2014-03-08 - Seneca Creek Greenway Trail Marathon 2014

~29 miles @ ~17.5 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/SCGT_deer_skulls_mile_8_z.jpgSnow earlier this week followed by warm days makes for an über-mudday Seneca Creek Greenway Trail race. Since it's not going to be a fast day, it might as well be fun, eh?

At ~8 miles into the trek I spot a trio of deer skulls on a log, each one wearing a Santa Claus style cap. Photo op! After lying down on the ground by the tableau to take a self-portrait another runner comes by. He kindly pauses to take additional pictures of me there.
A freight train rumbles across the old stone viaduct above Seneca Creek and provides another selfie opportunity at mile ~16. See the report on the SCGT of 2006 for an image from the same spot taken by dear friend Caren Jew during the race 8 years ago — her first ultramarathon!http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/SCGT_2014_stone_viaduct_train_mile_16_z.jpg
http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/SCGT_2014_mile_17_KT.jpgAce photographer Ken Trombatore captures the archetypal contrast of today, between happy trots along dry, safe segments of the course, and nervous descents on melted-and-refrozen icy chutes. Conditions overall are tougher than during the "Ice Year", the 2007 SCGT.http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/SCGT_2014_mile_17_icy_KT.jpg
The main reason for difficulty: mud, muck, and mire. A typical view downward at mile 20 shows shoes standing in soul-sucking sole-sucking slime.

After walking most of the second half, however, I feel a burst of energy once the course turns onto the final uphill paved pathway. According to the Garmin GPS trackfile that stretch is the fastest of the day. I pass a runner in a Spiderman costume, who after he finishes kneels down in front of a woman, pulls out a ring, and asks her to marry him. She accepts.

Barry Smith finishes in 8:19, far ahead of my official result of 8:32:35 gun time, 08:31:51 chip time. Ken Swab reports on his journey with badly injured ultra-tough (and ultra-foolish) Jennifer Weiland on the longer "50k" (likely 32+ miles) run. They arrive in about 9:14. Friends Rebecca Rosenberg and Gayatri Datta wisely declare victory and stop at the MD-355 aid station, 20+ miles in. Adeline Ntam poses for photos with me before and after the race; she does the 50k in under 8 hours.

^z - 2014-04-05