After backpacking for 3 days and sleeping in a tent for the 4 nights leading up to the race I was a little nervous about how my energy level and legs would be. My mom and I decided to run the whole race together because how many people can say they ran a 50k with their mom??!! It was a great time to catch up and chat.
We had an early start at 6:30am, the course started on a dirt/gravel road for about a quarter of a mile downhill, which helped thin everyone out. We then ducked into a single track trail and slowed way down because there were so many people. Trail followed single track for a while in the woods, then we came out to an open meadow/cow field, then ducked back into the woods. There were aid stations spaced about every 3 miles so it was easy to stop and grab anything you needed pretty frequently. We didn’t stop at too many because I had a hydration pack and mom had 2 bottles in her pack- I think we ended up saving a lot of time running past quite a few of the aid stations while others stopped at most it seemed. Most of the trail was on single track in the woods, with a couple open areas out in the sun. It was supposed to get into the 90s so I felt prepared with lots of water, food, S caps, hat, etc. First time I have used S caps and they really seemed to help with the heat- didn’t have any problems. As we were about halfway through the first loop (of 2), I stubbed my big toe/first ray on a rock and thought for a split second it was broken. Had to hobble for a while, not long after, mom fell and re-injured a strain from Bighorn a couple weeks before. We stopped and walked a while off and on until we both felt a bit better. Soon we were moving at a good pace again. There were a few more open meadows that had great views of the Seneca Lake and wineries- it was beautiful.
We made it into the halfway point at the Start/Finish at 2:20. I was aiming at a finishing time of 6:30 so I felt like I was doing OK- I later found out the race was actually 33 mi instead of 31 mi so I felt much better about my time. My legs felt good and I felt like I still had quite a bit of energy. The course wasn’t that tough technically or hilly, but the second loop definitely seemed harder! Realized that I was walking a lot more of the hills than I did before. I felt like the first loop I was running pretty slow, but I think I walked a lot more the second loop. I was hoping for negative splits but it didn’t seem like it would happen. Mom seemed to have a new burst of energy the second loop and was definitely pushing me through. I was struggling by the last few miles and was very ready to be done! Finally we hit the last aid station with 3 miles to go and I really tried to kick it in- although I have a feeling my pace stayed the same Mom and I crossed the finish line in 6:50 and I ended up being pretty happy with my time- I think I PR’d for my 50k time since this race was actually 33 miles. As we were walking away from the finish line someone ran up to me and said I won my age division! I couldn’t believe it!!! I received a finisher’s award of a little wooden cow. Thomas won his age division a couple years ago so I couldn’t wait to surprise him.
My dad ran the 50 mile race and had Thomas pace him for the last 16 miles. He ended up winning his age division as well, so it was a good day for the Johnson family! Overall Finger Lakes Fifties was a great race, well organized, great people and a great area. We celebrated the race by hitting up a “healthy” Mexican restaurant in Ithaca, NY later!