Or, the "This Sounded Like a Really Good Idea in October" Half Marathon...
Or, "Trails are Hella Hard But Pretty Amazing" Half Marathon.
So Saturday night, I had an amazing time with some super awesome people. It was so fun to hang out with some friends and very much needed after a really busy last-week-of-the-semester. The alarm clock went off WAAAAY too early for a Sunday, but it was go time!
Whoa. MORE snow. We got dumped on this week, which I was actually kind of excited about on Friday. Because, see, I attempted to run the trails with Ana, Laura, TriEric and Aimee, Dale, Patty, and Tina last weekend, and let's just say it didn't go so well. Poor Laura slid down a hill with all the mud and was COVERED. A few of us bailed and just decided to run on the roads since we were mostly walking through swampy mud, and the thought ran in my head of, "How the heck am I going to do this next weekend for a HALF MARATHON?" I was pretty sure it scared Ana off big time and she was going to join the Witness Protection Program on race morning if things didn't change.
So freezing temperatures and snow? Very much welcome by me on Friday and Saturday.
Not so much on race morning, though.
|This is my "what the HELL was I thinking" face at 5:57am as I opened the door to let Mugsy out|
Um, yeah, but you still need to be there IN TIME FOR THE START.
We arrived literally three minutes before the start. We frantically jumped out, grabbed our schtuff, peed, and made it by about 10 seconds to the start line. I found Brandy and the four of us: Ana, Brandy, Jen, and I, set out for a nice little "Happy Birthday Winter Hike With Friends" which is what I was calling it since it was Jen's birthday (yay!), I was grossly undertrained and hadn't ran more than 8 or maybe 9 miles, it was NINE degrees according to Jen's car, and we were all there with friends.
So we took off on our little winter adventure!
It was beautiful. Really, seriously beautiful. Here is a link to the official FB page of all the pictures, so HUGE props to the volunteers like my buddy Lloyd who I saw snapping away on the course! His photos can be found here--thanks, Lloyd! The volunteers were seriously amazing--stocking the aid stations with "hot and cold" tables full of everything under the sun, making sure the course was clearly marked, and just being awesome. It really made this run super fun.
And hard. And not as bad as I thought, and then hard again. And with some killer hills and technical trails. Garmin says 1,130 feet of elevation gain.
(OUCHY. That's the sound of my quads ripping apart and my right hammy barking at me.)
I saw tons of snow covered trees, lots of snow covered running buddies, amazing volunteers, and a few signs that said "STEEP GRADE" which meant, oh yeah baby it's ON in about 12 seconds. And then ouch! But in a good way.
The last time I attempted this course, the snow was so deep and it was my first long trail race so I made the decision to bail at the first loop's end at mile 8. So if I could finish this one, I'd be pretty happy. And finish we did! Brandy, Jen, and Ana killed it and I dragged along about a minute behind as my legs and lungs revolted a little bit on the last climb out (yeah--forgot my inhaler AGAIN. me=stupid). Ana has officially been introduced to the world of trail running and did AMAZING. So proud of her! Jen and Brandy killed it as usual, too. It was so fun to run with these girls!
|Ana, Me, Brandy, and Jen at the finish! My face was pretty much frozen into a smile|
I finished in about 2:40 by my watch (not counting our approximate 6 minute stops total for 2 aid stations) for an average pace of just about 12 minutes/mile, which I am SO happy about considering I had to walk most of the uphills. And there were quite a few of them, too!
Afterwards I had a bowl of delicious vegan chili provided by the volunteers and some conversation with good friends!
And now, it's almost time for this:
So get out there and play in the snow! Remember, there's no such thing as bad weather....only bad gear. :)
Huge congrats also go out to my girl Daisy who tied for first overall in the 50K! 50K in those conditions = HONEY BADGER. Amazing. Well-done, Daisy! And I KNOW she's drinking a cold one tonight, cuz that's how she rolls.