After the NYC Marathon, I took quite a bit of time off to recover and then ease back into running. With the birth of my son in March, competition has definitely taken a back seat (and I’m fine with that). But, I still have the SD50 on my radar and am entered into the race for January of 2015. So my primary focus has been long trail runs at a slightly sub 10 min/mile pace. But, the Raptor Ridge half marathon covers a section of trail I’d never done before; namely Raptor Ridge. The SD50 course actually starts and ends just east of Raptor Ridge, so running this half marathon seemed like a great opportunity to check out just how bad the hill is, with the benefit of having support on the course.
The only caveat here was that I needed to do 20 miles this particular weekend. So I got to the start line a little early (despite only having about 3 hours of sleep due to a fussy infant) and got in almost six miles before the race began. All I wanted to do for the actual 1/2 marathon was keep an even, sustainable pace and give Raptor Ridge a reasonable shot. Well, the course was almost absolutely flat all the way out the the ridge, so my pace was a lot faster than I had anticipated. The ridge itself was certainly not easy, but I was feeling good and warmed up by then and had no difficulty running it out and back with no walk breaks. By no means am I suggesting I will be able to do this at the end of the 50 miler though. On the way back, I started talking to another guy with about 5 miles to go. We ended up keeping a quick, conversational pace and before I knew it, we were at the finish in just under 2 hours! I was hoping for a 2:10 finish, so this was very encouraging with regards to training progress. A couple more miles afterwards made for a nice cool down and rounded-out my 20 miles for the day.
Time: 1:59:11 Pace: 9:06
Place: 94/340 Overall, 67/187 Men, 24/46 M35-39
Age Graded: N/A (trail)