I wanted to sit down and recap my first “Hirt the Dirt Half Marathon” in Rockford last weekend and this is the first time that I have been able to actually get to the computer for some quiet time. I had never done one before officially (I used to run 13 miles when I was younger, but never officially entered a race), so I was supper excited and a little nervous. I did not know what to expect.
First, Beth and I ran it together, so she came down to our house the night before with her husband. My neighbor Scot ran it also, so we had emotional and moral support. His wife Sara was awesome and totally took care of us so we didn’t die after the race…which is great 🙂 Thanks Sara!!
The race started at 8:15 am sharp, so we left my house around 7am. That was great timing. We parked in a church parking lot, and by the time we got there there were hardly any more parking spots. So glad we got there early. Then we had to take a bus shuttle to the start line. I was really nervous that I would get carsick on the way (I hate buses), but I was ok. It was a really short bus ride. We hung out for about 1/2 hour in the freezing wind. Seriously, we were so cold. Luckily the trail run was in the trees so we did not have to suffer for long! (By the way, I’m the one with the long sleeve pink shirt, Beth is in the black 🙂
The marathon racers started first in 2 waves, (faster and slower racers) and then the half marathoners lined up. We were just trying to finish, so we lined up in the second half of the marathon racers in the back. Some opening announcements were done and we were off.
Let me tell you, we were not prepared for the “rolling hills” that we experienced out there! There was not a flat piece of course out there. The course was a 6.5 mile loop so the first mile and the last 2 miles of each loop were coming into the field. That was even hilly! The rest of the course was pretty much a single file line through very steep up and down hills. It was really fun though. We walked roughly about every 2 miles for just a few seconds so let our calves rest. By the first loop around, I was rethinking this race!
The second loop (about 6.5 – 13.1 miles) was the part where it totally became mental! You may be thinking, “April, no kidding” but…for real…it was tough. We ended up finishing the entire thing, although honestly there was a point where I was not sure I had it in me to finish. We ended finishing dead last of the half marathon finishers (4 people did not finish). We were chasing this woman through the first part of the race the entire time, but then lost track of her during the second loop. Then, all of a sudden she was running toward us so we thought we had made a wrong turn. Turns out she missed her turn somewhere so unfortunately she did not get a time. So, the rest of the time she ran with us. So, Cindy, if you are reading this….lets reconvene next year!!
All in all, it was a great race, albeit not the best race to be our first half marathon. But, I really liked it. The volunteers were excellent. The post-race food consisted of pulled pork, all the fruit that you could totally want, and cookies galore. The packet pickup was painless (I picked ours up the night before). I totally am planning on running at least the 10K next year, if not the half marathon. I will just have to plan for more hill training, that’s for sure….and….we won’t be last next year!
Onward and upward…now we have to figure out the next half marathon. Beth and I are already planning on doing one in the fall. My plan is to hopefully complete a couple 5K races during the summer to increase my mileage and get a little faster.