Saturday morning had an early wake up call to head down to Harpers Ferry, WV for the start of Freedom's Run marathon. It was colder than expected and at the last minute I decided to wear pants instead of shorts and picked a long sleeve shirt I hadn't worn for a race before. As we started to assemble for the start, I recognized 'Ama and said a quick hello (she ended up having an awesome first marathon!).
Just as we were off, Jimmy recognized me who was one of the strange men who came up to run the Appalachian Trail portion of JFK. Very early in the race, a little pack of people prepping for JFK 50 formed. I wore no Garmin and had zero goals for the day other than take it very easy and enjoy the day.
After a long downhill, we hit the small cobblestone road before heading across the bridge. One of my favorite parts.
However, notice how wet the bridge is? Did I mention it was cold? At the end right before going down the spiral staircase to hit the C&O canal, it was icy as well. Luckily, I was going very slowly!
And, there it begins - the towpath. I told Jimmy he could put his camera away once we hit the towpath. He could just use the same picture over and over again and say it was a different part.
I should mention that I took about half of these photos and swiped the rest from Facebook. Most of mine were super blurry. I need to improve my photo taking in motion skills. The towpath wasn't so bad but I started some music and had conversation the whole way.
After leaving the towpath, we hit the hills of Antietam Battlefield. I fully admit that I forgot how hilly it was...and I like hills! While going through it, I was thinking to myself that I was pretty impressed I handled this section as well as I did two years ago!
Around mile 17, Jimmy went on his way to pick up his pace a bit while I kept chugging away slowly.
Around mile 18, there's another short out-and-back section. I remember this from last time and it was a time where I got a little more energy seeing a lot of other people out on the course (and even recognized one local runner).
I fully expected I would shed my long sleeves early in the race but I never did. Even when out in the sun through the battlefield the air was still chilly.
I ended up wearing my pack for the race which was the best idea. I didn't use any of the aid stations (except for one orange slice) but drank my very diluted Nuun, ate a Honey Stinger waffle a few chews during the race and took some salt pills and experienced no stomach issues - yay!
I walked a bit more than expected in the last few miles but given how I've felt over the past two weeks and still have the remnants of a cold, I just tried to go with it because my ultimate goal was to feel great afterwards and get back on track with training.
The last 5-ish miles of the race are on the main road heading back into Shepherdstown, WV. Around mile 25, my husband went driving by on his way to meet me at the finish. About a half mile later, running across the bridge, Jimmy had finished his marathon and was finishing up 5 more miles and snapped another picture of me (looking a little more rough here).
I finished the race in 4:27:25. I was happy with the time for taking it easy during the race. After picking up my pint glass from the Bavarian Inn, we were heading back to the car and I ran into Tracy. It was great to talk to her in real life after 'knowing' year for a couple of years now. She is now a marathoner too!!
After I got some food in me, I felt really good after the marathon. I was able to walk all the dogs after getting home, went grocery shopping, made dinner and felt great all day. Today, we had a Miles and Mutts run. I wasn't planning on taking a dog, thinking an energetic, strong dog would be a recipe for disaster. I ran really slowly to start without a dog and the dog my husband has seemed to want to go further so I took her off him and completed easy miles feeling really good. I think I'm back to normal. I'm not sure how running a marathon can make me feel back to myself again, but it seemed to work this weekend!