Camp Croft Half Marathon

Today’s race was not pretty, on my part. Those not so pretty parts taught me a lot.

I knew I wouldn’t be able to run fast today, especially since it took me a day or so longer to recover from the marathon than the previous two. I also had no idea how I would perform on a half marathon entirely on trails.

After checking the weather I knew I wouldn’t need long sleeves or gloves even though it was below 40 at the start. That was one of few smart decisions I made in today’s race.

Until we started I wore my jacket and was fine.
See that guy behind my left shoulder? I’m not sure running in a kilt is such a wise idea.

I intended to line up in the middle of the pack but it ended up being more towards the back.
Be sure to note my shoes. That’s the last time they will ever look like that.

With the sound of a starting gun we were off. I knew I was starting off too fast but I didn’t want to end up at the back of the pack. It’s my competitive nature coming out. I wasn’t content to just finish. I wanted to have a good showing. That first mile was the only mile under 10.

Finally everyone started settling in. I truly loved this portion of the race. I felt great. I thought I was running great. (I had slowed down a little.) The weather was gorgeous, just like the scenery.

When I took my second walk break at mile 6 I texted (or thought I did) Mom to tell her that my time would probably be closer to 2:30 than 2:00. (That was overly optimistic thinking there.) I had been running close to a group of three, two guys and a girl. The girl was behind me and one of the guys kept dropping back to check on her before running ahead again.

We got to a fork in the trails and even though my gut told me to follow the pink ribbons the organizers put out on the trails specifically, I followed the other guy who said he was sure that it was the other way.

Well, he was wrong. I had a sinking feeling that we’d taken the wrong turn when I didn’t see any more Croft Half Marathon signs or pink ribbons. Sure enough, a half mile later he came running back telling his friend to turn around. She was not happy. I was glad it was only a half mile.

We turned around and headed back. Sure enough, a few feet after we turned on the other path there was a Croft Half Marathon sign tacked to a tree. Definitely should have trusted my instincts on that one.

At that point I was still okay. I wasn’t feeling the distance yet. That didn’t come until right around 15k, my previous trail PDR. Coincidentally, we had a creek crossing, a real one, right at that point too.

This is where things started to fall apart mentally and then physically.

Since I have no coordination, I ended up splashing my foot completely into the water and ending up with 1.5 completely soaked shoes and socks. (My left foot escaped total submersion.) That was the turning point. I was so not happy that I had five miles left to run and that I had to run them with squishy shoes. Since I was running without music I could hear every squish.

I was tired too. It was such a struggle to keep putting one foot in front of the other, especially on the hills. They definitely didn’t compare to anything on Paris Mountain but by that point I didn’t care.

2 or 3 miles after that my left IT band started getting really angry with me. I’ve never had any problems with it but then again, I’ve never run a half marathon 7 days after a marathon. I was so ready to be done, especially since I was fighting the mental battle of thinking about the extra mile I “got” to run.

Somehow I made it and before I expected it, I could see the finish. I’m not sure how the accidental mile detour combined to the course yielded a distance of 13.55 but I didn’t care. I was done, frustrated, but done.




The only thing that I didn’t care for in this race was how the finish was organized. I know I was one of the slowest ones (which kills me!) but I couldn’t find anything after the race. Somehow I didn’t get one of the glasses. It’s okay because I wouldn’t use it anyway. Then I noticed that the only water was out of big dispensers that were almost empty. Not cool. I will admit though that I was very frustrated with my own performance at the time and probably seeing everything through those lenses.

I learned a lot today, the most significant of which is, trail running is a whole different ball of wax. It kicked my butt today but I can’t wait to get out there and return the favor.

Before I go (I know, a lot of words) here are some great things about the race:
1. Well Marked Course!
It was my own fault that I got turned around. This had to be one of the best marked trail courses I’ve seen, although I haven’t seen that many. 🙂
2. Beautiful Location
Croft State Park is absolutely beautiful and a great place for trail running (if you can overlook the horses’ contribution to the trails.)
3. Fantastic Volunteers
All of them were amazing, friendly and encouraging.

If I were in the area next year I would definitely consider running this race again!

Up next? Turkey Bowl 5k next Saturday



Filed under half marathon, race recaps

4 responses to “Camp Croft Half Marathon

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