Right after finishing the Race 13.1 Half Marathon, this race popped up on my Facebook feed. A half marathon for $35? Count me in! I was a little weary about the trails, but I’ve run on them before and I was ready for a challenge. The race was on Superbowl Sunday (2.5.17) and I was ready to earn my feast for that night.
Saturday: I headed to Columbia (about 25 minutes from my boyfriend’s place) around noon to pick up my packet. The store was packed with two packet pickups. I was in and out without a hitch. I don’t remember doing much during the day except having a pasta dinner and an epsom salt bath. After packing up for the next day and a couple of glasses of wine, i was off to bed.
Pre-race: The race was to start at 8, and I arrived just after 7 to assure decent parking. There was plenty of parking, so I just stayed warm in my car until around 7:40 because boy was it COLD! It was a 20 degree “real feel”, and would warm up to about 40 by the time we were to finish. There were about a half-dozen porta potties, but I didn’t have to wait long. I easily found Ava, who coached me for the Marine Corps Marathon, who I’d be running with for at least the first half of the race. I also found Beth. She is an ambassador for the race company and ran the 10K!
Miles 1-6.3: The first lap was exciting because the trail race was such a refreshing feeling! Ava and I ran without intervals, but walked when needed and up big hills. The first 2 miles were groomed trails, before 2 miles of more technical terrain, then the 2 miles back to the start. The two miles of technical terrain was hard, with steep uphills and downhills. Our pace slowed significantly during these miles, which was okay. Worst part: the nozzle on my hydration pack broke within the first mile. WOMP. I was still able to drink, but it required more work. We finished the first lap in 1:14.
Miles 6.3-12.7: Ava mentioned separating from me for the second lap, but I’m glad she stayed! After the 10K’ers were done the course was pretty lonely. The second lap definitely felt like it dragged on, but I also felt more comfortable on the trails. We walked more as my legs were getting tired and I kept tripping over my own feet. Around mile 9 my hamstring started to get really tight, and I started struggling hard and walking a lot around mile 10. I kept telling Ava to leave (I always do this when I run with people) but she is very sweet and never left me without coming back for me. The last two miles were rough as I definitely didn’t drink enough, but coming around to the finish I was still able to kick it in. The course was short which really irked me, but it wasn’t the end of the world.
Finish line: I was so thankful we were given a heat sheet at the end! It had warmed up and I was having trouble regulating my temperature. We got a pint glass as a finisher’s gift, which I’m a fan of. During the last few miles I was craving Fritos – and they had some at the end. CUE HAPPINESS. I didn’t stay for long, and by the time I got to Jake’s, I was very sore and stiff. We went to lunch, where I had a delicious meatball sub and then relaxed before getting ready for the Super Bowl! He had a little party where I successfully passed out in the second half of the game.
Post-race thoughts: This race was a fun challenge and change of pace. It was just the right level of trail and challenge for someone who sticks to the road and rail trail. It was very well organized and CHEAP. I would do it again, but likely stay with the 10K. I was hurting for too long after this race, and normally after a half marathon I’m good the next day.
Verdict: This race had some flaws, but all in all, I really liked it and would be back again and recommend it to others! Check out my other review of the race on Bib Rave!
Have you run any trail races lately?