Jeff’s Post – Loved my first Trail ½ Marathon

Update – Many Race Pics have been posted – Check them out here!

Not sure what inspired me to sign up for the Dahlgren Trail ½ Marathon a few months ago but I’m glad that I did and I look forward to running another trail race.  This was a great starter trail race, mostly flat, just a few obstacles and very little mud.CIMG4675  I was a little worried about the mud as it started raining during my drive over but it turned out to be a beautiful day.  Tamara wasn’t with me for this race (always a strange feeling) but I knew she was cheering me on from a distance and probably trying to steal away the foursquare mayorship of our home gym!

This race was the smallest ½ Marathon I’ve run (sold out at 200) but I really loved the small feel.  This was the first race I’ve attended that had a bonfire, instructions on how to pee on the trial if needed and a 3×5 card to hand to an attendant on the way out.  They would use this card to ensure that you were accounted for on the way back.

The race started in waves – Cash Prizes first and then Age Groups every two minutes after the start.  I wasn’t sure how I felt about that initially but they had it so organized and I actually loved starting out with everyone I was competing with in my age group.  I found it to be very motivating.  I felt really good from the start and the trail was beautiful.  This was an out and back course and I’m not normally a fan of those but I think I was distracted by the beauty of the trail.  I didn’t have a specific goal time other than wanting to stay sub 8 the whole time.  What was neat about this race was that once I got to about mile 2 I was passing people the while time.  That really was a great feeling.  I was running strong and feeling fast. CIMG4677 I was also using Tamara’s pick them off tactic.  As I was able to pass someone I moved on to the next runner.  When we turned around at the ½ way point I was able to get a glimpse of a few others in my age group.  I had a little gap but they were closer than I thought which was a reminder to me to keep pushing it.  Mile 8 was tough for me but once I got to 9 I was good.  I only got passed once  the whole time at around mile 12 by a strong fast female (Updated – by Caroline – saw her blog link on the rail trail site).  Although I couldn’t pick her off I pushed hard and was able to pick off a few more people.  And guess what – I won my Age Group!  I really wasn’t expecting that but was thrilled with my finish. 2013-02-24_10-45-53_847


A few runner notes:  I took a GU at mile 6, Hydrated with G2 in my handheld, Ran in my Brooks Ghost GTX trail shoes (they actually hurt my feet a little towards the end).  I was really pleased with my splits (below).

Shamrock is quickly approaching and to be honest I wish I had just one more week.  I’m not going to get as many long runs in as I wanted but I still feel good.  I ran a crazy 23 miles on the treadmill a few weeks ago – just thought I would mention that :).  My shin still isn’t perfect but I’m thrilled with where I’m at and I’m looking forward to the next few weeks of training.

Happy Running!

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  1. Awesome job for your first trail half! I think you’re in a good place for Shamrock. That flat course with good weather will help produce some great results for you.