Monday, August 22, 2011

Drake Well Half Marathon

Agh! I can't sleep anymore - it's about 5:45AM - I was ready for the Drake Well Half Marathon. I woke-up from the soft squishy - not comfortable - "Comfort" Inn bed and threw on my clothes and gear. I mixed Gatorade01 with water in my 20oz. Camelback water bottle and start spreading peanut butter on some Triscuits. I figure the peanut butter is a great source of protein and Triscuits are a good whole grain carb. Before I knew it, it was time to get over to the race.

Last week, I e-mailed Jaimee, the Titusville Leisure Services Director, to ask her about the course. See, she sent out an e-mail which said something about the course being run on a bike trail. I thought, 'oh no, not another race on dirt roads - not like two weeks ago.' I'm not a big baby, really, it's just that about 8 years ago, I had two emergency retinal surgeries and since then, I really can't see depth that well when I am running - so I can't really tell if the road is dipping or how deep a pot hole may be - I like paved roads! Anyway, Jamie was nice enough to tell me the race was on a paved bike trail. In fact, one of the reasons Titusville hosts the Drake Well marathon/half-marathon race is to raise money for the construction of a 5.3 mile trail, Queen City Trail, a segment in a 200+mile trail system connecting Bayfront in Erie to Point in Pittsburgh. The second reason is to help the Titusville Rotary Club in its efforts to eradicate polio. So, see, there are so many reasons to run - it really makes me feel good that I am a part of such positive human efforts.

Before the race, my Wing-man and I met the most interesting man, Jim. He told me he ran over 800 hundred marathons! I asked him if he ran one in every state - he told me that he ran one in each state about 12 times! OMG! What an amazing man! He was, in his 60's(?) and he was in GREAT shape! Wow! I told him that I wanted to run at least one marathon - he was so encouraging, he said, "You can do it. If you get tired, walk a little - and then keep going!" He didn't look like anything was stopping him - and you can bet I will be thinking of him when I run my first marathon!

We lined up to start and it looked like it might rain. Then, we started. At first, the course goes straight uphill, but then the  trail levels out. There are some changes in elevation, but for the most part mile 1-6 are pretty easy. The course was very beautiful.
Drakewell Half Marathon Course

As you can see, it runs through Oil Creek State Park. Through the race, you could see the clouds hanging in the trees - it was very quiet, it was serene - it was just beautiful. At mile six there was a turn around and we ran back on the trail to the start. It wasn't a very crowded race, so this worked out well. This race is only in its fourth year, but in the future, as this race gains popularity and becomes more crowded, I could see some running jams at the turn around  - I am sure this will work itself out with the goal to lengthen this trail.

After mile 6, it started thundering and lightening, but we all kept running. I tried to run faster  to get under the next tree canopy to dodge some rain. The rain really didn't bother me - it was the lightening that was a bit frightening. I was so glad they didn't stop the race due to the lightening!

Remember I said that the first 1-6miles were easy? Well they became challenging when you had to run them in reverse from mile 7-12! Somewhere after mile 7, I lost satellite connection on my Garmin. Yuk! I couldn't tell my pace or my heart rate. Thank goodness, this race was very well run and every 2 miles there was a marker and a Gatorade and water station. The volunteers were so very nice - and so was everyone in the race - very encouraging - it was a great race - except for the end, when we had to run on grass. Its me, I get nervous running on grass - like with dirts roads, I just don't see changes in the terrain that well - plus the grass was wet and a bit slippery. In the organizer's defense, they marked the grass with big orange arrows, so the runners knew which direction to run.

The race finished on the high school track - I sprinted the last 200 meters and finished 10th overall, 3rd overall female and set a new PR: 1:41:02!
Drakewell Half Marathon Finsh
They had plenty of water and oranges - so I grabbed a bottle, sipped on some H2O, ate some oranges and put on some dry clothes. Like always, I kept moving - it helps the muscles in your legs "milk" the blood in your veins back to the heart.

Then, I stretched ...
... and reveled in accomplishing my PA half marathon!

Train Smart Today!

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