Rumspringa 1/2 Marathon Race Report

So, three weeks after my hundred miler, my ankle is still far from great. Despite a cortisone shot, it's only allowing me up to 2 days of running in a row before soreness and swelling returns and I need 1-2 days off.

Understand, I'm not disappointed or even particularly distraught. It simply "is what it is." If I couldn't run, that would be an issue. I can, but not as much as I would like. And that requires a certain reshuffling of spring goals.

Originally, I had planned on doing the North Face 50 Mile in Bear Mountain, but that was my plan if I managed to sneak in 2 long runs after the 100. That didn't happen. Up until last week, I thought if I could manage a 20-25 miler last weekend I could go to the Iron Master's Challenge 50k at the end of the month, but by the end of the last week, I knew that wouldn't happen. So, I woke up bright and early Saturday AM and punted: I drove up to Adamstown for the Rumspringa 1/2 Marathon, my first 1/2 in 4.5 years.

Ankle-wise, it was the perfect test. By the end of the race, I was quite sore and 100% confident I'm not ready to return to stupid distances. But even so, I had a blast.

Of all the race distances I've done, the best opportunity I have for a PR, yet, is likely the half marathon. My PR is only 1:34:36, mainly because I haven't raced that many halves, hadn't raced any on a true course in 4.5 years and hadn't done one all out in even longer. Before father time catches up to me, I'd like to knock out something under 1:30.

That said, I knew this wouldn't be the course, as this particular half was advertised (accurately) as challenging. You can see an elevation map (not my splits) here.

The first 3.5 miles were easy and downhill. I dialed myself in around 7 minute miles. After that, the course started rolling and it all became about maintaining even pace.

The course was wide open, allowing for me to easily see a string of 10 runners in front of me. I told myself to try and reel them in, but over the first 10 miles, I couldn't seem to pick up the 30 or so seconds I needed. But then on the last 3 miles, when the course turned uphill, I found myself catching many of them 1 by 1. I focused as much as possible on the ones who looked to be in my age group.

I've thought a lot of the "gifts" given to me by the 100 miler and 1 of the most obvious to me is how short a half marathon now seems. It's odd to think that not that many years ago, I wasn't sure I'd ever race a longer distance than that, but on Saturday it seemed like such a manageable distance. I was able to view those last couple of miles as tactical challenges, rather than cases of survival. I really enjoyed that and know that it helped me to keep a strong effort throughout.

Though it looked like I'd get my PR for certain for most of the race, I knew the course would take back some time on the final uphill 3 miles, and it did, as I came in at 1:35:03.

BG management was awesome. I was 85 before the race and 106 at the end. I'm so much in ultra mode that I realized I didn't have any traditional gels to take with me. I took packs of fruit snacks out onto the course and ate 1 at mile 5. But I was thrilled to have volunteers handing out gu's at mile 8 and felt like that gave me a better boost, energy-wise, and helped me during the last half hour of the race.

This race is managed by Uber Endurance Sports, which features a German theme to all of their races, which was one of the reasons I wanted to do it. Age group awards are those cute German weather clocks, where the guy with the umbrella comes out if rain is on the forecast. Based on last year's results, I was hopeful I could bring one of those babies home, and if it was last year, I would've. My time last year would've netted me 9th place overall and 2nd in my AG. Alas, the race got a lot bigger this year, and I came in 28th overall, and 5th in my AG. (Official results haven't been posted.) No worries - I'll keep my eyes open for another Uber Endurance Race.


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