Trail Nut Half Marathon – Race Report

*Warning: There is a picture of a large scratch and a bit of blood about midway through this post. What’s a trail race without a little blood??

This past Saturday I ran the Trail Nut Half Marathon. This was the fifth race in the Mountain Junkie’s Roanoke Non-Ultra Trail Series, and my fourth race in the series. I haven’t had very good training in 2015, but I am having a good time at these races! Saturday’s race went pretty well, until it wasn’t going so well. But lets back up.

Trail Nut Half Marathon Mountain Junkies RNUTS

It looks grey, but it’s actually a sage green-type color.

Last year I made it to Bedford (a little over 90 minutes away) just before they ran out of parking. So this year I made sure to get there a bit earlier. It worked out and I arrived about an hour before the race start. I picked up my packet, got ready for the race, and headed down to the pavilion for the pre-race meeting. I always find these meetings so confusing, but I’ve yet to get lost at a Mountain Junkies race! I also got to meet John, whom I’ve corresponded with on Twitter. Cool!

Trail Nut Half Marathon Mountain Junkies RNUTS

Shortly after our pre-race meeting we headed down the hill to a grassy area to get the race started. We waited around a few minutes, and before I knew it we were off and running! I was familiar with the first 3 miles of the course, as they are the same for the half and 10k (and I ran the 10K last year). It was still relatively cool, but sunny, and it felt great to be out running in the woods.

Trail Nut Half Marathon Mountain Junkies RNUTS

Photo courtesy of: Mountain Junkies

Photo courtesy of: Mountain Junkies

A little after mile 2 my Achilles started to feel like they were on fire. This happens to me on trails sometimes (I don’t know why, it’s sporadic) and I can usually just run through it. I ran through it, and eventually the pain went away. Unfortunately, my feet also went numb at this point. That went away a few miles later, but it’s annoying to run with numb feet.

Trail Nut Half Marathon Mountain Junkies RNUTS

A little after 3 miles the half marathon split from the 10K and headed up a huge hill to the bike park area. This hill was no joke!

Trail Nut Half Marathon Mountain Junkies RNUTS

The bike park was really neat to run through. We were weaving all over the place around various mountain bike obstacles. It reminded me of one of those crazy mouse roller coasters!

Trail Nut Half Marathon Mountain Junkies RNUTS

Zig-zagging back and forth through the bike park

As we exited the bike park we ran through a really pretty open field area. The trail was pretty muddy, and it was the clay-type mud. When I made it down to the bottom I actually stopped briefly to wipe some of the mud off of the bottom of my shoes. It felt like I was running with ankle weights with all of that mud stuck to the bottom.

Trail Nut Half Marathon Mountain Junkies RNUTS

We spent the next three miles weaving through the woods, with lots of small-ish hills and lots of switchbacks. During this time we merged back with the 10K’ers for a bit. It was kind of nice to see some more people on the trail.

Trail Nut Half Marathon Mountain Junkies RNUTS

So green!

Then, just after mile 7 (mile 7 for the half, mile 6 for the 10K) we split off again as the 10K headed for the finish. I was still feeling relatively fresh, and was having a good time.

Photo courtesy of: Mountain Junkies

Photo courtesy of: Mountain Junkies

The next two miles got a bit lonely, but it was also nice to have some solitude in the woods. I think I like the latter better than a crowded trail. I was taking a few walk breaks, but things were still going well. We also got to my absolute favorite part of the course, which I remembered from last year.

Trail Nut Half Marathon Mountain Junkies RNUTS

Shortly before mile 9, we (and I mean me, as I had not seen anyone for the past two miles) merged back with the 10K on their final hill to the finish. The half marathoners ran through the finish to get a 9-ish mile split and then headed back out for another 4 mile loop. I knew we were going to do this, I saw people do it last year, but it’s still tough. I was ready to tackle those last four miles, though. Little did I know what was to come…

Trail Nut Half Marathon Mountain Junkies RNUTS

Tricky spot before mile 9

I headed back into the woods on the trail we had run on in the beginning. I’d seen the 10 and 11 mile markers during our first loop so I knew we would overlap a lot here. Fine by me. I was feeling pretty tired and it was very warm at this point (although not humid like Blue Ridge), but I was ready to do some work.

