Up at 5am, obligatory porridge eaten, and set off for Sanborn County Park, up in the hills, venue for our half marathon. Pete was walking it, so he set off with the other hikers at 7am.
I was running it, so set off an hour later. Within a few minutes of the start, we met the climb. It got steeper and steeper, completely unrunnable and everyone was walking. It was rough underfoot and several people tripped and fell. Not a nice place to fall, as the path was very narrow in places with a steep drop. People warned me about the Poison Oak, which seems to grow at ankle and shin height – not nice when wearing shorts. Apparently it packs a nasty punch and symptoms last for 3 weeks.
I had talked Pete into doing the race with the promise of 1500 feet up for the first 3 miles, then undulating for the out and back sections before a nice descent to the finish. How wrong can you be? I suppose it levelled out a bit, but it was far from undulating with many of the ups so long and steep that I just had to walk them. The runnable downs were few and far between – watching out for roots and rocks was essential. The route wasn’t marshalled, other than at the aid stations, where there was water, coke, fruit, sweets, crisps – all sorts. At times, there wasn’t anyone in sight and I relied on the occasional red marker tied to the trees to indicate the right way.
It was nice to pass Pete on the out and back sections – at 8 miles he looked fresh as a daisy! The final 3 miles were downhill, but so steep! My legs were really complaining by now. With just a few miles to go I realised I could come in just under 3 hours so despite a nasty little up, I pushed on and crossed the line in 2:57. It wasn’t long until Pete arrived, finishing in 4:15.
There was plenty of food at the finish – fresh fruit, bagels, pastries, sweets and ice cream sandwiches – a chocolate covered sandwich of oaty biscuits filled with ice cream. It was really tasty. Checking the results I got another medal for coming second in my age group! It was such a tough race – my GPS watch showed we had climbed 3408 feet – no wonder we felt tired.
Decided to walk up to the shopping centre to buy ourselves a little reward: