Marine corps historic half – race report

The Marine Corps Historic Half was supposed to be held on May 17. Like other races, it was canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Even though it was a road race, which is not my favorite, I was still bummed about this cancellation. Barry and I had a fun weekend planned with my dad, and I was looking forward to experiencing another Marine Corps race event. I’ve had good experiences in the past at the 17.75K and the Marathon. Instead, I ran this race virtually to maintain my eligibility for the Semper Fi challenge (running the Historic Half in May and the Marathon in October).

I chose to complete my virtual run on trails at Claytor Lake State Park, with two 6.5-ish mile loops. It definitely slowed me down significantly from what I would have run on roads, but you know I love my trails.

I was a bit worried on the drive over to the park when I realized I had forgotten to eat anything other than a yogurt for breakfast. Oops. Obviously my race morning routine is extremely lax when it’s a virtual race that I’m running by myself. Right before I started my run, I went on and ate a gel and hoped that would help. At the start of my run, it was overcast and in the upper 50’s.

As I mentioned, my race was made up of two 6.5-ish mile loops. I took it easy on the first loop and was feeling pretty good. I focused on hydrating regularly, as I had started my run mid-morning and knew it was going to warm up quickly.

At the start of my second loop, it had become sunny and I was really starting to feel the heat. Around mile 7 or 8 I also started to feel fatigued. I ate some honey stinger chews and drank some more. I mostly had the trails to myself, and I was really enjoying the solitude.

I was feeling rougher as I continued on the second loop, so I started breaking up the loop into chunks in my head. It definitely helped that I know this park like the back of my hand. I tried to shift my focus from how I was feeling to looking at what was around me. Throughout the run I saw two super cute chipmunks, four deer, a gazillion squirrels and one huge freaking spider. He showed up around mile 10, and that got me moving a little faster for sure!

During the final 5K, I started drinking more and more water. At this point it had warmed up to the upper 70’s and I was suffering. I started sipping from my hydration pack at least every half mile. Although it was motivational, it made my stomach feel all sloshy and gross. I was definitely hitting that point in the run where you start wishing for it to be over.

I forged ahead and felt a little boost of energy when I hit the final mile. I pushed harder towards the end, and could feel the threat of calf cramps coming on. Luckily, they held off and I finished my virtual race in 3:10:20 – at least 40 minutes slower than I would typically be in a road half.

This run was tough for me, but it was also good. It had a little over 1300 feet of elevation gain total and it had been a little while since I ran a longer run with that much gain. I also did a good job regularly fueling and hydrating throughout. Time spent in the woods is always a good time.

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