Well, another half marathon is in the books. I ran it with my running partner, Matt. Even though he didn’t PR , we had a great race and it was a perfect day. Better yet, my knee help up!
The course looped around the entire park. We ran up the main bike path for about 6.5 miles, and then onto a flat trail for 2.5 miles which looped back to the bike path at mile 9 and we retraced our steps (and hills) for the last 4 miles.
The first 6.5 miles were super smooth sailing. We kept between an 11:00 and 11:30 pace, trying to be pretty conservative and tackling the hills in the first 3 miles without any major difficulty. My sister came to see us at mile 6 also, since that was the only other place you could drive to besides the beginning. It was good to see her there, and she took a couple great shots!!
At mile 6.5, we got onto a trail section that lasted 2.5 miles. It was flat and relatively easy to run. Not a ton of rocks of branches. There was one big tree down in the middle of the path at one point, but nothing crazy. It was absolutely gorgeous! I lost Matt a bit on this part. It was hard to run together, so I went ahead and then stopped to stretch to my knee while he caught up.
At mile 9, we reached the trail back where we had started. We managed to make it back up and down all of the hills (those hills from the beginning seemed a lot harder the second time around.) We ended up walking a good portion of the last 2 miles. Matt was flagging and having some weird numbness stuff. I think he felt bad, but I set out to run the whole thing with him, and I didn’t really mind. At this point, my knee hurt. Not unbearably, but it hurt. So walking wasn’t so bad.
Most of the race, there was a couple from Virginia doing a run 3, walk 1 method right in front or behind us. When we rounded the last corner, the guy from that couple had come back (after he finished) to finish running the race with us! It was something that would never have happened in a large race – but when there’s only 450 people racing 13.1 miles with you, the atmosphere and camaraderie is different. His energy certainly helped get Matt across that finish line looking strong.
Of course, after the race you get german potato salad, brats, and sauerkraut. And we had plenty of Oktoberfest beers back at Matt’s to celebrate.
This week I have taken off from all intense exercise. I went to yoga on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and will go to a yoga class this evening. Next week, I’m going to attempt to get back to Ranger Training and do a run or two, but I want to be sure to give my knee/IT Band enough time to heal. I am trying to be kind to my body, and to give it time to heal and rest when necessary. It’s sort of a new thing for me.