Saturday, November 3, 2012

Silver Falls Trail Half Marathon Race Report

...alternate title: 'there will be walking'

I walk YOUR uphills!

TL;DR version: Undertrained, underfueled, underhydrated, but gutted out a 2:31 for my first half (on hilly trails no less!)

The preparation: My training dropped off a cliff the last 3 or so weeks leading up to this race. First I hurt myself, bruising the sole of my foot in a really painful way. It hurt to walk on it, much less run, for
a full week. I had to keep miles super low coming back from that to play it safe, so there was another week. Add in being a first-year teacher and parent-teacher conference week destroying my schedule and there you have it. Not. Enough. Miles.

Oh well.

Equipment: Tech-T, Brooks shorts (the best!), and Altra Zero Drop trail shoes (Lone Peaks, for that '70's running shoe vibe. Since I can't let go of my barefoot/minimal shoe proclivities, but require some protection the Altras fit the bill nicely. Smartwool socks.Everything worked. No chafing, a couple hot spot toes (it was WET), but no blisters. Worked a charm.
obligatory post-race muddy shoe shot

The course: I don't carry crap with me when i run, so I don't have any pretty pictures from the race. Scroll down for stock shots of the Silver Falls trails. Words nor pictures can do it justice. It is simply beautiful. I love the Pacific Northwest, and the mix of evergreens with blasts of color from the hardwoods as they enter fall is a big part of that love.
yeah. I ran behind that fall.
not me. But, it coulda been me. 'Cause I ran behind that one too.
Oh yeah. There were hills. Lots of hills. 2000+ feet of gain/loss. Again, I'm a stupid who chose the hardest race I could find for a first half. I love trails, though, so whatever. It was worth it.


The race: I didn't train enough, I didn't eat well this week, and I was underhydrated. Plus, I was so nervous with this being my first half and all. All this baked into a big cookie of stomach cramps in the first 3 miles. I have never had this happen before and it totally freaked me out. I took some electrolyte drinky stuff at the first aid stop and it seemed to help a lot. So, I kept running. 'Cause, you know, races. mile four is my mortal enemy in any run; if I haven't already, I may dedicate a full post to the topic of how mile four of any run wants to kill me and eat my soul. At least I know this, though, and know if I push through I feel much better and run well after. Mile four of this race was a big fat hill, the first of many. I ran a lot of it, walked some of it, exchanged witty banter with many fellow competitors all through it.

 miles 5-7 were uneventful, just rolling hills with amazing scenery. Pick 'em up, put 'em down, keep steppin'. 

mile 8-9. Ehr. Mah. Gawd. STAIRS. Really. Who puts stairs in the last third of a half-marathon? Sadists, that's who. My quads were roasted at this point from all the up, no recovery, down, rolling terrain. This was the icing. It was not easy. I may have conspired with another runner to trip and choke anyone who ran past us up the stairs. Fortunately this pact was not tested (there was a judgment call situation, though. He was allowed to live; stupid fast people). After the stairs it leveled out quite a bit, with some small rollers through the waterfall. Nothing beats running behind a waterfall. It is rad. no discussion will be had of this point. 

10-13 (point one, suckaz. It's a half marathon. Represent.). Feeling surprisingly good, then, ohdeargodwhatisthis??? Who puts a big arsed hill in the last. Freaking. Mile of an already tough race. I walked up it, mostly. Whatever. I'm s confident male and can admit it. funny, though, I was only passed by one or two runners.  They were all female runners. Female runners are awesome and way stronger than me. Props. 

The finish: About a month or so ago I projected a 2:37 finish for myself. I ran it in 2:31. This means two things. One, I am good at projecting my finish times. And two, I beat my projection. Suck it Father Time! All in all I really enjoyed the race. The people were superfriendly, and the volunteers were awesome. I will definitely run this one again.

Oh, and speaking of awesome female runners, my running pal Amanda clocked in an awesome 1:49. She's the business! Way to go!