PENNSYLVANIA!!! THE BIGGEST...HILLS...TURNS...SWEAT! NUMBER 17!
This was a Sunday race and I haven’t done a Sunday since Cleveland, Ohio (remember the super frozen race). Brian caught a ride into work on Friday so that I could drive down and pick him up and head out from there. Things were going great, I got everything that I wanted to get done, done and left at 3 to head to Brian’s office. This trip normally takes 90 minutes, but traffic was RIDICULOUS and it took me 2 ½ hours to get there. I got there just before 6 and we drove, hitting traffic off and on, but we were in the middle of the 2nd book of the Outlander series, so we were excited to get back to the book!!! We drove for a while with a cooler full of snacks so that we didn’t have to stop for meals and it went fine. Brian got it in his head that we should have Waffle House for dinner and set me on the task of finding a hotel and a Waffle House somewhere in Ohio and we set out to a location just south of Toledo. We checked in to the Economy Inn, it looked a little sketchy, but it turned out to be fine and had our Waffle House dinner and Waffle House breakfast, got some Starbucks and hit the road to Erie on Saturday. We got to Erie just after noon, but the hotel wasn’t ready to check us in so we went on a tour of Lighthouses. We went to one on land that was super cool and super old. It had to be rebuilt 3 times, because it sunk, crazy! Then we got some sandwiches at Jimmy Johns and went out to Presque Isle Peninsula State Park, really a cool place and saw two more lighthouses. We decided it had been long enough without beer so we stopped at a place just outside of the state park for a couple of beers and sat in the sun just relaxing and chitchatting. Before long we decided to go the hotel and check in. Have you ever stayed in the basement of a hotel, it seemed a little goofy at first but the room was large, cheap and very quiet. We dumped our stuff and set out to find something for dinner. There was a Public House that looked interesting, Google Maps got us lost a couple of times but we finally accidentally found it. It had an outdoor bar, but it was in the sun and I couldn’t take it for too long, so we went inside. Though a nice place, the chairs at the bar were so uncomfortable that we had to find a comfy couch area and ordered some totally yummy flatbreads and enjoyed some relaxation. The next morning is race day and I was up at 5am, showered, greased (my feet with Vaseline) and woke up Brian. He had some breakfast, I had a banana and we packed up, checked out and headed to the Behrend College Campus of Penn State in Erie. This was the Biggest Loser Run/Walk, part of the 2014 series of 16 run/walks. It was pretty big; I later discovered that there were over 2000 run/walkers and probably twice that in fans. It was a fun event and the weather was perfect at 61-71 degrees through my 2 hour race. I ate my Larabar at 7:30 and lined up in the coral with the first group at 7:50. They did the national anthem and off I went at 8am to discover that starting from the very first mile of the race that this course was pretty much all uphill and it had a lot of ridiculous winding turns, so no straight away areas to make up time. I would say that the whole race was tough. I got a cramp in my side at mile 2 that went away shortly thereafter but in the whole race I would just catch my breath and there was another ridiculous hairpin turn followed by a hill. Well...no records to set here I decided on mile 8 that I had one goal, no walking, not even one step. I kept that mantra going in my head and whenever I saw someone walking I’d look away so that I wasn’t tempted to join them. So finally there was a downhill, at the end at about 12.5 miles and I ran as hard as I could, hoping to be under 2 hours. My time 1:59:51, 3rd in my 50-54 AG, 84 of 547 runners, 37 of 392 females at a pace of 9:09. HOLY HILLS BATMAN!!! Race 17 in the quest, DONE!