Now that you read this post about Chris and I taking our kids on our first family trip it is time for me to share with you how it went at the North Country Trail Run.
To say that I was nervous going into this race was an understatement. It was my first trail run so I had no idea what to expect and on top of that I didn’t feel well-trained for the event. But ready or not, I wanted that giant medal!
One thing that sets this race apart from others I have run (other than it being my first trail run) is the amount of race swag I received! Most of it BEFORE the race even happened.
The morning of the race, the whole gang accompanied me to packet pick up and waited so they could see me cross the start line. This was extra special for me as B has never seen me start a race. Prior to this race he has only seen me finish my leg of a relay.
Once I crossed the start line, Chris took all of the kids to breakfast while I tackled 13.1 miles in the Manistee National Forest. I opted to not run with any music because I wanted to absorb the sounds and sights of my surroundings. I am not usually a fan of running sans music but I didn’t really miss it.
The first mile of the race was pretty bottlenecky (yes, I just made that up) as the race was on single track trails and since all half marathoners started at one time, it took some time to get distance in between runners. Eventually the trails became less congo line like and I was able to settle into a comfortable pace. Luckily the trails were well marked as one of my fears was getting lost, everyone always talks about that happening when running trail races. I was also slightly scared of running into animals as Chris informed me of a runner that got mauled by a bear in a different part of Michigan. Luckily I had no bear or other animal sightings.
I did however, have a lot of close calls on almost sprawling out face first onto the forest floor. I am not used to running on trails which evidently means I am not used to picking up my feet. I kept tripping on rocks, tree roots, sticks, etc. In fact my running mantra for this race quickly became “pick up your damn feet.”
This race was insanely hilly. I felt like I was running the San Francisco Nike Women’s Half Marathon all over again but this time on trails! I kid you not! By mile 10 I had nothing left in me. From then on it was a lot of walking intermixed with small periods of jogging. I even wanted to text Chris at one point to tell him how hard of a time I was having but I didn’t have the energy to get my phone out of my fuel belt.
Turns out all that up hill climbing was worth it! Just check out this view that was about a mile or so before the finish line.
And once I crossed the finish line, I got what I had been waiting for. A ridiculously large medal!
I ended my first trail half marathon with a time of 2:55:40 which was good for 21 out of 36 in my age group. Not too shabby and considering my goals were to not die and finish, I would say it was mission accomplished!
Have you ever ran a trail race? How was your experience?