The Five Trails Half Marathon was the most challenging 13.1 course I have ever done, besides the one I ran in Tibet, which was only challenging because it was 11,700' above sea level. 2:17:50 is definitely not my fastest 13.1 time, but I somehow managed to come in 15 minutes faster than what I had been training. I am truly baffled by this fact because the entire course was nothing but hills. You know when you see a movie that is just violent for the sake of being violent? Yeah. That was this course! The weather was perfect, and it was a small, mostly local crowd of fun peeps though, and I really felt well-trained for the hills, despite the fact that they never ended. Two memorable moments of this race are 1) running with a TAPS member and looking like someone had maced me after I cried when she told me she was running for her husband, who gave his life in combat in 2006; and 2) opening my chocolate power gel and spilling half of it all down my legs as it exploded and not caring that it looked nothing like chocolate power gel...
For those of you out there who do mile-by-mile recaps (you know who you are Stephanie@Running with Lumpy and Al@ You Run, No Really, You Run?), I think you are either completely full of it, or you are a genius, or you literally carry a tiny pencil and paper with you the entire run because how on earth can you possibly remember what you felt like at each mile for 13.1 miles? Here is my attempt at a race recap:
Probably one of the strongest finishes I have ever experienced :)
Oh! And see that Nathan hand-held water bottle? Best invention. Ever. I have never done a 13.1 with my own hydration supply, and I LOVED not having to stop or slow down every mile to drink! Really worth it, I say. However, I think my days of energy gels are over. I am moving on to chews after this.