Sunday, April 13, 2014

Forget the PR Half Marathon: April 13th, 2014

A few months before Forget the PR 50K / 25K I learned that Rob was going to include more races over the weekend, including a 4 miler on Friday night and a 1/2 marathon on Sunday.  I was planning to squeeze in a few training runs that weekend in Mohican since the Indiana Trail 100 was only two weeks away.  So I decided it would work out well if I ran a 12 mile training run super early on Saturday morning before volunteering at South Park aid station and then run in the half marathon on Sunday.  This would give me my 25 miles for the weekend that my training plan called for.  I was planning on tent camping over the weekend as I always do for this event but I was worried this year as we still had super cold temps in April.  Luckily the forecast had zero percent chance of rain and low temps of 35 and high temps around 70. This was perfect camping weather!!

All set up at my favorite site 500
I arrived to Mohican Adventures on Friday evening and decided to get my camp set up and also prepare for my super early training run the next morning.  I wanted to make sure I got up early enough to get done before the 50K race started.  I didn't have to be at my volunteer post until 8:00 am on Saturday but did not want to get caught going against the grain of two hundred 50K runners on a single track trail.  After I got camp set up I had a quick beer and laid down in the tent. The air was cool and I was extremely tired which was perfect conditions for a great nights sleep.  The temps dropped down into the low 30s that night and when I woke up at 4:30 am I was super cozy in my sleeping bag and did not want to get out.  I knew I needed to do my training run though.  I also knew I did not want to wait until after volunteering to do the training run because I would want to drink some Lager Heads beer and hang out with my friends.  So once I got dressed and on the trail I was really glad I got up.  It was a cool and crisp morning for a dark run through the trails.  I seen a lot of stars for the first time in awhile.  The sun was starting to peek through the sky when I got to covered bridge and there was someone there sitting on a cooler and listening to music.  I thought it had to be a volunteer waiting for the race to start and I later learned it was someone I knew but I could not make out there face since it was still pretty dark out.

South Park Aid Station..ready for runners!
As I ran through the trails that morning I could tell there was a lot of mud but it was mostly frozen as I passed through.  I knew that once temps heated up during the race it would be a mud fest for the runners especially along the river heading back to Mohican Adventures after leaving the covered bridge. I got back to camp right when I heard the race starting. It was perfect timing and I was able to squeeze in a shower and head over to South Park aid station to get set up.  It was colder then I thought when we were setting up the aid station. I was hot from my run and only wore shorts and a t shirt but the temps were still in the 30s. It was not long before the temps climbed into the 60s and I think it even got to 70 for the first time all spring. The runners were all in good spirits as they came through the aid station.  They were talking about how they were not use to the heat after that frigid winter!  It was a lot better weather then the 2013 Forget the PR because last year we stood at our aid station in pouring down rain and low 50s temps for the whole miserable day.

Chad Heald and myself enjoying some Lager Heads Brew
After the course sweeper came through our aid station we got it all torn down and packed up.  We were back at the start and finish line by 1:30.  We were able to drink some of the beer that the Lager Heads Brewing Company provided and also hang out with some friends and cheer on runners that were coming across the finish line.  I even got to course marshal the kids half mile race around the Mohican Adventures lake.  Basically all I had to do was stand on the other side of the lake and make sure none of the kids fell into the water.  They had so much fun running around the half mile loop and it reminds me of how I feel like a kid when I am out running on the trails.  After the races were all done and the area was secure for the night I went with Rob, his wife Johna and some other volunteers down to Trails end pizza. It was nice just relaxing and talking about the day.  To my surprise Rob bought us all dinner!  It was an unexpected and very cool thing for him to do.  Afterwards I was heading back to camp when I seen Nick who just got there! I said hi and he gave me a ride up to camp.  He invited me to hang out with some of his friends but I took a rain check because I was getting up to run the half marathon in the morning. I sat by the fire and had a beer before I passed out for the night.

Rob showing us the course markers are on the right side! I stole this pic from Kimba

I got up the next morning and was pretty tired after such a long day on Saturday.  I got ready for the race and I had some extra time so I decided to tear down my camp so I didn't have to do it after the run.  I woke Nick up to see if he wanted to run the 1/2 marathon but he said his head was killing him and he was going to sit this one out.  I made my way down to the starting line and got signed in and attached my bib number etc... I was feeling good and ready to race even though I am suppose to be taking it easy since my hundred miler was less then two weeks away.  A lot of the people doing this half marathon were on the third leg of the Trifecta.  Rob offered a special award and T shirt for those who completed the four miler Friday night, the 25K or 50K on Saturday, and the 1/2 marathon on Sunday.   Those who were in this elite group were feeling very tired from the previous two days of racing which gave me sort of an advantage.  After Rob's pre-race speech we were off!  I came out of the gate way to fast but was feeling good so I just went with it.  I was surprising myself at how good of a pace I was keeping through the trails of Mohican.  We went up Big Ass Hill, down to the fire tower and then after covered bridge it was a complete mud fest.  There were areas that had knee deep water and ankle deep mud.  I went right through the middle of it.  I even passed a few people who were trying to maneuver around these areas.  In the last few miles of the race I passed a few people.  It was a good confidence booster even though I knew they were tired from running three races that weekend.

Up up and away!  Also stole this pic from facebook.
I had a strong finish and it was a good feeling to cross the finish line.  Especially knowing the next two weeks I would be tapering and planning for my hundred miler.  I later learned that I had a time of 2 hours and 46 minutes for the 1/2 marathon.  You might not think this is a good time but it is a really tough trail course and anyone that has run at Mohican would agree.  It was good enough that I finished 26th out of 83 runners.  I am proud of that because I am usually not competitive when it comes to trail running but every now and then I feel the urge to try and have a decent finishing time.  Once again the Forget the PR weekend was an absolute blast.  I had fun camping, volunteering, hanging with some good people and especially trail running in Mohican.  In two weeks I will really see what I am made of at the Indiana Trail 100.

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