Well, it was a hot brutal slog, in the best possible sense of those words. I ran the Sehgahunda Trail Marathon in just over 7 hours. Gullies and mud, heat and a pissed off snake.
The race is divided into 9 sections ranging in length from just under 2 miles to over 6. After the third checkpoint time cut-offs kick in, meaning if racers don’t reach the checkpoints by specific times they are disqualified. All of this takes place over hundreds of hills and gullies that follow the Letchworth Gorge. It’s a beast.
I went in nervous about the condition of my knee (IT band trouble) and concerned about the temperature, which was supposed to top out in the mid-eighties. I settled into an easy pace but felt tired and heavy almost right away. I realized nerves had kept me from having a good breakfast and started snacking right away. I also realized that the two liters of water I was carrying might be contributing to my sense of “heaviness”, so I sipped away. By the third checkpoint I was feeling stronger and confident.
Coming out from the third checkpoint I hopped a small gully and surprised a snake. There are rattlesnakes in Letchworth but this guy was quiet. He slithered off, leaving me to collect my wits and make sure that I hadn’t lost too much bladder control.
By the last few miles of the race I had slowed to a run-hike over some pretty nasty hills. I put in my headphone and tuned out from my body a bit with music. I was still drinking as much as I could and feeling…good is not the right word, but surprisingly not-awful. I was tired and sore but it was manageable. I finally reached the last few flat miles and ran in over the finish, utterly shocked to have finished this race in decent condition.
Looking back, I realize the keys were eating early, hydrating like crazy and slowing down for some “active recovery”. If conditions had been different I might have tried to push harder…nah, who am I kidding? I was happy to finish and not feel like shit.