A broken promise…

After the Delaware Marathon, I vowed no races this summer.  Well, I broke my promise, and I’m glad I did.

Ignorance is bliss.  I knew nothing about this race except that it was a half marathon, and it had a hill called Mt. Cuckoo. We found out about it through a friend on Twitter (thank you April!!).

The race is part of a series from www.uberendurancesports.com. It takes place in Philadelphia’s Pennypack Park. There is a half and a full, a combined 900ish runners, and yes a German theme.

The week before, I had been sick, and still wasn’t 100%; however, the cheapo in me felt that I already paid for the race, so I might as well earn my shirt.

The weather was about 68 degrees at the start, a bit warm for me, but I had no goal, except to have fun.  I love smaller races, but they don’t always start on time, and the “go” went off about 10 minutes late.  My bladder did not like this.

Most of this race is run on an 8’ wide paved path with rolling hills throughout.  The first two miles were my normal half pace; however, my breathing quickly became labored (still feeling it from being sick), so my pace slowed.  Back to my bladder…yes, at Mile 4, there was a pit stop (I rarely do this but it was a necessity).  I lost a few places here, but I decided not to worry, and just go for the finish.

Beyond the halfway point, this race develops a cross country feel for about 1.7 miles. The paved path gives way to grass which transitions into single track in the woods.  At this point, it was about effort, not pace.  Actually, strike that…at this point, it was about not falling.  The path was rolling, mostly upwards, with a rocky, uneven “stepped” terrain.  “Mt Cuckoo” was narrow and I remember smelling honeysuckle (which I hate).  Did I say ignorance is bliss??  Yeah right.

I have very little trail running experience, so those who did have experience passed me with ease.  The downhills were even worse for me. I’m guessing six people passed me in that 1.7 mile stretch, but I was more concerned with staying upright.

The other thing I noticed on the trails was the humidity.  Does the woods hold in moisture?  Anyway, once I got back onto the paved path, I felt like myself again. My breathing slowly came back under control, sort of, and I mucked my way toward the far off finish line. With about a mile to go,  I picked off five of the six runners that passed me on the trails.

My time was nothing near a PR (1:32 – 15th overall), but I won my age group, and this fun cuckoo:

image

My wife took 4th in her age group despite battling Plantar Fasciitis. She is the rock star and is gunning for a cuckoo next year.

Another plus was the free beers and brats post-race.  There was German dancing with many of the male runners wearing Lederhosen, and the female runners in Bodice / Dirndl combos (I had to look that up on Google). It was festive at the German Club in Northeast Philadelphia.

Aside from not starting on time, the race was friendly and well-organized.  It was a very challenging course…I couldn’t imagine doing that twice, which is what the marathoners had to do. I’m just glad I didn’t fall.

No more races this summer, I promise (wink).

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