Race Report: Olde Girdled Grit Half

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March, 2017

Sometimes you get bored with the traditional long run. Enter impulse race registrations.

On Sunday, Feb. 26, I completed the Olde Girdled Grit trail half marathon at Girdled Road Reservation in Concord Twp, Ohio. I originally had ambitions to run a longer distance but settled for the half because I’ve had a strong running streak lately.

In addition, I enjoy meeting up with other people from the local running community outside of weekly group runs. Nothing gets me more motivated than seeing others accomplish their goals.

The start of Olde Girdled Grit half – I’m #13 (the dork with the pink jacket and blue hat)

Here’s the problem with using a race as a training run – while you get a feel of your personal fitness, you kick yourself for not being as competitive as you want to be.

The horn sounded at 9 a.m., which is not too early for me. Normally it’s the getting up at 5:30 a.m. for 7 a.m. starts that get me. I’m just not a morning person, especially when it comes to running. But, I had sufficient time to prepare and go through my morning routine. I made sure I ate so I wouldn’t kick myself early on – I mean, it was leftover pasta salad from a party the night before, but who’s judging? Carbs are carbs.

The first couple miles were all road. And all uphill. This didn’t bother me because my coach incorporates hill repeats into my training plan. Plus, I’d rather get hills out of the way first while my legs are fresh.

“I made sure I ate so I wouldn’t kick myself early on – I mean, it was leftover pasta salad from a party the night before, but who’s judging? Carbs are carbs.”

Top: Elevation for Olde Girdled Grit
Bottom: Place Standings

Now, let’s talk about the remainder of the course. This probably was one of the most challenging trail half marathons I’ve ever completed, but I feel satisfied about my performance.

I’ll describe the experience like this:

WTF steps
Are these steps ending yet?
Why is everything uphill?!
Oh ok….maybe it isn’t too bad….
Seriously, now I have to go down 300 steps?
Not too bad…hey it seems flat now…. HILL
Back down the road, last little loop….
Mile 12… I’m there! STEPS RIGHT BEFORE THE FINISH?!

For fuel, I used grapefruit Honey Stinger chews at miles 5 and 9. I didn’t push myself too much, but I also made sure this was a true training run that tested how far along I am.

I found myself trying to be too competitive around miles 7-8. So, I made sure to slow myself down and just enjoy the race more, especially since I’ve never done a long run at the park before. When I finished, I found that I had PR’d my previous trail half marathon time by 45 minutes.

Olde Girdled Grit definitely one of those races you should have on your calendar well in advance if you plan to do it. This is due to a number of factors including the number of steps on the course as well as the weather. For its inaugural year, the weather warmed up to 60 degrees, which meant it was icy in the morning and muddy as the day went on. This year, it was in the low 30s, which is pretty ideal for February in Cleveland.

While many runners at OGG used the race as an opportunity to complete their first trail half marathon, I would caution those that are interested that you shouldn’t just “wing it.” A good training plan before race day will ensure you’re not dying after the first hill or two.

Olde Girdled Grit 50K/Marathon/Half Marathon
Time: 2:05:09
Place: 4th Overall Female

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