For the past 3 months I've been training for my first half-marathon. Since I enjoy trail running, I chose to run the Silver State 50/50 trail half-marathon (which claims to be one of the most challenging trail runs on the West Coast). My training was definitely put to the test on this course!
The course started at an elevation of 4625 ft and our first surprise was a very muddy road through a pasture (oops... someone forgot to turn off the water ahead of time - oh well, the soaked and muddy feet would quickly dry).
The trail runs I had been training on were nothing compared to this course. Most of the race was on very rocky, single-track trails. And a couple of the climbs were so steep that just walking up them was quite a feat!
It took me 1 hr and 30 min to run/walk/hike the 7.6 miles to the summit of 6125 ft. But, next came my favorite part of running trails - the downhill part!
A couple of the hairpin turns were so fun that I found myself yelling "yipee" as I sailed around them.
It felt so good to be running and making up time from the long, steep ascents. Oh ya, did I mention it was rocky? As much as I hate to slow down when going downhill, parts of the course were so treacherous, that I would have been foolish not to walk or risk taking quite a tumble. Then just before the 10.5 mile check point, I found myself sprawled out on the trail. One moment I was running great, then next moment I was on the ground... I lost focus for just a moment and tripped. Luckily no one was behind me to fall over the top of me. I picked up my phone (and immediately checked to make sure my RunKeeper app was still working - and it was), so I got up and kept running. My left knee got skinned up a little and my right hand will take a day or two to return to its normal size - but other than that, I was ok.
The fall made me more cautious for the remaining 2 and a half miles and slowed my pace down a bit. After that, I didn't care so much about my finishing time or place - I was just ready to be done.
My goal was to finish in less that 2 hrs 30 minutes and my finishing time was 2:27:25! Not too bad for a total climb of 2175 ft.
Of course the best part of the run was seeing my family at the finishing line! (My son even chose to miss his tball game just to cheer me on at the finish line.)
Reflections from the race: This was indeed a very challenging course. It was well marked and the volunteers were great! My vote is undecided if I'll run this race next year... But I did prove to myself that I could handle a race of this caliber and that my goal of running the Robie Creek half-marathon next spring is doable. In the meantime, though, I would like to try a "normal" half-marathon race just to see how it feels...
For the time being, I'm returning to my "easy" trail runs behind our house and getting back to my kettlebells that I've been neglecting for the past couple of weeks.
Thank you to all of my family and SparkFriends for all of your support and encouragement! It really helped during the race!