Celina Challenge Trail Run

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This past Saturday (6/14/08) I did the first annual Celina Challenge Trial Half Marathon or Full Marathon. Got talked into this by Joe and Jeff who are in a bit better shape than I am for long runs, but hey it sounded like a good adventure. Ah, it was!

I ran the half (13.1 miles) along with Joe, and Jeff ran the full marathon (2 laps or 26.2 miles). They bill the event as not your mall parking lot 5k, and instead the toughest half marathon anywhere near Indiana.

The day before we headed down to stay at a hunting lodge nearby provided by Joe's brother in-law Mark. Mark met us there, and despite a slight detour because of a house fire next door, we arrived safe and sound. It was really a nice place to sleep before the event. No electricity, but comfortable beds and good conversation before the race. Race morning we rolled out of bed around 6:30 am our time, 5:30 local time. Made the 20 minute or so drive to the Celina park in the Hoosier National Forest.

The race filled with 125 brave men and women looking forward to a trail run adventure. Joe and I started mid-pack with Jeff moving up further in the bunch. You hit the trail after just a hundred yards or so, and stay on an up and down forest trail for about 4 miles before you run across a dam. Two of those crossing is the only time you get out of a deep forest. The first half of the run I felt good, taking it at a moderate pace, and just down right enjoying the morning. Most fun I've had running in years. Then during a fast down hill I caught my foot and did a nice summersualt into the dirt. Thankfully nothing hurt, but shook me up for a couple of minutes. Continued on about the same pace till mile 8 or so when the hills got much tougher. Here I did some serious up hill walking like most others. Bad news is, I was walking slower than those around me, and was clearly running out of gas.

The last 5 miles was much tougher on me, but I knew that would happen. No training over 8 miles to speak of. The day was perfect temp wise, but way humid causing me and lots of others to suffer from dehydration and cramping in the calf and quadricepts. Finally made it to the finish, getting passed by a half a dozen or so in just the last two miles. Have to train for this next year.

Joe did much better, we had stayed together for about the first 8 - 9 miles but from there he was much fresher. Jeff finished both loops for the full marathon and looked a lot better than me at the finish. If only some cycling was involved in this event :-)

Would like to try this again next year, and hopefully it will jump start my motivation to run more this summer, especially on trails. That I really needed. Thanks to Mark for the accomidations and encouragement.

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