My little June running series continued this weekend with the Berry Dairy Days Half Marathon in Burlington. The race kicks off the annual Burlington town festival, and concludes with a finish on the parade route in downtown Burlington, with spectators lining the street.
Berry Dairy Days includes a 2 miler, a 10k, and a recently added 1/2 marathon. The 1/2 marathon starts a half-hour before the 10k, with an early start option also available. The course takes country roads to the east of Burlington, running by berry fields and cow pastures, and ultimately after a turnaround or two, goes out on the Skagit River dike, with an nice five mile or so out and back.
The Skagit River dike trail is beautiful, but presents a bit of a challenge, because you can see w-a-y ahead of you, which got into my head a little bit. Also, at some points, the gravel slowed me down, though usually I was able to find a bit of hard pack. The course offers a mix of road, dirt road/gravel, and even a bit of single track. All flat, with some great long views of the Skagit Valley and Skagit River.
A+ weather for the day, with the sun shining enough to make me thing about sunscreen. In Washington?? I typically ran a mile, then walked a bit, staying steady, on my way to a 2:12 finish. I know this is not fast, but I'm pleased. I couldn't even run a couple months ago, and now I've managed to keep a 10 minute pace for a half. I think I would be a bit faster if I could better manage my breathing and stomach. I feel like I'm relearning pacing and distance. Pleasures of running--I'll keep at it.
Breakfast afterwards at the wonderful Burlington Cafe, with a parade of John Deere tractors, Mariachi bands, and rodeo queens passing by outside. Good stuff. Nice to see so many folks coming out to the parade, race and festival. The small businesses of Burlington can use a little help now with the bridge down.