Triple Crown Rail Half Marathon Race Report in Newark Delawar on Saturday 4/28 by Fifty States HALF Marathon Club member Timothy Nohe
The day dawned with a late April layer of frost on my car at my sister's home in Havre de Grace, MD, about 30 minutes from the venue. So it was cold. I did come prepared with my cold gear.
The first 5k went very well. It was uneven terrain with roots, downed trees, rocks both protruding and loose, lots of hills. I normally do run/walk, but today, as cold as it was (35 - 40F at the horn) it was better and easier to run it out. Plus the trail didn't leave much room to let faster people to pass. At 5k, you could hear people screaming and yelling. They came upon what was called a creek.
You would think a creek might be at worst ankle deep, couple of feet across.
You would be wrong.
This is a small river complete with a strong current and uneven bottom and a knee deep pool in the middle, a good 40 feet across.
In we went. The next seven mile were not for the weak of heart. At one point, I was in the lead of a small pack, and not daring to drop to a walk, lest I got run over, and I was calling out obstacles as I came upon them:
"Dead fox puppy!"
Yes indeed. Right in the middle of the trail was a cute little kit, dead.
Many of the uphill, I saw seasoned trail veterans slow to a walk. As we went around from woods, to meadow, to swamps (on either side), an back, I watched in horror as my average pace dwindled from a sub-10:00 to a super-12:00.
The was a hard race. I had had a good dinner and a good breakfast, but I was losing steam. I ate my sports beans, my gu gel, the cookies and hard candies offered at the water stations, and yet I was still burning fuel fast. After crossing the "creek" the second time I heard my stomach growl.
I was actually hungry!
I always carry a Clif bar just for this. This time instead of just eating half, I had the whole thing. This was just after mile 11. After 25 minutes, it had no effect.
Soon there was a stampede. It was the 10k getting started coming at us from the opposite direction. And this trail was just about wide enough for one. These people coming at us were all fresh and eager and we were all finishing out the string on a half marathon.
Hell yes, I yielded the right of way.
The last mile was mostly a very steep hill that I walked up. At the top, you could see the finish area almost a mile ahead, but I just didn't have the energy to turn on that last kick. So I just barely jogged in. I walked across the finish. I was done.
2:44:xx which is a super-12:00 mile.
No medals for the half but I did get a coffee mug. As soon as I collect that trinket, I did a most uncharacteristic (for me) thing: I went over to the canteen and I had a couple of hot dogs.
So I know it sounds like I was miserable, but I wasn't. In some bizarre way, it was actually a lot of fun. Stretches where i would be in a string of people pacing behind another runner. Places where you would have to plan your pass. Downhills screaming like an idiot. Uphills ... those opposite uphills were Hell.
I had a lot of fun.