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Free State Trail Run - Half Marathon - RunHalf Marathon

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Lawrence, Kansas
United States
55F / 13C
Total Time = 3h 48m 19s
Overall Rank = 41/48
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

What a fun weekend! Dr. Speedo and I picked up Amber and drove to Lawrence Friday night. Did packet pickup and ate at Free State Brewery (and Coldstone, shhhh), then got to bed early. I was signed up for the half marathon, Amber was doing her first 100K, and Dr. Speedo was the ultimate supporter.
Event warmup:

What? no.
After we saw Amber start, I had an hour to kill so we talked to some people from Wichita, chilled in the car, porta pottied, etc. Headed up to the start line and my tummy got a little nervous. No time to think about it... here we go!
  • 3h 48m 19s
  • 14.25 miles
  • 16m 01s  min/mile

This was my first trail run! I had no idea what to expect, and no concept of how long it would take me. I started in the very back since I knew I would be fumbling around like a total noob, but somehow other people still got behind me.

Really slow at the beginning as it was immediately a single track and a pinhair turn to the right. I was nervous because I was right on someone's heels and people were right on mine. Not used to being that close to people in such a small space.

The first mile was like that, just right up on people, letting people pass, trying to wrap my mind around 13 miles of this kind of "running." I'd say I was genuinely stressed out for the first 3 miles. I couldn't look up, or I would fall. So in turn, I got kind of dizzy watching the roots and rocks and leaves pass by me without taking my eyes off the ground. I distinctly remember thinking "trail running is not for me."

But finally I think everyone but 3 or 4 people had passed me so I had some room to breathe and relax. And I did. I started to feel like this was fun and enjoyable. Then the full marathoners started to pass me, boy those people were covering ground fast. I watched in awe at how gazelle-like they maneuvered around the obstacles. "I am not one of you."

Mile 6 was where things got scary for me. This mile was ALL ROCK. Not just the little rocks you have to step on or over or what not. It was sheets of rocks and boulders. I immediately compared it to climbing Quandary Peak - for serious. I mean it was beautiful (right next to Clinton Lake where you could see a kayaker and fishing boats) but I was very uncomfortable. "Please get me out of here."

After that it was a few more miles of technical trail running, hills, creek crossings and what not until we came to a split in the trail. Half marathoners went left, yay! The volunteers said "only 4 miles to go" which was exactly spot on with my Garmin. "I can do 4 more miles of this."

A few more miles down the trail there was a well-stocked aid station. I didn't stop, but I noticed a sign that said "3 miles to main aid station" which perplexed me since my garmin read over 11 miles already. Maybe that sign was for the ultra runners and the course spit off or something. Weird.

Miles 12 and 13 I was doing a lot more walking than running, and just just out of necessity from the terrain. I was genuinely tired, and my legs were getting angry. It's okay though, less than a mile to go! A guy passed me at mile 13 and said "Awesome - you're almost finished! Just one more mile to go!" I assumed he was delirious from running and didn't know what he was talking about. My Garmin read 13 miles, the end had to be near! A few seconds later I came up on another half marathoner and she asked how far to go... I said my Garmin read 13.07 but obviously we could not see an end in sight. Onward - the only way to go, right?

Now I'm thinking, okay, my Garmin is probably off from the tight trails - no worries. I'm sure I will pop out of the woods any second and see the finish line.

13.5 miles - huh, more than a little off. That's okay, maybe the woods/trees are messing with the satellite signal.

14 miles - ummm did I cross over to the marathon trail by accident? WhereTF if the finish??? With NOT A SOUL in sight, I got really concerned. Yes the pink flags were still on the trail, but I really wasn't sure if they were put there for the race, or always there. I hadn't seen anyone in a long time. "I am going to end up running 26 miles today, aren't I???"

Then I saw a banner strung between 2 trees that said "Michelob Ultra - WELCOME RUNNERS!" and I got more confused. Welcome? Did I accidentally loop back to one of the 100K aid stations? WHAT IS GOING ON!?!?!

A few minutes later I popped out onto a gravel road to see volunteers cheering. My Garmin read 14.2 miles. I admit, I was pissed. I was walking and shaking my head. One guy who seemed to be affiliated with the race said something to me and I snapped "you realize this course is long, right?" and he very nonchalantly said "Yeah! You get more bang for your buck" which just pizzed me off even more. I said "It would be nice if the race distance was advertised correctly" and started running into the finish chute. GRRRRR!

