Monday, June 10, 2013

Why we do this?????

Those of you, who are not runners, may wonder why we do this to ouselves?  We pay money to run these races, where at times, we run with cramps in our feet and calves, aching knees, nausea...we keep running even though we feel like walking (which I do), but even when I do walk, I will myself back to running even though it hurts.  I really don't know how to answer the question of why we do it.  For one thing, the comaraderie is awesome.  I have met such wonderful people and made, I hope, lifelong friends.  Before I started running the longer distances it was a pretty solitary activity.  I mean it still is solitary when I do my runs, but not at the races, and I get such support from my running community.  I believe some of it may be the competition, even though I know I am not going to win one of these races I compete against myself I guess.  There are so many times during these races that I really want to stop, get on one of the vehicles that roam these races and tell them take me back, I am done!  But I just can't make myself do it!  As long as I can propel myself forward, I just cannot DNF, Did not Finish.  I feel I would be disappointing not only to
 myself, but my friends and family, even though I know, in my heart, that they would not think any less of me if this happened, but my head just won't let me do it...I just keep going.  Maybe it is because I always thought my Dad was disappointed in me as a kid, (don't mean to go deep here), but sometimes I wonder why I do it myself and it hard to figure out or explain.

Who knew that when I first took that first step out the door with running shoes over 30 years ago, that I would still be at it and running half marathons!  It certainly is character building!  I still haven't really explained why we do it.  I would be curious of what other runners think.

By the way, I won 1st in my age group, for the first time in a half this weekend, which is probably why I am feeling emotional.  It's a great feeling.


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Hatfield/McCoy Half Marathon....WV and Kentucky

First of all, this was an amazing Half Marathon!

Left for the Hatfield/McCoy about 7:30 Friday morning.  Driving by myself, so for the first time I used a GPS that my daughter let me borrow.  Loved it!  Would literally have been lost without it, even with the directions I had printed from GoogleMaps.  Driving from northern Ohio to Kentucky.  Once I got south of Columbus it was a beautiful drive.  Not that the beginning of the drive isn't nice, but I am used to that one.  I have lived in Northern Ohio so long now that I almost forgot what mountains are like.  The scenery was breathtaking once I was in Kentucky, the roads are carved right out of the mountains and they are just right there.  So green, everything so green, beautiful drive.  There was nothing for miles and miles and then all of a sudden, just stuck there was a tiny store, looked like a mobile home almost, with a big sign Haircuts and Barber!  It was just so odd.  The more I drove the steeper the climb was, gave my little Rav4 quite a workout!  Arrived in Pikeville, Ky about 3:30 in the afternoon.  The worst part of the drive was locating the dang Hotel, had to call Marjorie, who I was rooming with...ends up I was only about 1/2 a block away, I totally missed it.  Hampton Inn, great Hotel, beautiful room.  Rested for about an hour and then joined the rest of our little group in the lobby and headed off to the pasta dinner.  Guess we had to drive about 1/2 hour.  Good food and company and then moved to an aud.  itorium where they had the author, Dean King, speaking about his book "The Feud, the Hatfields & McCoys, the True Story.  Very interesting and then there was a brief skit, which was a dialogue between an Hatfield and a McCoy...very good.

Headed back to the Hotel for an early night.

Arose about 5:00 a.m.  The marathon started at 7 and the 2nd Half Marathon, which is the one I was doing, started at 8.  Went downstairs and had a complimentary breakfast, the Hotel started their buffet at 4:30 just for the runners, thank you Hampton Inn!  Those that were running the marathon left around 5:30.  My friend, Cindy and I left around 6:30 for our half, thinking we had plenty of time, it was about a 40 min. drive, WRONG...first of all the ramp to the highway we were supposed to take was closed for whatever reason.  Had to take a little detour to get back on and then we missed the first turn, had to double back, so by this time the marathon runners were on the same highway!  Not good.  Finally we are clear of runners and decide to take a shortcut!  Another bad idea, we ran into the runners again and this time there was no escape!  We had to follow a police car at about 5 miles an hour, runners on the right, cars on the left on a 2 lane road, with cars coming from the opposite direction also!  We did get to see a lot of scenery though, going that slow, the world's smallest horst, the Hatfield homestead.  We also passed our friends, already running the marathon!  Needless to say, we missed our Half Marathon start by almost an hour.  As there was not time limit for the race, we just jumped in where we were supposed to start, which was the 1/2 way point for the marathoners, so the start was still up and running, so we were going to be timed.  I started out way too fast for me and I knew I was going too fast and I just couldn't control myself.  It was mostly downhill at the start through the small town of Matewan WV, lovely , you could see peoples flower and vegtable gardens right at the road, everything was just so green, so pretty..  The first 5 miles, I would say was rolling hills, small hills, seemed to be more down than up at this point, so I was cruisin, some of the marathoners were showing up behind and passing me at this point.  Everyone saying good job, as I suspect they thought I was running the marathon, they didn't know I had just started.  I did start to slow some and then had to slow a lot as we came to about a 2 mile area that was all mud.  Not deep mud, but very sticky and slippery mud.  As I am not used to this at all, I had to walk some as I did not want to do a fanny plant in the mud.  I don't know exactly what mile I was at, but afterwards we came to a golf course to run through which contained a swinging bridge.  It was a little disconcerting, as it made me a bit dizzy, cause as the runners ahead ran over it, it swayed and you could see through the slats to the water below, it was different though.  There were some steep hills at this point, not long hills, but steep.  After the golf course we were running through the woods again, I know I sound like a broken record, but it was so beautiful, vegatation right to the edge of the road....I noticed wild roses, which I didn't even know existed, looked like grape vines too, no gaps, just green , green, green and gorgeous valleys and bridges and water falls and just mountains no matter where you looked.  We heard roosters crowing and turkeys gobbling , I saw chipmonks running back into the woods in front of me.  A few homes, but not many.  At one point there was a beautiful colt , just beautiful and there were 3 men passing me at the time, one of the men said "man, that is a beautiful dog"  Just cracked me up, I laughed for quite a while thinking of that comment, we all did around him.  A lot of hills now and I was getting really tired and my back, right between my shoulder blades was killing me.  I admit, I walked a lot after this.  One of my friends who was doing the marathon came up behind me and stayed with me up one the steeper inclines, not sure I would have made it without her.  Thanks Tessa!!!  She ran on and I kept plodding alone.

The last 3 miles were very hard for me.  I really could not wait to see that finish line, it seemed like it would never come, but once I was in sight of the finish, I just could not walk, so I did run down the chute, which was kind of long.  BUT  my friends were there yelling my name and cheering me on, so that helped a lot!  I think my time was 3:08, which isn't my worst, but I hate finishing over 3 hours.  Oh well , with all the hills, that isn't bad for me.  I never train on hills.  There were a Hatfield and McCoy standing at the finish line who high-fived you as soon as you crossed, which was cool and then they handed you an ICED towel!  It felt heavenly, as it was pretty warm at this point.  Oh and they had watermelon, which also hit the spot.  I felt okay, but just could not eat anything, except the watermelon, they didn't have chocolate milk, so I just drank something and sat down for a little while with my friends, got up and walked a little.  We had to catch a shuttle bus to take us back to the car.  Got on the bus, and not 5 minutes later I thought I was going to be sick.  I just sat there with my head down, holding the towel to my face, but I got worse and worse, broke out in a cold sweat, I was just waiting for the leg cramps to begin, but they didn't and I started feeling better, thank goodness.  However, in the meantime, my friend was getting motion sickness, so now she was sick!  Believe me it wasn't fun , in small school bus, going around very steep curves and up and down mountains when you are not feeling well.  That was some long ride!  We were so thankful when we got off that bus!  Unfortunately we had to get back in the car and drive 40 minutes to the Hotel, around all those curves and hills...oh my, neither one of us felt well.  Couldn't wait to lie down back in the room.

This was a wonderful race though.  You have got to go down and run it if you can.  I will go back, long drive, motion sickness and all!