I'm staying at the amazing Rose Hill Bed & Breakfast in Roanoke, VA. The owner, Wendy, was so kind to serve fruit, muffins and tea/coffee at 5:30 a.m., earlier than the normal breakfast schedule, to accomodate the guests that were running the race. The B&B has three guest rooms, all of which are occupied by runners: me, a newlywed couple (wife is running the half), and another charming couple (wife is running the half).
The descent was steep. I ran as fast as I felt I could safely; I could imagine tripping and rolling down the mountain. I passed an Asian man running barefoot and carrying flip flops in his hands. Wow! My feet hurt in shoes... I can't imagine... Another woman and I passed each other back and forth. I passed her on downhills, she passed me on uphills. Ultimately, I finished before her.
Now I'm at 16 miles. This marathon is kicking my butt, but I'm loving every minute of it!!! The rest of the course meandered through neighborhoods, greenway, parks, Hwy 220, etc. The worst stretch for me was along Hwy 220. I was tired, the road was busy, and there weren't many volunteers/spectators/other runners here. I was tired of going up hill. Then I focused again on mini-goals: run to the next fire hydrant, mailbox, cone, etc. At about mile 18 the fun had worn off. Why did I sign up for this??? I'm never going to run another marathon again!!! I can't do another hill... I recognized this as a mental low, ate a Clif Shot block and focused on one foot in front of the other. Before I'd overcome this mental funk, a volunteer said: "just past that speed limit sign is a downhill." I can't remember what I said, but he must have sensed that I wasn't at the top of my game. He said he would walk with me to it. We chatted about random things and after we made it to the speed limit sign, I started running downhill in a happier mood. THANK YOU, MR. AWESOME VOLUNTEER!!!