|Jen & Marsha pre-race|
She told us we'd be running
...on an interesting one mile long fire break complete with steep climbs and descents. There will be more climbing than usual due to this.
But don't fret...You still get to experience Becky's Bluff!
Okay, I've read about Becky's Bluff but it sounded like we might be getting a bit more with this new route. More on this in a bit...
And we were off. Spent some time on pavement, thinned out a bit and started heading around one of the lakes. Being a slow guy, walker/jogger, I have no problems stopping and taking pictures during a race - and I stopped and got a shot of the runners across the lake (Jen was one of them):
As I was putting my camera back in the pouch, turned around and noticed Marsha (bookladywalker - check out her blog listed on the right) behind me, although she has done 100+ marathons/ultra marathons, today she was just doing the half:
Not long after that on an out & back section, I saw Andrew (friend from work, gray shirt), he was doing the full:
That meant he had to do Becky's Bluff twice!!! Oh man - better him than me, once is more than enough!
It wasn't too long before we hit the new section, the mile long fire break with ups, downs, ups,...
At the time, I really did think this was hard. I had not done Becky's Bluff yet. Finally completed the new section and it was hard. Next came just 'normal' trail and it was good.
Trail races are different. Trail runners are different. When given a choice I will always select a trail race over a road race. I had also told Jen earlier that aid stations in trail races are really different compared to road races and that she would know exactly what I meant as soon as she saw the first aid station.
Alas, the only thing left on the course was Becky's Bluff. The original course had us doing it in the first few miles. However, the revised course had us doing it towards the end. There was no good way (that I could find) to capture Becky's Bluff in pictures, but I can put it into perspective with this - my normal half marathon race pace is in the 12-13 minutes per mile range, the mile where I did Becky's Bluff, took 32 minutes to do! IT WAS HARD!!!
The other cool thing as I approached the top of Becky's Bluff, they had a 4 foot blow-up monkey next to the trail. There was a sign on top of it that said "Eat Bananas" and they had bananas there for us down by its feet! : )
I was so glad I did not sign up to do the full marathon as they had to do this twice! I felt sorry for those who had to do it two times.
Going down from Becky's Bluff was a different path and with the help of gravity and more of a winding path, I jogged for the most part.
Fnished with a time around 3:31. This is my slowest half marathon, ever. It is also the hardest. Jen also thought this was crazy hard - but loved it. I think she is a trail convert now!
|Jen & me after Twisted Ankle Half Marathon|