Thursday, September 3, 2015

Race Report: Dances With Dirt Half Marathon

I'll just say it.

This was the hardest thing I've ever done.

I don't remember what I was thinking when I signed up for this race. Oh wait. A weekend with friends. Some running. A beautiful setting. It would be fun.

Even though I had heard about how brutal this course was during the first four miles, I didn't think twice when I hit the "submit" button on my registration. But it was. Brutal. And in a sadistic way, pretty fun.

The weekend started with the drive up to Devil's Head ski resort, where the race started. You can't really argue with a road trip that involve a ferry ride.

I ran with four other friends for the first 5 miles or so. Actually, I'm not sure "ran" is an appropriate word. Especially since the first two miles consists of something crazy like 800 feet of elevation gain. Yeah. There's no running on stuff like that. More like a slow trudge while hoping there's a branch you can grab on to to pull yourself up.

Our little group split into two groups somewhere around mile 5. Surprisingly this was a fairly flat section of the course. Ha. It was just lulling you into a comfort zone before you turned a corner and were faced with another steep uphill climb. This was like 200 feet of elevation gain in just a half mile. Crazy.

But once you got to the top of the bluff. The view.

It made all those hills worth it.

Yes, I may have just wanted to sit down on the bluff and hang out there the rest of the day, but I had to keep running.

I stuck with my friend Erica until Mile 10 and then headed off on my own for the final three miles. That massive two-mile long uphill at the beginning? Well, I got to run down it. It was a little scary at times, but kind of fun to run downhill while avoiding the rocks. Of course, since my banged up knee from Ragnar was finally starting to heal (in other words, no scabs and I could bend it with screaming in pain), I was a little cautious. Didn't want more of that.

So I finished. Eventually. There was a lot of walking. Some running. But overall it was a fun trail race, even if it was the hardest thing I've ever done.

Up next: The Madison Mini