Seashore Summer Trail Half Recap

     Months ago when I was still injured I saw a post on facebook about a half marathon, named the Seashore Summer Trail Half, that warned it would sell out quickly (it did). It was located on my favorite trails and only cost $25 so immediately I reserved my spot and I can honestly say it was money well spent. This race was a very hot, humid, sticky, muddy, sandy, hornet fly and snake-filled mess and I loved every brutal mile of it.

           The 13.1 mile race started and finished on a paved road but the majority of the middle 11 miles were on the side technical trails of Seashore National Park.  The second mile went through thick mud and people were falling like crazy.  During road races I always tell myself- eyes up- but this entire race I kept my eyes to the ground scanning quickly for roots or sand to avoid. A good friend took a terrible fall which I think shook those of us who saw it up. That early in the race it was a big warning sign to be careful!

Mile 2 with Mark and Elizabeth.

Mile 2 with Mark and Elizabeth. Thanks for the photo Steve & Ally Speirs!

      At the first aid station (which I skipped) I noticed a man in front of me stopped to drink (as opposed to grabbing and running) and considering the heat- 88 and humidity- 94%, I took note to do that for my aid station stops.  Not sure if it hurt or helped my time but I never felt like I was going into overheat mode like many did, so while I won’t do that during road races, I like to think it was a smart move.

       By mile 3 I was alone and couldn’t see anyone in front of me. While I had zero time expectations going into this day because of the conditions, I did have a goal to be competitive.  It would have been ideal to find a runner to latch on with and balance the pace pushing but after a mile solo running through the tall trees, I found the silence incredibly peaceful and energizing.  I don’t think I’ve smiled more in a race my entire life.  One time I did step within inches of the biggest snake I’ve ever seen in the park before.  It “stood up” (not sure how to describe it) and I must have jumped 3 feet in the air. I’ve honestly never been overly afraid of snakes before but someone had just told me the previous night that the park has water moccasins (deadly)  I wasn’t smiling then!

      The aid stations in this race were set up perfectly and the volunteers would start cheering as soon as they saw you, even if you were half a mile away. Every option was set up clearly and very cold towels were handed out.  Those felt amazing!!  The mile placement of each station was enough to give good small mental goals…..just get to the next aid station. At the halfway point in the race I did try to take a gel but within one squeeze my stomach felt like it would turn. I have an iron stomach in perfect conditions but a terrible one when the humidity acts up so I stuck with water and gatorade.  This picture below (taken by a great friend Maryclare) was taken around then I believe.  Gorgeous but humid trails!!

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Once we got to mile 10ish, the rest of the race was heading back the way we had came. I no longer had to worry if I was headed the right away (although the course was well marked) and was confident I had paced smart and drank adequately enough that I wouldn’t bonk and could give a bit more. I pushed the pace a bit and ended up passing two more men. Not sure of pace exactly though because at mile 10.5 my Garmin ran out of power. No biggie though, I wasn’t really even planning on wearing it. The last mile back on the road felt great, simply to be on a solid surface without tons of sharp turns. I could see the mens 1st and 2nd place finishers chatting along the side of the road so I knew I was close. The best part was that when you see the finish line, you were there, none of that- I see the finish line but have to run a half mile of turns to get there business. I crossed the finish line as first female in 1:39:26 and was thrilled. Immediately after finishing the race director gave me my awards. I honestly had no idea there would be awards and I was blown away. Running, Etc. (the store I run for) gave away a great prize package and I was grateful. I have more than enough Gu to get me through Chicago training.

Singlet, bib, and prizes.

Singlet, bib, and prizes.

Today was the day after the race and I woke up super sore. I thought a trail race would be easy on the legs but my hip flexors were worn out from extending on leaps and landings across roots or mud. Luckily there was no bad soreness and I will be back to marathon training within days.  Next up is a road 5K and then I have to make some decisions on a possible pre-marathon half or other races.   I’ll let you know when I do. Thanks for reading everyone!

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17 thoughts on “Seashore Summer Trail Half Recap

  1. I played out in my head how that snake reaction must have gone and I’m lol-ing thinking about it. I would have done the same, with a high pitched scream.

    My stomach is also fine during races and runs no matter what I seem to digest but the humidity kills me. Sometimes it won’t even be food related but if I smell fresh cut grass when I’m pushing it… No good.

    Nice race! I need to find a trail half when I’m up and running again… This looks like so much fun!

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  2. I’m so happy for you Kri. Congrats on a great efforted race in that park. All I could think about was how hot, humid and muggy that race must have been. You look fabulous as well (but that is nothing new).

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  3. Awesome Kris! What a great way to come back into racing! This is the perfect way to just enjoy being back out there racing with no pressure to perform, especially when the distance is coming closer to your racing distance. I found these same thoughts a few weeks ago when I jumped in that 5 mile. I couldn’t believe I ran 5:48 pace off no workouts or anything, but I enjoyed it. Sometimes it is good for us to just get out there and have fun with races as the big ones are so intense, it can be difficult to enjoy as you want it to go well so badly. So happy for you, and I am sure you will continue to click things into place. Awesome prizes too! 🙂

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  4. Congratulations on your OA win and large amount of Gu. That’s a great prize after a race, I love getting things that I know I’ll use! Plus a $25 half marathon is an incredibly good deal, I can see why it sold out quickly. I like doing trail races sometimes, especially after injuries or when I’m feeling a little burnt out with the road, because my mental focus is on having a little adventure rather than a fast time or a PR. It looks like you’re having a great recovery and doing very well and I love the pics of you on the trail!

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  5. Glad you got that snake out of the way by the time I came running through cause I would have freaked! Haha Happy you had a great and stress-free race. You’re making a huge come back from your injury and it’s so fun to watch you dominate!!

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  6. I am continually impressed with the amount of racing you do! It’s awesome how frequently you get yourself out there. Lots of practice in competing must pay off during your goal races. Keep up the good work leading into your marathon!

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  7. You are so skilled on those trails! I fall at least once every time I run on a trail. In a 50K a few years back, I busted it hard on a root and as I was pulling myself up, saw a huge snake right by my face! I’m pretty sure I hit some record trail speed after that. Haha!

    Congrats on your win and running such a smart race. You’re definitely “back” from injury. Trails bring out a different type of soreness than road races, especially if you don’t race on them regularly. Keep up the good work!

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  8. Congrats on the win! I would have died trailside if I’d seen a snake, let alone had one “stand up” at me. Blech. I hate all snakes and perhaps most of all water moccasins. Enjoy a little recovery after what sounds like an awesome effort!

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  9. So glad you are back in business fast lady! I’m sure you were also thankful for that shade with the heat and humidity. Trail races are never easy but sounds like you rocked it and I love how happy you look in those photos. Way to go!

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  10. Great race, Kris!! Congrats on your win but also on running a smart race. Glad the snake didn’t bother you – that would have made me jump for sure! Looking forward to hearing about the 5K coming up and the half that you pick. I’m in Richmond but I’m thinking about driving down and doing the Crawlin’ Crab half in October as a tune-up for the Harrisburg marathon on Nov. 9th. I know you’ve done (and won!) that one before – would you recommend it?

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    • Thank you!! Yes, I LOVED the Crawlin Crab race. The organizers are J&A racing, the same people who put on the Shamrock marathon, so you know it’s a great event. The only slightly bad thing is that it can be hot or humid but that’s just the way it is around here that time of year. I wish I was running it with you but I have to skip it this year because of Chicago. Happy training!

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