Friday, the day before race day, it's a "kick-back" day.
I walked down to McDonald's for an egg McMuffin and Latte, ate the McMuffin in the restaurant, and then brought my Latte back to the motel where I sat outside on the pleasant front porch and enjoyed it and enjoyed the morning.
When I was finished, I walked over to the park where the race will be starting on Saturday. The Palmer House Resort where I am staying has extensive acreage that backs up to the park, with a nature trail that cuts through the woods, around a pond and over a little wooden bridge then into the park. I wanted to see how far it was and how long it would take me to walk there the next morning.
When I got to the park, the race organizers were setting up large awnings and tables for the next day. I introduced myself to the first person I saw there working, and soon I was being introduced all around to the organizing staff with whom I'd been corresponding at their Facebook page. It was very nice to meet them in person!
Late Friday afternoon about 4:30 PM I drove over to the restaurant, The Perfect Wife, to pick up my race packet and, what the heck! While I was there, I went inside and had a bowl of turkey barley soup and some garlic bread for an early dinner. I like to keep things light - as in low roughage - the night before a race.
Back at the room, I laid out the things I'd need for race-day morning and then climbed into bed to surf the 'net and then to read.
Race day morning!! I wasn't excited in a nervous sort of way...just eager to get over there and for the race to start. I knew I wouldn't have the pressure of time hanging over me since this is a walker-friendly event, so there was no angst about beating any deadline. Just take my time. I'd already decided that, given the very hilly nature of this course, I would mostly walk it and only run on the downhills.
So when we were all sent off with a "Ready, set, go!" I headed out and found myself in step with two other women. We stayed together until mile 2, when the road started a long uphill stretch. I commented to one of the women that I was dreading these hills and she replied back that this wasn't a hill, just a slight slope in the road. Oh, boy! What have I gotten myself into??
She pulled away as my pace slowed a bit on this long uphill, but I quickly left the other woman behind, so I didn't feel so bad. I just kept moving forward, turning when the road marshal pointed a turn, slowing my pace a bit on the uphills, and then running down the backsides of those hills. I found a pace and rhythm that was working for me.
The weather was just about perfect and the scenery was to die for!! It was gorgeous! We were traversing a road that skirts the base of Mount Equinox, which loomed up immediately to our left. At one point along the way, we had a pretty stream boiling along down below the roadway on our left. Up and down, up and down... and then I got to the really big UP that I'd heard others talking about.
The Hill. It's a gravel road that runs pretty much straight up. I swear it was so steep I could have leaned forward and touched it with my nose. While I'd been mantaining an average pace of about 13:40 according to my Garmin watch, my pace slowed to a nearly 20:00 minute mile pace working my way up this hill. It was about a mile long. My thighs were burning by the time I reached the top where we took an immediate right.
I just kept rocking along until we turned right again, where I knew we'd now be going down that hill on a parallel road. Yippeee! I broke into a run and when I got to the bottom, checked my watch to see that I'd been doing a 9:10 pace. Awesome!!
The route flattened out from here until the last mile and I just kept walking a steady pace. The last approach to the finish line was a 3/4 stretch of pretty steep uphill. I was really struggling at this point to get up that hill. There wasn't much left in my legs. But once into the park, the last 0.2 miles were flat so I didn't embarrass myself too much (I hope) in front of the finish line cameras.
I'm very pleased with how I did in this race, it being one week after another half marathon. My time was excellent for a "walker!"
A really sharp-looking, one-of-a-kind pressed glass medal is now added to my collection I can't wait to hang this one and the Wilkes-Barre medal onto my 50 States-50 Half Marathons medal rack back home.
Some friends from the MTF joined me for lunch at Zoey's Double Hex restaurant afterward. John from Buffalo NY and Rob from the Philly area came up on their motorcycles in the true spirit of typical Long Distance Rider Ride-To-Eats. Pat came over from Nashua but, having checked the weather before leaving, came in his cute Mazda Miata. Thanks to all of you for sharing my celebration!
So now I have 10 states completed in my quest for half marathons in all 50 states. Here's what the map looks like now: