Jan 5, 2014

RR: Watchung Winter Trail Half Marathon: Slow

This happened to be the coldest run I've ever done

RD Rick: "How Far are you going today?"
Me: "No idea."
RD Rick: "OK, put something down, and we can change it."

If I was honest with myself, I knew I was doing 13.1 miles today. There was a 10K option, but that was just too short a race. The marathon option was tempting, but I wasn't up for that kind of effort in these conditions and I knew it. 50K? "I'd like to do 5 laps, but we'll see." Yeah right. But, optimism reigns supreme. I checked "26.2" and got ready.

What followed was one of the most enjoyable runs I've ever had. I had no problem keeping up with a mid-back conga line that cruised along at 14 minutes per mile - which wasn't bad for a trail run in these conditions. I got my continuous mile in early - mile 1.5 to 2.5. In the first lap I took a couple of bad steps and the ankle protested, but never more than a minute. First 10K done in about 90 minutes.

I filled my hand-held (I normally prefer camelbacks, but the tube and valve freeze in these conditions) and went off onto lap 2. Much quieter now - no conga line. After a mile, the first front-runner passed (lapped) me - and then a steady stream of fast runners came by, with the occasional passing/leapfrogging of someone at the same position as me. The trail now well-packed, I didn't turn any ankles. I did fall once, and in so doing I noticed my microspikes had come out of position. I took a break to re-strap them and was once again on my way.

I was also hungry. And my feet were cold. And as much fun as I was having, I wasn't in the mood to run a 7+ hour marathon. Decided halfway through this lap that I'd be doing a half marathon today.

So when I finished the lap, RD Rick described the short 1-KM loop I'd have to do in order to complete the distance for a half-marathon. That loop went right by my car, so when I passed it, I stopped and changed clothes. I then ran in the last fraction of a mile in a cotton t-shirt and hoodie. I was jogging in nice and easy when someone passed me with 50 meters to go. I think the kids would say, "lol." Get off my lawn, kids. I finished in 3:27. lol.

Went and grabbed lunch (pizza) and came back to spend the rest of the afternoon hanging out with RD Rick and RD Jen and helping out where I could. Always fun to kick back with mah' peeples.. besides Rick and Jen, a few hashers made appearances, and of course some ultra runner friends, and, notably, met 2013 grand slammer Pete P from Staten Island, which made for a very cool conversation.

Lap 1 mile 3: - lots of time staring at this guy's back in the conga line

Start of lap 2: Icicles off my cap! Frozen Boogers!

Lap 2 mile 2: I know some people love summer, but this is so nice

Lap 2 mile 4: Tracks leading out of the woods