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.

hikes running

Fun and Rest

Day 94 / weekend half marathon

I had one of the best races ever. I say that to every race though. But this race I set a PB. I didn’t upgrade to the full marathon and that was a very wise choice. I knew my previous record was 1:49 (hh:mm), so I lined up behind the 1:50 pace group. I was assigned to Coral 3, but the  pacing team actually lined up at the end of Coral 5. We had wave start and Coral 1-5 were part of the first wave. With a couple minutes delay between each coral. Boy did they started out fast. They knew they were going faster than pace. I followed the last pacer of the 1:50 group. He was saying if we want to finish at 1:45 we have to run at 8 min pace. And I checked my watch we we’re running at 7:45 and he agreed. He said the other pacer of the 1:50 group was even faster than him, and laughed. Later on I think after 5 miles I couldn’t keep up with them any more. I told myself I have to run at my own pace. I had no hope of breaking a record. They finished probably at 1:40. They totally left everyone behind!

My legs were heavy from the start. I think my calves were still in recovery. My breathing were surprising under control. I wasn’t breathing hard at all. I slowed down a bit at mile 5-6 because of a big hill (400 ft?). No good. I couldn’t climb it. I know next marathon is all hills 2000 ft of them. 5 times higher! That is only a month away. I got to the top and got back into my pace.

I was slowing down again at mile 11. Luckily I saw someone, and she gave me the strength to speed up again. I caught a second wind. When I crossed the finish line and looked up at the clock, unbelievable, it was 1:46 and a Personal Best (PB).

First half I had 53:10 and second half 53:33. I stopped my watched a 10 seconds late. However, still I didn’t run a negative split. 

I celebrated this by going up on the mountain in West Virginia, the Big Schloss.

The race though was in downtown DC, and there was no snow there. It was cloudy and a very decent temperature for running (3-5C?)