Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Race Report: Woodside King's Mountain Half Marathon

This past Saturday, the skies cleared up long enough here in the Bay Area for me to run the EnviroSports Woodside Kings Mountain Half Marathon without wearing a rain jacket.

My official finish time was 2:10:16, which I'm rather pleased about. Why? Just look at the elevation profile to the right (graphic links to my motionbased entry). Yes, that's just shy of 3400 feet of elevation gain over the course of the race.

In addition to this being just my second half marathon, it was my first true trail run, so the sweat (and tears) I shed completing the race were well expended.

I have to hand it to the EnviroSports crew, too, for putting on such a fun race. There were just 183 of us running the half marathon (and another couple hundred there to do the 5-miler), and it seemed much more like an intimate jog through Huddart Park than some big organized race.

The trail was very well marked to the top of the hill and back, and given all the rain we've gotten recently, I was surprised there was but a single stretch of shoe-sucking mud on the whole course. The fact it was just a couple hundred yards shy of the turnaround didn't help much, but you take what you get, no?

Truth be told, I walked more than I wanted to on the way up the hill. But I was proud at how much I ran up that same incline. See, I'd spent the week prior doing nothing but coping my way through recovering from a cold, so the fact that I was out in the wind and cool and wet was a victory in and of itself.

The course wasn't a true half marathon in length (more like 12.6 miles) and the canopy of trees meant my GPS signal was weak throughout and throwing off bad data. But I rather enjoyed having to pay close attention to where my feet were landing and taking a few moments here and there to enjoy the nature around me. With so few people on the course, I spent much of the run down the hill with only one other person in sight. Now that's my idea of a fun run.

Next up: vascular surgery on my left calf (see prior post on my varicose veins) and a week of recovery before hopping right back on the training wagon. After all, I've got a practice Wildflower olympic tri to run in a month. Wish me (and the surgeon) luck!

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