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Race report: Viking Trail Half Marathon

My first half marathon! Trails hurt!

Goals

GoalCompleted?
Finish it!Yes
Run the whole thing!Yes
< 2:30Yes
< 2:15No

Pictures

Splits

MileTime
110:04
210:45
312:09
411:11
511:28
611:28
710:40
810:47
913:24
1011:46
1111:32
1212:24
1311:31

Training

I followed the Hal Higdon Novice 2 Half Marathon training plan religiously, by starting at week 5 on the program which created my own 8 week training plan.

That fell apart at week 7 which was Christmas break, partly due to the holidays and partly because my entire family got sick.

Then, on week 8 I tried to catch back up by being an idiot and doing a neighborhood half marathon in trail shoes on road and I screwed my knee up (runner’s knee, I guess), so I had to slow things down even more. So I basically only ran half the distance I was supposed to run in the past 2 weeks, and that’s even accounting for the fact that it was supposed to be a taper.

I had done 2 full half marathons alone in my neighborhood so I felt OK about the distance, but the knee issues plus the fact that I had never run on trails made me feel pretty nervous about the race.

Pre-race

There were about 200 people but about 180 of them were there for the 5K and 10K. I saw almost no half marathon bibs to match mine when warming up.

Half marathon started first, so the 20 of us lined up in front of the 180 other races which made me feel super hardcore. Little did they know how slow I was about to run.

Race

The first 6ish miles were slow but fine. My knee was holding up and I felt much more confident about finishing, and started building big plans to pick up the speed in the 2nd half.

Since there were only 20 of us, we spread out fairly quickly and before after a few miles, the only person I could even see was a guy ahead of me who was doing some sort of 5 minutes running and 30 seconds walking routine, or something. I was inching up on him slowly but surely and finally passed him around mile 6, which was a bummer because after that I had no one to keep me distracted. I was running without anyone in sight for the entire rest of the race.

It’s a 2 lap course, so I rounded the starting line after the first lap and started the 2nd lap, and was getting ready to speed up a bit when the pain crept up. Around miles 7 and 8 my legs started aching and cramping pretty bad. No specific spot hurt, but both legs were just super sore and I started dreading ever little hill and ledge on the trail.

By the time I hit mile 10 I was really struggling. I had a 13+ minute mile in here, and there were points where I definitely could have walked faster than I was running. I stopped a couple times to stretch but it didn’t seem to help much so I gave that up and just suffered through it.

Right near the end of the race was the biggest hill of the entire thing. I hated that hill with a mighty vengeance but I knew that victory lay at the top. When I finally got over it, I could see the finish line and the only 3 people in sight were my wife, my mom, and one of my kids. It was raining by now and they were all standing out alone in the rain to see me finish. They cheered me through the finish line.

Here are some GIFs, in which you can see that I’ve lost all control of my neck.

Post-race

I was hurting bad. I waddled around like a penguin on the way back to the car and tried to stretch a bit before getting in. I was glad I had done it, but more than anything I was glad it was over. That was rough. Trails hurt.

There’s a road half marathon next month though, and it’s on!