The organizers of Badin Race affectionately call their race "Run the Valley", but for those of us that signed up for the ½ marathon, we know this is a misnomer. We feel it should be called "Run the Mountain" because running up the side of Morrow Mt is no easy task.
The week after Charleston, I took a hard look at my training and realized two things were definitely missing: long hard tempos and lots of hill work. Thus, some changes needed to be made.
Enter, the Badin ½ marathon. For those that don't know, the Badin ½ marathon is brutally tough course. The course has tons of steep, rolling hills and then runners have to climb up the side of Morrow Mt to the very top. The legs get beaten into submission long before getting to the mountain portion course and then there is a nearly 2 mile climb to the top.
If this doesn't count for hill work, I don't know what does.
Beginning the week, I pretty much convinced myself to not take any down time and just train through the race. I had pretty much accepted the idea that I could crash and burn badly during this half.
Saturday morning finally arrives and I make the hour drive over to Badin. Yes, it is "Badin" and not "Basin" for anyone seeing my facebook post after the race. My phone likes to correct anything it feels is a miss spelling.
I headed up to the start and saw some familiar faces: Peter, Sharon, Richard, Linda, and a few others. There were about a 100 runners entered in the ½.
Going into the race, I have settled on a race plan. My goal is to run under 1:30 and if I averaged around 6:40 miles, I would be very happy.
7:30 arrives and we are off. We have gone maybe 150 yards when a black cat scampers across the road. I am not a big believer in omens, but why take any chances. I do as my grandmother told me and put an "x" on it. Don't ask me why, that's just what she always told me to do and to this day, I still do it. Yeah, I know it sounds dumb but she was a smart woman and if she did it, I shouldn't take any chances.
By the mile point, the race has settled into Brett Dixon and me running together – at least sort of. Brett runs the downhills hard and was gapping me by 15 to 20 yards. Then, on the climb, I would come right back to his shoulder. We pass the first mile in 6:12. This is faster than I had planned on running so I see no need to pass him or push the pace. We go back and forth. The second mile is 6:19 and the 3rd mile is 6:15. We reach the 4th mile which is a nasty little climb passed the 10k turnaround.
Brett had gapped me coming to the hill, but once on the hill I came back to his shoulder. This time the hill is much longer and I decide; let's get a little gap before the top.
Having run the Morrow Mt. road more than a few times, I know what is coming. We top over and just as I expected, he goes flying back by me. But now, the real climbing starts as we enter Morrow Mt. park.
Mile 4 had been a decent 6:24, but Mile 5 took 6:40. The climbing had started during mile 6 which was run in 6:27. Brett had dropped off now so it was left to me to climb to the top solo. Mile 7 pretty much has no relief in it. I clocked in at 7:27.
Mile 8 is downhill and I speed down the mt. in 5:59. Thinking Brett who appeared to be a good downhill runner might be making a comeback, I tried to keep the pressure on myself.
And, keeping my spirits up was seeing all the people climbing the mountain and yelling support to me. I did my best to give each a word of encouragement and "High 5" if they were appeared interested.
Back in the rolling hills, mile 9 was 6:11 and mile 10 was 6:06. Mile 11 was covered in 6:03. Now, I was back and running among the 10k runners. The 10k starts 30 minutes after the ½ marathon start.
Having lots of people helped kept things interesting.
My legs were starting to feel the hills now. Mile 12 was covered in 6:19 and Mile 13 was covered in 6:22. The final .21 took me a good 1:20 to cover. I crossed the finish line in 1:24:11.
My time was far better than I expected for the day.
As we have come to expect, Peter and Uwharrie Running Club did a superb job putting on this race. The shirts were fantastic. The race was started on time and the awards were awesome. The
As races goes, the Badin has something for everyone one. There is even a festival afterwards.
Mark your calendars for the '13 edition.
Sharing one thought at time,
The Cool Down Runner