This past weekend, I headed up to Roanoke, VA, to run in the mountains for the Blue Ridge Marathon.
While the trip was a blur (flight up Friday afternoon, race Saturday morning, fly home Saturday evening), I think I might have developed a little crush on the city of Roanoke and really want to head back for a longer visit soon. If you’ve never been in that part of the country, I can’t encourage you enough to go for a visit.
The race was advertised as the “Toughest Road Marathon in America”, and while I haven’t run every road race in the country (yet!) I can’t imagine finding one that is more difficult than this one.
I knew before the race started that the hills (let’s be honest, mountains) were going to be a challenge. I mean, living in Florida means we run on flat ground only. Sure, we have a couple of “hills”, and we can always run the overpasses, but we basically only run on flat surfaces.
And the only surfaces we didn’t run in Roanoke were flat.
The race started out with a bit of a climb. And by a bit, I mean 7 miles. Straight up.
Getting to the top of the first 7 mile climb was nice. Coolest thing, bagpiper at the top.
Coming down the mountain provided a much needed break. I used to think that going down hills was harder than going up them, but that perspective changed long ago. I was flying down the hill, and I kept hearing people complain about the down hills.
I actually had to be reminded to slow down.
That first 7 mile climb was the biggest hill we ran, but it was far from the last. We kept going up and down for the entire race, which sucked, but there were some awesome views and gorgeous neighborhoods that we got to experience.
And since the hills never stopped coming, there was no shame and stopping or walking on occasion. No matter what the signs say.
Not a PR, But Still a Great Race
Going into the race, I knew that a new PR was out of the question. My A goal for the race was to be sub-4:30. A more realistic goal was to be sub-5:00, and I crossed the finish line at 4:52:10.
Not too shabby.
In Race Commentary
Looking back on the race, I’m really glad I took the trip north and ran the race. I got to meet some of my cool twitter friends in person, and knocked another state off of the list.
But during the race, I wasn’t quite as excited about what was going on. Check it out for yourself.
Did You Run the Blue Ridge Marathon This Year? How Did You Do?
If You Didn’t Run It, What Do You Think About Running a Marathon in the Mountains?