Cinderella Trail Half

I ran this race last year. It was hard last year. I remember feeling fatigued and thinking that it was probably because I didn't eat enough breakfast. I have come a long way since then. Running takes a lot of training, a lot of practice, and a lot of learning the hard way. You can easily under-train or over-train or overexert yourself the day before a race or eat too much or not eat enough...there are so many factors that go into race day.

So it was a perfect race this time.

I am kidding.

This race was Broski's first 30k. He has run 17.5 miles and was excited about the extra .5 miles (super excited). We had a quick breakfast of oatmeal about 45 minutes before the race and then we headed up the hill to the start.

Like last time, the first 2 miles are about a 500 foot climb. Broski and I huffed and puffed up the hill until you get to a kind of flat spot. After that there is a pretty steep downhill, and then a really steep uphill. These are hard. Really hard. Just when you think that you are feeling alright, another uphill comes up.

Broski was having trouble. Here I was, running along, talking some nonsense to him about the last time I took someone hiking on this trail and she was complaining about the hills...and I was giggling and jabbering away and I look back and he's not behind me. Oops.

We tried to figure out why as the trail leveled out and it wasn't getting any easier for him. Breakfast? Check. Maybe too soon before running? He had a 10 miler on Tuesday, but that was far enough away that he should have been fine. He gardened the day before in the hot sun...maybe he didn't have enough water? He had a couple low weeks, mileage wise...maybe not enough training? Whatever it was, it reminded me of my first Cinderella experience. Maybe this course was just hard!

Then we went way downhill and there was Mecca, aka an aid station. We refueled with some fruit and water and then came the big one Elizabeth. The next two miles were a 1000 foot climb. And it's brutal, with a capital B. Brutal. Our pace at this point was 15 - 16 minute miles. I was starving, since by this time we were at about the 2 hour mark.

Cinderella trail race
Climbing the hill (with Broski in the background)

Luckily, once we got to the top of that big hill, it was almost "all down hill from here". We cruised down the hill and man were we glad to see the Finish line. Unfortunately, we did not finish a 30k race that day; since it was a loop course, with one half marathon loop and then another 10k loop tacked on to make 30k, we decided to skip the 10k loop, thus making it a half marathon instead.

The verdict? We finished in 2:44. We got #43 and #44 out of 104. As Broski says, that's not bad for a race that he wasn't feeling his best. If we would have kept going for the 30k, we probably could have finished in about 3:47, which would have put us in around #13 out of 30. So, after all that, it wasn't even that bad really. Still in the top 50 percent.

Like I said to Broski, I like being outside, and the trails we ran are some of my favorites, so it was no sacrifice on my part to be out on the trails with my favorite brother on a beautiful Saturday morning. He was bummed that he didn't finish his first 30k. However, he is not broken, just bent and he will yearn to run again.

Sorry. I can't get that song out of my head.

Have you ever run the same race twice? If so, did it get any easier? Have you ever had to learn something the hard way?


  1. That sounds like a REALLY tough course. Sounds like it was a good call to listen to your body. A lesson I learned the hard way was to not run a race if you are not properly trained. My first year of grad school a friend wanted to do a 1/2 marathon with me in the spring. I ran my first marathon that fall and thought it was a good idea. I totally underestimated how busy I would be between working full time and getting my MBA in the evenings. I did not run nearly enough and was terribly undertrained. But I still ran the race - which was a HORRIBLE experience as I had major GI issues and then was sick all day after the race as it was just too much for my body. And then I had to re-learn that lesson when I did the Cherry Blossom 10 miler and was undertrained as that was the worst winter ever so all my running was indoor. I got sick DURING that race and again felt horrible all day. So I have finally learned to not run a race if I am not properly trained.

  2. That course sounds really tough!!! I've run the New Bedford Half 4 times...I would say when I wasn't pregnant or just post-pregnancy...it was easier! I have now learned the course and I'm excited to see what I can do this coming year!!

  3. That course sounds really hard. I love your beginning - it was all set up for the perfect race. But, that perfect race is so elusive.

    Congrats to both of you.

    Only 30 people finish the 30K, that's definitely a hard one.

    You'll get it.

  4. There's a tendency to put hills at the start of trail races - I wish they wouldn't! I suppose it spreads out the field though. The downhill finish sounds fun, it would have been hard to pull yourself away from the magnet of the finish to do another 10k loop!
    When you know the trail well I think it is easier to pace yourself, and easier mentally too.

  5. Tough race! I have run multiple races over and always feel like I am back for revenge if things don't go well the first time ;)

  6. Congrats to you both!

    Yes, I've run trail races multiple times and, while trail running in general is usually tough, the repeat races are easier. Knowing the course makes it easier to pace myself.

  7. Oh man, that sounds so tough! Congrats on finishing, that's an accomplishment.

  8. Nice work! I have never tried a trail race. I feel like I would trip over everything since I am not very observant during races:/ I have a couple of races I have run 3-4 times that are charity related. I like knowing what to expect but don't always run them faster.


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