Eagle Creek Trail Half Marathon - 8-13-2013- Details
Last Saturday, 8-3-2013, I was in Central Indiana for, among other things, the Eagle Creek Trail Half Marathon. I've been training for this event for several months and in the weeks leading up to the event moved my weekly long runs to the trails at UNF hoping that the terrain would be somewhat similar to what I would experience at Eagle Creek.
Also this year, as I get ever closer to the start of my 6th decade of life, I have made an effort to transition to the Jeff Galloway training method since I have come to believe that it will help me stay uninjured and active as the years march by. My last long run at UNF prior to Eagle Creek with Galloway style walk breaks I was able to cover 12.25 miles in 2:36 so I was pretty sure I was ready.
I met virtual training partner, Shoeless Sonny of Carmel, IN, the morning of the event. I was happy to see that Sonny was wearing a pair of New Balance minimal trail shoes on this day. We discussed our strategy on the way to the park and I let Sonny know that I planned on a Galloway style 1 minute walk break after every 8 minutes of running.
We watched the full marathoners take off 20 minutes before the start of our run. We made our final preparations and then headed to what seemed like a reasonable spot in the start chute. Soon, the gun sounded and we were off. When we got to the single track and headed into the woods, I looked at my watch and was right at 8 minutes. I didn't want to pull off to the side and walk for a minute so I told Sonny that we were at 8 minutes but I was feeling good so I would just keep going.
Soon we came to a gradual descent followed by a little level terrain and then some more descent. Before long I found myself jumping downed trees and then climbing some small hills. We navigated a small sink hole that we were warned about and then encountered a concrete drainage structure which I clear in the photo below.
We proceeded to a loop in the northeast section of the park and then headed back on the same trail we had been running on. As I encountered the same drainage structure on the way back, my rear foot slipped and instead of clearing the structure, I ended up knee deep in water and almost did a face plant. Fortunately, the photographer anticipated my problems and was now reclining in the bushes with his camera pointed in my direction.
As we pushed on I was starting to feel quite fatigued. At around 7 or 8 miles I stopped long enough at one of the aid stations to fill my bottle and grab another Hammer Gel. By now the cumulative effect of not taking the walk breaks I had planned, rolling terrain and tree trunk jumping was adding up. Once I did start taking walk breaks it was to late. By 11 miles my legs were so tired I could hardly get up the hills and really wasn't to sure of my footing going down the other side. As my walk breaks got longer the running intervals got shorter.
Finally, I could hear the announcer at the finish line. I knew I was getting close. I managed to break into a slow jog as I entered the chute and somehow wore a smile instead of a grimace across the finish line. My finish time was just over 3:06. (20 minutes deducted from marathon start time)
So, after a couple days of rest, Sonny and I are thinking about the Dances with Dirt Half Marathon in Gnaw Bone, IN for next year.