Today, I ran my 18th half marathon and the 12th this year. I had NO idea when I started 2012 that I would be running that many. It wasn't planned but I find that I really like running halfs. All the fun of a race, putting in some good miles and time on my feet, and I'm not beat up by them. Usually.
Once again, I had no plans to race this half. I wanted to do it but not dig myself into a deeper hole than I'm in. I wanted to do this one for a couple of reasons. First, Keira Henninger (@KeiraHenninger) puts on quite a few local races that I've heard great things about. I have a couple of them on my to-do list, especially her Griffith Park Trail Half Marathon and the Ray Miller 50/50. Second, this was the inaugural running of the Paramount Ranch Trail Half Marathon and it's held on an old western movie set on National Park Service Land. How often do you get to run a race on a movie set?! I could be discovered! Well, probably not...but you never know. ;)
So I was going to run it and take lots of pictures and just enjoy my time on the trails. No worries about cut-offs or pushing or pace. Just savor the adventure of a new trail. As an added bonus, I found out in the last couple of days that some runners I knew were going to be there. Yay!
I got up at 4, did my usual pre-race routine, and left about 4:45 for the race. I love early starts but they sure are hard when the drive to it is over an hour away. I got there a little after 6 and went to check in to get my bib and shirt. When I walked in the barn door, I was greeted by Tiffany (@RunningHutch) who I met in May when we volunteered for a 50K. We talked for a little bit and then I met Ricardo (@Ribeezie) who I met thru my blog. That's one great thing about wearing Run It Fast gear...you're easy to recognize! I went back to my car to stash my shirt and get my shoes. Then I hit the restrooms and went back to the barn to wait til it was time to race. I got to talk to Ricardo for a while more and then Ryan (from the Old Goat races and Big Bear) came in so caught up with him a little. Fun times! :)
The race started promptly at 7 after a few words from Keira about us paying attention so we wouldn't get lost. LOL. I think she was looking at me! Well, maybe not. But she could have been. So everyone, the 10K and half marathoners, set off together. It was a little crowded in the beginning so there were places we bunched up and had to walk but that was okay. I wasn't in a hurry.
The trail was lush and a little damp...and muddy. Yeah, cuz it rained pretty hard the past couple of days and there wasn't a chance for the trails to dry out. I hoped it wouldn't be too bad though! I was having JJ50K flashbacks! But no, it wasn't that bad. A little sloppy in parts but very run-able. It was foggy and overcast on the first loop but still very cool. It was pretty much all hills so we were either going up or down but there wasn't anything very technical.
When I was on loop 1, I felt tired. I seriously thought about dropping to the 10K when I finished the first loop (well, it was actually 6.5ish miles) but when I got back to "town", I found myself in the lane for the 2nd loop and just kept going. I'm glad I did because I had more fun on the second loop. It was slower than the first but I stopped to take more pictures and talked to some fun runners and had a great time out there enjoying the views.
I was happy to finish. Yay! And get my medal from Keira...
I felt pretty good. My foot did great during the run. My left knee wasn't happy on the downhills but it was fine. I wasn't overly tired or achy. I feel okay with my effort today. I have another half tomorrow...the Holly Jolly Half Marathon...and I feel like I left enough in my legs to run it tomorrow. Hopefully. :)
All in all, today was a good day. The race was awesome: great course, great support and aid stations, well marked, and sweet bling (we also got a drawstring bag, a whistle, and the latest issue of Trail Runner besides the medal and the shirt). Definitely would recommend this race if you are looking for a fun trail run next year!
And most of all...mentally, I had a good day on the trail. Something I REALLY needed. Whew. :)
The only disappointment I have for the day is that I forgot to get pics with the Tiffany, Ricardo, and Ryan. Oh, and I didn't see any movie stars. Not even @bayou. Darn. ;)