Trail Nut Half Marathon Mountain Junkies RNUTS

We always go left. It’s the Mountain Junkie way.

Shortly after I passed the mile 10 marker I was running down a short, steep hill. My left ankle rolled and I fell, hitting a tree with my right forearm and then landing mostly on my arm on some rocks. My ankle didn’t hurt, but something in the arch/heel area of my foot hurt. I brushed myself off, got back up, and tried to keep going. But my foot was hurting so much that I was limping and I was forced to slow to a walk.

trail running injury

I wasn’t too far from the finish area, and I considered going back. But I ended up deciding to push on. I thought that maybe the pain would go away (it never did) and I could run more. Unfortunately, I had to limp/walk/jog most of the final three miles. I think they took me about an hour and 5-10 minutes to cover. Boo.

Trail Nut Half Marathon Mountain Junkies

 

It’s a bummer that my day ended that way, but at least things went well up until mile 10. This was the first major spill I’ve taken during a trail race, so I guess I’ve been lucky up to this point. Hopefully I’m getting it out of my system before Ragnar Trail Appalachians this June!

Who else has taken a spill during a race? At least no one was around to witness my moment of clumsiness!

P.S. My foot is feeling better now. It was pretty sore for a few days, along the inside bottom edge from the heel to the arch. My heel was a bit bruised for a couple of days, but it was never swollen.

14 Comments

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  1. That race location looks beautiful! Congrats on finishing despite the fall! To answer your questions, I haven’t fallen during a race, but in March of this year I took a hard fall just before a marathon. Like 1/2 hour before, and I had to recover and get the job done.
    Paul recently posted…Runnning in Yellow, Beer Mile, & Belch PrayersMy Profile

    1. Ouch! That would be tough to take a hard fall right before a race. When I’m already running I’m going to push through, but if I fell before the race I’m not sure what I’d do…

  2. Those pictures are GORGEOUS!!! Love your analogy about the roller coaster. It’s perfect. And I have run through that mud that sticks & weighs a ton 🙂 Sorry about your fall! I’ve fallen plenty of times, but thankfully not in a race.
    joanne recently posted…DazzleMy Profile

    1. Falling Creek Park is such a beautiful place, especially with everything in bloom! Yea that mud… it was like I had strapped ankle weights to my legs!

  3. Boo for falling! I haven’t fallen while running (*yet*), but I am pretty clumsy. I know it will happen eventually. Glad your foot is feeling better and you weren’t too banged up!

    1. I think I trip more on a flat surface than on trails. It’s a wonder I haven’t gone down with a major spill before now!

  4. Looks like a nice place to run! I fell during my first 50K and after running awhile realized that I couldn’t finish. Congrats on finishing that tough half marathon!
    Tina@GottaRunNow recently posted…50 Mile TrainingMy Profile

    1. That would be a really tough call to make!

  5. Checked you tube. Guess nobody was around to capture the moment!

    Looks like a nice run on a great trail.

    LUD.

    1. Thank goodness they didn’t, because I hear they have eyes everywhere! 🙂

  6. You know that Bill and I have both taken a few spills on the trails. Here’s to a fall-free Ragnar for both of us! 🙂
    Debbie @ Deb Runs recently posted…Sharing The Love – Running, That IsMy Profile

  7. P.S. You know if I’d been there, I would have taken a picture of you sprawled on the ground, and I would expect no less from you! 🙂 Glad you’re feeling better!
    Debbie @ Deb Runs recently posted…Sharing The Love – Running, That IsMy Profile

    1. And I wouldn’t expect anything less to you! 🙂

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