March 26, 2011 - The Tiadaghton Trail Half Marathon is a relatively new race (second year) that takes place near Lock Haven, PA. This is the first year that I ran it but I was really looking forward to the run; and then it snowed and got cold. The race did not start until 10am, but it was only 21 degrees at the start, according to the thermometer in my car. It was also windy, but at least it was sunny. As it turned out, with the cover of the trees and appropriate garb, it was actually a nice day. There were about 275 runners that braved the conditions.
The snow did make the running challenging at times. Some of the snow was powdery while other times, on top of the ridges, it was crusty and icy (which is the most annoying snow to run in, in my opinion). There was three inches or so on a lot of the trail so it wasn't too deep.
My mantras for this race were run "comfortably hard" and "don't get injured." I've got too many other runs that I want to do this spring that I didn't want to mess something up on this run. At the same time, I wanted to try to be competitive.
At the start, the trail quickly turned uphill and then started crossing streams. My feet were wet within the first two miles, but it could have been worse. The first half of the race was mostly uphill. There were only a few really steep sections, however, so most of it was runnable. Around mile 8 or 9 was the toughest climb of the trail. Although it wasn't terribly technical, it was steep and long.
After the steep climb, there was a more gentle climb to the top of the ridge, and then a long, fast descent that joined the same trail that the race started on. Then came the unique twist of the race, that I believe was just added this year. With less than half a mile to go, the course actually went into the stream for about 40 yards under Route 80. This was a tunnel, with about 6 inches of water in it, and it was impossible to avoid. With the air temperature in the mid 20s, this was a frigid little jaunt that left my feet numb for the final 1/4 mile uphill climb to the finish.
I felt good this day and finished in tenth place in 2:01. I may have been able to push a little harder in some sections but the trail was slick in spots and I stayed injury free, one of my goals. This was a well organized race with great volunteers and well-spaced aid stations. I would definitely recommend it and will probably be doing it again next year.