Florida Challenge Half Recap
When signing up for this race, I had two goals in mind:
- Run my first solo half (for all my other halfs up until this point my parents were at the starting line running alongside me).
- Run my first trail half.
Compared to the Gasparilla half that I've run numerous times, this race was completely in it's own category. While most road runs are overcrowded and the runners are mainly focused on their times, this race was run mostly single file on the trails and everyone seemed more focused on finishing than finishing first.
I was extremely anxious heading into this race, but luckily the first 6 miles were perfect. The temperature was just right, the trails were beautiful, and I felt comfortable with keeping up my speed for the miles ahead. The other runners around me seemed to feel the same way, all of our steps blending together on the trails.
Around mile 7 the trails got more difficult with lots of steep inclines and declines, so much so that several times you had to use your momentum from one downhill to get up the next. They would have been manageable if my right hip flexor hadn't chosen to quit on me. After that, I walked most of the uphills because my body couldn't handle more than that. My last few miles were slower than I'm used to, since I'm typically a runner that gets faster as I go. It was a hard lesson to learn to listen to my body instead of just pushing through it. Even with run-walking to the end, I still spent the remainder of the race day nursing a sore hip flexor and limping around.
But I did it. It was tough, and disappointing, but I ran those 13 miles without my dad by my side to pace me. That alone was a huge accomplishment for me.
As beautiful as the scenery was, I think this race and Ragnar have convinced me that trail runs aren't for me. Following the Gasparilla 15k in a few weeks, I want to take a few months to focus on strengthening my hip muscles that couldn't keep up not only during the race but through my training this season as well. Then hopefully it's on to more long distance road races.