Thursday, June 13, 2013

Only Half Crazy!

"Girls compete with each other. Women empower one another."  has been going around on Facebook as a running photo.  I love this quote so much because the awesome women of  Moms Run This Town have been putting this into action the past two weeks.

So I set out this weekend to earn Half Fanatic status by completing my second half marathon in a 7 day period.  I could probably have qualified based on halfs run in the past year, but I liked this challenge of two in a week period and the challenge that both of them were trail halfs.

Half #2

 The boys and JD were kind enough to get up early again to be my support crew, and I really love and appreciate that they do this for me.  I know it's not fun for them to hang around in a parking lot for 3 hours while I'm out running on the trails. 

This was a brand new course this year by EX2 Adventures at Fountainhead Regional Park.  I have run at Fountainhead a lot including a previous half so I figured that I knew what was in store for me.  The race director had a great challenge set up for us.  "Both the half marathon and 10K are out and back courses that start with a short .5 mile road section at Fountainhead Regional Park before heading north along the Bull-Run Occoquan Trail (Blue Trail). The course will extend  to Bull Run Marina for the Half Marathon. The northbound direction of the run will feature several fun single and double-track side trails and the southbound direction will be entirely on the Blue Trail, which parallels the Occoquan Reservoir."  I had never run the entire section out to Bull Run Marina and did not realize that it is just non-stop rolling hills.
I had planned to meet up with a bunch of the moms from MRTT most of whom I had never met before.  We met up and took some pre-race photos.

Then we had our usual pre-race brief from the back of the race director's truck.  He gave his usual abbreviated countdown and sounded the horn.  I decided to go out pretty easy because I wanted to be able to run strong later in the race.  I was kind of thinking about 2:40 and hoping for a PR, but I had no idea what the course looked like so I didn't really know.
Headed out at the start

We hit the trail after the little 0.5 mile loop on the road.  Then we started to hit climbs.
The first of many and early on so I was still "running" hills.

The humidity was pretty bad in the woods as well which was unexpected.  Luckily this race was great and had aid every ~2 miles so we could stay hydrated easily.  The trail was gorgeous, and I was really enjoying the run living up to the Brooks Run Happy slogan on my shirt.

 Eventually at one of the aid station a bunch of the moms grouped up and stayed together for the last half of the run.  We had a great time bonding and pushing each other to keep going and running as hard as we could on the flats and downhills.

The awesome part of this group is that I had never met any of these women before that morning, and we were still working together to empower each other to get through the race.  As the hills continued, I realized that my time goal was out the window, but that I could still try to get in under 3 hours.  We turned around at Bull Run Marina and headed back.  There were several really wet stream crossings that made for squishy shoes for a good part of the run.
Bull Run Marina 

One thing that I did not do well on this run was fuel.  I should have been fueling regularly at the aid stations, but I wasn't.  I did remember to take an Endurolyte at the 8.5 mile aid station and a few Honey Stinger chews, but I wasn't as consistent as I was the previous week.  We hit the last aid station and were really pushing each other to get to the end.
Can I be on the cover of Trail Runner?
Of course, the race director had to hit us with one last uphill and drag us by the graveyard when we were at the height of our misery.
Just bury me here if I can't make it to the finish
I had also found one of my best running friends out on the trail, and we decided to push it in and cross the finish line together.  We knew that we were close to 3 hours.
Dora and I in the chute

We crossed at 2:59 so we hit that goal, and I made my usual goal of getting back before the awards started.  It was not a good time for the trail half, but I felt I did my best given the course and the humidity.  I truly enjoyed the course and the experience.  I am also now officially in the asylum as Half Fanatic #4453!!

Next up is Run With Dad 5K on Father's Day.  Training for Drake Well Marathon is going well.  I did an 18 miler today which was all sorts of crazy due to the weather (7 miles on treadmill and then 11 laps around the neighborhood because I didn't want to risk getting caught too far from the house in a violent storm).  Also tried out the Honey Stinger Chocolate Waffle as mid-run fuel and liked it a lot.  It seemed to sit well and also made me feel like I had eaten some real food which is what I seem to crave late in a long run.


  1. Nice job! That sounds like a tough race and I totally admire that you seem to pick the most challenging races. Congrats on 2 halfs (and hard halfs) in one week!

  2. Thanks...I need to pick an easy one soon as my confidence in my abilities is starting to wane. It's a rough blow to the ego to have two races in a row that are so far off of a PR.