This sure was a busy weekend of hiking, biking and trail running…..oh and eating….lots of eating!

Saturday I ran the Beat the Blerch Half Marathon in Morristown, New Jersey. I was so off my game I forgot to eat breakfast or drink water before leaving the house and I didn’t bring a water bottle for the car. OOPS!

The good the bad and the ugly

I had been following some posts on the Blerch Facebook event page that the course was a legit and seriously challenging trail run and to be prepared so I initially thought I’d drop back to the 10k. But the night before I made up my mind to just ride it out and stick with the half. I was scheduled to run 10-12 miles anyway. Truth be told the only 2 reasons I got out of bed were to see my friend Jane (and her hubby, mom, sis and friend who were also running) who I hadn’t seen since the NJ Marathon back in April and to eat cake along the course. Part of the Blerch caché is that they have couches and cake along the course.

sweet cake! or cake, SWEET!

sweet cake! or cake, SWEET! and the first thing I ate all day (at mile 2)

one of the couches along the course

one of the couches along the course

So there you have the good!

There was a full, half, and a 10k and with limited parking at the location of the race they had shuttle buses to take us to the start. I got there super early and I’m glad because my bus driver got lost. I also noticed that after our bus pulled out the traffic getting into the lot for runners just a few minutes later to arrive was insane! The lines to get your race bib, shirt and check your gear bag were also pretty bad. In general it seems they were pretty short on volunteers. Poor communication and lack of volunteers = bad.

Luckily since Jane had such a big group we divided up to hold spots for each other in the various lines. All the logistics aside the vibe of this event was pretty cool. If you’re not familiar with the creator of the Blerch, Matthew Inman, and his comic called the Oatmeal you should check this out. It’s some funny sh-it!

blerch-cartoons

This is just one of the 1,456,321 hills that we ran up

This is just one of the 1,456,321 hills that we ran up

Before the race

Before the race

at the start

at the start

Lots of the terrain was rocky

Lots of the terrain was rocky

The course was ridiculously challenging…LOTS of people wiped out with cuts, scrapes and sprains. It was ugly! I made a decision even before we started that I would walk cautiously down or up any steep inclines and I stuck to my guns on that. I couldn’t afford to be one of those wipeouts. There were major chunks of the course that were single track and it became frustrating at times when you were forced to walk because you couldn’t pass the row of people in front of you. Especially because when the terrain was flat and free of rocks/tree roots I really wanted to pick up the pace. I can’t believe how many hills there were! Even on the small portion of roads that we ran on, the hills were ridiculous! I remember being at the halfway point walking up a hill and EVERYONE around me was walking too. I’ve never run a half marathon before where so many people looked like they’d thrown in the towel that early.

The aid stations might have been stocked with cake but they were lacking in the more important department. NOT ENOUGH WATER! This was bad. If I ever ran this again I’d wear a hydration pack. The cups they had were shot glass size and they actually ran out of water as I approached mile 10. At the finish line there was a line to get your medal and another line to get water (the same itty bitty cups and just not enough to go around.) I am not usually one to freak out but I crossed the finish and almost lost it when I realized I had to wait that long to get some water. Thank god Jane saw me and came to my rescue. (It pays to have fast friends who are finished running and can rush to your aid.)

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I think i was smiling because I saw Jane

We’re still not sure if the course was short or that GPS watches/apps couldn’t accurately keep a signal while in on the trails. I noticed that by mile 8 I was about a mile off from what the course said. I finished in 2:47 and noticed one of my splits was 18 minutes whihc is pretty much impossible since I can walk an entire mile in 16 minutes and I never walked an entire mile straight during the run so I’m pretty sure it was just that the GPS wasn’t accurate.

dirty feet

dirty feet

But here’s the good. There were some beautiful parts along the course with lush ferns and sunshine filtering through the leaves. Moments where I was happy to be in my favorite atmosphere. Outside in nature.

The swag

The swag for this race was pretty awesome. There was a magnet, headband, temporary tattoos/stickers and a very nice gender specific finisher’s shirt. Cute medals too!

bling

bling

My favorite style: long sleeve with a v-neck.

My favorite style: long sleeve with a v-neck.

Magnet, headband, sticker, tattoos

Magnet, headband, sticker, tattoos

Jane showing off her blerch "ink"

Jane showing off her blerch “ink”

And the photos are free which is always a nice bonus.

Happy to finish without injury!

Happy to finish without injury!

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Just one more step!

After the race we went for lunch. After my burger and fries I completed my refueling with some apple crisp.

nom nom nom

nom nom nom

When I got home, Mr. SOTSS was just wrapping up with his bathroom reno day and we ended up taking the dogs for a nice long walk and then got pizza to take home. Then it was off to see a movie (Mission Impossible). The theater had the best reclining seats.

movies-nite

Sunday morning after a slow start we took the dogs to our local favorite spot for a short hike.

dogs-hikingYeah, like I hadn’t had enough of tree roots and rocks. The weather was wonderful and the dogs were super happy to frolic.

And because I really wanted to test my legs this weekend we went for a 13 mile bike ride too!

biking

Mr. SOTSS

sally-bikeWe made a pit-stop at Stewarts on the way home for a root beer float.

pit stop!

pit stop!

Whoever invented this combo was a genius

Whoever invented this combo was a genius

The weekend wrapped up with Mr. SOTSS cooking dinner. He’s the best.

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Have you ever run a trail run? Are you conservative on the hills or do you just go for it?

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