Cayuga Trails 50 Miler
Ithaca, New York
June 1, 2014
Here I am 3 months later sitting down to type up my race report, what a slacker I’ve been, lets see how much I recall.
This was my first 50 Miler, and if you can see from the elevation chart above it aint easy!! I went into this silly adventure with only one goal –to finish. I had been running a lot of races from Jan – June so I wasnt too worried about my fitness level, I thought I was prepared when it came to my nutrition, learned from others mistakes and went in with a good attitude. Oh and I also did a really smart thing, I went up to Ithaca in May with some friends to practice the course. THAT WAS THE BEST DECISION EVER! Not only did we have an awesome time camping, running the whole course, seeing all the stairs, climbs, waterfalls, etc helped ease my mind. The practice trail camp group consisted of some badass runners; Ralph, Prince Nobu, Maggatron and me. Ralph ran the course last year and helped us out a ton by remembering the trails. He is currently kicking some major ass in Madagascar right now. Chasing down the ultra sensation Ryan Sandes. Nobu new to ultra and trail running just recently ran a 17 hour 100 Miler. insane! oh and he’s a sub 3hr marathoner! Maggatron a super beast just ran a 18 hr 100 miler and set the course record at Viaduct. So yah I was in good company. ha ha.
Our Come and Take It Crew set up a nice camp and had a nice spacious area.
Race Morning was calm for me as I had organized my drop bag the night before and had all my nutrition ready. I am not going to go thru each mile but instead break it up into parts that I remember best. Miles 1 -17 were SO fun. I ran with my friend KenTom and we laughed the whole time. We were like the peanut gallery. I think we were only a few miles in and already got lost cuz we were too busy talking and lost track of the flags. Lucky for us we didn’t go too far and we came back over some bridge and took a photo.
Ken and I cheered on the lead pack as they were already coming back!! FAST RUNNERS. It was already getting warm so a lot of the guys had their shirts off. This is when it really got fun. We yelled HEY SEXY, HEY GOOD LOOKING to just about every dude who passed. I also started yelling DO YOU WANNA MAKE OUT! and Ken would add in Please Make Out With MY Friend. I can’t imagine why no one wanted to make out with me. We at least put a smile on their face. Somewhere around Mile 17 KenTom was starting to cramp and I decided to go off ahead on my own. It was sad cuz then it meant I was running alone. So much more fun to run 50 miles with someone. Oh well. I made it to the 25 Mile cut off with 30 mins to spare, woo hoo. Thats me below coming in at the half way mark. 25 down, 25 to go!
I saw a few friends who had to DNF and they told me Kino had not come thru. I couldn’t believe it because Kino is waaaaaay more experienced than me at ultra’s. Turns out he had gotten lost, a couple times and was suffering from an injury. I refilled my pack, ate some food at the Aid Station, went to the bathroom and took off. Miles 25 – 37 were quite boring. I would cheer every time I passed a fast friend who was already coming back (the course was an out and back). I never really had a low moment, didn’t feel sick or tired just BORED. Oh and I was starving. I clearly did not count my calories correctly. I was going thru my gels and bars like crazy. I also took Heed perpetuem solids aka poooooptuem. The solids taste like chalk. The first few times I wanted to puke them out, so hard to eat cuz it turns into paste. Like you know at the dentist when they make a mold of your teeth, that awful taste after, imagine that but you have to eat and swallow. eeeeeew! After a few tho, it didn’t bother me and I was really fast at swallowing them, then would wash down with water. taaadaaaa not gross anymore! My boredom continued and I had heard the Buttermilk Aid Station had Pickles AND Beer. This aid station would be mile 37 and where I left my drop bag. I put a few extra gels in my drop bag thinking I wouldn’t need them. WRONG. I had eaten all my bars and gel and saved two espresso gels for the last miles. Sure enough the rumors were true. BEER AND PICKLES AND ICE!! YUM!!! I took my sweet time at this station, I could have taken a nap. I must have stood around for at least 20 minutes, i was also hoping Kino would show up and yes, right as I took off I heard Kino yelling my name. YAY! I went back and waited for Kino & Violet so we could finish Miles 37- 50 together. So here goes Miles 37-50…….A few miles later before the Underpass Aid Station there was some dude sitting on the trail with more beer. He said it was a Runners Special. Yes sir, fill’er up please. yum! we were off again. The three of us are pretty tired and ready to be done when I suddenly have to go to the bathroom. Like Number two, not number one. And I have to go baaaaaaad!!!! damn pooooooptuem. Kino tries to distract me but the more I am talking poop the worse it gets, y’all know what i mean. We had a gazillion stairs to climb, Lucifer stairs, not lying, that is what they are called, you can look at the course map. Well climbing stairs does not help when you have to poop and especially these steep stairs, i decided to go up on all fours. This is a photo of Lucifer, straight up and steep.
