Dash Point Trail Half Marathon
Federal Way, WA
Sept. 10, 2011
13.3 miles - 2:44:35, 7th AG, 35th Overall
This weekend I participated in my second trail race, The Dash Point Trail Half Marathon. Only having started running on the trails this summer, the number of miles I have put into trail running are minimal compared to what I have put on the road. And living in Texas, we don't really have a lot of hills to train on. So what do I do? I sign up for these trail races in Seattle where they tell you a 2,500+ foot elevation gain in 13 miles is a "flat course." Um, ok, if you train on the Swiss Alps, that's flat.
I had some packing issues, like I forgot contacts. I wear daily disposable contacts and forgot to bring any. I also forgot my sunglasses and any gels. Jeff Webb saved the day with a gel for me and some sun glasses, which I didn't end up needing since it was a fabulous shaded course.
I made a few mistakes in this race. Thinking the race was flatter than it was and the trail was non-technical, I ran in my Saucony A4s. Because I didn't have my contacts in, I couldn't see any detail -- like the roots on the ground. I stubbed my toe a lot! That said, I probably won't race trail in those shoes again. I felt every rock, pebble and root under my foot and it just bugged me.
The race was a 2-loop course, starting with some pretty good climbs. I took the first loop pretty fast 1:16:21. And clearly it was too fast, when I started loop two looking at those climbs was exhausting. The first climb is a set of wooden stairs going over a bridge, followed by a hill climb made easier by some logs as stairs. On loop two, I had to walk up this. I was proud that the rest of the climbs, I ran. Well, I call it running anyway. It was faster than a walk, but probably not as fast as some people can power hike.
Once I got through the climb section, I got my energy back and was able to pick up the pace and felt pretty good. My second loop split was 1:28:13.
Last month, I ran the Cougar Mountain Half Marathon in 3:03. I finished this race in 2:44. While Cougar was a little more in elevation climb than Dash Point, I think I have already made some pretty good improvements. I walked a lot more of Cougar Mountain and got passed a lot at the end. This go around, I did much, much better!
The course was very well marked, well priced and well aided. I would certainly recommend it!