Finished in 2:06:51(official); no new PR
Overall place: 185/687
Overal pace: 9:40/mile
Race #69 and Half marathon #23
I've been trying to get out to run this race for the last several years. Now I wish I would have made it a priority to try it. The course, while hilly and technical, is an incredible course. Running Fit put on an excellent race and I will do this race again. The area is really beautiful and the pictures I took don't even do it justice. If you have not run this race, I highly recommend it.
Registration was very simple. Sign up online from their website and you were all set. I've always had good luck with Running Fit registration. Probably because they do so many races and know what they are doing. Easy peasy.
There was two options for packet pickup. You could pick up packets at Running Fit in Ann Arbor the day before or you could get your packet the day of the race. Since Ann Arbor is not around the corner for me, we chose to pickup race morning. This is exactly why all races(except certain marathons) should have race day packet pickup. Had they not had it, I would have thought twice about running this. We ended up getting there just as packet pickup opened so it literally took 30 seconds and we had our packets. It was a bit chilly before the race so we sat in the warm car and waited until it was closer to race time. Going early made parking very easy since we were about a hundred feet from packet pickup.
|Packet pickup on site|
|Packet pickup - well organized|
The lake at Pinckney State Recreation area looked great and it was crystal clear outside. It was a perfect day for a race. The company and volunteers were getting things set up for the race as we checked out the park. It was the first time I've been to this park and, wow, what a nice place!
|Me by the lake!|
|Runners waiting to race|
|Dave came to cheer us on!|
|Runners in front of me at start|
|Runners behind me at start|
This is the first time I've been out to the Pinckney State Recreation area and the Potawatomi trail and it was fantastic! I didn't have any goal for the race except to get through it without tripping. I was successful! Lol. From a timing aspect, I thought I would be in the 2:20 range so I was pretty happy to see I came in at 2:06. The trails have lots of elevation and it really kicked my butt. Literally - my butt still hurts as I write this! It's very fitting that you run by Hell, Michigan as that is how I felt sometimes on the course. Ha!
The bane of my running existence on half marathons always seems to be mile 12. What the heck is with that 10+ mile in there. I was pushing it pretty hard and really had to push to keep the pace near the end. It was incredible and I look forward to getting out on this trail some more this season for my 50k training. In regards to my heart rate in the beginning - don't ask! I can't figure it out myself. This always happens to me at races and then I settle down. Of course, it could have been that huge hill right at the start that did it to me as well.
|Course per Garmin|
|Splits per Garmin|
|Pace/elevation/heart rate per Garmin|
The race started right in the park and we had a short run to get to the single track. The course was 98% single track trails with a short grassy start and finish and a small paved and dirt road section.
|Right at the start|
|Small run to the trails|
|Coming to the trails|
|Very blurry but look at all those runners!|
|Lots of runners at the start|
|Great day for a run|
|Back to climbing|
|Climbing - see a theme here? The hills are relentless!|
|Runners spread out now|
|lots of hills|
|Lake to the right|
|Lots of downhills|
|Back to climbing|
|Lake on the left|
|Lake to the left|
|A little bit of level ground - thank you!|
|keeping the pace|
|A nice boardwalk|
|End of the boardwalk|
|Some relief of hills on a short dirt road section|
|Back to the park|
|Well marked course with flags|
|More boardwalks - I love running these|
|Back to hills|
|Lots of roots to watch out for too|
|Hills again mixed with leaves and rocks|
|Almost there - you can see Dave in his hoody to the left|
There were four aid stations that I remember and the volunteers did an awesome job. The race had water and Gatorade at each station as well as GU gels at some of them. They also contained the garbage to those areas so we could keep the park clean and leave it the way we left it.
As we came into the finish line, there was a volunteer there to give you a water bottle and another to give you your race medal. The volunteer I got put the medal over my neck - a very nice touch that makes it feel special rather than just handing it to you. The wind at the start was nice and calm and it got crazy windy at the end but, being on the trails, you could only notice it when you were near the lakes and at the finish. From there, there was a tent with food for the runners. The race offered bananas, bagels, muffins(which were awesome), and cookies - chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, and macadamian nut.
The race also had a tent for race merchandise and the prices were very reasonable. They had mugs for $5 or three for $10 which was a great price so we picked up three. They also had some nice pullover jackets for running at very reasonable prices($30-40)
|Volunteers with medals - see how the wind is kicking the flags?|
|After race food - you can see the whitecaps on the lake too from the wind|
For your race entry(I paid $44+2.50 online fee= $46.60 which is very reasonable), you received a measured and marked course that was chip timed. They also had numerous aid stations for the runners that included water, Gatorade and GU. You also received good finishers food(which I presume there was enough for all?), a nice Brooks brand race shirt with a cool design on the shirt. This one will definitely get used all season and Brooks typically fits true to size as this one did also. It's an excellent quality shirt. You also received a nice finishers medal along with Running Fit signature race button that they give you at each of their races. Running Fit also gives you an electronic finishers certificate with your statistics on it.
|Bib (copy all you want - the race is over)|
|Shirt front - awesome design|
|Shirt back - I love there are only a few sponsors on it.|
|Medal both sides - that design is the elevation.|
|Mug I bought for only $5|
The race overall was very organized as I would expect from Running Fit who has been organizing races for many years. From the easy registration, easy packet pick up, and lots of communication from the race management company, it achieved the results of a great event. The race also has an excellent website that has all the information you need to know what's going on. While the course did run long, 13.40 on my Garmin, I do cut the race(all trail races actually) some slack because it's just very difficult to measure a course like this with the elevation and switchbacks. I'm just happy it was not short. The course was well marked and the start and finish area were well organized.
Overall, this was an excellent trail race and I'm really happy that I did it because I can see what all the hype is for this race now. The course is one of the best I've been on and the trails were fantastic. I really wish this park was closer to my home but I will say it's well worth the early rising time to do this race. The race had options for the half, full and 50k ultra as well as their "No Wimps" challenge running the half Saturday and the full or 50k Sunday. This is also part of their Serious series, which includes Flirt with Dirt(Novi) and the Legend(Sleepy Hollow State Park)(my review HERE). If I did not have a conflict with another race for Flirt with Dirt, I'd probably run the entire race series. For those looking for a hilly, challenging, technical trail course, this is the one to run. I will be back in future years!
Have a great day and....Keep Running!!!!
Disclosure: I paid for this entry myself. All opinions in this review are my own.