We are at or about 42 miles and only a few more miles until the next Aid Station that had a bathroom. Kino kept telling me to wait but I knew that wasnt going to happen. SO then we discussed what I could use for toilet paper. Stupid me forgot my wipes in my drop bag. DUMB! I thought about using a sock but i was scared I would have crazy blisters from all the water crossings and didn’t want to risk taking my shoe off after 40 something miles. I could have used my shirt but I really liked it. I don’t really need a sports bra but again its a good one and I didn’t want to ruin it. My wrist band was too small and then Kino blurted out USE YOUR UNDERWEAR! YES, genius!!!! Yep, so thats what I did folks. I had an empty zip lock in my pack, put the underwear in them when i was done, and felt a million times better after that. Who needs underwear, don’t care! so light and ready to knock out the last few miles. We made it to the last Aid Station, Mile 46.9 and the volunteers told us we had plenty of time to make cut off. We ate more pickles and I ate the last espresso gel I saved for the end. We trotted off and about a mile later the sweeper came up behind us like a crazed man and started barking in our ears that we better start running fast or we would get DNF…. WHAAAAAAAT. Oh no way in hell i was going to be out there that long and not get to finish. and just like that the last 5k becomes the fastest part of our day. No idea how we got ourselves to move so fast… oh wait cuz the crazed sweeper behind us was screaming at us to moooooooooooooooooooove. We had hills, stairs, up, down, holy shit, we were flying, the sun was going down and I couldn’t feel my legs. All I remember was we made the last turn into the park and we heard so much cheering. All of our friends had waited for us to cross the line. We barely made the 15 hour cut off coming in at 14 hrs 47 mins
It was an awesome feeling to finish and have 20 of your friends waiting and cheering for you. The sun was going down quick and it was starting to get chilly. I was ready for a beer, shower, take my contacts out, eat and sleep. In that order.
Overall I was happy with my performance. I went in with one goal — to finish and I did. Cayuga is a tough course. Lots of climbing and stairs. I think I heard over 1,000 stairs, and we got extra elevation this year. How nice of the RD. The course was 12,000 feet gain and 12,000 feet loss, thats the equivalent of climbing UP & DOWN Mount Fuji. We ran thru quite a few river crossings (ill include more photos of the course below) and I got ZERO blisters! I wear Feetures socks — have never gotten blisters with these and I also used Trail Toes thanks to Maggatron, I lubed up my feet before the race, used a whole package. That being said all the lube in the world doesn’t prevent swelling, I woke up with cankles but thats what flip flops are for. Look at these perfectly smooth no blister feet!
I was sore and stiff for a couple days but nothing out of the ordinary. I still had to walk down stairs backwards but only for a couple days. My legs felt heavy for a few days but I returned to running after a week with no issues. If you want a challenging 50 Mile course and beautiful—- run Cayuga. Ithahca’s tagline is “ITHACA GORGE” and its true. The volunteers were all super nice but the Aid Stations ran out of food for the back of packers. The last few Aid Stations had just a few chips. This race also doesn’t give you a finisher medal of any type. We received a small messenger bag with our bibs but they are super cheap and mine has already fallen apart. So don’t expect any type of swag, medal etc…