WEST VIRGINIA  -  Timmy's Challenge
08/28/2011              http://www.timmyschallenge.org/marathon.php
State #7
Finish time:  6:08:34
Always wanting to make any trip a chance to check off
another state, I scheduled in a run on a trip to see
Richard's daughter Jessie.  She lives in Maryland,
there were cheap flights to see her, and just 2.5
hours from her was a marathon in Lewes, DE.  I know,
I know.  Another marathon in the summer, but I
couldn't resist.  Just a couple of days before our flight
out, they started hurricane warnings on the Delaware
coast.  Shoot.  The day before our flight, our
marathon was officially postponed.  Dang it.  Well, we
were really going to see Jessie, so off we went
anyway.  I had checked out alternative marathons, but
the closest one was in West Virginia, 6 hours from
Jessie's house.  I planned to not run a marathon, but
took my running clothes to make sure I got a run in
while we were there.  We were worried we might not
even make our flight because of the weather, but
everything went smoothly and we got to Jessie's
house just fine.

After lots of pouting on Facebook, cussing
hurricanes, and swearing that I could have ran in the
100mph winds, one of my Marathon Maniac friends
posted that she was running the West Virginia
marathon I had had my eye on.  Shoot.  That was all
the motivation I needed.  Especially since the run was
only 45 minutes from my grandparents house in
Marietta, OH., and it only cost $30 (most marathons
want $100+ for a last-minute registration.)  So,
Saturday afternoon I left Richard at Jessie's and
headed out in a rental car to stay with my
grandparents.  Sunday morning I got to the run to find
my Marathon Maniac buddies.  I was sad I hadn't
packed my Maniac shirt, but they were nice enough to
let me in the picture anyway.  

I wasn't expecting much.  I knew there was a bit of an
elevation, and it was August so it was hot and humid,
but I was getting very used to the hot and humid and
hills, so I figured I had a shot.  I started slow.  It was a
very small race, so everyone was way ahead of me,
but I plodded on, increasing my speed as I went.  The
entire marathon was ran on a crushed limestone path
that used to be a train track.  It was nice and secluded
with fun - and stereotypical - West Virginia scenery.  
Pretty early on in the run, we passed a house with chickens and turkeys in the yard, and they
were up on the trail.  I actually caught up to some runners at this point because they had
stopped to take pictures.  They thought it was so cool, I thought it looked a bit like my
backyard.  
The most fun part of the run was going through the tunnel.  It was about at mile 7.  They
handed out flashlights at the aid station before the tunnel.  The tunnel was long, and
curved so you couldn't see one end from the other.  It was VERY dark in there.  Of course,
I had to make "OohhHooOOOOhhoOOHHooh" noises that echoed and made it even
scarier.  (That's not me running into the tunnel.  My friend Diane took these pictures.  
When I finally got to the tunnel, there were no runners in sight.)
I was starting to really pick up speed.  We
were in the downhill part of the run, I was
feeling good, and started putting on some
fast miles.  I had picked up my flashlight at
the aid station at mile 6.  I was expecting
another station at mile 8.  It came and went.
 At mile 9 I saw someone coming back and
asked her how much longer to the aid
station.  She said two more miles.  What?  
Mile 6 to mile 11 with no water?  I was still
feeling good, and still running fast, but that
seriously put the brakes on.  It was a huge
mental blow to know I had to get through
two more hot and humid miles with no water
and that was about it for my run.  I got to
the 11 mile aid station - water but no
Gatorade.  I hadn't planned on running a
marathon at all, so I didn't have any salt
tablets.  This was a problem.  I made it to
the turn around and headed back, trying to
keep a positive attitude.  On the way back,
they had finally gotten an aid station in
between, but it was still about 3 miles
between them.  I got to one aid station just
as an ambulance was pulling away with a
runner who had gotten heat exhaustion.  
Not good.  I walked slowly through the
tunnel on the way back to try to cool down.  
I also was starting to hate the limestone
trail because although it had originally appeared to be a nice easy surface to run on,
many places had grass growing on it.  It's just grass, and it was cut and all, but my feet
were hitting little blades of grass for 26 miles.  I never knew how much resistance there
was in a little blade of grass!  Finally I made it back.  Unhappy about my finish time -
again, but I finished none the less.  I headed to get my medal and got the LAST ONE.  
Some people - granted, not many - but some were out there still finishing.  I felt bad for
those not getting medals.  This race was an organizational disaster.  I heard that 3 people
had been taken by ambulance because of the heat.  Okay, I was done, now for a shower
before hitting the road for the 6 hour drive back to Jessie's house.  This part is almost
funny.  The run was held in a state park, and after a short drive, I arrived at the shower
facilities... up those stairs.  Hot, tired, wore out, I stood in the parking lot at the bottom of
these stairs, looking up at the showers at the top of the stairs, and I'm pretty sure I said
some cuss words. When I finally got back to Jessica Bronson's house, the first part of the
marathon that I told about was these stupid stairs!!

After getting the last finisher's medal at the race, I was very surprised to receive an
age-group award medal in the mail.  I mentioned how small the race was.  Because it was
so small, I took 3rd in my age group.  Sounds impressive, but there were ONLY 3 in my
age group.