This was the Barkcamp Twelth Year of Races but it was the first time I ventured over for the Barkcamp Trail Marathon. I wasn’t sure increasing my mileage by 50% was the best idea. (The general consensus is you increase your mileage by 10% a week.)
Barkcamp State Park is a little state park right of I-70 in Belmont County, outside the town of Bethesda. It is very easy to find, I parked my vehicle about ten minutes of exiting the highway.
The weather had been great this week until the last three days before the race, where it rained daily. I’ve always heard Barkcamp Race was a mudfest, so I was resigned to muddy trails. I’ve ran one time previous at Barkcamp and was looking forward to learning new trails. I was worried about 26 miles on my knee.
The 1/2 and full marathon start together. It’s a 13.1 mile loop; the marathoners merely repeat the loop again. It’s a small race, and the runners spread out quickly.
It’s so nice to be on new trails. I was concerned about cut offs for the marathon. I was treating this like an ultra, and knew I would be running/jogging/hiking at my ultra pace.
The knee wasn’t feeling the love from the start. I resolved to walk. Quickly. In my last few double digit run/walks, the knee started to feel less bad after five or six miles.
The Marathon becomes the 1/2 Marathon
About mile six I decided I was going to drop at the 1/2 marathon distance. Although my knee didn’t feel *that bad* I knew it didn’t need to go through another 13 miles.
This really didn’t bother me. I am getting a little sick of everything revolving around “MY KNEE” but it is what it is. I consoled myself by digging out my Zune and listening to the Hamilton soundtrack.
Around mile eleven I reflected on “This was a HARD half-marathon” ! It runs like an ultra or a 25K. LOTS of lots of little ups and downs. A few very GOOD big climbs. The trails were lovely. Lots of runnable sections, nice singletrack, and no road.
The Mizfits over at Barkcamp did a superb job. They’ve been steadily growing their races over the years and are extremely helpful/inviting to back of the pack runners. There was a great spread of food at the finish line-chicken, potatoes, a stellar salad, bread, cookies!
The course was marked *over-marked*. Rod even had tape across other trails so you really had no excuse for going off course. In addition, in several spots, there were course marshalls to make sure you made the correct turn. THANK YOU to the many volunteers that came out so we could play in the woods!