I must state this disclaimer: the race I ran in March is no longer a trail race. I will refer to that as a path race. What I ran on yesterday is a true trail! Steep climbs, sand hills, narrow turns, exposed tree roots/steps through out, etc... In fact, our total climb was over 1,000 feet. It is definitely technical and difficult! And now I can say I ran 13.1 miles on that trail!
I was so stressed about the weather. They were calling for heavy rain and I knew that would make an already difficult course, hell to run on! We lucked out! The weather was perfect; high 50's, light breeze and over cast. The trail was wet from the priors days weather so it was still very slick.
My dad and I had planned on starting in the 2nd wave, but due to waiting in line for the rest rooms, we missed it. We jumped into the 3rd wave, but my dad was having issues with his new belt. we jumped out, fixed his belt and ended up starting in the 4th wave. My dad took off like a bat out of hell, lol! There was no way I was going to keep up with him but I still had my work cut out for me. I had a ton of people I needed to get past. The first 2 miles were spent figuring out a way to get around the people that were already walking up the hills. Finally I fell into a groove and started passing. I felt like I was saying "on your left" the entire time! Around mile 8 I caught up with my dads friend Dave who had ran the training runs with his. he had started in the wave before us too. Catching him made me realize how well I was doing. I hung with Dave for about a mile. I figured that was the perfect time to chit chat and conserve some energy since I knew the "big one" was coming around the mile 11-12 marker. At about mile 9, I felt the need to pick up the pace and said bye to Dave. I cruised through the trail and finally reached the longest, toughest hill. I felt good and as other runners were walking the hill, I was able to stay strong and run!
Just past the mile 12 marker, I could hear the crowd cheering and the music playing. We come out of the trail with .10 miles to go. I had been running with a guy for the last mile and he shot up ahead of me. I looked over, saw my dad cheering me on and kick it up. I blew past the guy and crossed the line at 2:03:40.
My dad couldn't believe that I beat Dave! In fact, Dave came in 4.5 minutes behind me. What a great racing experience. So much different then road racing. I loved every second of it and look forward to 2011 trail half marathon!
Oh and just to show how hard this trail really is, the fastest female had a pace of 7:25 per mile and the fastest male had a pace of 7:03 per mile! Not your typical road half marathon times most are used to seeing.
7th out of 39 in age group
30th out of 279 women finishers
140th out of 601 overall finishers
I also have to add how well my dad did! Last year he ran this race in 1:59 with a 3rd place finish in his age group. This year he is a year older but shaved 3 minutes off his time! He finished in 1:56 and placed 3rd. Go Dad!!