There were many hints. For one, the word "trail" was in the title of the race. It was put on by a racing group called Dirt Devils. The race was being held at Lake Hodges. Many hints. Actually, I don't think you can call them "hints" since they were more like "obvious facts." And yet....
I had no idea I was going to be running this half marathon on a trail.
I mean, when I heard trail, I think I just assumed it was like a wide and flat dirt road around the lake (as opposed to pavement). So, among the things I was not anticipating on Sunday: all the rocks, uneven ground, steep declines with no traction, roots, tree branches to duck from, narrow paths, so many rocks, horse poop, plant branches, the need to keep an eye out for rattlesnakes, running across a stream, dust, oh and did I mention rocks?
I ran cross country in high school so I know what trail running entails and on my better days, I'm normally not a complete moron. But for whatever reason, my brain gave out for this race. Why would I sign up for an obstacle-riddled, injury-causing trail race a month before the marathon I have worked so long to train for? Who knows. The good news is: I came out injury-free. And for a while, I even thought that I had PR'ed since I clocked in at 2:29 at Mile 13.1 (Another downside of trail races? They're not entirely accurate. My GPS for the whole course came in at 13.9). Then this morning I looked up the race results for all of the halfies I've done so far:
Disneyland Half Marathon 2011: 2:26:26
San Diego Half Marathon 2012: 2:27:33
New Year's Race Los Angeles Half Marathon 2013: 3:00:18
Mermaid Half Marathon San Diego 2013: 2:54:37
Foxy Trail Half Marathon 2013: 2:43:16
Apparently my best half time was 2 years ago during my first half marathon. Though honestly, I think I definitely would have PR'ed had it been a road race. After all, this was the most prepared I've ever been for a half.
I think the best and worst part about doing a race with 5 weeks to go is that it showed me where I need to improve. The question is: can I improve those things in the time I have left, when I'm supposed to begin my taper in 2 weeks? We'll have to see. In the meantime, since I didn't get hurt, I was glad that I got to switch it up and run on something other than pavement - I definitely think my knees appreciated it. My ankles, not so much. And it was inspiring to run with Dirt Devil racers as they are the kind of serious, no frills runners that I like to run with. They're also fast.
Which led me to unearth some new motivation as I wrap up 2/3rds of my marathon training: time. So far I haven't been concerned with it since my goal was (and is) simply to just finish my first and maybe last marathon. But running the race on Sunday and reading the blogs of other SoCal lady runners as I dive deeper into this rabbit hole of a cult, I have been thinking a lot about time and why I should be faster or at least training for speed. Since it's a bit late now to try and worry about that, I decided my new goal following the marathon is to run my fastest half marathon this year. More specifically, my goal is to get under 2:15:00!
4/22/13 - 4/28/13 Health and Fitness Stats:
- ran 4 days for a total of 30.5 miles
- ran a half marathon race and finished 13.1 in 2:29
- ran my first trail half marathon