Monday, July 15, 2013

Run, Fall Down, Run, Fall Down: A Trail Half-Marathon

I ran a half marathon for the first time in a million years and lived to tell the story. And I'm dying to tell you about it, since David for some reason seemed less than fascinated with hearing a mile-by-mile account of the whole event. ("And then at mile 8, the aid station had vanilla Gu instead of berry Gu, which really threw me for a loop...My shoelace came untied at mile 7...")

Running the half  marathon was somewhat of a last minute decision. I had originally signed up to do a 10K as part of this trail race series, but at the last minute I decided to do the half-marathon instead. A half-marathon represents a pretty ambitious distance for me at this point, so I was a bit apprehensive. It's not that I was unprepared, exactly, it's just I didn't have the kind of mileage base that I would have liked to have in order to run a solid half marathon. In other words, I was. . . what's the word I'm looking for? . . . oh, right: unprepared.

I rode up to the event with two runner friends. We talked about the things that runners talk about, and spent the entire 45 minutes in the car discussing race strategy. If you're not a runner, you might not realize it's possible to spend that long talking about the details of an upcoming race, but it is. Heck, we spent a good 15 minutes just talking about the pros and cons of wearing a hat during a race. And it was a fascinating discussion, I will have you know. I'm going to try to turn the whole hat vs. no-hat discussion into a TED talk.

Running the actual half-marathon was fun, in a 13-mile kind of way. The event was all on trails, there were loads of hills, and all the rocks and roots made for challenging footing. The complex footing meant I fell down during the race. In fact, I fell down FOUR times during the race. Fortunately, despite doing four total and complete face plants, I somehow managed to avoid actually injuring myself, and just sustained a few scratches. My guardian angel must have been watching over me, once she managed to stop laughing so hard at me for constantly falling down in the first place.

My legs at the end, muddied from falling down so damn often.

Showing off some scrapes I got from a bush that was alongside the trail
One unpleasant surprise occurred when I got stung by a yellow jacket halfway through the race. I found out that several other runners also got stung by yellow jackets. Is it me, or are yellow jackets really very angry insects? It wasn't like we were bothering them! We were just running by on the path! Listen up, yellow jackets, to a message I am sending you on behalf of all humanity: You just need to CHILL THE FUCK OUT already. It's for your own good. All that aggression can't be good for your buggy blood pressure.

There was some really beautiful scenery during the half marathon. It looked something like this photo:
Not a picture I took during the event
Or maybe the race scenery looked something like this:
Also not a picture I took. But you knew that.
Actually, I have no idea what the race scenery looked like. I was too busy watching my feet to make sure I didn't fall down a fifth time to take a gander at the pretty views. For all I know we ran to the North Pole.

I was really enjoying myself until about mile 9 of the race. When I passed mile 9, I really started looking forward to the finish, but couldn't figure out how far I had left to run. When I run, all the oxygen gets sucked out of my brain, and I can't even do the most basic arithmetic. This is called Running Math Syndrome, and it kicked in big time for me near the end of the race. "Let's see...the full distance is 13 miles and I've run 9 miles, so the distance remaining is...72 miles? Pi? A hypotenuse? Gosh, I guess I'll never know how far I have left to go." That's the pain of RMS.

But I did make it to the end, muddy knees and all. Thanks to narrow age groups and prizes that ran five deep, I even managed to snag an age-group award. Most importantly, I had a good time, and I'm already thinking about signing up for another trail half marathon, maybe in the fall. I would like an event that has been certified as yellow jacket-free.


  1. Tamarine - I love your blog posts! Make me laugh, every single time! :)
    Congrats on your race!!