Hunter’s first Half Marathon and Our First Trail Race

Saturday was one of those days that will always hold a special place in my heart – Hunter ran his first half marathon and I had the privilege of being with him every single step!!!

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If you notice, this race was a trail run.  Now, I love running and have run for many (many) years, but I’ve never done a trail race.  Quite honestly, I thought it just meant dirt and grass instead of a road race.

Even in the information about the race, it didn’t really say much –

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See the part in the above paragraph about some creek crossings that require you get wet?!  A little misleading!!!

First off, Hunter and I drove to El Dorado (about 1.5 hours from where we live) Friday so we could pick up our packets, see where the race was and then have a nice relaxing evening at the hotel.  Jordan said he didn’t want to go and Chris had drill weekend so it was just the 2 of us.

ready to hit the road
ready to hit the road

Everything was great and we had a nice evening.  I learned that Hunter snores (a lot!!!).  And, I listened to a heavy thunderstorm ALL night long – it was still raining when I got up at 5:30.

We left the hotel a little after 6 to drive to the race site.  About 20 minutes after we got there we had a super happy surprise –

big surprise to start our day!!
big surprise to start our day!!

Chris took leave (without telling me!!), got up at 3:15 and drove through huge storms so that he could spend the morning with us!!  Such a great surprise – true love!!!

Hunter was super quiet while we were waiting to start – he said he was just ready to run and quit standing around!!

waiting for the race
waiting for the race

Because of all the rain, they had to make a change to the half because a bridge was out (gushing water over it) and they didn’t want us to run over it – nice!!!

We finally started and I could tell right away that we were running slower than normal.  About half-way through the first mile we went through a small ravine and I realized that my efforts to avoid the puddles before the race were a complete joke!

Oh, well – might as well just go with it!!

about 2 miles in
about 2 miles in

Around mile 3 Hunter wanted to slow down and I told him we were already going a lot slower than normal – I think he was just worried he wouldn’t be able to finish.

The 4th mile was an experience!!!  We were running along and then this happened –

complete standstill
complete standstill

There was an area that was washed out and almost impassable.  There was a rope tied to a few trees and basically one or two people had to pull it taut so the next person could use it to get through.  It took a long time and then not even a quarter mile ahead we had to cross a stream and get over a log and up a steep bank to move on.  Good thing Hunter was there because he showed me (and the people behind us) an easier way to get back up.  (no picture because by this point our hands were covered in mud!)

Mile 4 took 26:57!

During mile 5 we left the forest (or whatever it was) and had to run up a mountain (OK, not a mountain!!) to get to the top of the dam (hence, Storm the Dam Trail Run).

Seriously, when we saw the hill on Friday Hunter figured we would have to run up it but I said, “No way – it’s way too long and steep!”

at the top - hard to tell how big the hill was
at the top – hard to tell how big the hill was

We didn’t get a full picture of the hill but Chris was at the bottom when he took the above picture.  The nice thing about running along the top of the dam was the view!  Gorgeous lake view for almost 2 miles!!!

truly a pretty run
truly a pretty run

Around mile 6 or 7, Hunter said he had to go to the bathroom – ummm…..plenty of bushes.  He said, “No.”  I told him to just suck it up then!!!

For about 4 miles Hunter was pretty cranky and I had to just keep him going.

still running
still running

It’s funny because all the pictures Chris was able to get make it look like a fairly easy trail run!  However, it was not!!!  We spent 8-9 miles of the race slogging through 2-3 inch deep mud and water.  It was like skating on mud – fun stuff!

Around mile 11, Hunter finally realized that he was going to finish even with all of his discomfort!!!  He started being a little peppier and we picked off over 15 people in the last 2 miles!!!

almost done - finally on pavement!!
almost done – finally on pavement!!

(FYI – the girl in the green shorts ahead of us, passed us at the end – turns out she was the marathon winner – they started an hour before us)

a friend of mine came for the finish
a friend of mine came for the finish

Hunter was happy to see Mrs. Beisel (she used to be the counselor at his elementary) and her cute son!!!  I think it was the first time he had smiled since we started!!!  He said he smiled one other time during the race!!

FINISHED!!!
FINISHED!!!

Not gonna lie, this might have been the only time the entire morning that I wasn’t smiling – I was a bit overcome with emotion and pride in Hunter!!

Like Hunter said, he trained for a road race.  We ran through mud, creeks, hurdled numerous trees, climbed through barbed wire…..

muddy but happy
muddy but happy

Hunter’s shorts took a beating – I think he fell at least 6 times during the race!!!

classy
classy

Ummm….I don’t like to get my shoes dirty normally and this was mud to the extreme!  Surprisingly, I loved every second of it and would do it again (even after a thunderstorm!!).

Megan and her little cutie, Grady
Megan and her little cutie, Grady

It was so nice to see a friend at the finish – thanks, Megan!!!

Good thing that we got a late checkout at the hotel so we could go shower before driving home!!!

Finish time – 2:39 (the goal had been 2:00 but that was before we knew what a trail race was!!!)

Place – 62 for Hunter, 63 for me (118 total runners)

Hunter was 4th out of 5 in his age group (11-19).  Pretty impressive considering that he was the youngest (at 13)  finisher in the half!

I went into this race planning to run it with Hunter (not race it) and I am so happy that I was able to share this experience with my son!!!

back home - clean and proudly wearing our shirts and medals
back home – clean and proudly wearing our shirts and medals

Truly, one of those days that couldn’t have been any better!!  (Hunter just mumbled that it could have been a lot better – not sure how?!)

Happy Monday!

Kim

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