Saturday, February 23, 2013

Race 32 Thrill in the Hills Half Marathon

The race should have been called "Thrill in the Mud"!   After days of heavy rain, very thankful it stopped two hours before the race started though, there was just an incredible amount of water on the trail.  This was a trail race at Fort Yargo State Park in Winder, Georgia with 575 full and half marathoners signed up and this was my third time doing it, however, first time with these conditions.

All week long I was watching the weather predictions, it was bleak -  rain all week including during the race.  I have been super lucky to date as this was my 32nd race and none of them have been in the rain.  Luck.

Arrived at Fort Yargo with plenty of time to check in, cycle through the porta-pottie line, and try to stay warm, temps were in the mid 40s.  The full marathoners started at 8:00 and half at 8:30.  The walk over the starting line was definitely an indication of things to come as there were puddles everywhere.  We watched the full marathoners trek through this and began to wonder if all 13.1 miles would be like it.

Thrill in the Hills Half Marathon at the start
This race was a test of my knee.  Since going to the Sports Med. Doc I have been stretching, after every walk, a lot.  However there is a huge difference between doing 13 miles on my own and doing 13 miles in a race, so this was a test.  My normal approach to these races is typically a combination of walking  &  jogging/running, mostly walking though.  For this race there would be absolutely no jogging/running, none.  And I did have the knee brace on from the start.  The hardest part was the beginning, I always jog/run with the crowd.  

At 8:30, we were off.  The first 2 miles or so wasn't too bad, mud, puddle wise.  But that quickly changed.  At first when we came upon puddles, we could go around them.  Sure it takes you off the course but it helped keep your feet dry.  But the puddle frequency increased and going around them began to mean going into marshy areas (think sink your foot in and if your shoe is not tied tight, it might just stay in the mud without your foot) or going through briars.  Hey, this was not in the brochure  :)

After a while, with mud caked up to your ankles and your feet as wet as if you hosed them down, well that was pretty much how the race was to be.  As the race organizer said on their website (, "FREE Mud Run".

The entire trail was not like the pictures above, but there were so many hills and the water was always in the low parts.  I was glad I got to do the race but I was really glad when it was over.  

Oh yeah, no, none, nada, knee pain.  :)  Very pleased about this.  And of course as soon as I finished, did 15-20 minutes of stretching while eating the post race pizza they provided!