But hey, I finished and in general had a good time. Definitely not like anything I've ever done before, that's for sure!
What would you do differently?:

Nothing - this was completely new to me!
Post race
Warm down:

Hung out with Dr. Speedo, petted lots of doggies, ate the best gluten free vegan lentil soup EVAR, got an ART treatment on my left IT band (holy awesome!). Cleaned up a little and drove into KC - I ended up basically buying a car (pick it up next weekend), went to a bike shop, visited my grandparents, ate dinner, then headed back to Lawrence to wait for Amber to finish.

The race director told us Amber was looking strong starting her 3rd/last loop, and some other spectators told us they'd seen her at the aid station 10 miles out and she looked good there, too. She finished at 11:30 p.m. (WOOT AMBER!!!) and we packed up and drove back home. Got home at 3 a.m. and went straight to bed. What a great day.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Lack of trail running experience!

Event comments:

I can tell this race is run by good people who are passionate about running and trail running - I like that. What I didn't like was the fact that the half marathon course measured anywhere from 14.2-14.6 miles on runners' Garmins. I can understand up to, say, half a mile off due to the trail system or GPS watches not picking up on the tight turns or what not, but it turns out the RDs knew the course was over 14 miles and decided not to communicate that to anyone prior to the race. If I would have KNOWN the true distance, I wouldn't have had a minor freak out thinking I'd accidentally migrated to the wrong trail/course, etc., and been able to mentally prepare for a longer race.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2011-04-07 12:00 AM
03:48:19 | 14.25 miles | 16m 01s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/48
Performance: Bad
Course: Along the beautiful trails at Clinton State Park
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Below average
Mental exertion [1-5] 1
Physical exertion [1-5] 1
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Too hard
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 3

2011-04-25 10:56 AM

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Atlanta, Georgia
Subject: Free State Trail Run - Half Marathon

2011-04-25 12:37 PM
in reply to: #3464421

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Subject: RE: Free State Trail Run - Half Marathon
Sounds like a fun race.  Get used to the distances being off if you start doing more trail runs.  I did a "50" mile run and it was actually 53.2 miles....And I to was pissed. Especially at 50 miles when i was in so much pain lol.  Most the trail races are at least the distance specified. In my experience they are usually a mile or two longer.
2011-04-25 5:18 PM
in reply to: #3464421

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Subject: RE: Free State Trail Run - Half Marathon
I'm so glad you ran this with me! I can totally identify with the panic-feeling of potentially being lost when you "should" actually be done from my first trail race! The "Welcome Runners" sign kind of threw me off too, but then I don't even remember seeing it in Loop 2 and 3 and the rocks along the lake, just "Wow!". 
2011-04-26 1:23 PM
in reply to: #3464421

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Silver member
Subject: RE: Free State Trail Run - Half Marathon

Yes, trail running is totally different than street running. I ran 7 miles once on a trail (that wasn't really that bad, I later found out) and I was decimated for a week! Ankles were so sore!

So many little stabilizer muscles that you use that don't normally get used.

Nice job. I bet your legs are soooooore!

2011-04-26 6:15 PM
in reply to: #3464421

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Whispering Pines, North Carolina
Subject: RE: Free State Trail Run - Half Marathon

Just stop at 13.1 next time and walk in... :P

Sounds like a fun race with good people, though! Glad you had fun!

2011-04-30 12:01 AM
in reply to: #3464650

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Plano, Tx
Subject: RE: Free State Trail Run - Half Marathon

ballyard7 - 2011-04-25 12:37 PM Sounds like a fun race.  Get used to the distances being off if you start doing more trail runs.  I did a "50" mile run and it was actually 53.2 miles....And I to was pissed. Especially at 50 miles when i was in so much pain lol.  Most the trail races are at least the distance specified. In my experience they are usually a mile or two longer.



AWESOME job Lisa! So happy for you Maybe I can talk you into that 100K sometime?! I've been eyeing it for awhile!

2011-05-01 12:23 PM
in reply to: #3464421

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Subject: RE: Free State Trail Run - Half Marathon
Great job taking on a new challenge and having fun. I totally get the being pissed off about distance thing. When I did Twin Cities Marathon last year I was ready to quit when my Garmin said exactly 26.2 miles. I was really pissed when I had to go another .25. Which, relatively speaking, is nothing at all. Great job and happy IM training.
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