Shane was already registered for the Farmer's Inn half marathon today but he was worried this wouldn't count towards him becoming a Half Fanatic. See you need 20 registered runners and at least 15 finishers for a race to count and, at last check, the Farmer's Inn had 16 registered. Shane decided that the best remedy was to sign me up and pray that 3 more people showed up this morning.
We woke up at 4am and got ready to drive the 2.5 hours to Sigel, PA. The Farmer's Inn is a neat little place with lots of different animals, mini golf, playgrounds, Amish furniture, a leather shop, a gift store and a restaurant. Any other time we would have had a great time exploring and shopping but today it was cold and raining and we were already exhausted from the Apocalypse 5k yesterday.
Staying warm in the car
I know what you're thinking... Steam Punk shirt plus butterfly arm warmers? Who taught you how to dress? The answer, of course, is 4am did. Coupled with the fact that I have exactly two sets of arm sleeves at present... butterflies or hearts. Oh well.
At 9am the race director sent us off with an air horn, all 24 of us. I took off as fast as my poor little legs could carry me and enjoyed the downhill portion of the first two miles. I had been warned that this course is 'rolling'. I think that's a misnomer. At 2.25 miles you start a climb from 1,300 feet up to 2,000 feet by mile 8. The remaining 5 miles are rolling if you're legs aren't totally destroyed. Unfortunately for me that wasn't the case.
By the 10k mark I was just in it to finish. By mile 8 I was wondering if it really mattered anyway. The wind and misting rain were picking up and I couldn't feel my fingers, toes or nose. If I had been able to work the zipper on my SPIbelt I might have just called for a ride. As it was I just kept plugging along as best as I could manage. Running was the only way I could stay somewhat warm so I was forced to maintain a steady clip on all the manageable hills.
At the 10 mile mark there was an unmanned water stop (1 of 2 on the course). I carried my handheld so I didn't need water but there was a directional sign there. The arrow appeared to be pointing left so I turned onto a dirt road. About a quarter mile up the trail forked and there was no indication of which way to go. I looked at the ground and realized I didn't see any other footprints in the mud. I almost cried realizing I must have gone off course. I made my way back to the water stop and looked up the road. I could see a few empty bottles on the side of the pavement and realized I was supposed to go straight. I don't know what was wrong with the arrow or if someone thought it was funny to switch it but I lost a lot of time here and probably would have quit if there would have been a volunteer at the stop.
As I pulled myself out of my funk and continued to chug along I got colder and colder. My hands were swollen, my feet felt like bricks, and I couldn't even zip up my jacket. All I could focus on was the hot buffet waiting at the end, free to all runners. Half a mile from the finish I spotted a bright yellow hoody coming my way. Oh Hallelujah! It was Shane and he'd come out to find me and get me to the finish. I checked my Garmin for the first time in many miles and realized I could still beat my slowest half time (2:29). We jogged up the lane and I crossed the mat in 2:27:12.
I was 22nd of 23 finishers and 2nd in my age group (out of 3). I would have had to run a 2:05 to place today and that just wasn't going to happen with the elevation of the course and the condition of my legs. Overall, I'm just glad it's over and Shane and I can qualify for the Half Fanatics if we so choose.
Shane goofing off
So for a final recap of October:
10/6 - Central Elementary 5k - 24:27 (new PR), 2nd woman
10/13 - Baltimore Marathon - 4:36 (new PR)
10/20 - Runner's World 5k & 10k - 27:39 & 59:30
10/21 - Runner's World Half - 2:2010/27 - Apocalypse 5k - 26:26, 4th woman, 1st in age group
10/28 - Farmer's Inn Half - 2:27, 2nd in age group
Final summary: OUCH! :)