Monday, March 8, 2010

2010 Seneca Creek Greenway 50K

"Be anxious for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." Philippians 4:6

The Seneca Creek Greenway 50K is in the books. I ran this race on Saturday and could not have asked for a better day to run. First of all I have to say thanks to Ed Schultze and his great group of volunteers, especially those who contributed to the trail clean-up the week prior to the race -- awesome job. The Seneca Greenway Trail is a runners trail. Starting in Damascus, MD and ending at Riley’s Lock on the Potomac River, the course is a net downhill run and even with some snow, ice and mud, it ran pretty fast.

I was lucky enough to have two of my daughters follow me down the course and provide some crew support. It really warmed my heart that two teenagers would be willing to get up early on a Saturday and follow their old man around Maryland. I have said it before; I am a lucky man to have such a wonderful family that supports my ultrarunning habit -- THANKS.

We started the run at 0800 from the Damascus Park. Due to the trail conditions, Ed had offered an early start option at 0700, so the total of 300+ runners were spread out pretty good and congestion was never a problem. It was about 30 degrees as we left the park and ran downhill for about the first mile on paved trail to the creek. Once on the trail it was single track all the way until the last mile at Riley’s Lock. The goal for the day was consistency, I wanted to try and run similar splits for the entire race. I started this race way to fast last year and paid for it in the end.

Coming in to the first aid station, at 7 miles, I was just over a 9 minute pace (1h:4m compared to last years 54 minutes) and just where I wanted to be. My youngest daughter, Abby, had the camera duties and was very good at snapping shots at each of the aid stations, while Ashley gave me a fresh bottle and I was down the trail.
Aid Station 2 was at about 11 miles; I was staying right at my 10 minute pace and covered the distance in 40 minutes. Quick aside on nutrition; I have been struggling fiercely with caloric intake during my runs, stomach just doesn’t want to cooperate. I have been a big fan of Ensure drinks and have used them for over 2 years, well Saturday I tried some Odwalla Superfood Products and they seemed to work great. The fruit smoothie drinks were loaded with potassium and the protein drink contained a whopping 33g of soy protein. These drinks combined with some early Hammer gels, water and SCaps seemed to do the trick. Throughout the race I drank 2 of the 16oz fruit smoothies (320 calories a piece) and 1 chocolate protein drink (500 calories) and I had consistent energy all the way to the finish.

Aid Station 3 is the Clopper Lake aid station and the split for the marathoners and the 50Kers. The loop around the lake is about three and a half miles and I was sticking to the 10 minute pace, finishing in 35 minutes. With 13 miles to go, I was feeling pretty strong.

This next section of the trail is where I lost it last year. From Clopper Lake to Riley’s Lock the trail is marked every half mile with wooden markers. Last year just after the 12 mile marker the course left the Seneca Creek Trail for about 2 miles and then rejoined just prior to the 11 ½ mile marker, I wasn’t expecting this and it really got inside my head. This year that section of the course was not in use due to the trail conditions so the mile markers were accurate all the way to the finish. Not that the extra distance was a problem last year it was the psychological impact of thinking I was further down the trail than I was. If the Rifleford loop had been in effect this year I would have been mentally prepared.
Maintaining my 10 minute pace, got me into aid station 5 (25.5 miles) about 15 minutes earlier than planned and I caught the crew sleep in the parking lot. No worries, quick refuel and onto the final 6.5 miles. This section of the trail was very muddy but nearly all of the snow cover was gone and I was once again able to keep on pace. I broke off the trail with 1 mile to go and heading into a strong finish at 5h:07m which averaged out to be just under a 10 minute pace. It was a good day. Thanks again to Ed and all of the volunteers -- Great Race!!
With the MMT100 just over the horizon on 15-16 May, I am feeling pretty good about my running. I think Saturday gave me two steps forward on the nutrition front, now I just need to hold that ground. I have a pretty heavy race schedule for the rest of this month and into April and continue to pray for guidance and wisdom I try to prepare my body for the upcoming events. The Lord continues to bless me and keep me injury free. The support of my family, motivation of running in faith and for the pleasure of Christ along with the knowledge that my efforts are contributing to fundraising for Injured Marines is all of the sustainment that I need. My next event is this coming Saturday, Elizabeth’s Furnace 50K - - back to the mountains. Run Strong!
God Bless and Semper Fi,


  1. Great Run Huffer. Enjoyed your report and photos. Looks like a run I should plan to do. God Bless and Happy Trails. Dean Wewetzer (Army-Ft Monroe,VA)

  2. Mike,

    Great job saturday. You looked wonderfully strong and comfortable. I had heard that part of the course was cut due to washout. Did they really cut 2 full miles off? I thought I overheard another runner say 0.75 was cut? Either way the course ran surprisingly fast. It was the mud, not so much the snow, that slowed things down. Hope to see you 'round the trails.

    -Mike Bailey

  3. Great job! Nice to have your daughters there to support you. Beautiful pace!

  4. ....after Saturday's race, I think my name will have to be trail running mama! I really loved the trails! Cant wait for my next one.

  5. Awesome job! I should have run it! Maybe next year when I don't have Umstead and my first 100 looming in front of me. I'll see you at Bull Run from the other side of the Aid station (as a vol.)

  6. Solid. I'll see ya at the BRR 50!


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