Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Earth Day Marathon!

The Earth Day Marathon was April 17 in BEAUTIFUL Gambier, Ohio.  Despite torrential rain on Saturday, the forecast was pretty good for Sunday.  Temps in the high 30s, low 40s but winds predicted up to 30 mph.  They nailed the forecast and it was good to be mentally prepared for the bashing that strong in-your-face winds can provide.  I managed to figure out from the course map that there would be a headwind for miles 4-8 and then again from miles 19-26.    I had no major goals but to enjoy the day, be friendly, and stay positive.  Mission accomplished with a 4:21 finish which was almost but not quite a personal worst.  The course was absolutely beautiful!  Cows on a grassy green hillside lit up by peaks of sunshine and blue sky - I was in farm girl heaven!

This race had to have the most friendly runners on earth.  I can probably count on one hand the people who did not speak to me as we crossed paths.  The double out and back course was great.   There were 260 folks running the half and 117 running the full marathon.  Being able to see people in both directions was a very very nice distraction.  Even the lead runners had a nice little something to say to me when we passed!

When things got a little rough in the last 7 miles I starting thinking of our church and decided that I could just go ahead and have a little church of  my own.  Pastor Brandon would say,  " I was gettin' my church on!"  I sang a little Newsboys (out loud - no one was around), I said good morning to the cows, and then I gave myself a little sermon:  Just keep going, don't get negative, this will eventually end.  I closed with Amazing Grace.  This past Sunday was Easter and Amazing Grace (David Crowder style) sounded so much better with a worship band and 400 people belting it out! 

I actually passed a few people in that last stretch.  I ended up being the 8th female of 37 AND I WON MY AGE GROUP!   As I approached the finish, I saw Jerry with the dog paw sign.  I saw the girls run towards the track which I hoped meant they were going to do the final 0.2 miles around the track with me.  I was so happy to see them and have them join me for the finish. 

What a happy day!  Here are some pictures Gina and Abby took throughout the day.

Here we are at the start!  I am empowered by the fact that Gina let me borrow her sweatpants!  It already feels like a great day.

About mile 4 and already  happy that I wore shorts and not tights.

Babs and Beans on the train!

Of course, Jerry could not refuse playing on the train either!

Approaching mile 13.  I'll just carry this drink with me!

Mile 20ish.  Jerry FINALLY remembers my chapstick!  Notice the lack of a crowded course?

A curb approaching mile 26??!!  Then a small, steep downhill??!!  Ouch.......

Best.  Feeling.  Ever.

The haul:  Finishers Medal, Finishers Mug, Pine Seedling,  Socks, and a Hat.  Not to mention the tech tee and sunscreen from packet pick-up.  Not bad for a $50 registration fee and four months of running in crappy weather!  I'd do it again......