So last fall after two enjoyable marathons at Marshal and Indianapolis, I cooked up a half brained idea for 2012 that included 7 marathons in an 8 month time span. The reasoning (if you can call it that) was that I would like to complete the 50 states challenge of running a marathon in each state by the time I turn 40. In order to do that I figured I could quickly ramp up and have 10 states under my belt and then do a much more "realistic" 4 marathons a year for 10 years. Fast forward to last weekend and you found mom and I running in 85 degree heat in the hills of Kentucky/West Virginia at the Hatfield McCoy marathon. Three weeks earlier I had an awesome marathon experience in Vermont. It was hilly, it was hot, and it was my slowest marathon time yet, but I loved almost every minute of it! Vermont had beautiful scenery and some of the most positive people I have seen on a marathon course in a good while. Running you got to see scenes like this:
|Yes we did run that hill in the background|
I knew going into this race that it was definitely hillier than pancake flat Champaign Urbana and a few days before the run I took a peak at the elevation profile and may have peed my pants a little bit.
Coming off of Vermont I had three weeks to once again recover and prepare myself for the next one in Kentucky. This time around mom was going to be joining me for the half and so we headed down to feudin' country to tackle the hills of Eastern Kentucky at Hatfield Mccoy. We knew once again that this was a hilly course, but I didn't compare the elevation change to Vermont until after the race when I was surprised to find that this one was actually hillier - I think willful ignorance is a good racing strategy don't you?
|Boy would we feel that Blackberry Mountain around mile 6|
|Yup - this plus about 10 more buildings was the whole town|
|This gives you an idea of how close our building was to the tracks|
Mom had a great half marathon and we managed to keep our pace for the first half within a few minutes of Illinois - impressive given we had to go over Blackberry mountain during those miles. Coming into Matewan you could feel the heat start to rise and mom was glad to give me a high five and a wave as she crossed her finish line and went on to stretch, cool down, and hitch a ride back to the finish line.
Leaving the half-marathoners I always get a little surge as I feel like its at this point that the marathon really "starts." Unfortunately it was also at this point that the road conditions quickly started to deteriorate and I was soon running on dirt ATV trails with mega gravel chunks punishing the bottom of my feet. I could tell I was developing a blister from the combination of crappy socks and crappy roads, but just kept pushing through the pain. Along the way I met some great "50 staters" and Marathon Maniacs (of which I am now one!!!) and had some good conversations about their favorite races, racing tips, and everything else marathon related. However, I was very happy to see these two gentlemen at the finish line and take off my shoes (CAUTION - ugly blister photo follows).
|Good Ol' Devil Anse Hatfield and Randal McCoy high-fived every runner at the finish line|
|No I do not have six toes - that is my blister|