Towpath Half Marathon Recap
Hi everyone and Happy Tuesday! Today I'll be recapping my race this weekend, the Towpath Half Marathon. Overall, I had a great experience at the race and would definitely recommend it! Before I dive into the mile-by-mile recap, I just wanted to give some overall thoughts and reviews of the race as a whole.
- The Towpath Marathon features three races- a full marathon, half marathon and 10k. All three races are in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, but all run different courses. The half and 10k start at the Brandywine Ski Resort, while the full starts at the Boston Mills Ski Resort (where the expo is held).
- The course is mostly on a narrow crushed limestone trail that is relatively flat. There are a few sections that were paved and a few small walking bridges that provided the only real inclines. It's really hard to pass people (particularly near the turn where it's two-way traffic) since the trail is so narrow.
- There are a lot of water stations, and each one had its own theme which made it really fun. There was water and gatorade at each stop, along with "Boom" gel at two of the stations. There were plenty of porta-potties along the course as well.
- The half marathon finishes a few miles away from the start near the Boston Mills ski resort, but there are school buses that shuttle back to the start line. The buses came very frequently and I didn't have to wait around at all for a bus.
- The finish line had cups of Gatorade and water, along with Subway hoagies, apples and bananas. There was also a beer tent (I believe they had Great Lakes beer) available for $4, so bring along money if you want to drink!
9:28, 9:11, 9:02
9:08, 9:07, 9:19
I continued to stick with the father and daughter, and they kept a steady pace. The trail was gorgeous and all of the leaves were changing colors. There is also a creek on both sides of the trail, so most of the race I was just admiring the beauty of the trail and not paying attention to the race or the fact that I was running! I wanted to keep my pace steady for the first 6 miles so I listened to a podcast (Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me). This worked out really well and those first miles flew by. I took my first gel (about half of a Honey Stinger Gold gel) at mile 5 with a small mouthful of water. At that water stop they were passing out Boom gel as well.
8:45, 8:44, 8:51
The race turns around at about mile 6, so I wanted to start picking it up. I still felt really great, and the father and daughter duo were also picking up the pace. I started to talk with them, and the next three miles just flew by. This is one huge reason why I love running so much and the entire running community - everyone wants to help each other out and you can quickly become best friends with someone when you're struggling along in a race together. Talking with them definitely helped me power through these miles, which is usually where I start to shut down and feel the soreness in my legs. Luckily, my legs felt energetic and strong, and my breath was perfectly under control.
8:56, 8:44, 8:52, 8:24 + :30
I never really get emotional at races, but when I rounded the final corner and saw 1:57:xx on the clock, I did have a moment where I got choked up and thought back on how hard I worked for this race, and feeling thankful for the father and daughter for pushing me on those middle miles. I'm not sure if I would have done so well if they weren't there, so I waited around after the race to cheer them on and thank them. What an amazing race!
Final Time - 1:57:10
Tomorrow I'm going to review my training and give some final thoughts on what worked and what didn't. I always like to look back on my training so I can see what I can improve on next time, and I'm excited to talk about this training cycle!
Have you ever run a trail race?
What was your best race you've ever run?
Do you like to run with others during races or stick to your own pace?
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