Iron Run Half 2016

Directly following my double header 5k weekend, I hit the trails and ran a half marathon!!

The race is put on by Friends of Pine Grove and is called Iron Run Half Marathon. This is the second year I have run it and this year was a huge improvement for me on so many levels.

Like last year, I spend the night at a friend's cabin so we got to kind of mosey awake and get ready, eat breakfast and travel the 5 minutes from her cabin to the race. We met all of our river runner friends there for a nice photo opp before the race.

It was a really cool mix of abilities this year and I really didn't feel like I got held up as much with larger groups of people. The trail was wide enough for two people for most of the race, but last I definitely felt "stuck" more than this year.

I started the race with Michelle and Katie, both of whom have been awesome running buddies this year. Katie was gone by mile 1 and Michelle and I stuck together for the first 2-3 miles somewhere. At one point, I went in front of her and then I never saw her until the finish line. I waited at the first two water stops to see if I could see her and never did.

I ran with a complete stranger for a few miles as well. I really enjoyed chatting with her and learning that this was her first trail half (maybe first half all together..). That is the fun part about trail running. At least for there isn't quite as much pressure to go super fast or crazy so  you can really have a conversation with someone. Super fun stuff.

The aid stations and volunteers for this race are seriously out of this world. They come out in the hot weather to serve us water, Gatorade, a gel assortment, pretzels, and smiles. This is an incredible group of people, I swear. As tired as I was and ready to be done.. as soon as I crossed the finish line and cooled off, I was bummed that I have to wait another year to run with my friends at this race.

Coming into the finish line!!!  Wore Tasc Performance gear for this race and had no idea how drenched with sweat until I touched my tank to grab my water. To me, this is incredible!

I was so excited this year to not only have felt so much better the whole race, but also that I ran further with a better time!! They extended the course from (per my garmin last year) 12.73 to 13.4, partly to get more of the route on trail and secondly because people wanted the full half marathon distance. This year I came in at 2:45:55 and last year was 2:50... seriously!!?! I was thrilled.

Bottom line is.. I highly recommend this race. It's super budget friendly and so well organized that you CANNOT go wrong.  I hope that my schedule allows me to be there year after year.

Do you like to run trails.. or does the idea scare the crap out of you? ;)


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