We did it! We finished the half marathon! And I did not lay down in the mud and cry like a little kid! Our goals were to finish in less than 3 hours and not to be last, and we managed both goals by the skin of our teeth. That was one tough race and in retrospect, maybe not the best choice for a first half marathon or a first trail race. One of our friends overheard someone who ran the 10k portion of the race say that it was tougher than the marathon that she ran. So it wasn’t just me being whiny—someone who had run a whole marathon thought the course was hard. I’m pretty sure the park was designed by M. C. Escher, because the whole thing seemed to go uphill.
It rained on us at the very beginning and stayed overcast for the whole race. We were glad for that, because it kept things cooler. It was damp all week, so the trails were slick in spots, but not too bad. My running buddy had a tougher time because she wasn’t wearing trail shoes, but she managed to stay upright. In fact, I told my friend that I suspected my Grandma was watching out for us. The plastic ribbon they used to mark the course was pink with black polka dots—a combination I have always associated with her. Thinking that made me smile a little whenever I saw the ribbons, and it got me through a couple of the steeper inclines. And who knows—we ran 13.3 miles on steep, muddy trails with lots of roots and rocks, and neither of us fell down. Someone was watching out for us—Grandma, Guardian Angel, or Green Man, it doesn’t really matter—I’m just thankful we made it through with nothing worse than blisters and sore muscles.
As we were slogging up the last mile, my buddy told me she didn’t think she could run through the finish line. But when the flags came in sight, she picked up the pace, and we raced each other to the end. As we passed the timing booth, I hollered at her “I’m gonna kick your ass!” This cracked up the timing guys, who said it was the funniest thing they’d heard anyone say as they crossed the timing mats.
And…….since that race was apparently tougher than a marathon, my friend and I have decided to go ahead and try for the full distance. Mark your calendars, make your travel plans—we’re headed to Richmond on November 10th!