Next up, Sunday morning it was time for the Half Marathon. I didn't want to push hard again, not with my knee still being a bit out of sorts, so I decided to focus more on the miles than the time. My Half and Half Half Marathon Plan (see here for the planning: https://runnerdgirl.blogspot.com/2020/04/the-half-and-half-virtual-half.html) would be perfect for this since trail miles are always slower and more about the view than the pace.
|Best Aid Station EVER|
I returned back home, grabbed my last minute gear (Aftershokz, Honey Stinger gels and a water bottle) and set off from my house towards The Grapevine. I was a bit nervous about crossing though the part of the Highway that leads onto the Interstate, but traffic was pretty light, so it was no problem. A short 5K later and I was back at The Grapevine for a quick shoe change and off towards the Founders Trail for the next 6.5 mile section.
To get to the trail, I had to run up and over the Hwy 21 bridge over the Catawba River. I planned this intentionally since I was supposed to be doing this race in Pittsburgh and running over some of the awesome bridges there, I wanted to run over at least one bridge. It's not quite the West End Bridge over the Ohio River, but hey, it was the best that I could pull off in Rock Hill, SC. Once you cross the bridge, it is a quick hop over the guardrail to descend under the bridge to access the Founders Trail.
I love the Founders Trail. I haven't run in a few weeks because I was wanting to rest my knee but let me tell you, I grinned like a fool when I first stepped on to the trail. It was pretty cool out, and a bit early still so the trail was pretty empty. The trail is basically an out and back along the Catawba River with an option about 2 miles in to follow a loop into a quarry for an extra mile. I had my route planned for the Half Marathon distance so I just did the basic Carolina Thread Trail route. When I got to the turn around point at 3.25 miles in, I stopped on the rocks for a moment to soak in my surroundings and also to take one of my Honey Stinger gels. I could have sat out there all morning, but I was only halfway through my race.
|The Turn Around Spot. Can you blame me for lingering?|
Now all I have left to do is to wait for my awesome swag! Since I ran both races for the Steel Challenge, I will be getting 2 shirts, 3 medals and a pair of custom Pittsburgh Marathon Knockaround Sunglasses.
These will be shipped out by the race as soon as it is safe enough to gather together a team to get everything out. Additionally, the Pittsburgh Marathon team has said that they hope to host a finisher party on location when they are able to. The hope is to set up a finish line for photo ops and a celebratory festival. I really hope that whenever that is scheduled for, that I can make it. I really hate that I missed out on a trip to Pittsburgh.