Yesterday I competed in my first trail half marathon, the Riverbound Race Series Trail Half Marathon for Outward Bound. I have to say I'm really starting to enjoy these trail races. After my other trail races and after questioning every runner I know about tips and suggestions, we have kind of changed up our training and the result; this is the most prepared I've felt for a long race. Yeah! I've done longer, slower runs and some speed and hill work (and believe me, this race needed plenty of hill work), and I feel like I've become a much stronger runner in just one month.
The race is advertised as very technical - which means serious trails, lots of roots, rocks, mud, ditches, etc.....really hard, just the way I like it. It was also mostly hills, big ones, with the last mile and a half named Suicide Ridge. Whoo hoo! Since this is by far the hardest half I have ever tackled, my strategy was just to stay steady and conserve energy so I could finish without bonking out at my usual 10 to 11 miles. Success!!!! I actually feel like I might have held back too much at the beginning, of course that is easy to say when you aren't climbing a hill so steep you have to walk and running down a trail you can only see directly ahead of you, or hitting that middle part of the race that was on the road and flat so you try to speed up and realize your legs are not listening to you. Haha. I held out very well and could have finished a little stronger, but extreme calf cramps the last mile. I know the hills were part of that, but I think alot of it was the uneven terrain on my feet. Trail shoes are definitely in order.
So now that I've bored you with all the details and held you in suspense:
3rd place in my age group..and these were some serious runners. Maybe I am moving towards that category. :) My time was 2hr29minutes. Mark also flew into 3rd in his age group with a time of 2hrs5minutes. We had a really really good time, alot of fun. More trails and halves in the future.
Keep Running :0