When I first saw this race on the NCN Racing page, I put it on my race schedule as a maybe. I wanted to make sure it wasn’t going to be 90 degrees that day, even though the race starts at 7am. Race day it was pouring rain and in the high 60s. If I had known it was going to be pouring rain, I might not have registered but I had registered early in the week when the temps were low and partly cloudy. Luckily, it stopped raining before the race started.
After going to the wrong location, apparently French Creek Reservation is rather large, I eventually made my way to the right area and still had time to pick up my bib (you can register for a lower fee and not get a shirt), stopped at the bathroom and headed out for a warm up run. I had no idea what this course was like but had assumed it was on a bike path, flat and out and back course. I was wrong. Parts of the course are on bike path and the others are on a trail. It was hilly but at least I was right about the out and back course.
My goals for the race were different from other races. I knew I was not going to PR. I had been sick too much recently and my asthma was bad all weekend. I decided I would be happy with 8 min miles or a sub 1:50 finish time. It’s about 8 minutes from my PR time so I was just looking for a good training run.
The race started and for once I didn’t go out too fast! I settled into a 7:50 pace and by the 2nd mile was in the 8 min pace I wanted. Right away I noticed that my asthma was worse than I thought. I instantly yelled at myself because I knew I would keep running and how stupid I was being. Even though my asthma was bad, it was a full attack, more annoying than anything. (Still stupid). So my 8 min miles went out the window because now I couldn’t let myself get out of breath.
As the first couple miles went by, I was like “this is a little hillier than I thought” and was hoping those were the only hills. I was wrong. There were a few more. Nothing too horrible, just not what I expected. The race doesn’t advertise it as a flat or hilly course, I was just going based off the area.
I was so excited when around mile 5, before the turnaround, I saw my friend Anna! She comes out to races in that area and is an awesome photographer! She snapped some great photos of me running. Also, I never thought I’d see the turnaround. I was almost to mile 5 before I saw the lead runners heading back.
I always take gu around mile 7 or after an hour of running. I lost track and didn’t end up taking it til mile 8. I had a hard/sweaty time trying to open my gu so I started walking to open it while walking. Then I took my gu and kept walking. I don’t know what my deal was but it was a solid 4 mins of walking and only got passed by 1 guy.
I eventually sucked it and started running again but couldn’t quiet get back on my pace. Around mile 9 I started walking again for 1 minute. At mile 10 I walked for 30 seconds. I talked myself into running non stop to the finish, which usually isn’t a problem during a race but I was hot, humid, tired, couldn’t breathe etc. All along the race I noticed my watch was beeping at different times for the mile markers. At mile 12, my watch said 12.4.
The last 2 miles or so are on the trail in the woods. I was loving it! It is secluded but so pretty. I assumed when I got out of the trail that the finish line would be right there but it wasn’t. You had to do a loop around the parking lot. It’s always so hard when you are so close to the finish line but have to loop around.
I eventually finished, well away from my goal time, 1:56 maybe? I easily would have been under 1:50 if I didn’t start walking. Still not sure what my deal was with that. However, half marathon number 18 is in the books and even thought I didn’t hit my goal, I still had a good time and enjoyed the race. There are tons of really cool bridges you get to run over in this race. I was so excited about that. I’m hoping to come back and run the race again next year, with a slightly faster time 😉