Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Parkersburg Half Marathon is Done!

There's good and there's bad about a race that starts a little later in the morning.  The good, of course, is not having to wake up so darned early - as in o'dark thirty early.  The bad is that a later start means a later - and therefore warmer - finish under a sun that's well up in the sky.

The race starts at 8 AM, so I was up at 6 to give myself time to eat and digest breakfast and then get ready.  Cheerios, a banana, check my email and the forums, and then start to get ready. 
Start line

Local bank encouraging the runners
The start line is just a block over and a block down from the hotel so I didn't need to walk out of the hotel until 7:50 AM.  The national anthem was played by a live band at 7:55 and then we were sent off by a gunshot at 8:00 AM. 

While waiting at the start line I struck up a conversation with a young woman who was wearing her Half Fanatics t-shirt.  It's a great conversation starter, both for those who have never heard of the organization and for those of us who are also members.  After the race was over, I logged into my Half Fanatics account to enter my race results, and took this opportunity to look her up.  Turns out she's also doing the 50 States!!  This race was her 22nd, and was my 25th!

The first two miles of the route took us through downtown streets and through the beautiful and very historic Julia-Ann Square Historic District.  We finished this little loop and then headed out over the river across a steep uphill bridge and ramp.  From here we ran through some semi-rural countryside for the next 9 miles.  It was rolling hills, nothing too steep, just nice reciprocating gentle ups and downs.

Course elevation

Race route

We ran back across the river and into town, through a different portion of the historic district, up a very steep but thankfully short hill, and then onto Market Street and down to the finish line.  The streets were lined with cheering spectators waiting for the parade to start but giving us great encouragement as we neared the finish line.
Finish line.  Street permanently painted to mark the spot!

I collected my icy-wet towel (wonderful!!) and my medal, grabbed a mini-bagel and a sports drink and then walked the short 3 blocks back to the hotel.  Great race!  My time wasn't one of my best, but it was still a very enjoyable and very-well organized and supported race!

2013 finisher's medal

I slowly worked my way toward the shower and got cleaned up to return to the finish line for the pizza party at the St. Xavier Center and then afterward, around the corner to an historic theater for the awards ceremonies.  Such a cool thing to do!  Give folks a chance to clean up, eat, and then hold the ceremony in a comfortable venue where we could sit while waiting to hear the awards.

On my way to the pizza party, I paused to take in the Homecoming Festival parade.  Small town parades are so much fun!  Little Misses and Queens of this and that, representing every nearby town or county, high school marching bands, junior drill teams and little league teams, karate clubs, fire trucks...so much fun not only the parade but the excitement of the little spectators as well!

I met a young couple at the pizza party and we sat together at the awards ceremony, held at the old, but nicely restored Smoot Theater.  He thought he might have come in 3rd place in his age group.  I knew that he had to be a very good runner because, at his age, that would be a very large field to compete against.  Sure enough, when they worked their way up to the 35-39 male runner age group, he came in 3rd.  

Historic Smoot Theater - runners waiting for it to open
for the awards ceremony
As awards were given, folks would leave, either because they'd collected their trophy or because they didn't "place."   By the time they got to my age group, which was next to last, only a handful of runners remained.  In my mind, the older runners deserve the applause just for showing up and finishing the race, never mind earning a trophy.  Maybe one of these races, they'll reverse the order of awards age-groups.

So, female runners, 65-69, third-place goes to:  ME!!

My 3rd place trophy!
I was thrilled!!  As I stepped down off the stage, the older couple who sat with me at the spaghetti dinner the night before were sitting down near the front and they waved their arms and clapped loudly for me.  He wasn't sure how he'd done but he would soon find out as they began announcing the male runners, 65-69.  Unfortunately he did not place in his age group.

I was elated as I walked back to the hotel!  I stopped in the hotel lounge and ordered a glass of sparkling wine to celebrate!

Hunger is usually hit-or-miss for me after running a race, and this was one of those times where I was just craving junk food, nothing healthy.  At the farmer's market the day before, I bought some designer cupcakes, so stayed in my room and ate three of them for dinner!

Another state done...another medal to add to my collection.  West Virginia is now colored in on my "50 States-50 Half Marathons" map:

Coming up next:  Turning Stone Half Marathon in up-state New York.


  1. Congratulations on your 3rd place finish and another great story to go with it!!!

  2. Great job!! Not only on the third place finish but for being half way to your 50 state goal.

    Congratulations. You Rock!!