a chance to pass them, and then we saw Heather make her way up her final hill.
I am so proud of Heather, she was a sub for our team, didn't know many of us and crushed the runner 5 position that had the most mileage!
Team Trail Heads was only a few minutes ahead of us at this point and we knew that it was going to be close. When we finally got out of the exchange point (the vehicular, bike and runner traffic here was AWFUL!!), we drove by Liz. I wish we got a photo. She made the "I've got my eyes on you" hand motion, and we knew what she meant. She had Steven, from Team Trail Heads, in her sight!
When we went by him, we knew she may have a chance to catch him. We parked at the exchange point and we waited with everyone for Liz to come in.
Love the smile at the end!
First came Steven. And then a few seconds later Liz came running down the hill!
Mike's final leg and the final leg for our team!
Mike took the slap bracelet and before we had even turned back to the car, he had passed Team Trail Heads (this was just a fun way to motivate ourselves and since we are all friends it was some friendly competition, plus most of their runners had raced the day before so they are the true beasts!) A few of our runners got in the port-a-potty line and then we got in the car to go to the Team Reunification area.
Mike high-fiving members of Team Trail Heads
Looks like Mike is telling us to hurry up!
Before we knew it, Mike was running toward us (he ran his final 3.7 mile leg in approximately 28 minutes at 7:27 pace)! We all ran with him to the finish and then team "Girls in Skirts, Guys in Shirts" was done!
Our team ran the 77.7 miles in 10:12:38 with an average pace of 7:52. We came in 24th overall out of 211 teams that finished the race (7 team were disqualified) and 11th for mixed teams.
I can't believe another Seneca7 is over. This fourth year reaffirmed how much I love this race, and I hope that I get to continue to run this every year (I have to at least run every runner position!) I am glad that I was able to share this special race with old and new friends this year!