I succesfully completed my first half marathon of 2008 yesterday. And to top it off, it was my first official cross country trail race. Although I signed up for multiple half marathons this year, as part of training for the Chicago Marathon, I was not able to run any of them due to conflicts with work.
Sri and I signed up for the North Face Endurance Challenge on a whim a couple of months ago. Looking back, it sounds crazy :-). Why would anyone want to run a half marathon, 2 weeks after running a marathon and that too in the woods. But I am so glad we did it and that I got to finish it.
Sri, Hafsa and Joy came along with me to cheer me on during race. We took off at ~6:00 AM in the morning and had breakfast at a small diner along the way. The drive to Kettle Moraine state Forest, where the race was held, was senic. Esp with the fall colors. I never realized that Wisconsin was such a beautiful state. I guess that is what happens, when the only places you visit in a state are the touristy places (Wisconsin Dells).
The weather was perfect for the run (~40 degrees) and I got time before the run to warm up. Joy ran the first 1.7 miles with me to the first aid station. The first mile had a killer hill. We had to elevate ~1000 feet in a matter of 200 meters. We started off strong up the hill, but then got our senses and walked the second half of the hill :-).
The race had two loops of ~4.9 miles. The first loop was not as hilly as I expected (or maybe I wasn’t as tired 🙂 ), but was slushy and had a lot of barriers. The second loop was a lot more hilly. I never trained in the trails or hills this year. So this was a new experience. But the beautiful scenery around me kept me distracted and moving forward.
Joy joined me again for the last mile. I switched to “Supreme Hero.. Sweet Heart” 🙂 for the last half mile on my iPod and sprinted to the final. It was a photo finish ..
Some pictures from the race
The easy part of the trail
More pictures can be found here (http://www.flickr.com/photos/kudithipudi/sets/72157608376845295/)
P.S : I came first in the race. i.e. in the desi category :-).