Time: 5:25:21 Place: 4/122
My #Edinburgh24 training plan called for 31 miles on Saturday and 37 miles on Sunday so a back to back race weekend seemed like a perfect way to get in most of the miles in a supported way. I’d heard lots of good things about the Finger Lakes 50s from a friend who had run it several times. I’d never been around to do it so added my name to the waitlist. I’d almost given up hope when ten days before the race I received an email to say I had a place.
The race started at a campground so I decided to take advantage of the free accommodation and camp overnight. I drove up on the Friday afternoon (about 6 hours from DC) and arrived just before dark. Parking was on a track a short walk from the campsite so I parked and carried my gear in. I found a spot in amongst the tents that were already pitched and had a dinner of pasta salad and cold roasted veggies and was in bed by 10.
I set the alarm for 4:45 to have my PB&J bagel before wandering over to registration at 5am. Number pick up was straight forward and I got ready for the race, filling my Nathan bladder from the large water tank near the restrooms. I was also going to be carrying two bottles for tailwind, with the plan to be self sufficient for each lap.
The race start was on the fire road where I had parked the previous night and we had to check in there to confirm we were running.
After a short race briefing (shut the gates so the cows don’t get out) we were off. The first part was on fire road to allow the field to spread out before entering the single track. Knowing that this was the first of two races over the weekend and that it would get hot, I started conservatively but was soon passing people despite not picking up my pace. The aid stations were well stocked so I was snacking on things as I passed (oreos and fig rolls). I was feeling good and enjoying the scenery and a good mix of single track and fireroad, all very runnable and well marked.
At about mile 11 I came to a metalled road with no indication of which way to go. I started up hill figuring that if I was wrong I’d be coming back down hill. I saw a marshall in the distance but he was waving me back so I ran down the hill and reached a turning with marking but they were set up for runners coming the other way. Normally I print out and carry a trail map but hadn’t this time so I consulted my phone. I realized I’d missed a turn on the trail and was able to run along a side road to get back to the trail and an aid station. People were coming into it from the right direction as I arrived. I was annoyed at myself for missing the trail marker but not worried about the extra miles given this was a training run.
The remainder of the lap was without incident. More lovely trails, all well marked and another aid station before reaching the start/finish line at the end of lap 1 in 2 hours 41 minutes. Here I found out that all the front runners had gone off course as someone had moved a marker. I felt better about my navigation abilities!
I refilled my tailwind and topped up my bladder before setting out on lap 2. It was getting hotter so I was supplementing the liquid I was carrying with coke at aid stations, and watermelon was going down very well too. I lapped a few people on this lap but there was no sign of runners overtaking me, or me catching anyone. I was running well but varying my effort out of necessity due to the heat, pushing a bit on shaded sections and taking it easier in the hotter shadeless sections. The turning I’d missed on the first lap was well marked second time around and I completed lap 2 in 2 hours 43 minutes (running about a mile less, but in much hotter conditions).
The announcer was asking runners whether they were carrying on to do another lap as they approached the finish line and I half considered carrying on to do the 50 miler (for about 2 seconds). If it wasn’t for the race the next day (and the heat) I might have done. Maybe next time!
I used my finisher pint glass to drink several pints of water (skipping the beer that was on offer) and had some great food from the caterers. I changed in the tent, then wandered round for a bit to give my body some time to recover before I packed the tent and headed down to Pennsylvania for race number 2 of the weekend.
Watermelon is great on hot races.
Always carry a trail map.