Another weekend, another half marathon! Well, not quite as my last half was on a Thursday evening, exactly ten days prior to the Catharine Valley Half. Monies raised from this race go to the upkeep of the Catharine Valley Trail and to the Watkins Glen Cross Country team according to this article in the Odessa File.
This year the race organizers offered an early start which I gladly took advantage of. I know that my half marathon time is not less than two and a half hours … yet. I am working on it but it has yet to happen. Maybe during my third full year of racing in 2012 but if not, I am happy that I keep whittling away my time. There were probably 20-25 of us that took the 8 am start which was one full hour prior to the official 9 am start. Most early starts that I have done are 30-45 minutes prior to the official start time.
About 7:30 or so, the sky started a light rain. Last year this race was run in a monsoon-like wind and rain combination that left puddles across the trail and the last turn on the high school track before the finish line under inches of water. I was okay with a light rain as it was rather warm out, close to 70F already. Not sure I wanted it to rain much harder than it was, though. Unfortunately, the rain maker didn’t listen to what I wanted. Good news is that the trail is well-covered so it was mostly dry.
My legs love running on this cinder-covered trail. The little bit of road that we ran on did not make my legs very happy. The trail made me and my legs much happier.
The long and the short of this half is that I took ten minutes and 35 seconds off the time I ran this course last year. I took an additional two minutes and seven seconds off my best half marathon time (just ten days prior) to date. I was very happy that I ran this race according to the plan that I had set up in my mind prior to the race – five minutes of running and 45 seconds of walking. The only thing I learned really important is I need more than water and Gatorade during a race of this distance. Oops! I didn’t have time to get to the store and was out of energy gels and chews.
All the photos in the slideshow were taken post race. It is an amazing lift to turn the corner in Montour Falls and see the falls somewhere in mile 10 (I think, it might be in mile 9). It was also a huge boost to my running to see those runners who started at the 9 am start passing as I was running.