Surprise! I didn't really make mention of it here, but I actually had two half marathons planned for this month. Yesterday was Nikia' Nippy Nor'easter Half (and relay) up on the NCR Trail.
Sponsored by Back on My Feet, this was a nice and low key race that I essentially used as a training run. I first heard about it last month when BOMF brought a team to the Striders' Valentine's Day 5K. Early registration was only $15.
The race started at the ranger station in Monkton and ran south on the trailing, turning around just before Paper Mill Road to make the return north. I got there early in order to find a decent parking spot and later met up with some friends from the Striders, hanging around until everything started at 9am.
My plan was basically to run whatever pace felt comfortable. My legs have still been a bit sore since B&A, so I had no plans to push hard and try and beat my new PR time. I knew that the packed stone surface of the trail would help lessen the impact of the miles on me.
The run itself was uneventful. It was chilly at the beginning but warmed up very quickly and was a gorgeous morning while running along the Gunpowder River. This is not a race for those who like crowds - I went for noticeable periods of time without seeing another runner, biker, or hiker.
The peace and quiet was nice, but also kind of a danger for me. The last 4 miles were rough just from exhaustion and there was nothing to really distract me. I'm proud of myself for sticking with my intervals though, mentally keeping myself going rather than just giving up and taking extra walks and trudging along.
According to my watch, my time was just under 2:42, just a few minutes over my B&A time. This is shaping up to be a very interesting year.