Sunday, June 30, 2013

Hatfield and McCoy - Race Day...Finally

I know I have fallen off of the earth..I've been super busy with the end of school and my friend Becky's last days in Virginia..but I'm back.

Hatfield & long ago but what a great day of running!  We ended up getting up super early.  I was worried about the bus we were to catch from the finish to the start.  A local guy told us that he would be there by 5:30 to be safe.  Yikes!  We stayed thirty minutes away so that would put us leaving our hotel at 5 am.  The race started at 7 am.  but you know I do not like to stress before the race.  I would rather stand around and have time to use the portapotty than feel like I am going to miss the start.   We were shooting for leaving the hotel at 5:15.  We headed down to the lobby for breakfast.  They had some yummy cinnamon rolls.  I stuck to a bagel, banana and a coke.   I was so impressed that they put coke in their frig just for me!  How did they know that I love some coke when I run.  It was a pretty nice spread for 5 in the morning.

We drove to the finish through the mountains of KY/WV.  Even at 5:30 am. you could tell how beautiful this area of the country is.  I was looking forward to running.  It was going to Becky's first half marathon.  I told her that I like to start off slow and that if she wanted to run with me she could, but if she wanted to go ahead she could too.  She was a bit nervous that we would be the last ones running since the race was so small.  I knew we would not be last.  Although if we were that would be fine too..I really just wanted to enjoy the day.  We parked at the finish and hopped on a bus to head to the local grocery store to start our race.  I forgot to put on sunscreen (when the sun really isn't up you forget about sunscreen).  I did remember my handheld water bottle though.  So I was happy with that.  Turned out there was no wait for the bus to the start.  We hopped on and off we went.  We arrived at the start with lots of time to spare.  I was hoping that the day would be nice and cloudy and cool.  I hate running in heat.  And really the temps around VA were not that hot and humid yet so I wasn't really used to running in humidity.  Turned out to be a beautiful day for a run!

Before the start of the race

We got to the start pretty early.  Which really works for me because I always need to use the portapotty before a run.  Lucky for me I got to visit the portapotty twice :)  No random stopping during the race for this girl.  We saw lots of Marathon Maniacs at the start (and really throughout the race)  It was sort of like a reunion for Maniacs!  

The gun blasted and we were off and running.  Becky and I stuck together for the entire race.  I told her if she needed to go faster she could.  Megan was off running the full.  Both the full and the half share the first 13.1 miles.  We headed down the road and started talking to these three guys.  Two of the guys were running their first full marathon.  Not sure if I would pick the marathon with Blackberry Mountain as my first..nor a marathon in June, but to each his own I guess.  We chatted a bit and we were off.  Turns out we would run in to those guys a couple of times throughout the day.  Glad to say they all finished and had smiles on their faces.  

Becky now was ok with the fact that we were not going to be the last runners.  I guess she figured that we had to beat the people who basically started off walking. :)  Since there was no time limit I knew that there would be people of every level running/walking.  Becky and I just chatted and ran.  I was starting to dread the mountain.  I was glad we drove the course the night before so I could at least know when we were going to see the mountain.  After every turn Becky was convinced that we would see the elementary school from the night before.  Turns out that we took a different road and missed the elementary school.  So it was entertaining trying to figure out where that school was when we were running.  We saw some very nice country side and some nice people.  Here is the girl that was celebrating her birthday!  I love birthday runners!

The day was a bit overcast during our part of the run.  You couldn't ask for a better running day for June.  I was pretty worried about the weather prior to the race.  Becky and I were just plugging away at our run.  I knew it wasn't going to be a PR for me, because of Blackberry Mountain, and I really didn't run a bunch prior to race day.  I did run a half marathon a few weeks before, but nothing great.  I was just looking forward to enjoying a great run.  We turned and started to head up Blackberry Mountain. I had already told Becky that I was planning on walking up the damn thing.  So if she wanted to run go ahead.  She was fine with the walking.  I hate mountains!  I hated walking up that stupid mountain.  I might have uttered some swear words under my breath.  I will say that this race had plenty of water stops.  All of the local people at each stop were super nice! This truly was the nicest race experience I have ever had!  Everyone was so friendly!  They also posted signs along the road to welcome back runners that have previously ran the race.  I loved it!  I want my name on a sign!

We are heading up the mountain and I am a bit freaked out because the road is not closed to cars.  There are small school buses coming up the mountain.  A runner beside us tells us that they do tours on these buses on the weekends.  Cars were pulling over in front of runners on the right side and then waiting for oncoming traffic and then passing runners on the left.  For someone that has been hit by a car, not my idea of a fun time.  Although I will say I really had no car incidents all day (which is always good)  Some of the people in front of me, I was a bit frightened for...but maybe they were not frightened at all..who knows.  We get up to the top of the mountain and we hear this sound.  I told the girl beside me that it sounded like a vuvuzela from the world cup games...
She agreed with me.  So when we got to the top of the mountain here is what we saw...

