Sunday, March 2, 2008

Thrill in the Hills 1/2 Marathon

This past Saturday I joined 300 other runners at the second annual Thrill in the Hills 1/2 Marathon at Fort Yargo State Park. The name of the race can be a little misleading in that it may sound like this is some quad-busting race with endlessly long and steep hilss. (The name certainly managed to scare some of my friends away). In reality, this is course is easy to moderate with hardly any elevation change. There are continuous hills to be sure, but with one exception, all of them are small. However, this course is set up mainly for mountain biking and has plenty gnarly single track that should make any trail runner happy.

Fort Yargo State Park (near the starting line)

On the way to the race I noticed lots of running related license plate frames and stickers on cars. More than usual. "26.2" "swim, bike, run" "G.U.T.S." Mine fit right in. My favorite was some some lady's shirt "Sea Level is for Sissies!" We're bad asses here with our 900 feet elevation.

The most scenic port-a-johns in the state? I think so.

With the beast of a workout I had completed on Monday, I was not looking to race hard or set any sort of PRs. My goal was to hold a decent pace, finish strong and, most importantly, have lots of fun.

The race starts out on a wide power line trail for the first quarter mile and then hits the single track from there. I probably started out a little too slow as I was reduced to walking at times once we hit the single track with all the people trying to squeeze in. On the other hand, this was probably a good thing, since I was saving my strength for later.

The starting line (faint purple at the bottom of the picture)

Somewhere between miles five and six I started running with Deanna from Charlotte. It turns out that she had run all the same races as I had this year (and more!). We were a pretty strong duo. Deanna was stronger on the uphills, so I would just try to hold on to her. On the downhills, I would just let my legs submit to gravity and push her a little. In the end, we stayed together the whole rest of the race. Deanna was competing for one of the top women's spots and came in 6th overall in the end!


We crossed the finish line in about 1:47, which was about five minutes slower for me than last year. But I felt strong and had plenty left in the tank. My focus right now is on Oak Mountain and that long run on Monday was just too important to skip.

In the end, this was an extremely fun race (do I say that every time?). My thanks go out to Tim, the rest of the Dirty Spokes crew as well as all the volunteers for another superbly organized race.

Thrill in the Hills Race Results

Thrill in the Hills Official Pictures

3 comments:

Jason Rockman said...

Dave,
Let me know if you are up for a morning run this Wednesday morning at the river. Would be good to get in 6 or 8 if we can meet early enough. Maybe around 5:30 or 6? Let me know what works for you.

Rahn said...

Nice report.

The port-o-john line picture cracked me up, because I was laughing at everyone lined up when there was a perfectly servicable "real" toilet in the same build as registration. Worked out for me, no waiting!

It's a good course and a nice race. Next year, I won't be killing myself the day before, so should enjoy it much more.

Addy said...
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