Monday, February 29, 2016

Dahlgren Trail Half Marathon Race Recap


First half marathon of 2016-- check!

Nick and I ran the Dahlgren Trail Half Marathon last year for the first time {as a Valentine's Day date!} and loved it. 

A local, inexpensive, trail race with good post-race food. That's a no-brainer. We were both excited to sign up again for 2016, and this year, there was a big change. Nick's brother and sister-in-law recently moved less than 3 miles down the road from us-- which means running and fitness adventures can now be a family thing. Pretty cool, right?

The Dahlgren Trail Half Marathon was a family affair this year. All four of us signed up for the race!



This was Rachel's first half marathon and we were so excited for her. Spoiler alert-- she rocked it. Maybe we can get her to share her story with us here at Unapologetically You.. :)

Leading up to the race Nick and I had been running in preparation for The Blue Ridge Marathon in April. My long runs were already past 13 miles, so I didn't really do anything special to prepare for Dahlgren expect drink lots of water the week of, and eat my ritualistic Chipotle burrito bowl the day before the race.

Last year I was SO close to placing in my age group. I was 4th and only approximately a minute behind the 3rd place. I had high hopes that because I was stronger and faster this year that, maybe, just maybe, I'd get an age group award. 

Welp, there were a lot of women in my age group, and they were all fast. I let go of that goal pretty early on in the race and decided to just run for me. For fun. For the peacefulness of the trail.

I decided to run, just to run.  

How long has it been since that's been my goal?

Right before Nick set off to line up with the elites, he said to me "Don't worry about starting off too fast. You are fast."

I listened to him. I started off a bit quicker than I typically would on the trail. Over the next two miles I settled into a pretty good pace. I had a girl in sight that I could see went out way too fast. I didn't push myself to pass her then, but slowly over the course of the race, I caught up and past her {#smallvictories}. 

There's not a whole lot to tell about the race itself. The Dahlgren Trail Half Marathon is an out-and-back race on an old rail trail. Once I settled into my rhythm, I just focused on enjoying the beautiful day we had for running and being out on the trail. 

Somewhere around mile 4-4.5 I saw Nick returning. He was in second place, and he was moving fast. A few minutes later Chris {Nick's brother} passed me on the return, and I saw Rachel on my return. She was looking strong and confident.

I knew that after Nick finished he would head back out on the trail to run it in with me. He was waiting near 1.5 miles remaining. I was glad to see him. I needed someone to push me at this point. I was having a lot of knee pain and knew I dramatically slowed down. I needed a distraction for sure!

I finished in 2:11:33-- a 2+ minute personal best on this course!

After eating some warm soup, a donut, bagel, cookies, gummies and some coffee {did I mention Dahlgren has awesome post-race food??} Nick and I headed back out on the trail to meet up with Rachel and Chris and finish it up with them. The air was sort of electric with the excitement of accomplishing the half marathon feat. It was neat to be a part of it!

It was a successful day all around!  

Beautiful weather.
Well-groomed trail.
Yummy food.
A 2nd place overall win for Nick.
A course PR for me.
A half marathon first for Rachel.


"A successful #halfmarathon all around! Can't wait for the next big race #sweatpink #fitfluential #runnerlife"

Your turn! Did you race this month? What was your favorite part? Did you crush some goals?

♥AK