Another 2013 Goal: Done!
Wheeling Travel Blog› entry 28 of 35 › view all entries
In January I decided that I wanted to race in four new states that I had not previously competed. This didn't sound like an overly-ambitious goal since I already knew I would be racing in FL and CA for the first time and WV wasn't that far away. A few weeks later I checked off the Florida half marathon and then South Carolina followed in June. California's half marathon in early September put me up to three states but then my training and recovery for my marathon took me out of any other races for seven weeks. I started looking ahead and realized that most of my Saturday mornings between now and the end of the year were already taken. Spotting a race down in the Wheeling for this weekend, I reluctanty set my alarm for earlier than during the work week and promised myself that I would get up.
Saturday morning found me not happy about the alarm but pulling on running capris and my orange long-sleeve Run Club shirt. Peanut butter toast sandwich for breakfast in my bag and I was out the door for an 1 1/2 hour long drive. The full moon peeked through dark clouds as I started the drive. Eventually the sky would lighten but fog from the river would keep a hazy blanket over the area until I was almost to my destination. It made for some cool scenery :)
I did not have an actual address for the race registration spot, but I was able to find Centreville Fitness by watching for other running-looking people. I hung out at the third floor gym until closer to the race. Then I quickly put my stuff in my car and followed the crowd for a 5-10 minute walk/jog to the start area.
I was definitely crowded at the start of the race but I just stepped into the grass next to the path and got around the crowd. I let myself settle into what felt good and was pleased when we reached the one mile mark and I was running under an 8-minute mile. Then we turned sharply to the right and there was the HILL. I should have known it was coming; Wheeling is a river city and in this area river city = hills. I guess I was just in denial. The hill went up for 1/2-3/4 of a mile but I just dug and focused on going up. It wasn't that bad in the end. Then we went downhill which was great for my lungs although I had to be cautious with my legs. The high school boys thumped past me on this stretch; I would catch most of them in the last mile when the route flattened out on a cinder-like road and cut through a long parking lot. I could see the hospital ahead of me and knew I was close to the end. My body responded with a kick which was a great feeling. As I reached the last tenth mile, I could make out the finish clock and could see that I wasn't going to be under 24 minutes. I still ran hard but I didn't push any extra. I would be the fourth female overall and first in my ten-year age group.
After crossing the finish line, I retrieved my jacket from my car and then headed back up to the gym for the food. They had a very nice spread with fruit, bagels, vegetables, and pizza. I chatted with a woman named Amy until awards when we both got medals.