Hey y’all! I had a ‘wild & wonderful’ time down in West Virginia! It was great to see Maria and Matt again and I’m glad that I will again in 3 weeks. I hate being so far away from most of my best friends.
Time for a little race recap.
I flew into Charleston on Friday afternoon where Matt picked me up and we made the ride back to Williamson. Once we got back and after saying my hello’s to Maria and her kitties, we headed over to the expo for bib pickup and a pasta dinner. We got our bibs and walked around for bit. I love expos because they mark the start of a marathon weekend for me which is when it gets really real. It’s fun to walk around to the different vendors but it’s usually hard for me to not purchase anything. After stopping at all the tables, we went to the pasta dinner to load up on some carbs before the big day. There were these homemade rolls that were absolutely delicious! I got to see some friends that I met last year as well as meet some new people. After the expo, we went home to watch some of the World Cup game and prepare for the next day.
Everything was ready to go for when our alarms went off in the morning so we went to bed. After a pretty good night sleep, it was time to get up and I was definitely nervous. I always have a hard time eating on race morning but I ate bagel with jelly as Matt drove us to the the start which is actually right over the boarder of Kentucky. It was already pretty hot so we knew we were in for a ‘fun‘ day.
At the sound of a shotgun we were off! For the first 6 miles we were feeling pretty good as we chugged along. We finally were at the foot of Blackberry Mountain and I was not looking forward to it at all but we made it over and the mental block was gone. It was such a relief to see the water station at the top of the mountain.
This race has an awesome water station competition. Every water station was stocked with cold water & gatorade, cups of ice, fruits, sponges, and a bunch of other things. It really was a game changer. I filled my camelback with ice and water at every other one. I can’t imagine what the race would have been like if these stops weren’t as amazing as they were.Some of the aid stations even dressed up in costumes and one even had a little piggy that they let me hold!
It was all downhill from the top of Blackberry Mountain, literally. It was nice to cruise to the bottom but the heat was starting to get to me. We made it to the halfway point where Matt met us to start his first half marathon! I was so excited for him. However, at that point I needed to take a walk for a bit so I left them. Slowly but surely I made my way to around Mile 16 or 17 but that was when it pretty much all over for me. From that point on, it was a steady walking pace. I tried to do walk/run intervals but my body was not listening to me. Man, that heat was brutal. I knew it was going to be but I didn’t realize that it was going to be that tough. I was literally having a hard time breathing from the humidity.
This bridge was crazy! It was swinging and you could see through the boards.
I did befriend some people along the way who were having the same struggles as me. I stayed with a woman for about the last 8 miles and I’m not sure what I would have done without her. She ran into a friend (pun intended) who she had met in another marathon but hadn’t seen in a while. He was a quest to run his 100th marathon and this was it!! It was pretty awesome to be running with someone with that many under their belt. He told me that I needed to run Big Sur in California. Eventually we met another man who had his 100th marathon planned for September. Just truly incredible. I also met a woman who was on the 4TH ROUND of the 5o States Club!!!! I was blown away.
Eventually, the finish line was in sight. I forced myself to run because I just could not wait for it to be done. What a relief once it was over. That was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done but I’m just glad that I powered through. I would have been extremely disappointed in myself if I didn’t because I wouldn’t have been able to check WV off the list and I wouldn’t be able to join Marathon Maniacs.
Overall, it was a beautiful course even though there were some good hills and the heat was killer. The aid stations were top notch. The finisher medal and mason jar were perfect. Shout out to all the people who put the race together. The community was very welcoming and truly wanted us to all be there. If you’re looking for a challenging race to run in West Virginia, this one is it!
I hated saying goodbye but it’s comforting to know I will see them again soon for what could possibly be the best weekend of the whole summer. It was nice to sleep in my own bed once I got home. My body is hurting and I’m absolutely exhausted today but that comes with the territory. Time to go stretch & foam roll some more!