Friday, July 13, 2012

Xterra Harbison Half Marathon :::: 6 of 12 in 2012

xterra harbison half marathon (trail run)
half mary # 7
race# 6 of 12 in 2012
time:  3:20:42

No, unfortunately that time is not a typo. Moving on...

This race kind of sneaked up on me. We got back from vacation and I was checking out my planner when I realized I had a half coming up. A trail half. Last year I did a lot of trail running. This year for a bunch of random reasons, I've only been on the trails 2 or 3 times. But I still thought it was a good idea to sign up for this race. (I know, I'm hilarious). 

Brad and I headed to Columbia, SC after we finished work on Saturday. We checked into our roach motel and I realized I didn't have any race fuel with me. Brad insisted that we go out and get me something. Thank goodness he did. He also went ahead and picked out his birthday card for next year.

I got to the race around 6am and got checked in. They gave us our bibs and timing chips. They only had the park bathrooms, but they did the job. Even though the lights didn't work. Peeing in the dark is super fun.

my first race in my new Brooks Cascadias

I went back and forth a hundred times about whether to use my CamelBak or Nathan hand held for this race. I've ran with my CamelBak before but it didn't go so well. I've used my handheld several times, but I'd be lying if I said I like it. I hate carrying it and it doesn't hold anything. So I chose the CamelBak. My pack isn't really made for running, it's more for biking/hiking and it sloshes around a lot, but it did pretty well. The only crappy thing was that the water got HOT. Nothing like drinking lukewarm water while running/stumbling through the woods. 

The course was EXTREMELY DIFFICULT. It was the most technical trail work I've ever done. The course was marked really well. Follow the red flags. I heard some people got lost and I could totally see how. Even though it was well marked, You'd often run for a while and not see another person. If you zoned out it'd be easy to miss a flag. 
No kidding, I had to get across that then stopped to take a picture. I'm not sure about the elevation (that would require me to know how to use my Garmin), but it was pretty crazy too. My ankles, feet and Achilles were all shredded. I hurt in places I never knew I could hurt. 

And I'm not sure if you're familiar with Columbia, SC, but it's known for its heat. I'm talking heat index of over 100, feel like you're trying to breath through a damp sweater hot. I was soaked 15 minutes in. 

They had these cute little signs every once it a while. They made me laugh (mostly to keep from crying). 

This was definitely the hardest race I've ever run. Even harder than the Spartan Sprint (probably because I was on the course an hour longer). I wanted to quit several times. It was physically and mentally exhausting. 

Bright points:

A pair of women asked me if I was in the military, "because they're so hard core." That made me smile even though  I know I'm no where near the level of hard core they are. 

The water stop volunteers around mile 9 were lifesavers. The walked out to meet us with cold water, walked/jogged us into the stop and basically catered to our every need. Need some Gu? Powerbar? Here let us fill your CamelBak. I could have kissed the little guy that helped me (probably 14 years old). 

Finishing. With my worst race photo ever... I usually can at least keep a smile on my face, but I was outta gas. 

The course was challenging but beautiful. Pretty well organized. My biggest complaint? They gave out shirts after the race. Which I'd understand if they said finisher on them. But they didn't. And they obviously didn't give them out according to the pre-registered size on our bibs. Because sure enough, they were out of mediums. Just a little frustrating. 

I stumbled to the car and drove to the hotel to get a quick shower before the 11am check out. That shower was what kept me moving through the forest. The thought of having to ride home in my nasty, soaked clothing was too much bear. 

Brad and I had lunch at Which Wich, which I was pretty pumped about. We'd never eaten there before but have always heard great things. It lived up to the hype. 
Brad loves condiments more than life itself so he was in hog heaven. Side note - I had planned on having a protein shake for recovery but ended up having and Oreo shake instead.... Perfect!

best sandwich ever!!

#6 of 12 in 2012 is in the books!!

compression all the way home!


  1. To say this sounds rough would be an understatement I think. The last time I did trails that looked anything like that it took me an hour to go 3 miles! You are one tough runner! I have those same Zensah compression socks-I have them in black and pink but pink is my fav!

  2. Good for you for finishing! My last half marathon was only my 2nd but it took a lot out of me. Everytime the ambulance past me to pick someone up I would really think about asking for a ride...:)The heat sounds so bad....I love the picture because it tells your story! Awesome job for finishing!!! Erica

  3. Nice job Courtney and congrats on #6! The trail runs are tough. Great recap!

    I need to buy a Camel Back. As much as I love my iFitness belts I need to be able to carry more hydration and since refuse to carry anything a CB is the perfect solution.

  4. I think that time it totally fine for a technical trail run! you rock! I had a technical night trail run a few weeks ago and my time was crazy, it was just too tough! I would rather walk than fall and crash in the woods alone, haha!

  5. You are HARD CORE!! Trail runs are so difficult! Great job!

  6. Congratulations on the trail half mary! That's a major accomplishment. I have never done any trail running, I am scared that I will sprain my ankle. Running in the woods is not for me lol

  7. Awesome job! Wow, that's extreme, makes me rethink the trail run I am thinking about in September:0 I think your finish line pic is awesome. It shows how hard you worked:)

  8. That trail looks so hard. You are a beast!! Good job :)

  9. Lemme tell ya, those trail races can kick a person square in the ass. I think my worst one was like 3:50 something. That was the last one in fact where we got lost and had no fewer than 3 creek crossings. The only saving grass is the woods that keep you cool from the sun that beats down. Congrats on your finish!!!

  10. Ugh, that race looks tough! Good for you getting through it. You deserved that yummy sandwich & Oreo shake that's for sure!

  11. Hey! I was searching for more information about this race, since I am really considering signing up for the 2014 race. This will be my first half-marathon...I've been training for a little while but mostly running 5 and 10ks every month. Should I sign up for this one? It's two months out and I'm looking for a challenge...Plus there aren't any other half- marathons in my area for several months that I can attend.

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Maegen! This race would definitely be a challenge. I wouldn't want it to be my first half, but that's just me. Have you done a trail race before? If you've done a trail race and you think you can build your base by then, you should be good!