Here are the basic stats on the Seneca 7, a relay race that six other BAMRs and I ran on April 29:
- Seneca is one of the Central New York Finger Lakes.
- It is 77.7 miles around.
- The start is in Geneva, the midpoint is Watkins Glen, the end is in Geneva.
- As long as the lake is on your left, you are going the right way.
- Each runner runs three legs of varying lengths and elevation.
- The last runner needs to start her last leg by 7:57 p.m.
- This year there were 348 teams.
- The April weather in this neck of the woods can be …. unpredictable.
- It is more fun than a barrel of puppies — but about as stinky.
- Come along with us (there will be one f-bomb, btw) and be thankful there is no scratch-and-sniff component.
The whole adventure started last year, when I asked five mother runners I know if they wanted to do something foolish. All five women said yes. Marianne recruited Amy H., who is an AMR devotee but not technically a mother-to-humans. We made plans. And when the day arrived, we all descended from points east, south, and west on a Holiday Inn Express in Geneva.
For the previous six runnings, the race caught decent spring weather. Lucky number seven did not.
All of our plans for cute race day outfits went out the window. On went the layers.
Promptly at 6:07 Sunday morning, we trooped out to the van to drop Carol (runner 1) and Marianne (runner 2) at the start. Because I packed poorly, we were missing a crucial item: our van sign that would let us park at the exchanges. Back to the hotel we went and, since we had some time, we also grabbed a cinnamon roll or two.
Thus fortified, we drove off to Exchange 2 and the race really began. It took us a leg or two to sort out how all of the maps worked (totally not the fault of the maps) and get our bearings. But then we were a finely tuned machine. Ish.
Because of the hard time cut-off and the need for a 10:30/mile average, we were just a little bit concerned about finishing the race. Most of Team BAMRs' runners — especially the zippy quick Heather and Amy H — were unconcerned. Lisa, Marianne, Carol, and Amy B. felt they could get close to that. The driver (and runner #7), which would be me, was silently freaking out. There is no way I could hit that. And, yet, because I had the good sense to surround myself with fasties, we made it.
Still, at one point during the first legs, in this van full of experienced runners, the phrase “clearly we need to bank some time” was uttered. I blame the sugar rush from the cinnamon rolls.
We made it to the halfway point in decent time, despite the snow that turned into sleet that turned into freezing rain. By Watkins Glen, the precipitation had mostly stopped, which was nice. The wind really picked up, which wasn’t so nice.
Apart from Amy H, who is planning to run an ultra soon and picked the longest leg, the rest of us chose more or less at random. I took the last leg, since I was the ringleader who has super-good ideas. Amy B. wound up with the steepest bit.
When we passed her in the van when she was three-quarters of a mile in, while we cowbelled our little hearts out, she turned to give us a double-bird salute with some swearing aimed in our general direction. Totally fair. She killed the leg, btw.
It never got any warmer, by the way, but it was nice to not be pushing through slush. My one note to myself is to remember to grab two pairs of shoes: one for running and one for driving. Wet kicks are no fun.
We ran on. We foam rolled. We snacked. We stared off into space. We passed around some Advil, NUUN, and a Gu or two.
Then it was my last leg, which took the team to the lakefront park near the start.
When I rounded the corner to the finish line, the other six met me and we crossed the finish together. It was glorious.
It was also hard and exhausting and exhilarating and freaking cold. I would do it all again in a heartbeat — and just might next year, if I can remember register during the three-minute window registration is open.
The entire race this year was won by Red Newt Racing, an all-women team, who finished in 7:54:26. The closest all-male team, the Liar, Liar, Feet On Fire came in at 7:55:42. Team BAMR: We Get The Run Done took 305 th place, with a time of 13:19:03. We took first place for fun, however.