My buddy Big Al mentioned he was doing a race called the Sehgahunda Trail Marathon. I looked into it. It was brand new and it just sounded like fun. The medal (a handmade thing with and arrowhead and beads) looked really cool. And also marathon runners got a hoodie. And it wasn’t expensive. Also, this was the inaugural race. I thought it would be cool to run the very first one. It really wasn’t in my training schedule, but I figured I could run it easy. So I registered.
This was the first marathon that I really didn’t train specifically for. I just decided to run it in the middle of all my Ironman training. I would run it as a long training run. I didn’t even taper for it.
The race took place in Letchworth State Park. Letchworth is known as the Grand Canyon of the East. The race would go from the Northern point of the park, down to the Southern point of the park. 90% of the race was on hilly, technical single track trails.
I got up at 4:30am, got everything ready that wasn’t ready the night before. I ate a PB&J sandwich, and drank some Pepsi. We were out the door by about 5am. It was me, my wife, and our dog Issa. The drive was about an hour and twenty minutes. I just followed the GPS. I missed a turn into the parade grounds, where we were supposed go. I had 3 other cars follow me, thinking I knew where the heck I was going. We did get turned around, and found the park. I checked in, got my bib (#45), and my hoodie. I went back to the car, and started getting all my stuff put on: Garmin 305, chest strap, bug spray, road id (crap forgot my road id), mp3 player, more bug spray. I filled my water bottle with Pepsi which I would carry in a lumbar holster. I filled my pockets with Carb Boom gels.
I wore my X-Ray jersey. I needed the pockets. I had planned to wear a shirt saying Running For Ethan, but I didn’t get a chance to make one. I had made an Iron-on of the design, but decided that if I tried to iron it on to a tech shirt, it would likely melt the tech shirt. And I still needed pockets. I will make one and wear it for a shorter more visible race.
I ran into a running friend Rick who does ultras (a Wakely Dam veteran). I wasn’t surprised to see him here. We talked for a bit. Then I found Al. Al was getting his stuff together. I borrowed his bag spray and sprayed some more on. I did not want to get eaten by black flies!!!
Al and I headed for the bus that would take us to the start. Then Al remembered his Garmin was sitting on top of his car. He has already lost one or two Garmins by forgetting them on the roof of his car.
The bus ride was fun, and we chatted and enjoyed to scenery which included some hot air balloons.
We arrived at the starting location, and I got my ankle strap timing chip. I made a last trip to the restroom. A girl asked if there were restrooms along the course. I told her yes, that they were brown with green tags hanging from them. She started saying she had been worried about them. I ended up having to explain I was joking, and I was referring to the trees…
The solo marathoners started at 8am, and the relay teams started at 8:30. We were given the final instructions. We lined up at the start, and we were off. 91 runners started the solo marathon race. The trail started out where were could run two abreast. But then it narrowed to a single track. I started out towards the back since I planned to run easy. I got my mp3 player and started running. I passed some of the slower runners and settled into a comfortable pace. I found myself running with my friend Rick. We took turns leading, and I talked away. He took a spill over a root, and needed to walk for a bit. So I kept going. I fell into pace behind another guy, and I listened to music. I eventually slowed down. I was trying to keep my heart rate about 130pbm (my HR zone 1-2). I walked the steeper and longer uphill parts to keep my HR down.
The check points/aid stations were located at miles 6.1, 8.6, 15.4, 17.7, 19.4, 21.9, 23.2 and 24.2 .The biggest gaps were between the start and the first aid station, and from the second to the third aid station. I just ran from aid station to aid station, refilling the cola in my water bottle. All but the last two aid stations were on these out and back side trails. They were all uphill to the aid stations. The trails to the early aid stations were through tall grass and mud. These were my least favorite parts of the course. I usually walked up these hills.
The first check point/aid station was at 6.1 miles. They had cola, so I added it to my Pepsi. Not as good, but oh well. I started running again…actually it was more of an easy jog. I saw Al coming up the hill to the aid station as I was on my way down.
I hooked up with Rick for a bit, and then dropped him again. On some of the other check point out and backs, I would see Rick coming up the hill as I was leaving. Then I didn’t see him till finish.
