I ran the Wild Land Fire Awareness Trail 5K last year and although it was not a great race for me, I kinda left wanting to do the half marathon. So, when registration opened up for this year's race, I signed up right away! I have done 5K, 10K, and 12K trail races before but this would be my first trail half marathon. I was both nervous and scared. My training was pretty sporadic and I didn't really stick to my running schedule like I should have. Also, I really wanted to do more specific hill training, but yea, that didn't happen either. I did get some good runs in and had quite a few long trail runs beforehand, so I knew I would finish, just wasn't too sure of my time. I ended up giving myself the goal of 3 hours.
Of course, I hardly slept the night before the race. This happens to me all the time and I wish I had better sleeping techniques I could use. Any suggestions? Fortunately, I didn't feel terribly tired in the morning and we were able to get everyone ready and gather our stuff (that we'd set up the day before) and head out the door with little drama.
Just like last year, everything seemed to go smoothly at the start line. I chatted with a few running friends, took photos with my family, and then it was time to go! The first half of the course was pretty brutal. The inclines were no joke and there were some pretty technical parts with huge rocks we had to get up. I walked up most of the inclines and was wishing I hadn't skipped that hill training! About halfway through the race, my family found me right before an aid station. It was so nice to see the kiddos running towards me and having Jason help me refill my hydration pack with ice and water. It definitely gave me a nice boost, plus I knew I was getting close to some downhill trails after seeing them :) The rest of the race went well. I picked up speed on the downhill and walked a bit more of the uphill. I started to feel my calf cramping and I was happy I had put some mustard packets in my pack. I took them and it helped to not get a full-on cramp. I'm not sure why I started cramping, but I'm thinking it was a few factors. Primarily all the uphill climbing, but I also didn't wear my compression socks and I always wear them for long runs, especially half marathons. Plus, it was really hot out there that morning!
Again, it was so awesome seeing my kiddos cheering me on as I approached the finish line. My son came up and ran alongside me for a bit, which really helped me push the pain aside and finish strong! I didn't meet my goal of 3 hours, but I was still happy with my time of 3 hours 12 minutes. Just gives me something to aim towards for the next one ;)
This was my last race until the fall. I'm kinda sad not to have something coming up soon, but I'll use these summer months to continue training and focusing on my goals. How about you? Any races scheduled for the summer? What's your next event?