For those living under a rock, deployed Loopster THE Col Cupcake as a sign floating around all over the country to different races. The last time I had the sign it spent the whole time in my car and I was determined to do a better job this time around.
The drive to no where, WV was interesting. My GPS lost signal and no one gas station had a map…so it took me a little too long to get to packet pickup/pre-race meal at the local high school. The views were incredible…though I was a bit nervous knowing I’d be climbing those hills the next day
Since the area lacks enough hotel space, churches and fire stations put up cots and air mattresses for people. The community here really loves the marathon and it shows. Luckily, some maniacs were kind enough to let me put up a cot in their hotel room and I got to see how people even crazier than me prep for a race.
They even packed breakfast…..and everything you’d need for breakfast!
We made it to the start in plenty of time, but still managed to miss the picture.
I tried to get pre-race pics with all my favorite maniacs. Since Col Cannon is a Maniac, everyone loved him!
There was no mat at the start, but this race feels more like a trail ultra than a road marathon. The temps were in the high 50s and I was thankful for the cool temps but it was muggy. I was sweaty right away and I couldn’t decide if I wanted the sun to come out to burn off some of the humidity or if I wanted it to stay cloudy.
The first 8 miles are a steady uphill. Hill meaning a West Virginia mountain. The climb actually wasnt bad. I passed the time talking to various maniacs, taking pics, having a good time.
During this section we passed the site of Randall McCoy’s house…where the Hatfields did a raid that killed two of Randall’s children. I’m a bit of a history geek, so I found all of the sites really interesting.
As the climb got steeper and steeper, we started to hear a loud horn. It sounded like a steamboat and you could hear it for about a mile. My maniac companions and I started to speculate what it could be. I couldn’t stop smiling when I finally saw what it was (I might have also been smiling because I was at the top!)…this made my day. And I hope it made Col Cannon’s day as well!
I might have taken the downhill way too fast, but it was fun! Who cares if I have to pay for it later? Turns out, future Jen would care a lot but whatever. Flat Stanley LOVED it. Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
There were a few more historically significant sites along the way to the Half, but the pics weren’t very interesting so I’ll spare you. We did pass a Civil War reenactment that was being filmed by the History Channel. They even fired the cannon, which scared the bejesus out of me. Obviously it was a salute to Col Cannon, huh?
I crossed the half around 2:30. My plan was to come in right under 5 hours…even though I def wasn’t concerned about time because I had always planned on doing this for fun. But with this elevation chart, a negative split looks stupid easy.
Well, This chart is a dirty liar. The rollers that look all dinky because the scale is in 300 ft increments were way harder than the beast. Not only that but temps climbed and the sun came out. Only the sun didn’t burn off any of the humidity. Boooooooooooooooo, Sun….I gave you ONE job! Seriously.
By Mile 20 the temps were cresting 80 and I decided I’d just walk it in. I know the heat was nothing compared to what the Colonel was experiencing in Kuwait, but running (or attempting to) and being miserable didn’t seem worth it. I made a few friends who were also trying not to melt and we chatted in the way only runners who do June marathons in the mountains can chat. The race had no time limit so what was the rush?
Flat Stanley and I slugged across the finish line in 5:31:39. Far cry from what I thought, almost an hour slower than usual, but I was happy. At least Flat Stanley is guaranteed a PR at his next marathon.
As you can see from the finish pic, Flat Stanley melted a little himself (sorry Col) but it was fun dragging him along for 26.2 miles. Thanks Col Cannon for all that you do. I know it’s hard missing all the fun over here, so I hope seeing the maniac love on top of the loop love gave you a smile. Maybe if you do this race next year they’ll have a sign for your sign!!