So anyway, it's reasonably priced, $40 until 9/1 and then it's $45; it's within an hour drive of my house with a course that winds through National Parks, and it's on a Saturday. I couldn't have written a better script for myself.
Well, actually free roundtrip air fare to and accommodations in Hawaii would have been a really nice script, but I digress...
Then I happened upon Dorothy Beal's blog Mile Posts, and I noticed that she ran the full marathon last year, and she said it was kinda hard, and the elevation charts weren't exactly accurate, and it was kinda hard. And so I start thinking, "this Dorothy Beal is quite a runner. She's faster than I'll ever be (even in my dreams). And she thinks this is a hard race. Hmmmm, maybe I should take a closer look at this course."
I loaded up my babies, and we headed to the wilds of West Virginia and Maryland so I could see it for myself. The race starts in Sheperdstown, and I'm not sure I've ever been there. Maybe I have. Mom, I have been to Shepherdstown?
I found my way to the university, guessed at where the race will start and started my beloved Garmin (I changed the mode to cycling first) as we headed out of Shepherdstown to Sharpsburg/Antietam. It was kinda cool to drive with it on and check the speed on the speedometer vs. the Garmin (they were darn close).
A lot of the half is run through Antietam battlefield. Now I've been to Antietam many, many times. I've even biked through the battlefields, but I didn't really pay all that much attention to the hills other than to note that there are quite a few and some are even a little steep. Now I was paying close attention, and as I would go up a hill I would say something like 'oh mercy, that's gonna be a tough one.' Pretty soon Hank started saying things like 'poor Momma' and 'wow, this race looks pretty hard....but you can do it!' Uh, thanks baby, I think?
I had to record my findings in two different 'events' because one of the roads through the other side of the battlefield, the insanely hilly part, was closed. The top chart is roughly the first 7 miles, and the bottom chart is roughly miles 9.5ish to 13ish.
I don't know how to make it any bigger - I clicked 'extra large' but that no look extra anything.
Anyhoo, I think this chart is a little hillier than the one the nice race director folks have on their site. It makes me think I need to run a lot more hills, a lot more. My legs hurt thinking about it.
I don't know why there's this huge white space so pretend it's intermission and you could hear music as you scrolled all the way down here.
What's skeery for the folks running the full marathon is that their stint through Antietam is almost exactly the same as the half marathon - but in REVERSE. So that big momma of a hill that I'm going DOWN, they'll be going UP.
One thing that seems so benign when written down is how we half marathoners get from the tow path (blessedly flat) to the bridge that crosses over the Potomac back into Sheperdstown/The Finish Line. The written directions on the course description say, "Exit canal at the Rumsey Bridge via ramp under the bridge." Sounds so simple. Almost easy. Granted at that point in the race a ramp is a heck of a lot easier than steps. BUT the kids and I walked up that ramp today and I have a feeling I'm going to be crying and maybe even crawling my way to the top.
All this whining and nail biting will stop, and I"ll put on my big girl underpants and run this race the best that I can. When it's said and done, this is one race that I'll be very proud I completed.
I'm five weeks out so I still have time to push myself, run more hills and get stronger. And I will!