I conquered the hills! Again! This was my fourth year running the Amish Country Half Marathon in Berlin (pronounced BURR lin) Ohio. This is a nicely organized half marathon held the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
I was quite unsure whether to attempt to run this. But I finally figured if I was going to have any chance of finishing Tarawera 60K in February, I need to get a base of some endurance miles under my belt. I checked the finishing times and saw a few people finished around four hours. Okay, I could walk the whole 1/2 marathon if needed and still finish, as long as the knee co-operated.
This is a tough little half marathon. The hills are no joke.
My running revolves around my knee these days, whether I like it or not. The first mile, which is downhill, was completed very gingerly. It did not feel good. It wasn’t until I started climbing uphill (which doesn’t bother the knee) and topped out that I felt happy.
I decided that would be the barometer of my run, whether I was happy in each mile. I was doing well. I would power walk up the hills, and then rather slowly amble down. (I used to love bombing downhill. Oh well.)
Iris and I began chatting about mile six. She was from Virginia, visiting relatives in my town! go figure. She and I stuck together for most of the race. That helped me get through the somewhat tiring flat sections on the course. I warned her that there were hills toward the end.
Best Water Station Ever
Around mile 12, there was a home made water station manned by three Amish children. On a little table, there were styrofoam cups. There was a piece of tiny paper taped to each cup. I picked one up. It said “good luck”. I had to drink that glass of water!! I’m glad I stopped there!
I climb the almost-last hill, turn onto State Route 39, and head toward the finish line at the high school. My knee has gone pretty much numb. I’m tired since I didn’t train for this, but I’m moving well and then I head downhill.
Aaah! A cramp starts on my right hamstring. I stop and grab it. I could tell it would like to go into full blown cramp and do the “relax, relax, it’s okay” and try and stand up straight. I’m less than a half mile from the finish line!! Iris and the 3 hour pacer catch up as I start to walk briskly and tell them no, it’s not a knee blow up just a pesky cramp reminding me that I’m not ultra human these days.
Another small twinge hits right before the track finish and I slow down a bit, the three hour pacer is still behind me, and I would like to finish under three. I thought if I “could run it” I could finish in around three. Iris and I head for the hot buttered noodles! Yes there was the finisher medal AND CHEESE BLOCK!
I finished in 2.58.21. I would have been happy with “a finish”. This race was a very good idea. I ran much more than I would have, if I was just in a training run around the block. The knee held up, and while I was tired, it wasn’t as bad as I thought I would be. Next up, get a 20 mile run in.
This is a well organized half marathon with real hills! My only constructive criticism (that I will email to RD) is they need a cardboard box/garbage can at the water stops for cups. Yes, it’s a small half marathon, but someone is out there picking up the cups. If there is a receptacle for cups I would use it! (Note: after I drank the awesome water at mile 12, I put my used cup under one of the other cups.)
Did you run a race this weekend? Did it exceed your expectations? Did you get a block of cheese and an Amish hat and beard?