Zona and I got up nice and early on race morning to make the 20 minute drive out to the race site in the heart of the Finger Lakes National Forest, a place where people disappear.
I was quite sore this morning, but took the advice of this doctor to get rid of the "fuzz":
The main road (only road) out to the torture fest is RT 79. This road is basically a straight shot of rolling hills that go on and on and on and on. It's an incredible place if you ever want to hit a deer.
After we spotted our first deer around mile 1 of 20, our driving slowed down just a tad....
55 MINUTES LATER
We eventually arrived at the race site with plenty of time to spare, which gave me a chance to work on my triathlon transition time.
You know you're in for a good race when you see a sign like this:
I set up my base camp about 10 feet off of the race path near the finish of each loop. There would be three loops and I planned on checking into my comfy sports chair each time round.
Zona and Carla were off doing what female ultra runners do, which is to say, I have no idea.
I didn't see them again for another 11-13 hrs. I guess people really do disappear in the Finger Lakes.
The race started on a well-packed gravel road, which felt great under my feet. I love that delusional feeling that you get at the start of every race. I could hold this pace forever!! WOOHOO!
I had brought two pairs of trail sneakers with me and had on the least comfortable pair for the first 16 mile loop. They didn't feel all too bad right now. This is awesome!
It's been over three months since this race took place, so I can't really recall every little detail, but I can tell you that it absolutely started to suck around mile 12 when I came upon something resembling Swamp Thing's vacation home.
There's mud, and then there's Finger Lakes mud.
It's the type of mud that could easily suck the shoes right off of your feet.
It was so frustrating trying to "run" on the well-worn horse trails (about 30 miles of the course) covered in ankle deep mud. You couldn't go more than 50 ft without stepping in something that resembled last night's dinner, if last night's dinner just so happens to be hay and horse shit.
We ran through cow pastures, hay fields, single track trails; on roads, gravel paths, and newts. You name it, we ran on and over it.
Making things ever more difficult was the fact that you had to stay alert for trail markings to guide you on the correct path. One misstep and you could easily head in the wrong direction for god knows how many miles. Right, Zona? :)
By the time I reached the end of the first 16+ mile loop my first pair of trail shoes were about two pounds heavier, caked with "mud". Who am I kidding. It was caked with shit.
I gingerly walked over to my sports chair and looked at my Garmin.
It had taken me almost three hours to run/walk/crawl 16 miles. Two more times? You have got to be kidding me!
I could tell that this was going to be a very long fahking day, unless of course I somehow died during the second loop, which would make for a much shorter day. At least I wouldn't see any more god damn newts.
I looked back at my Garmin and hit the lap button for the first time as I headed back out for my second serving of misery.