So I of course turned to my new friend and said like I said it sounds like a truck horn. :)  Yeah that's how I roll!  I also had the most yummy watermelon at the top of that mountain!  Oh it was so yummy and sweet!  Watermelon could be my new favorite running food!  Too bad I couldn't put some in my pocket to take with me on a long run.

Well what goes up must go down, so I decided that since it was down hill (or rather mountain) we should take advantage of that and just go with it.  As we were running down we passed a older man with his fifty states shirt on (he actually ran fifty states twice)  Well since we were near each other I decided to ask him about his favorite race.  He chatted with us for a while and then we were off.  Turns out it was a small race outside of Yellowstone.  He also was certain that if a bear were to show up he just needed to pass one of us..yeah he was a character. I love chatting up random runners.

I also love running with random small horses on the course.  We were told about the worlds smallest horse may be here again, but lo and behold it was three of the smallest horses.  We were excited to see the horses and kept on going.  We knew that around mile 12 we would also see some goats.  I was looking forward to this because it would be close to the end and I don't normally run past goats.  I also find it odd that I am looking forward to the goats because I hate goats.  One tried to eat me when I was five years old and I have not really liked a goat since.  But for some reason I forgot about the fact that I had a near death experience with a goat and was looking forward to seeing the crazy goats at mile 12.

Towards the end of the half we made another new friend.  He was walking down a bit of an hill and I was like you can't walk down a hill..use the force!!  Yeah sometimes you just have to channel a bit of star wars on your runs.  He ran with us for a bit.  towards the end I was struggling a bit.  I just wanted to walk.  But Becky wouldn't let me walk so the last 50 yards I sprinted to the end.  She was not too happy with me.  You've got to finish strong :)  Becky did a great job on her first half and I may be a bit in love with Hatfield and McCoy!  The best race I have ran so far!  We we were done we grabbed some water and more watermelon and walked around a bit.

The History Channel was there filming something..there were reenactors  walking around.  I found it a bit odd that they were filming and a bunch of sweaty runners were walking around...not to mention the random game of corn hole.  Yeah nothing says civil war like some good old fashion corn hole.

Since the half was a different finish than the full we had to catch a bus to the finish.  We took a small school bus.  Talk about windy roads!  I do not get car sick, but I was a bit car sick from this ride.  We did see some of the marathoners running, which was fun.  I just kept leaning over with my head between my legs for most of the ride.  Towards the end another girl was feeling like she was going to be sick too.  I never thought I was going to be sick, but I did keep my head down just to make sure. She kept talking about being sick.  When the bus stopped we were trying to get her to get off the bus. I didn't need anyone throwing up on my running shoes!  She didn't get out.  It wasn't like the town was the big, we were not that far from the finish..I would have gotten out if I was as bad as she claimed to be.

After the bus ride we were walking around town and did some people watching.  Megan was thinking she would be done around  11:30 I believe, so no sense leaving the finish line.  And really I don't think Becky or I wanted to do a bunch of walking after our run.  We headed over for a free bbq.  Talk about yummy!

It was a very yummy post race lunch!  We decided to head over to the finish area after we got our picture with some pigs.

I think Becky just liked the fact that this pig had a beard!

We headed over to the finish line to watch the people finish.  We also to take some peoples pictures with Hatfield and McCoy as they finished.

 We got our own pictures taken with the guys too!  While were were watching for Megan we met up with a random stray dog..
He was super friendly.  I am sure he was a fed some yummy food from a bunch of strangers too.  We met up with Charli at the finish.  She was waiting for some friends too.

Next came Megan smiling as she crossed the finish line.  We were a bit worried about her because the sun was shining and everyone was saying how brutal the full was with the sun on the back half.

 Great race by all!

Megan looked much better than I would look with the heat and running 26.2.  It was such an amazing time in West Virginia/Kentucky!  I now have ran and can cross off the state of West Virginia.

Before we left the finish area, Megan had some yummy bbq.

Becky and I ran into our friends that were running their first full.  They made it!  Such a great day! Before we left, Becky who just loves pigs..made a new friend...
Becky was in heaven!  She just loves pigs!

We headed back to our hotel and got a shower and took a little nap.  Great day for a race!


Kim said...

Sounds like an incredible race!
I loved reading your recap - so many neat things happened during the race! Cool that y'all met so many other runners while running!!

From Ice Cream to Marathon said...

Congrats on a great race! That's awesome that you and Becky stayed together the whole way too. I live in KY, I may run that one next year!

Anonymous said...

It was a great race!