On May 23rd I ran my 20th Half Marathon – The Path of the Flood Half Marathon in Johnstown, PA. The Path of the Flood races were held last year to commemorate the 125th anniversary of a flood in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. The races were a success so they brought them back this year for the 2nd year! There was a 5k, 10k and half marathon. I live about 90 minutes from Johnstown so the day of the race my dad and I drove there and picked up our bibs and shirts.
The races were point-to-point, so you parked at the finish and then they shuttled us up to the half marathon start. The race follows mostly the Path of the Flood Trail that goes along the path of the flood. It is mostly crushed gravel. I knew that this race was going to be the smallest I have run – there were only 200 runners doing the half. So I fully expected to pretty much be alone while I ran.
The race started right on time, and it honestly was a bit chilly for May. So I wore my arm sleeves with a tank top and skirt, assuming I could pull off the sleeves as needed. The overall course was a net downhill which was awesome, and you could definitely feel like you were going on a slight decline for the majority of the time. I stuck to me 3/1 run/walk intervals, and like in previous races I planned to walk up any longer hills to preserve my energy.
The first mile or so goes through a neighborhood, which includes a huge hill, and then connects with the Path of the Flood trail.
The trail was gorgeous and the weather ended up being perfect. I never took off my arm sleeves but it was a little bit sunny and had a ton of shade so I never felt over heated. Especially for it being the end of May!
It was also pretty easy to stay on the course, despite being alone, since it was a trail! I felt really good and ran quickly on my run intervals and allowed myself to recover on the walks. I kept my watch on the interval view so I wouldn’t get caught up in paces and just flipped it over to see my overall time when I’d pass large milestones – 5k, 10k, etc. About 10k in I was feeling great. I hit the 10k mark in 1:17:00 I started to do the math in my head and knew that if I kept this pace up I could totally PR this thing.
Around mile 8 we went through the Staple Bend Tunnel which was a new experience!(source)
That tunnel was a bit DARK. But I focused on the light at the other end of it and slowed my pace a little and just kept going. It was really neat to run through it.
Shortly after the tunnel there were some pretty steep and rocky uphills that I had to trudge up and take my time coming down on the other side. My pace suffered a little here but I knew I could still edge out a PR.
Around mile 11ish (I think) I came to the end of the trail and saw the race photographers.
I was still feeling really good. And major kudos to this race for offering the photos for free!
The last few miles of the course went through Johnstown, and honestly there were a few times when I was unsure that I was going the correct way. There were volunteers at major turns but not all of them. So I did second guess myself a bit between water stops and volunteers. I did provide this feedback to the race organizers, so hopefully this will get fixed in the future.
I kept doing my intervals and checking my watch. I knew a PR was a definite at this point, it was just a matter of how much I’d PR by. :)
I saw my dad about quarter mile from the finish and told him I knew I was going to PR by at least 5 minutes!
I crossed the finish and saw the best sight on my garmin…
OT was 2:50:50!! (There was no timing mat at the start which is why I think my watch is a slight bit off.)
That is a PR of 5:36!!!! I was so happy to finish my 20th half and it was even better to get to celebrate it with a PR! My dad PRed too, so it was a good day all around.
Overall, this was a great race, and I had a great time running it! It was awesome to find a close by race that explored an area I have never run in before! We will be back next year if they continue to do it!