Trail Half Marathon

They said that this Trail Half Marathon would kick your butt! And it sure did! After running a whole bunch of road halfs, I decided to do the non-wimp thing - run on dirt, through forest, and around lakes. (It was actually half wimpy, because some people ran the course twice for the full marathon)

I have been running trails for sometime now. They more fun and easier on your feet than the pounding on the pavement and roads. It was only last month after the ice melted that the trails were safe to run again. Snow on the streets melts, but due to the trees and a lower specific heat, the trails are still icy. A slip can land you in the Huron river!

I wasn't up to the miles for a half and then you train like you were cramming for an exam, I added hills, speedworkouts. After I ran 10 miles on the hills, I knew that at the very least, I would come out of it alive (Never forget that!).

But, hell the race course was tough! The course goes around the famous Potowatomi train in the Pinckney Recreation Area. At no point was the course flat. Either you were going up or down. In total, the course has 7,000 ft of vertical climb. Since the race began and ended at the Silver Lake, you had also 7,000 ft of downhills. While the downhills were welcome, a hasty step would be your downfall, literally. I saw a bunch of people trip and fall. The last thing you want, is to get injured and hobble through miles of forest. That would be a meditative experience in the forest.

Oddly, some miles are shorter and others feel longer. Up and down, then up again. Legs cramp up. Something aches. It goes away. Then after a point you are running from water-stop to water-stop, wondering when the torture will end. And there are people are still in bed somewhere. After a point, your mind shuts down and you are just running. You have no idea where you are, but just following the person in front of you.

But, like all races at the end you are mostly by yourself. At mile 11, I hit a root sticking out of the ground and that was really painful! Nature is beautiful, but you can't be idiotic out in the wild. My shoes have an ID tag, so they know where to deposit my body.

At mile 12, I think I hit my limit! But, who gives up with one mile to go? You calculate that it won't be more than 10 minutes. And then suddenly, you see the finish line. You get a sudden burst of energy to sprint to the finish. The race ends on 100 meters of a grassy flat and that was a relief after the relentless hills. The best part of the race? To ice my legs in the Silver Lake.

Twenty minutes later, it all seems worth it and you find yourself saying something that you would have never thought - "I should do this again!". The harder the race, the sweeter the taste of a finish.

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