The half-wit trail half marathon was yesterday morning. It was a fun course – very challenging. Overall, I'd say that it was more technical than the trails in the Wissahickon. Some of the downhills, in particular, were crazy, and there were a lot of logs cutting across the trails. 13 miles on this wasn't easy.
Helen and I ran together for the first 4 miles or so (no mile markers, so I'm just guessing here). We knew going into this that I'd have an edge – this was my one chance to beat her. On roads, I'm the better climber, she's the better descender, but on trails I've been descending better, esp. since I got my new trail running shoes. (I raced in the new shoes, not the new new shoes). When I can, I just kind of let go on the downhills. So at around mile 4 there was a long-ish downhill; I'd been waiting for when Helen caught up, but she'd said to go ahead, so this time I did. I was thinking that I'd see her again at the finish line, but then around mile 8 or so there she was! Good for her. So we ran together for a while, until we got to the wrong turn during the tenth mile. That was kind of the annoying part of the course – you go past a water stop (actually a beer/water stop – oh look, gatorade! oh wait…), then cross a road, then turn left onto the trail. But we followed the people ahead of us, who missed the turn, so we did to. This probably cost us around 2 minutes. I was mostly pissed for Helen – she was in second place at the time, and during our detour 3-4 women passed her. She passed all but one of them back, for a 3rd place finish. (She also got the top Wissahickon Wanderers finish; top guy got 11th overall, I think). The top woman finished not much ahead of her, and actually behind me, according to the final standings, although I don't remember passing her.
Helen was more zen about the detour than me; I was pissed off, which actually got me really revved up. I'm pretty sure I passed everyone that passed me during the 2 minute screw up; I was thinking that Helen would do that part of the run with me, but she stayed back. She still did really well, though; I thought she'd be a few minutes behind me, but it was just a minute or so – I was 1:59:something, she finished in 2:00:23. Since we'd been told to add a whole hour to our ½ marathon time, it was nice to be done that quickly.
Overall, a fun race - I'd like to do it next year or in '09, when I've got a better sense of the course. I'm really thinking that trail running is more my thing than normal running.