Saturday, April 23, 2022
Start/Finish: trailhead on South Shore Rd, Wanakena, NY
Elevation gain: 4934′
Moving time: 13:02
Total time: 13:57
After sleeping in my car at a nearby trailhead, I started off on one of the two paved section of the Cranberry50 just shy of 6am and sunrise. I made good time on the road and then entered the woods by the ranger school. The trails over to the other paved section weren’t too bad, though I encountered at least a dozen downed trees and had to go over, under, or around them.
The 2nd paved section was a relief and I shuffled along until the trail turns off the road, with ~38 miles left to get back to my car. Then the fun began. The trail was very frequently flooded with anywhere from 1-2″ of wet mud and rotted leaves up to 3′ deep water, along with at 5+ dozen downed trees. I had to ford knee-deep water multiple times around lake and pond inlets; a few times I was able to bushwhack into the surrounding forest to avoid the water on the trail but most of the time, I just had to go through it.
As I ran, I found myself daydreaming of the 100-miler, how there would be filtered water, dry(er) trails, and no trees on the course. I was able to keep up with nutrition well, and only fell behind on hydration once but was able to catch back up pretty easily. My gear was perfect and I didn’t end up with any blisters or chafing, though my feet felt pretty terrible for the last few hours after my skin was completely saturated.
I was able to run my 4th and 3rd miles before the finish and powerhiked the 2nd and 1st miles at 16min/mi pace, arriving back at my car at dusk. Overall, a long, tough, but triumphant day.