|PENNSYLVANIA-God's Country Marathon
Between marathon one and marathon two of my
2014 run schedule, I went out for a little three mile
run. No big deal... but I somehow pulled / strained /
sprained / tore / etc??? the peroneal muscle on my
left leg. I ran the three miles on a very cambered
road and I suspect that, along with still being stiff
from Sunday's marathon, is what did it.
No problem. I've ran marathons injured before. But
dang, this hurts. Friday night we rolled into Galeton
late to set up camp. The two girls who checked us
into the campground warned us about the black bear
who comes every night to get in the dumpster.
Great. Then the campground maintenance guy
came around picking up trash (which was all over the
camp from the bear getting into the dumpster every
night), and he also warned us of the bear who
comes every night. Then another camper came by
to tell us. Okay... no sleep for me tonight.
Falling asleep was tough since every little noise
made me jump, but once asleep, I was out until our
early morning. As we were packing for this big trip,
Richard kept trying to get me to pack warm clothes.
"It's summer there!" I kept saying. Shivering while
waiting for the coffee to be ready, let's just say he
was right. When we got to the start line, I decided
that this Hawaii girl had probably overdone it with the
heat training because I was COLD! I had listened to
Richard just a bit, so I had my gloves and my
earband, and we had stopped at a thrift store on our
way to the campground and bought a throw-away
sweatshirt. I looked like a goof all bundled up. No
one else was! How are they not all freezing?
I found a maniac for a pre-race photo, and we were
The marathon goes through the town of Galeton for a bit, then back out past the campground where I knew Richard would be waiting. I thought I
would ditch my sweatshirt there, but nope, still cold. He was all excited when I got there. He had been looking toward oncoming runners, watching
for me, when he heard a runner who had just ran past him shout, "Did you see that bear?!" Richard turned around, and two runners were heading
to the side of the road to look down into the campground, and guess who's camping spot they were looking at... that's right. OURS! Richard was
hoping the tent and the car (where we had kept all the food to try to keep the bear away) was still in one piece. I left him to check for damages, and
continued on. The kind ladies at the aid station around mile 9 offered to take my sweatshirt for me. I had it off at this point, but had just taken it off
and could see more shaded road ahead. I told them I would hang onto it for a bit longer. She said something along the lines of "it's only going to
get warmer" and shook her head at me like I was crazy. I shivered back into it about a quarter mile later, but finally dropped it around mile 13. I still
had my long-sleeve tech shirt on though...
Here is the description of the marathon from their website: The God's Country Marathon course begins at the Galeton High School at 1,300 feet
above sea level. After touring historic Galeton first heading east for a dog leg at Nob Hill Motel then back west toward Coudersport, runners enter
the majestic Susquehannock State Forest. Just past the 15 mile mark, you wind up over Denton Hill peaking at 2,424 feet above sea level. After the
decline and a few rolling hills, its all downhill into Coudersport, the county seat of Potter County. The finish line is at the historic Potter County
Courthouse Square. Sounds fun right. Here is what was on the brochure I got at packet pick-up that morning: 'Named one of the "ten toughest
marathons" in America by Runner's World Magazine.' What?! That would have been useful information when I was signing up. Oh, who am I
kidding? I would have signed up anyway. Of course, now I've got to try to find the list and see how many I've done...
The further into the run I got, the farther I was from any other runners. We started with an out and back portion, so I knew there were two behind
me, but they were so far behind I couldn't see them. I also couldn't see anyone in front of me. I passed someone around mile 14, she was fun to
chase for a mile or so, but then there were three behind me, far behind me, and no one else to chase. I was getting frustrated. It's not like I was
going at an incredibly slow pace. I was averaging 12:00 or 12:30 miles which, in a normal marathon, would have me in among at least a small group
of runners. This was more like a training run than a marathon. All by myself. The only folks I was seeing were the volunteers.
Also, we were running on the cambered shoulder of an open highway. It wasn't even that sloped, an uninjured person may not have even noticed.
But I did. The more I ran, the more my leg hurt. The more my leg hurt, the more stressed I became about tomorrow's marathon at Lake Placid. The
God's Country marathon has no posted time-limit. I can hobble to the finish and take as long as I need to, no problem. Lake Placid's run has a 6
hour limit, which I was already seriously concerned about -- before I injured myself! I was letting tomorrow's run ruin today's run! Of course, that
made me mad too. The worse I got mentally, the slower I went, which made me even crankier. This run was going downhill fast... except I was
heading uphill slowly...
Richard was back at the campground, eating breakfast, cleaning up any bear damage, and packing the car. I had originally not expected him to
catch up with me until about mile 20, but as I got slower and crankier, I kept expecting to see him at any mile. Just as I was about to the top of the
hill, here he came. He crested the hill and waited for me there. Probably a wise choice. I'm that little speck in that picture (with no other runners.)
Richard dutifully walked with me for a ways and listened to me bitch about
the terrible time I was having. He told me there had been no bear damage,
and reminded me that I didn't have to run tomorrow's marathon. He walked
with me to the next aid station, where Smokey the Bear hooked me up with
some pretzels. The black bear would have stolen the pretzels. I like
I'm not sure if it was the pretzels, or seeing Richard, or a big old
Smokey bear hug, or, most likely, heading downhill, but things started
to pick up again. My leg still hurt like hell, and I noticed that it felt better
when running instead of walking. So... no more walking for me.
I stressed for several miles since I didn't see Richard go by. He had only walked about a quarter mile with me, and should have been able to get
back to the car and pass me again within that first mile. Three miles later, I still hadn't seen him. Worrying about all the silly trouble he could be into
(locked out of the car, run over, attacked by a bear) at least kept my mind off my leg hurting. I also thought the pretzels had been a big pick-me up,
but they hadn't had them again at any of the aid stations. When Richard finally showed up, (under no distress of course, he had just been chatting
with the folks at the last aid station...) I sent him back to get some from pretzels from Smokey. Smokey was out, so Richard stopped at a gas station
and hooked me up. He met me a few more times and pretzeled me, and I was passing folks again and feeling strong. So strong that Richard was
still flirting with ladies at the last aid station when I crossed the finish line. (Okay, okay, he was parking the car, but he would have been there to see
me finish if he hadn't been flirting... ) I showered, jumped in the car, and we headed out for the six and a half hour drive to Lake Placid. We stopped
along the way for ice packs and an ace bandage and I did my best to ice, compress and elevate, hoping for a miraculous cure overnight.
Sadly, when I went to do laundry, I discovered that in our rush to get to Lake Placid, my plastic sack of stinky running clothes disappeared. This
made me realize just how expensive this hobby is. In clothing alone (my shoes, hydration belt, and garmin were saved since they were in a different
bag) I figure I lost $225 worth of garments. I've come up with the theory that Smokey needed a shirt. If you see a bear in Pennsylvania wearing a
"Run Aloha" shirt and a "Marathon Maniac" hat, please tell him I want them back!