Freedom’s Run Marathon
October 5, 2019
Temp: mid-40s to mid 60s
What I wore:hat, tank top, a Skirt Sports Cascade Skirt, compression socks, and Altra Kayenta
I ran this race as a training run for the Marine Corps Marathon 50k. I was warned ahead of time that the second half was crazy hilly, but I wasn’t worried because I had zero time goals. Spoiler: I should have been worried.
I decided to “sleep” in my own bed the night before, so I got up super early and made the drive out to Harpers Ferry. I got there in record time and picked up my bib and shirt. I then hung out in my car – right next to the start line! I literally put my “throw away” sweatshirt back in my car as the gun went off.
The first part of the course was a loop near the Harpers Ferry Visitor Center. This was an uneven grass and gravel path. I was not a fan and managed to tweak my right hamstring. Then we headed over a bridge and down to the C&O Canal path.
The next 10 miles were on the path. Unlike some parts of the C&O, this entire path was soft packed dirt. It was an easy path to run on and I made it to mile 10 before I started adding in the occasional walk interval. While it was a pleasant run, I was happy to be getting off of it at Mile 15. I will admit that I lived to regret that sentiment.
As soon as we left the path, there was a wicked steep downhill for a few yards and then… a mile (or so it seemed) of uphill. Why, yes, I did walk every.single.step of that uphill. And that was just the beginning of the hills. O.M.G.
The hills for the next 10 miles were pretty much neverending. You were either going up or going down. And they were all steep. I gave up any pretense of planning my walk and just walked all of the uphills. Meanwhile, I was totally doing marathon math.
“If I keep every mile under 20 minutes, I can finish before the cut off”, may have gone through my head more than once. Finally, we had just one more little hill (seriously, the hills never stopped) and then headed into the finish at the stadium. I was so glad to finally cross that finish line.
- It’s not far from DC and the start is super low key.
- Lots of porta potties at the start and a fair number throughout the race.
- The volunteers were awesome.
- The course was really pretty with water on one side for much of it and then the battlefield for another.
- The medal is totally unique.
- I had a minor issue with the shoe on my left foot. I need to figure out a better way to tie it.
- It was really sunny in the battlefield, so I got a minor sunburn.
- The shuttle back to the start was way less frequent than every 30 minutes.
- The hills. I would have been devastated by how hard the last part was if I wasn’t using this for a training run.
Would I run this race again?
Not the marathon. The half marathon is all the hills, but at least that is only 13.1 LOL. It was well organized and I like Shepherdstown, so I’d definitely do it again if we could make a weekend of it.
And with that, it’s taper time. I hope to run a decent amount during taper, but life is pretty crazy right now. Running keeps having to take a back seat to life. Oh well, that’s just the stage of life I am in right now.