Down2Earth Trail Half Marathon Race Report
Yesterday, I ran the Down2Earth Trail Half Marathon in North Miami, Florida. This trail race is held several times a year and I had signed up for this race in June, but had to DNF when I twisted my ankle 7 times and fell during the first loop (the first 5K).
So, I was out to reinvindicate myself and finish this mother. So, I found a time where I had sufficient time to recover without it affecting a race (I spent 4 days without running last time and I was so sore I thought I was injured). Yesterday was the perfect day.
Trail - This trail is pretty technical and tough. There were no photographers this time around so you will have to do with my old picture from the other trail race:
What I Changed From Last Time
- Shoes - Last time I used the Brooks Cascadia and, since I twisted my ankles so many times, and I thought they did not provide sufficient support, I wanted to change them. I ended up buying the Adidas Supernova Riot.
- Training Runs - Last time I did a couple of training runs in the shoes but this time around I forgot! So, I ended up trying my shoes for the first time on Sunday (I actually had to cut the shoe tag that morning).
- Strategy - Last time I started out too fast (probably the reason why I twisted my ankle the first time). So, this time around, I was going to take it easy and just have fun. Run when I could (when the trail permitted it), walk when I couldn't and HAVE FUN. I have to say that I ran mostly all of it, except the tough parts.
- Hydration - Last time I forgot my water bottle and relied on the water stations. I felt it was not enough but it was mostly due to the weather (June in Miami, doh). This time around I brought my bottle but saw that they would be providing 82Go, a pouch of water that you just carry with you, cut a corner and drink. It worked really well for the first two loops (they ran out of them by the third loop and I had to stop and down a cup before continuing).
- No Music - Although most of the runners had their iPods (as customary in Miami), I decided this time around to go without.
- Not Fall
- Not Twist My Ankles
- Not be Last
I achieved all of these goals.
Unexpected Things I Saw On The Trail:
- Two foxes
- A pitbull
The race consists of 4 loops, the first one longer than the other three, as we start near the parking lot area and then head into the trail. Here is a summary of my loops:
Announcement - Prior to the start, the RD, who is an awesome guy, gave us a pep talk and mentioned the following:
- The trail has a high risk of sprained ankles
- The trail has a high risk of broken ankles
- The Half Marathoners are hard core.
The loops consist of an easy mile, a hard mile, and a medium-hard mile.
Loop 1 - Since I had an awful experience last time, I decided to start at the end. While waiting for us to start, I met three ladies, two of them members of the Fit something group (the yellow shirts on every marathon). We started together and we did the first loop together. As we were heading to the finish line to start the second loop, they started slowing down, so I head on alone. At the end of the loop (and at the end of every loop thereafter) the volunteers were clapping and encouraging us to continue.
Loop 2 - As I was running by myself, the 10K runners were passing me (on their last loop) while the HM runners were passing me as well. They were all very encouraging and kept me going. I saw a fox sometime during the hard mile but she was more scared than me and headed to her hole.
Loop 3 - At the beginning of this loop, I felt my chest close, so I immediately used the inhaler (one pump) to prevent any issues later. That feeling is the beginning of what could become an attack or not, depending on the conditions. I decided not to risk it and used the inhaler. Later in the loop, I still felt winded (more than how I feel during a tough run) so I used the second puff and everything was fine after that. I pulled a Mandy on this loop and got lost, repeating a section of the trail. I also saw a runner (not racing) with his pitbull out on a run. What a gorgeous creature (the pitbull, LOL). By then, I was mostly alone with the HMs passing me in their last loop every 10 minutes or so.
Loop 4 - As I start loop 4, I am completely alone on the trail. I had gained an almost 20 minute advantage over the ladies in the back, which was shortened to 15ish when I pulled the Mandy. So I was all alone during this last loop and I was afraid to get lost so I stopped a lot to look at the flags and to find the flags. For some reason the last 2 loops did not look anything like the first 2 loops even though I knew they were one and the same. Maybe our trail runners can tell me whether this is normal.
I finished in 3:25:38, which to me is awesome. Last time I was en route to finish in 3:20 and I finished in less than 3:20 according to my Garmin (I forgot to stop the Garmin when I finished) and without counting the 5K and 10K starts, so achieved that. I was not last (the girls came in at 3:41. The best part? I got a medal and I was not expecting that. I was 7th of 10 female finishers (initially I was told 4th but they added some people they did not have when they told me) and a lot of people DNFd (the standard DNF rate is 50% or so).
Lap 1 - 1:01:07 (55:XX Garmin)
Lap 2 - 1:47:16 (Getting faster, woot)
Lap 3 - 2:35:22 (Faster considering the Mandy)
Lap 4 - 3:25:15
So, my DNF has been avenged and I will so do this race again!!!!