Another fabulous Seneca7 is in the books! (<– click the link for more info about the race/last year’s recap) I was fortunate enough to get to race the relay again this year and it was a great day with some awesome people.
Seneca7 is a 77.7 mile relay race around Seneca lake. (<– clicky clicky for more race specific info) Each relay team has seven members running three legs each totaling somewhere in the ballpark of 9-13 miles apiece. It’s an all day event and is a really fun way to spend a Sunday in the beautiful spring weather with friends.
I was an alternate for a team that was primarily made up of tri club people and got pulled in about a month or so prior to race day. I will say thanks largely in part to the slacking I’ve done the last couple of weeks, I was totally ill prepared and under trained for the amount of running, especially hill running, I was in for.
We all met up around 7am and shortly there after packed up the van and headed downtown to jump in on our 8am wave start. The weather was incredible! Not a cloud in the sky, sunny, and slated for mid 60’s, all though it did end up over 70 and you could definitely tell while you were running.
I got to be lucky runner number Four this year. Runner four is a pretty infamous position to get saddled with as it’s the leg that runs up out of Watkins Glen.
My first leg was pretty good. The first mile was down hill and I clocked my fastest mile of the day there at 9:16, a number I would never see again. After that first mile it was rollers right up until a nasty three hump hill where the exchange point was rigggghhhhhtttttt at the very top. I was huffing and puffing my way up that hill. Alvah had me marked down for a 10:30 pace, but with some current events and my lack of training I never reached that pace as my overall average per leg. Pretty disappointing consider my leg splits for last year were 9:06, 9:01, and 9:22 respectively. It’s okay though, I still had a great day out running the lake with good friends. My first leg average came in at 10:47. I just couldn’t maintain going up hill.
My second leg was the treacherous hill out of Watkins. Even the bike teams had dismounted to walk the monster hill. The pain, the hill, the climb, it’s real and it hurts. This leg is brutal. Absolutely freaking brutal! After you finally get up the monster, the road levels out some and you have a stretch of flat for a bit. But it’s short lived and eventually it’s more uphill running. It’s more gradual after the monster, but the fact remains you’re going uphill for the entire 3.5 mile slog. By that time it was hotter out than it was originally supposed to be and the sun was beating down. I was thirsty and hot and not in hill running shape. I came in with a sad overall leg pace of 11:25. Oops, sorry team.
By the time my final leg rolled around my legs were heavy. My lack of training and spending a good amount of time crammed into a mini van was catching up to me. Thankfully my last leg was a small descent out of Sampson State Park and onto East Lake Road where I had a straight, flat shot to the next exchange point. I did some run-walk intervals since my quads were on fire about half way through. I did finally pass off the slap bracelet to Fred for the last time and revel in my finished glory. My final leg average pace was 10:45. I’m pretty sure I was the only one out of the seven of us to miss their pace all day. Personally, I’m not thrilled with my performance, but it’s mostly my own doing having fallen off the bandwagon recently.
I did a solid ten miles over the course of my three legs, my longest run since my last half marathon back in November. Our team as a whole did great. We had four runners on our team not only averaging sub-7 minute miles, but crushing 6:30 and under miles! Myself and the other two remaining runners were in double digits, so our total team pace for the whole race was 8:06/mile giving us a finish time of 10:31:15, good enough for 38/191 overall and 18th for mixed teams overall! We even finished a full half an hour earlier than Alvah had predicted when he did the math with all of our projected paces. If only I had hit mine, we would have killed it even more. But overall, a great place for a team who wasn’t in it for the results.
Jeff Henderson is an incredible Race Director and puts on one hell of a race. He sincerely cares and listens to feedback and makes the changes desired happen the next year. The big improvement this year; leg runner specific restrooms! There are two-five porta potties at each exchange and if you’re the next runner up it usually ends with you begging to cut the line, but this year one of the porta potties at each stop was specified for the runner getting handed off to at that exchange. It was a really nice touch since bathrooms are the general issue all day long.
This race is amazing and one I feel everyone should jump into at least once. I will always be humbled and grateful every year where the opportunity for me to participate presents itself. The perfect way to run a relay!