March 03, 2020 - The flu ravaged me throughout the week but also gave me a lot of rest as I finished with my best trail half time
Not much to say about this race as it was your run-of-the-mill trail half where nothing really happened. I had planned on training right through this race as i'm in the final few weeks of prep before my first marathon, but I caught the flu while on a business trip and ended up taking about 10 days off. It was extremely frustrating to lose almost two weeks of running when I was supposed to be at my absolute max volume, but that's life! If I'm being honest, my only goal for this race was not to have an accident in my pants, and to not run so hard that my IT band issues would flare up. This was a new venue and was a fairly boring 4 lap set-up. Air temps were in the single digits so the ground was frozen solid or covered in hard snow pack, and I was really unsure weather to wear road or trail shoes, but ultimately went with trail. It was the wrong call for the first two laps, but was the right call for the 3rd and 4th as the ground was chewed up from the runners and the sun.
My goal has always been to break 2 hours in a trail half, and I've come close a couple of times at the 2:01 to 2:03 mark, but both of those course I believe were short. This one was 13.6 miles, although my GPS whacked out in a couple of spots and only measured 12.8, which makes no sense as the first lap was 3.4, and it was 4 of the same laps. 4 laps in 2 hours equals 30 minutes per lap according to my math, so that was my pacing strategy. I definitely went out too fast as most people do but settled into a nice and comfortable pace after the first mile and set about to just get in my zone and start clicking off the miles. I was bored immediately by the start of lap 2 as all the 5k runners disappeared and was by myself for all of that lap, but a triathlete buddy of mine caught up to me at the start of lap 3 (mile 7), which is where he passes me in EVERY SINGLE TRAIL RACE, but this time I was able to run with him for all of the lap. It was nice having someone to chat with. I burned a lot of energy keeping up with him, and after pushing the big hill to end each lap, my buddy dropped me on a long flat stretch, and my morale dropped big time. I sucked wind fairly hard for a mile or so with my pace slowing and my legs being acutely aware of my lack of volume over the past 2 weeks, but just then, the right song came onto my headphones, I hit a couple of steep downhills, and my legs recharged. I also looked back and saw someone closing the gap, and i found the motivation to get back to it and push to the finish.
It was not a well attended race this year with only 47 people finishing the half distance, but I finished in 2:03:20, which given that I believe the distance to be accurate, would be a trail half PR for me, and it was good enough for 18th overall and 3rd in M35-39. My wife did not attend due to the cold (wind chill was 10 degrees), so don't have any good pictures, but all in all a successful day considering I wasn't sure I was going to be able to do it as late as the day before. Also, my pants were clean at the finish lol.