|Heading out of downtown - already ‘steamy’|
|Elevation Chart (Note Spikes and Drops Throughout)|
|Start with back and forth into Kentucky then Northeast and back along river|
So, I got exactly what I wanted. I held a 8:50 +/- 12 seconds for the first 16 miles, even pushed a couple of 8:30’s near the halfway point, and felt like on a flat course with a cool day, I was in 3:45 shape. However, I took my 16, pulled back to 10 and 11 minute miles the rest of the way, stayed in control, taste-tested several other interesting offerings, enjoyed the view and ran -- with a smile -- through the finish for a 4:24 time and state number 17 in the record books.
Then it was through the runner’s feeding pen, quickly back to the hotel, shower, and hit the road for home. An easy drive, although not exactly the optimal way to spend post-race recovery time (I’m paying for it even as I type). But I’ve learned that sometimes, check that, many times, you do what you have to do. I would gladly drive 8 hours to participate in a marathon, to catch up with old friends along the way (so good to see the Rogers and Knoths), and to enjoy new friends in the company of other runners, volunteers, and spectators. Besides, without this drive, how else would I confirm that West Virginia is still the only place I know that you are guaranteed a radio station playlist that includes John Denver, Charley Pride, James Taylor, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the Statler Brothers, in that order! Awesome.
|It’s either the ‘Walken’ sign or more bacon!|
Hope to see you out there somewhere. I’ll have a post soon of what’s next and I’d love to have you join the journey. A journey full of community, encouragement, discipline, kindness, unity, and perseverance. A journey in which I have experienced the same spirit across seventeen states, one that is unfortunately unlike most ‘places’ in our lives. Where competition is with yourself, and the most random of strangers are in it together. If we could just bottle that up .....
'Hustling' down Pete Rose Way, considering a head-first slide at the finish :) The smile this time was a reminder that crossing the line never gets old (maybe painful on occasion, but it never gets old).