Today I ran my 14th Half Marathon and my very first trail race! I haven’t spent very much time at all running trails, but the few times I have done it I absolutely loved it.
My friend Barbara and I headed up to Sylacauga, Alabama early this morning for this race at the trails around Lake Howard. We ended up making much better time than we thought with the drive and then had over an hour to wait for the race to start. It was 40 degrees, which felt painfully cold so we sat in the car with the heater on until the very last second before the race started.
We did get to watch a beautiful sunrise over the water while we waited.
The race was very small, there were only about 35 entrants. Apparently that’s pretty normal for a trail race from what I’m told.
The race started and I immediately knew that this was going to be a pretty technical trail. I was under the impression that it was much easier than the trail I run close to home, but to me it actually seemed very similar. Tons of rocks, roots, pine cones and other obstacles to navigate.
The plan was to take it easy and just enjoy ourselves.
With so few people in the race it wasn’t long before it was just Barbara and I together with no one else in sight ahead or behind us. At about mile 3.5 I slipped in some mud and fell pretty hard and landed on my hip. Thankfully I wasn’t hurt and was able to keep going. Then just a few minutes later Barbara took a big fall. She tried to brace herself and ended up pulling her hamstring pretty badly. She tried to jog a little bit, but the pain was too severe so she urged me to go ahead while she walked the race. I didn’t want to leave her, and had a hard time making myself do so but she told me in no uncertain terms to go. I ran ahead to the next aid station and asked a volunteer to check on her.
I kept going alone and I never saw another person until about mile 8, when I came up on a girl that had passed us when the fall happened. I ran behind her for about a mile, but right on her heels. I think it was kinda weird for both of us … I couldn’t decide if I wanted to get ahead of her and feel pressured to go faster or stick behind her and run slower than I knew I could. Finally I asked her to let me pass and she did.
The most of the rest of the race it was just me and the woods. I paid a lot of attention to my footing and thankfully didn’t have any more falls.
My finishing time was 2:08:04 and I was the 1st Female Winner!
The awards were the coolest I have ever seen for any race, I got this handmade quilt!
After lunch Quilt and I took a nice looong nap together.