I did it! I accomplished a trail Half Marathon. It took longer than expected, but I successfully completed my first unofficial 13.1. It’s funny how we push ourselves to limits we question during a race, but happy to be able to accomplish. Will I do it again, YES! It was an experience that was painful and beautiful. I wanted to accomplish a half because I enjoy being outdoors. I want to be able to better my physical self as well as my mental wellness. Being outdoors is my form of meditation.
During the Race
Max elevation was 3,093 with a minimum of 1,622. The day was beautiful, with the high of 74 with a nice breeze at the perfect moment. At mile 11 I wanted to stop, but didn’t. I stretched out at some point since I felt my legs begin to tighten, it helped. Parts of our route had backbreaking hills, as well as climbing over boulders. My lovely friend Kat & I trekked our half. She had raced road half-marathons before. I couldn’t have had a better person to accomplish my first 13.1. I learned that training helps with both mental and the physicality of completing any type of race. The next day I was able to run another 5 miles! We train ourselves to endure and our body helps us accomplish our endeavors. I recommend everyone that can to run/ walk a Half- Marathon and commit. I wasn’t able to train as much as I would’ve liked. I'm sure that would've helped with the time and there’s always the next one.
- Make sure you have trained in the shoe you will use on race day. Do not buy brand-new shoes to use on race day. Break in the shoe with some training runs.
- Choose running socks, I prefer merino wool blend.
- Make sure you’re replenishing yourself with hydration and snacks. Do not let yourself become depleted, have a snack/drink. A rule I learned was to snack every 90 min. and to keep calorie intake up. *Calorie intake varies with your activity.
- Map it. Many trails or road races will have little to no reception. Plan ahead. Take a hotspot, this might help in rural areas with some connection.
- Check the weather. Layering is a must. Our unofficial race started off chilly 46, and wearing light layer(s) is key. Wear moisture wicking base layers.
- I took a trekking pole along for assistance during ascending or descending sections of the trail. I never went on this trail before. Online can help with some information about the trail but not always accurate.
- Wear sun protection. A hat or cap of choice. Don’t forget to protect your eyes with sunglasses and neck. I use a moisture wicking neck gaiter that can double as a mask. I tend to use merino wool blend, naturally moisture wicking.
- Make sure your phone is fully charged and performance watch if you will take it along with you. Think about maybe taking a power bank, depending on the length of race. *A hotspot might be of use. *Turn off any unnecessary background apps that are not in-use.
- Do your best to take as little weight in your pack as possible. Less than 5 lbs is best for comfort. Only the essentials.
- If you have delicate skin, you might want to consider a balm or cream specific to anti-chaffing. Applying in areas of the body that create more friction with help limit or eliminate during a distance race. *This will help with chaffing. You might want to place anti-blister cream or moleskin on your heels. Where you feel a hot-spot(s) on your feet during training. Stage 1 and 2 blisters will work best with moleskin or a band-aid of choice.
- Please ask in the comments below or with friends and/or family that have raced a 13.1 or ultras for more tips. *If you are lucky to have friends join you on your race day, this will help with taking fewer items during a race. You can have check points with them, and they can replenish your hydration or snacks.