Orphan Hope 1/2 Marathon Race Report
|Won a 1st Place AG Award!|
I picked up my award plaque early, since I had a long drive home, and met one of the race organizers and the female master's winner and the 4th place runner in my age group, too, so even though I didn't stay for the ceremony, it was a fun finish to my race morning.
But let's back up... Before the race, I ran a 10 minute warm-up (which may have been unnecessary because we started the race slowly) and then I chatted with another half marathoner at the start.
The trail was well-marked so I didn't even come close to getting lost in the woods like I was afraid I might. This was a small race so there were a couple of moments when I couldn't see another runner, though. The alligator warning signs in the park might make some people nervous, but I've run and biked by alligators before and they just ignored me. That's pretty boring, but that's okay!
|Will Run for Cupcakes!|
The hills weren't that bad either. I was so excited when I made it to the top of one steep hill and got a view of the pretty lake. There were some volunteers/spectators who made it out to some hilly parts and "yelled me up" the hills.
I thought I'd try for a 10 minute average pace (a 2:11 finish) and keep an eye on my pace, but I hardly looked at my Garmin since I needed to look out for roots. Every time it beeped, though, I knew I was another mile closer to the finish. I wasn't sure where I was on the course and how close I was to the finish (I think the trees might have messed with my Garmin), but I told myself to run like I was close to the finish.
I didn't feel low on energy even though I didn't eat and drink much. I ate a Powerbar gel at mile 2 (too early, oops). I had to stop to yank it out of my pocket. Gloves made it hard. I drank a little Gatorade at miles 3, 6 and maybe 10. Maybe I would have been faster with more fuel or maybe I worry too much about fueling.
|Finish Line Beside Raven Lake|
I don't have another trail race to compare this one to, but it didn't seem very difficult. There were even some sections that were a wide dirt road. Sometimes you had to run in a narrow section of the road because of the mud, though. About half of the time, I didn't have to worry about running into other runners on the narrow path. Most of the time, all that I saw was the dirt path and trees on either side of me (and other runners). For a short while, I saw the lake and the sunny sky. Some people might find that boring, but I liked running through the woods.
The race was held on trails in Huntsville State Park, about a 1 1/4 hour drive north of Houston so I was able to sleep in my own comfy bed last night, have oatmeal and a banana for breakfast and drive up early this morning for the 8AM start. My husband often comes to races, but couldn't make it this time. Instead, he put dog food in one of my favorite race mugs (kind of bad), nearly locked himself out of the house (really bad) and nearly started the house on fire (wow). It's a long story and I exaggerate a little...
|Huntsville State Park|
The race benefited a great cause. Race packet pick-up was easy. The volunteers were encouraging. By the time I made it to the timing board, my time was already up. I saw the cupcakes before the race and they were a big incentive for finishing - got to get back to the cupcakes! The race shirt fits and looks great. I'd like to go back next year to try for a course PR!
Location: Huntsville State Park, Texas
Finish Time: 2:03
1st female in my age group, out of 13 (ages 40-49). I'm 46.
7th female overall
36th runner overall, out of 156 (small race, but we ran with 82 marathoners and 32 relay runners, too)
My 1/2 marathon road race PR: (Oct.'07) 1:50:57
Update: To learn more about races put on by this organization, visit Project: LoveOne.