As per usual, I at the last minute decided to register for an appealing running event, this time the Holly Springs Half Marathon taking place on November 19, 2022, in the eponymous city of North Carolina, primarily thanks to its proximity to my residence. I, nevertheless, having done research on the course, understood I likely would not have an ideal finish time given its relentless hills that accumulated to 640 feet of elevation gain according to my COROS, much of it on a trail, although a 31-degree start added to my confidence.
For the first half of the race, even with the rolling hills I remained on pace to comfortably finish around 1:56, then at the midpoint in a nearly two-mile trail portion, I encountered two lengthy steep climbs, the second of which significantly sapped my energy and my speed never fully returned following. On a course like this, running the whole way without a walking break could be considered a win in itself, but I could not help but become dispirited with my mile pace plummeting tens of seconds just after these back-to-back trail climbs. Five miles to go, with continuing hills yet not as daunting due to their being on concrete and no longer on a soggy trail, I tried not to look at my watch in order not to demoralize myself further. Crossing the finish line in 2:02:09.1, I did not dwell on my less-than-ideal finish time but instead felt grateful to my Father for another fun race morning, half marathon #51, and this awesome metaphor-for-life hobby.