Deception Pass Half Marathon

Short version: I finished!

Less-short version: I knew going in my body wasn’t ready. I didn’t drink enough water. I need to go back to regular core strength work. I made the mistake of telling myself I’d be okay the first five miles, because The Tireds hit at mile 5.25.

I’ve run a 25K on a very similar course, so I knew about what to expect. The 25K I ran was in December, and December at Deception Pass is pretty predictable: cool, damp, maybe windy. April is a little more variable: could be warm & sunny, could be cool & rainy. As luck would have it, the weather took a turn toward cold for this past weekend. I packed both shorts and running tights, just in case.

I spent the night at my parents’ house, which is about 40 minutes south of Deception Pass State Park. I drove over Friday. I arrived around 8 pm, but instead of calling it a night early on I hung out & chatted until after nine. I don’t think I got to sleep until eleven or so. So much for getting a good night’s sleep the night before a race (as if I ever do that…).

I got to the staging area with plenty of time. I started off wearing the running tights, but it was raining. I decided to switch to the shorts, as I figured my legs would dry more quickly without cloth covering them, and the wet tights wouldn’t provide any protection from the wind. I was chilly, but I’m glad I switched.

And then we started. I waited for everyone else to get past me, as I knew I’d start off walking. (The first bit is paved, and I won’t run on pavement.)

Start of the race

The first five or so minutes was on a road in the park. Then the course takes a sharp turn onto a trail. There was quite a back-up here. I figured it out later, when I was later stuck behind a 20-person traffic jam: there was a large puddle that people were gingerly walking around. It’s a trail run, folks! You’re going to get muddy anyway, so you might as well start early.

One advantage – or disadvantage – is that this is an incredibly scenic course. For a committed slow poke like me, that meant lots of picture-taking. My iPhone’s camera just cannot do this scenery justice, but that doesn’t stop me from taking pictures.

A crazy-steep section of trail. Here, the trail curves off to my left, and you can see a switchback below me in the upper right part of the picture.

Watch your head but don’t forget what your feet are doing – my kind of trail!

Another scenic and steep section. At least this section of trail is smooth(ish)
If it all looked like this, it just would be the same. ‘Tis gorgeous, though.
Yes, that’s a trail. Just beyond the choke point provided by the tree trunk is a sharp bend. This is an out & back section of a lollipop, so there are runners going in both directions on this trail. Runners coming toward me are running down a steep section on the other side of that sharp bend. This is not a trail you can ‘check out’ on — if you do, you risk head-on collisions with trees or other runners…

.. or deer. (There are two deer in this photo – center, above the sword fern, to either side of the two tree trunks.)
This is the trail. Take a sharp right here, or you plunge to the beach. (The tree root sticking out in the middle of the picture is on the other side of the cut. Where the dirt ends, there’s a steep drop-off to the beach.)
Not scenic, but a legendary part of this course. At the 50K in December 2015, this mud tore shoes off of runners’ feet. It wasn’t that bad this weekend, but it was a mess.

Random gorgeous scenery. Don’t trip.
More prettiness

Amid all this picture-taking and root beer float Jelly Belly eating, I did some running. As I mentioned above, early on I thought to myself, “the first five miles are going to feel like a long interval workout.” That was a mistake, because it gave my brain an excuse to feel tired after five miles. And tired it was!

Amid all this picture-taking and root beer float Jelly Belly eating, I did some running. As I mentioned above, early on I thought to myself, “the first five miles are going to feel like a long interval workout.” That was a mistake, because it gave my brain an excuse to feel tired after five miles. And tired it was!

And now I’m kicking myself, because it’s several weeks later, and I can no longer recall what I intended to write. On the plus side, that give us enough time to get my jumping photo, and for my friends to modify it.

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