If this were a normal spring, Sunday would see seven BAMRs cramming themselves into a van to run the Seneca 7 relay. Alas.
When the whole pandemic started to pick up steam back in mid-March, it looked like the race might be able to go on. After all, it would be run in late April. Surely by then we’ll have figured out all of this COVID-19 stuff?
Yeah, I’m laughing, too. And, to be honest, crying a little bit as well.
But we make do. The race organizers came up with a plan to offer a virtual version of their annual 77.7 mile race around Seneca Lake. Each runner would still run three legs but could do them whenever they wanted, as long as they hit the right mileage and made at least some attempt to match the elevation profile. The times would be officially recorded and displayed. So it would kind of be like the race and yet nothing at all like one.
I mean, is it really the Seneca 7 if you aren’t half-frozen, running from dawn to dusk, raiding the Wegman’s, and swinging a cowbell? No. No, it isn’t.
Still, I figured I could hew to the spirit of the event, at least, and chose to do my first two legs when I knew it would be just above freezing and raining. We decided to run our third legs consecutively on Saturday, April 18, and hand off via text, if only to replicate the experience of prepping to run, waiting for the runner before you, and gauging if you should pee one last time before she gets there. As Seneca 7 luck would have it, Saturday dawned with warnings of 3-5 inches of snow in my neck of the woods, almost like the weather gods knew what I was up to. Perfect.
The team has morphed over the years. While Marianne, Lisa, Amy H., and I keep signing up for this beautiful punishment, the other three spots have remained fluid, because life sometimes makes other plans for you. The team just isn’t the same without Amy B., Carol, Tanja, and Melissa but we know that “team” is a state of mind as well as a physical thing.
This year, Heather and Shannon came back into the flock. We welcomed the fledging Phoebe, who was a last minute addition and who, someday, will get to do the race in reality.
And so we set out on Saturday, separately but together. I did what I tend to do, which is underestimate how fast others run. When Heather handed-off, I was sill in my jammies. After my snowy four miles, I stripped out of my wet shoes and socks and watched the rest of the action on my phone.
Once we logged all of our miles, we met up for a ZOOM call to toast our success and hope for a return to the lake in 2021. Maybe that will be the year that the weather is perfect.