It's probably best that I waited a week before writing this report, because this time last week (which would have been approximately 26 hours after finishing the race) I wasn't feeling awesome. I was sore, and tired, and wondering why in the world I do stuff like that to myself.
Anyways, let's start at the very beginning, which in the words of Julie Andrews, is a very good place to start.
If you've followed my blog at all, you might now that I'm working my way toward being a bonafide Ultra Marathoner. Last year I did my first 50K, and then my first 65K, and this year I'm going further. I wanted to take the next logical step (as if logic has anything to do with Ultra Running........) and do a 50 Mile race. I gave some thought to what was within a reasonable driving distance and decided on the Cayuga Trails 50 Mile in Ithaca NY.
I was pretty familiar with the Ithaca area as I went to college about an hour south of there, and would often drive through Ithaca on my way to and from there, and I would often make a quick stop in Ithaca since it's such a cool town and in such a beautiful setting. When I started to read about this race, I knew it was the one for me. The course is a 12.5 mile out and back, with a bit of a lollipop at the end of the 12 miles. It goes through the gorges in Robert Treman State Park and Buttermilk Falls State Park, and is absolutely gorgeous, but we'll come back to that later.
About a week before the race I started the obsessive weather watching, and at first, it wasn't looking too good- hot, humid, and rainy. As it got closer though, the forecast changed- the hot weather was supposed to break with thunderstorms that were rolling through on Saturday, and Sunday was supposed to have a high of about 62- pretty near perfect for running around in the forest all day.
I drove down on Saturday evening with my dad, and my 2 sons. After a night in a stinky hotel (tripadvisor.com was right!) I awoke bright and early and headed to the start, which was about 5 minutes away. I got there, got checked in, double and triple checked my shoelaces, and before I knew it they gave the 5 minute warning. It seemed a bit odd to me as I was walking to the starting line that even though I was about to run further than I ever had run before, I wasn't nervous at all- it was quite weird.
At the start line I found myself standing next to Scott Dawson (http://scottpdawson.com) who I kinda knew via Twitter, and we chatted for a few moments, and then we were off.
My plan for this race was to take it very easy. I was going to follow my standard 75/25 race rule- for the first 75% of the race, don't be stupid, and for the last 25% of the race, don't be a wimp. I really needed to be careful to not be stupid. About 5 weeks before race day I was starting to have pretty significant pain in the bump below my knee cap, where the patellar tendon inserts to the tibia. My chiropractor told me that it wasn't too serious, and I probably wouldn't do much damage by running this race, but with several weeks of rest (no training!) and many, many acupuncture needles stuck into my muscles and bones, I was at least mobile. My fitness wasn't where I was hoping it would be though, so I just wanted to take the day easy and get to the finish line in one piece.
I'll look forward to going into my next Ultra Marathon (the Ultra Trail Hurricane 125km) with more training in my legs, and seeing how that goes. But all things considered, I think I had a great day, and I'm looking forward to running far again soon.