I just ran easy, taking my time at the aid stations. It was a very warm day, so I would pour a cup of water or two over my head to help cool myself down. I continued to drink cola, and take gels every 4 miles.
At the mile 15.4 aid station I met a couple Wakely Dam veterans that were working as volunteers. I had run with Chet a bit at one of the Wakely’s. I got my special needs drop bag here. I had put some Fig Newtons and bananas in there along with a 20oz Pepsi. I didn’t touch the Fig Newtons or the now baked bananas. I refilled my water bottle with the warm Pepsi and added some ice.
There were many, many little creek crossings! Getting across the water was never a big deal. They were very narrow, and you step on a rock, and go across. No biggie. The thing was for every creek, you went down a hill, crossed the creek, and went up a hill on the other side. And I am guessing there were dozens of them. These add up.
At the next aid station I was experiencing some chafing in my sweat soaked compression shorts. I asked for some Vaseline, but all they had was body glide. I took one of the tiny sticks, and went off to side. I mashed up the stick as best I could, and was rubbing all over down there. It helped! Next time I need to remember Vaseline! On the way down from this aid station, I tripped over a root but caught myself from falling. But this triggered a nasty cramp in my inner thigh on my left leg. It really hurt! I walked for a couple minutes, but it wasn’t helping. So I decided to run, and it didn’t hurt any worse, so I kept running. Slowly the cramp let go.
More aid stations came and went. The people were great. At the mile 23.2 aid station I got some ice and was sucking on it. Then I poured some water into it, and it was so good! I dumped the cola out of my water bottle, and filled it with ice water.
Now I was running on a dirt road, mostly up hill. I walked the steeper parts, and jogged the moderate parts. A mile later I arrived at the mile 24.2 aid station. They were giving away these Honey Stinger candy things. They are like natural energy gels or something. They have honey in them, and were really good. I ate a handful and the guy gave me a small bag of them. All the volunteers at the race were great!
Then I started running again. This next part was on a rail to trail type path. I caught up with a guy in front of me who was walking, so I slowed to walk with him for a while. We chatted. We took turns walking and running. We came to a paved road. We were close to the finish. We jogged easy up the hill, and around a corner. I could see the finish line in the distance. I pulled out my digital camera and was going to take video of my crossing the finish line. I was still feeling pretty good, so I picked up the pace and ran ahead.
So I am running towards the finish line holding my digital camera up taking video. I see a guy up ahead. I think I can catch him. So I start sprinting. I cross the finish line almost the exact same time as him. The results showed that I beat him by less than a quarter of a second. I finished in 6:08:08 in 42nd place out of 91 starters. My wife also got video of my sprinting to the finish line. My Garmin data later showed that I hit a 4:34 minute/mile pace here. It’s funny to see the video of me sprinting holding the digital camera up.
Thirteen people DNF’d. I am guessing due to the heat and the difficulty of the course. That’s one out of seven who did not finish.
My wife seemed to be enjoying watching the runners come in. She got harrased by bugs, and didn’t enjoy that part. Issa seemed to really enjoy all of the people, and they people seemed to like her. She’s a cutie!
I got a hamburger, and some fresh cold Pepsi! Then I sat and relaxed. I waited and got video of Rick finishing. Then I got to sit and relax some more. I went back for another hamburger, but they were out…so I ate a veggie burger and some cookies and some pasta salad. I was hungry. My Garmin said I burned over 3200 calories. I also ate a roast beef sandwich out of own cooler.
After a while Big Al brought his 7:00 pace group in at about 7:18. A little after his time goal, but they finished and all seemed happy. I got a video of them finishing also. I hung with Al for a while he got food. Then my wife and I packed up the car, and headed home. We stopped at Walmart and bought a couple bags of ice. I went home and took a nice ice bath to help my legs recover. I planned to stay in there for 15 minutes, but only made it to 10 minutes. It helped though!
My finish at the Sehgahunda Trail Marathon-my point of view
My finish at the Sehgahunda Trail Marathon-my wife’s point of view
My Garmin data: