Categories
running

Day367 Gettysburg Marathon

What an exciting day. I drove up to Pennsylvania and ran the Gettysburg Marathon.

I don’t like running in the cold but with a marathon, I toughed it out and ditched my sweater and pants and ran in short sleeves. We are talking about 35-40 F degree here.

By 8 am the temperature warmed up a bit. After a mile I was sweating.

I was kind of expecting a fast race. It was not my fastest time, but it was a time I haven’t had since spring 2019 (3 running seasons away), that is a long time ago. I take it and am very pleased. Note, I am 15 pounds heavier now, so it is a major accomplishment to lug this heavy body to run a time I did when I was 15 pounds lighter.

With more experience now in race day management, I was able to track my time better during the race. The first half I finished in 2:01. I was pretty steady at finishing under 4 hrs even though I didn’t expect to finish under 4 though.

The second half was much harder. My performance degraded drastically, and I couldn’t maintain the 9.5 min pace. However, I did better than many of the past races in holding off hitting the ‘wall’. Due to Covid countermeasure, I carried my own water and food. I didn’t realize at the time, but my wall came at mile 25. That was good because in the past, it usually came earlier around mile 18-20. This made the difference of finish under 4.5 hrs or at around 5 hrs. If I didn’t carry my own supplies, I might hold off the breaking down till even later.

I pushed myself though. In many of my marathons I usually started slow and pushed hard in the second half. This time I started hard and tried strave-off the lost time/slow down in the second half.

I reached mile 19 by 3 hours. My goal was to reach mile 20 by the 3rd hour. This seems like a disappointment but I am actually pleased. The mile 20 goal is so elusive and I don’t think I will ever reach it. I feel good to able to get nearer and nearer to this goal. I think in this race is the closest I’ve ever been.

As about the race, Covid19 plan by race management was great! We had individual time start time. Everyone was 6 ft apart. Everyone had their mask on.

There were plenty of aid stations. Volunteers were great. They discouraged (not allowed) spectators. There was no crowd support. That is fine with me any way.

The road was open to traffic. Occasionally, we had to move to the side or cars shifted to the opposite side etc. This might be dangerous to some. I felt safe though. I ran in country roads this summer so I was not too disturbed by it. Most cars went by slowly. There were one or two instances that they didn’t slow down and flew by between runners. Jerks. We’ve heard the story how some neighbors were mad about the race closing down the roads in a previous year, and they might still carry some grudges against us runners.

Was the course hilly? I had 1000 ft gain. It was more hilly than other courses I have been on. It was not too bad.

I think it was a beautiful course. Running in the countryside gives you that peace. You see endless farmlands, combining with nice fall weather, it was beautiful indeed.

The course was a 6.6 mile out and back. We marathoners did the loop twice. So you see almost everyone twice or sometimes 4 times. There were two turn around points. One thing we missed was the half marathon people. Well not really miss them because usually they crowded up the roads, and finish earlier and eat all the food. This time they were not there and the race felt empty. Due to Covid19 measure, the Half Marathon would run the following day. So they didn’t run when we ran. Also in the afternoon, I think they had a 5K race on the same course.

I wore my maniacs club shirt. So other maniacs recognized me and shouted out. The race was mostly quiet. Most runners wore headphones so it was a very quiet and very few interaction, even during post race. Due to Covid19 there were very little interaction even though it was an in-person race. I made friends with one or two people. #80 did a good job. He was with me around mile 6 before he sped up or I slowed down. I saw him again after finishing.

Categories
running

Day366 Wild Oak Car camping

I ended up going to Wild Oak. This place has a lot of memories for me because it was there where I got my teeth cut for my first backpacking experience.

My hiker friend back into 2017 planned the trip to go there for like over half a year. I didn’t know her then. However, every time she decided to go, something happened, she had to reschedule 7-8 times. From her write up of the trip, it was supposed to be a super hard trip and it was to be done in the winter with numerous water crossings (she mentioned like twelve). Unfortunately for her but fortunately for me, the trip was postponed till mid summer, when it was just me and her. Like most trips we did, instead of canceling again, she decided to move it forward.

So I got to do the trip with her, and my first ‘real’ bp. There were only two river crossings. One of them has a bridge to walk across! We ended up didn’t backpack at all but hiked the whole thing in a day, partly my fault, since I was super excited about my physical endurance having just done my first marathon early that year. I was ready to show the world what it like to walk 26.2 miles. It was one of the toughest hikes I did, with a full pack. We were supposed to drop pack and camp midway but our hike was super fast and by evening time, we thought we had only couple miles left (it was like 10 instead because they remade and extended the trail and added like 4-5 miles, and we were using an old map). We laughed at it every time it is mentioned, because it was so stupid, to carry a heavy pack and did not use it and for 28+ miles no less.

Since then I have gone back to this place year after year. Last year, we were there during the Columbus Weekend and we happened to encounter a race happening that weekend. If you know anything about me, a race is like the reason for my existent. I almost couldn’t control myself to run with runners instead of backpacking that weekend. So I said to myself, I got to come back this year to run with them.

There is a tradition for this race, not sure since when, maybe for 10+ year, the Virginia Happy Trail people would come out here to fatass this trail – that is to unofficially race on the trail but without requiring signup or payment. If you remember I recently did the ‘VDM’ with them last weekend. All their races are kind of weird/informally done like that. They are really too old school for my taste, especially with the no-signup thing of a year in advance. I think because it is on government land, they are not supposed to have an organized race, but they got around this by having a group of informal private citizens that happened to gather during a particular weekend. Now the race is no longer tied to Virginia Happy Trail (I think to avoid being sued), but people still informally come on Columbus Day Weekend to run it.

So this year, I decided to go there on Columbus Day weekend to run. I ran on the trail by myself last year when I had the Lyme disease. I think I did it in 8 hours, which was pretty good (I think is the par for the course). But this time I did it in two laps. The first was on Saturday at 3pm and I didn’t finish until midnight, which took about 9 hours. In the morning the next day, I ran another lap, started at 9 am but didn’t finish until 8:30 pm. It took 11:30 hours.

The Virginia Happy Trail people didn’t show up in force though. They decided to have it the next weekend instead, which I think kind of nice to us the holiday visitors because the parking lot was kind a small (can only hold about 10 cars). There wouldn’t be enough space to park if everyone showed up.

I ran into three other people, who were also running the whole loop. They were fast. I think it probably took them under 7 hours. They ran in clockwise direction while I did the loop counter-clockwise. We met up around 2 pm. I was at mile 11, about 1/3 of the way while they were probably at mile 17 or 18 (2/3 of the way). I told them I probably wouldn’t get back to the parking lot until 8 pm. I had 6 more hours to go, while maybe only 3 more hours for them. Lucky! Though secretly I was hoping to finish by 6 pm (at the 9 hour mark). I didn’t want to be caught on the mountain in the dark on a cold and rainy day.

But as luck and my ability would have it, I ended up spending seven more hours out there. They told me hope I can descend before dark. It was good I tossed a small handheld flashlight in my hydration pack before setting out, thinking just in case but likely I wouldn’t need it. The last hour coming down the mountain in pitch dark was something I don’t want to do, but ended up doing. The light from my handheld was just barely enough to lit the few steps in front of me. It has barely enough light to see anything. I think it was the fog and my beam was not penetrating it. I think there was maybe just a candle worth of brightness. It flickered on and off and I was praying hard, please have enough battery to last the trip down.

The trail was not easy. It was not the hardest trail there is but they have enough steep uphills and downhills and there are portions that are rocky and technical. The first climb was over 7 miles! The last descend was 5 miles long! Quad killer indeed. Ankle and knee killers too. It was not a hike for the average city folks.

I rolled my ankle twice on the first lap around at mile 8/9. On my second lap in the same place I rolled my ankle twice again. I tried to stop to find the stone or root that tripped me. The sad thing was that part of the trail was gentle and smooth. There were many places that were rougher or tougher. I usually roll myself at the easiest places. The part that is hard to accept is on my second lap, I had my poles with me – this kind of rolling shouldn’t happen because my weight should have shifted to my arms. I had to pause to consider should I quit, since hiking 8 miles back is easier than doing 20 miles forward. I decided to risk it by moving forward (sunk cost fallacy). Luckily I didn’t roll again, but that was a pretty gusty decision.

One thing I did that almost put my life at risk was the tropical storm Delta (down graded from Hurricane Delta) arrived at our area that morning. I knew about the rain and wind. I packed a rain jacket but at the start of the run, I felt I don’t need it and left it behind. It was not raining then. When I did the first lap (in the evening), I was not cold. I was hoping the temperature would remain constant. But on the second lap once the rain came, and temperature dropped, I was freezing. I was halfway through by then distance wise, with the time around 3-4 pm. I was thinking how I wish I have my rain jacket with me. I might go into hypothermia and it was late Sunday. If something bad happens, no one will be on the trail to rescue me until maybe next weekend. I got to get off of this mountain myself before my body freezed.

Throughout the run, I dared not think of the time remained to the parking lot because even if it takes an hour, it was just too long to accept. I was focusing on the distance instead. I was at mile 15, and in my mind I told myself just need to get to the next peak which was like 3-6 miles away. I knew the trail is about 27-28 miles long. I kept thinking in that line to give myself hope.

Maybe the cold and tireness affected my thinking. I got lost on the next peak, Hankey Mnt. When we went there as a group, we got lost there too. The night before though I didn’t get lost because – my hiking friend told me she fixed the sign and I found her small beaten fixed sign and followed it down. With full confident that I wouldn’t get lost again on Hankey in day time I ascended (I could bypass it that peak if needed). However, when I ascended I found the campsite my friend told me about (something I didn’t see the night before), but her sign I didn’t find. In place of her sign I found a new and official trail sign clearly marked ‘WILD OAK TRAIL’, so I took the left turn there. I thought it was a left. This is where the confusion came in. Apparently by taking the left I ended back up at where I was about a mile away. Exactly, how on earth did I hiking backward on the trail without realizing it! I think though the backtracking was on the *old* trail except it was newly blazed or earlier I was on the old trail while ascending! I blame the forest park people, why blazed an old trail. They got the sign confused there. I was at mile 18 earlier. However the extra backtracking added an extra 3 miles (an hour more).

If anyone is reading this and planning to hike The Wild Oak Trail, don’t ascend the Hankey Mountain, leave the Wild Oak trail take the Betsy trail instead to go around it instead because there are some confusing signs up on the top that would loop you back around. The funny thing is they don’t blaze the other side of Hankey Mountain where Wild Oak merged into Betsy (or Betsy into Wild Oak Tr), so even if you are on right trail you won’t know it until five miles later. So just avoid ascending Hankey altogether.

I kept telling myself only one more peak to go (Lookout mountain at mile 22). It took maybe 7 more miles before I got there (and that was about 3 hours later). The time then was 6:30 pm, that was original my goal to finish by. However, I was not upset. We get there when we get there.

I was pressing for time. I didn’t know how long it would take to descend Lookout mountain. My guess was 4 miles. I know it would get dark by 7 pm. The mud was slick and I was not wearing my trail shoes but the normal road running shoes. So basically I was skiing, sliding, and slipping all over the places. Based on the previous day, it took me an hour and half to descend. So I tried to do it again this time as fast as I could. But I didn’t have a bright flashlight on me this time. The one I had I could hardly use to see. I kind of make out a shadowy path in front of me.

At one point I almost went over a cliff. Thank God, I stopped in time. That was mostly my fault too. The previous day, the city light below the Lookout Mountain was beautiful, and I tried to see if there were any light (It was foggy). While trying to look, I walked straight out into the edge because the path has curved at that point.

Over all it was a good experience. I had 27 miles the first day and 30 miles the second.

I brought my tent but too lazy to use it. I slept in the car both nights, a real definition of car camping. The first night, I sleep in the flat bed of my truck. I was not afraid of bugs. The second night was rainy and I slept inside. The backseat only fits half of me. I slept in like hammock position, V-shape. My head was up and my legs were up. I didn’t get much sleep. I left the rear window opened for air.

I think I was not supposed to sleep/camp at the trailhead, but there is no one around to enforce it. This was kind of reminescene of the first trip where we had a tent but ended up didn’t use it.

Categories
running

Day364 normal

The day has been normal. Couple things: The guy who needed pacing for the Shenandoah run declined my help.

I was excited for a night run and it will be challenging as I have checked the weather and nigh time temperature…It is not something I would do for ‘fun’. The night can drop to near freezing 35 F and day time can rise to 70 F (sweating temp for running). I did a test run last weekend and I know. Plus there will be some rain at night. Not good.

Distance wise too, I was kind of stuck with all my friends being away for the long holiday, so if I do it, there is no one to pick me up after the run and I have to run back to the car. I am looking at 50-60 miles run in less than ideal situation.

It would be on the mountain, which mean I get less support in term of food and water etc. There are creeks and couple way sides (places to buy food), however, most of the route is remote! It is a stress on the logistics if without a friend to refuel you at key places. I was not worry on the way out, since the dude has his support team and I could ‘borrow’ them, but on the return trip, I would be by myself and I would be screwed if I messed up (like out of food/water/twisted my ankle etc).

Lastly and most important is I am the pacer, which mean I manage the clock. As I know when I am racing, clock management is a lot of work. I would have to know precisely where I am at and fast and far to go. It is like solving dozen equations in your head all the time. That the reason people have pacer toward the end of the race when fatigue sets in. I think I am up to the task, but that is a heavy of responsibility! It means I need to totally familiar with the trail (a lot of map studying). I actually started doing it yesterday and already was solving equations ahead, even while sleeping. I could write more about this…It is because our time system of using base 60 is a pain in the butt. You constantly have to convert the time between hour to minute to do the calculation!

I was both disappointed in being declined for the help but at the same time relieved.

Good luck to the man and his team.

He did get me started to plan for my own one day running through the entire Shenandoah on the Applachian Trail. It is 107-110 miles. So I already have a bit of work done.

I forgot what is the second thing I want to write about…probably not as important. I will leave that to another post.

Basically my weekend is free. When is our long weekend? Is it next week?

Categories
running

Day363 poles etc

There were a few things I wanted to write for a long time but usually some other things got the spot.

I met couple ultra guys in Pa during the summer and one of them uses poles on his runs. I have been thinking of doing the same.

I follow a Youtuber, he said he started using poles when he realized all the top finishers of ultra races use them.

So yesterday I packed a pair of trekking poles. They were ultra light weight that I happened to found being left on the trail on a trip I did couple years back. I was pretty sure someone forgotten them…and not just leave them to be picked up at a later time, you know runners often do if they do loops on a trail. The poles were left at least more than one day, and might have been a week or more. This was before Covid, nowaday, I don’t touch other people’s stuffs with all the germs.

My Pa friend said I have to practice with the poles because they get heavy during the run. Yesterday I did 22 miles and by halfway I had to put them away. Today, I woke up, my upper arms and shoulders were slightly sore. My goodness. These things do affect your body.

I have been thinking if I will use them in my 100 mile race. The course is not technical. There are some hills but nothing of a 1000 ft climb. I think poles are not needed. But if I decide to use them, I need to start training with them to build those muscles.


Relating to poles, I also wanted to write about socks and underwear. I wear whatever I can find in my drawers and have been making noobie mistakes. The biggest one was during my summer 100 miles attempt. I got pretty bad blisters on both feet. It was the shoes too but socks were part to blame. I have not done an indeep research on what kind of socks I should be wearing.

I like the thick wooly kind. Walmart socks were really bad. I brought some that said to have thick cushion, for all day factory workers, EMT and such. They were junk. After several washes they were no longer thick and cushy.

Similarly I got bad chaefing from bad underwear. It is better not to wear any. Usually first 10-ish mile it does not matter. Longer distances, I start to feel the cut and burn for the repetitive rubbing. I have to look into having the right clothing. I use to put lube and stuff the first year before my runs, but now I am a bit lazy. I only put balm on afterward to soothe the burn.

Categories
running

Day362 continue w yesterday

I felt asleep not long after I posted. I actually was not sure if I did publish it and for whole day was wondering such until I got home now to check. Yes I did post it.

I was out in the woods in the Shenandoah NP hinking. Actually I was with a group of ultra runners the Virginia Happy Trail runners. I knew the group for a long time but haven’t had a chance to meet up with them. All their races and events are weird. I was trying to get into one of their event before. They are really old school. Normally there is no sign up but you sent in some kind of application and they pick you based on the stock market closing number. Something weird like that and I never had the patience to work through their system to run in their races.

However, last night as mentioned in the previous post, I was stalking their facebook page and I came across a guy asking for pacing for the long holiday next week. And from his post, I got the link to today event of doing the VDM at 7 am. BS I had no clue what VDM means except it has to do with running! Sure I will be there. There was no sign up, just show up and I left a message on their post saying I would be there. Immediately I google what VDM means. Luckily it was not hard for me to find out (Vicky Death March) told you their event is strange! I have no idea of who Vicky is and Death March was pretty self explanatory. Their website has everything I need, map, course, what to bring, trail description. So I packed last night. Set the alarm for 4:30 and I slept right through since I didn’t fall asleep until 1:30 with all the packing. Running is a serious thing for me! I treat as if I am meeting the king!

Anyway I overslept and 5:30. It was an hour and half drive to the trail. Needless to say, I got there and lot was full!!! Crazy people had the same idea to do an early morning hike. Wednesday was full moon and so a lot people did early morning hike up the mountain to see the sunrise.

For the rest of the day, I ran with the Happy Trail People. We got separated because I couldn’t keep up with them and I took a shorter version and hiked down the mountain. I had 22 miles.


Hope that gives a good update. I love running because when I run I feel my life is going somewhere.

I write because I run.

I signed up for the stone mill race. It is a waiting list and reg fee is really cheap. 62 dollars! I don’t have to break my bank. The race location is near too (45 mins driving). Way closer than the JFK that one is like 2:30-3:00 away.

I am very happy.

I forgot what I was going to write last night. I felt I have forgotten something. Oh well, next post if I think of it, I will share

Ah I remember…I got my bib for the PA race in two weeks.

Categories
life running

Day358 Life

This might have been the longest pause from journaling since I went on vacation last year. Life has been busy but things are pretty much the same under the coronavirus time.

I am no longer working from home. We still have the option, but I chose to go in. I found it was better to go back into the office and I got my parking and office key. I started last week. The reason why I like to go into the office was it brought my life somewhat back to normal with a set schedule for work and a better work/home split. Still sometimes, work gets spilled into my home life. However, it is much better to have structure of a 9-5 for work day and then afterward, it is home life.

I and couple others are at the office (3 of us). I sit at one end and the other at the other end. The third came in like once a week and he sits somewhere in the middle (we are like a triangle). There is a bit elevated risk of catching the coronavirus by going in. But I think the risk is not that high compare to what I am already doing; it is all around us.

I went to church the first time the past weekend because my friend invited me. I asked what I have to do like do I have to preregister before going (some churches are doing that for contact tracing/better anticipation of the crowd), and I asked if a mask was required (I asked because I didn’t have one). I have been using disposable ones and they finally ran out. I ordered some (500) over Amazon in August for my Atlanta trip, however they never came. I got the money refunded back. I felt it was a scam so I have not brought any new masks since. Still happy to have my refund processed. Almost thought I won’t be seeing it again.

So for my friend’s sake I stopped by a CVS store and got a reusable cloth one and it was expensive! Anyway, I walked into the church, and voila, wearing mask was optional.

I respect the people there. They are moral and upright and respectable people. But they mix politics in wearing masks, which I see as a health issue and I was disappointed. I think a third of the people did not wear a mask. The pastor and his worship team did not wear masks. I get it, a mask might make it hard to speak clearly since many of us look at visual/facial cues in speeches – yet of the four member music team only one person was actual singing – the other three wearing a mask would not hinder them, but they chose not to. They did maintain social distancing on stage. Anyway, that is my rant. In the back of my head, I kept recalling the incident of a choir practice where many got infected with the corona.

I did not stay after worship but high tailed out the place. Many people gathered to socialize inside afterward. Nope, not for me. Yes, going to church is optional. If I don’t feel safe I don’t have to be there. I probably won’t step in a church until next year.

My take is how can people be so ignorant or stubborn over wearing masks? I feel people made it into a political issue rather than a health issue. I can’t wrap my head around them. 100% of those refused are Republicans. Church somehow draws so many republicans. The issue is beyond right/wrong. It has become a farce.

Back to what I am doing…I enjoy driving to work each day. I like the traffic. I am probably one of the few people who do. I felt that extra hour in the morning stuck behind traffic really help me solve some of the insolvable problems in my life…I am talking about times for day dreaming. You can’t daydream while sitting at home I found out.

What else? I signed up for the Rocky Raccoon for those who read my comments in the previous entry already knew.

I will be doing it – my first attempt at a 100 mile run. I ran twice unsuccessfully but this is a real race and not virtual, so there is more at stake.

I am no longer scared thinking about it. I will train and trust my training. I felt I have gotten stronger. I am not there yet. I am not as tough as last year…or as strong. I felt my performance has decreased a lot, yet it was not crippling like when I had the Lyme disease.

I felt I am sick or defective somehow and I have not able to put a finger on what is wrong with me. Yes it probable easier just go to the doctor and has them run a test. I am suffering a bout of lightheadedness /vertigo. I feel fine if I go running but when I am home or at work, my head is spinning. It is not severe but a hint of things floating. Yes I need a new pair of glasses too. Anyway, at one point I was suspecting Lyme disease again or it could be covid, but I have this thing for weeks now, might have been a month. I should see a doctor to have it checked out.

Readers you probable don’t like this. Since signing up for my race in Texas (yes corona land I call it), I have been rooting for Prez Trump to win a second term. Why? I hope he would not interfere with my race in Texas. Biden if he wins, he probable would not either, but I get a sense he might enact tougher measures on traveling and events that attract many people.

How can I be so selfish right? I do care about stopping the corona but I do want my race! Its my freedom even if I have to travel to Texas to do it. I know I just made the same argument that people at the church I attended made when they refused to wear a mask.

4 months. We will see.

Categories
running

Day357

I did not get into Umstead. Looking for another race to attempt.

I am thinking of Rocky Raccoon or C&O Canal 100. Both races have about the same difficulty. Rocky Raccoon I can register now. Registering for C&O Canal has not opened yet.

C&O is near my house and easy to get crew or pacer support. Rocky is in Texas and hours away from the nearest airport! I have not traveled that far for a big race. Yes for Marathons but this is more than a marathon.

A quiet weekend this week. Woke up late typically. Want to train but many things needed my attention. Feeling guilty if I go out and run the whole weekend. Nice fall weather though. Maybe will go and run.

Categories
running

Day356 signup

I went ahead this morning and entered my name into the lottery for Umstead 100.

Even it was just a lottery, I felt the apprehension – like can I really do this?

I have tried two attempts over the summer to do a 100 mile run but both ended unsucessfully. I know I could do the miles but the time limit worries me.

30 hours. My both attempted were targeting 34 hours. First attempt I was a bit cocky, since I could do a 50 miler under 12 hours, and 50 miles more shouldn’t take that much longer and I thought 30 hours are plenty of time.

My second attempt was targeted for 34 hours and it was a bit stress to keep on pace. Actually the first attempt was stressful, the second attempt I believe I was on pace.

So I went ahead and signed up. It is a lottery. The drawings will be done on Friday 6pm eastern. There will be 25 spots and 25 additional spots to be placed on the wait list. Based on the past, these 25 spots are likely to be included. I am so wanting an entry.

I started to look into hotels and airport and stuffs. This race is perfect for logistics. The race is about a few miles from the hotel and not far from the airport. I’m also thinking to drive to race…Looked it up and it was within my driving range – 6 hours. I have driven that far before for a race (Old Glory).

That’s all for now.

Out take. Last night I came home (I started working again), I changed into my running clothes about to go out for my evening run but then collapsed on my bed…The next thing I know it was 2 am. I slept like 6 hours straight. So I went back to bed for good and didn’t wake up until 8 am the next day. No running at all yesterday except in my dream!

Categories
running

Day355

After doing the RTK race, coming back to do my usual local run is too easy. Tonight I was flying through the run almost effortlessly.

I’ve gotten stronger. This was the first sign after a month of training that things are going in the right direction.

My Strava is telling me I ran my fastest half marathon so far, 2:38:11. I hope to bring it down some more. I hope to get down to my personal best of under 2 hrs.

The run felt great. It has gotten much cooler in the evening. I felt a bit cold at the final two miles.Winter is coming.

Categories
running

Day354 Race

Nothing like being in a race. I missed having the in-person race experience a lot.

Yesterday, I did a race at Blue Knob Mountain in Pa.

It was unbelieveble finally after six months there was a race for me to do. The announcer at the starting line asked who are doing it for the first time and I think, 80-90% of the people there raised their hand. Me too. I was my first time at that race. The person next to me said we drove hundreds of miles for this race because there is no other race to do! I want to say, me too! Who is crazy enough to wake at three and drove across state line to do it for a half marathon no less?

I ran a 13.1 miles trail half marathon yesterday. It was a lovely day for running. Cool around 65 degree. Might have been in upper 50s or low 60s during the early morning. As I was driving there, I almost regretted I did not brought a long sleeves (I hate the cold). People were wrapped in blankets. But I did have my hoodies jacket on.

The race meant a lot to me. Did I mention I haven’t ran in an in-person race for over 6 months? I went to bed early for two straight days to set my body for the early morning hours. I set the alarm on the race day for 3:30 in the morning. I actually could not sleep much the night of because I was afraid oversleeping and missing the race. The course was three hours away and I need to be there by 8.

3:30 I got up, showered and dressed. I packed the night before already. Then checked and double checked all my things. I would be out the whole day, so I got to have everything I think I need. It only took me 10 mins and I was all set ready to go.

The time was a bit too early. I did some light reading, emails, facebook, and such. Set a second alarm and went back to bed for an hour or so, with fully clothed (except for shoes).

4:45 got up for real this time. Raid the fridge for breakfast. This was what I didn’t plan ahead. Grabbed couple slices of bread and spreaded with hummus and off I went.

It was too early for me to be up at this hour but the drive was 3 hours long and I had to leave early. Tired while behind the wheel, but managed to reach to the race nonetheless. It was a bit early and I saw the marathon people started at 8 am. I picked up my race package and couldn’t be more excited.

The marathon did have a draw but I was fearful this marathon would be too hard. I signed up to do the half. This is weird coming from me since I usually only run marathons. Our start time for the half, was an hour later, so I went back to my car to try to catch a brief nap — I set the alarm of course. Not that I really sleep so close to race time.

What I like so much was it was a real race and it was challenging. I love trails and running on the trails. I wore my boots for this because I preferred more an ankle support even if it means sacrificing mobility and speed. I don’t run that fast on the trail any way, so it was not much a trade-off.

I am telling you, this half gave me a good beating. The course was challenging. I have not done that many trail races.

I was not ready for the up hills and also trails. My feet felt like lead. After two miles my calves were screaming. It was hard. There were more than 10 miles to go. I have not done any hill work for a long time and it showed.

I rolled my left ankle early on into the race, I think before mile 3. I had to stop and retied my shoes. People passed me by. Then I got my mojo. Calves no longer were hurting. I ran a bit faster now and were able to catch back up with the crowd. I passed them actually. Down hills were easy for me. I kept catching people until I was in a comfortable pace.

It was a technical course for most part. There were a lot of rock hoppings. So the pace for me was slow. There were several giant climbs but fun. One was over 1000 ft.

The finish was like any finishes. I was glad it was over by then. My time was 3:45 (hr:min). Yes, a half marathon that is almost like a full marathon to me. I didn’t see a lot of people. I sat around at the finish area for a bit watching others finishing before I started to get cold. So I wrapped it up and get home.

I did get lost on the course near the finish line. It is not something I like to talk about. It was totally on me for not paying attention to the flaggings. It almost costed me the race, but my spider sense saved me after going about quarter mile the wrong way, I backtracked and saw the correct way. I lost at most half an hour there. I thought I was going to run to the finish.

If it was not for Covid time, I would stay for few hours to celebrate with other runners. I had another event to go to that day, so after grabbing some food (this race has the best food, all they were you can eat too), I headed out.

Rock -N- The Knob Half Marathon Run

I am not a picture person. My phone was in my hydration pack the whole time. The place was beautiful.