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I know, this was supposed to be Oklahoma. Something is strange about Oklahoma…I have tried to schedule that race three different times, and it just doesn’t seem to workout, something gets in the way. But, the thing that is getting in the way is a party for my sister, Susan’s, LAST chemotherapy for breast cancer on June 22nd. So I had to move my race schedule around a ton to get some races in because I had already had a race scheduled for that weekend. Thus, the shakeup…

Brian and I left for Virginia on Thursday 04/28/2016 and drove to Merrillville, Indiana (a couple of hours from us) just to get a jump on it. We were on the road at 6:30am headed for Waynesboro, Virginia in the Shenandoah Valley, where I was looking forward to running in beautiful rolling hills and cow country. The drive out did not disappoint. It was gorgeous. There are parts of West Virginia and Virginia that are so unbelievably rich in color and texture that they just don’t look real. My niece, Shannon, is a Junior in College about 30 minutes from the race, so she and my sister, Peggy, who lives about 3 hours away, came down for the race. They actually got to the hotel ahead of us, checked in and even grabbed my race packet, which was conveniently located in the lobby of our hotel. We hit traffic and, of all things, road striping through the mountains (why today, West Virginia, why…). We quickly unloaded the truck. Brian and I have done so many of these races that we pack all of the food for the trip in a cooler and only stop for potty breaks, fuel and STARBUCKS! We had a really nice dinner at Panera, hearing about Shannon’s school year and her summer job working at a restaurant in a resort on the Outer Banks of North Carolina (shoot, already did North Carolina). She had this job last year and apparently it was awesome for the wallet and she spent the summer on the beach! After dinner we found the start of the race and headed back to the hotel for rest and relaxation. Peggy had brought a carrot cake (she has a baking friend who has a real gift), to celebrate our birthdays (hers, mine, Brian’s) and our first wedding anniversary. I had a modest piece, so as not to wreck my pre-race stomach, and we all relaxed and I was asleep by 11pm. I was up before 5am, showered and ready to go. They all got up shortly thereafter and we were at the park about 45 minutes before the race. The usual bathroom, bathroom, bathroom stops were had and I was off. I sent Brian an ecrumb and was off running through the countryside of the Shenandoah Valley. For the most part, it was run on country roads with lots of hills and there were lots of farms and cows and bridges over little streams. The race was well-manned and easy to follow the arrows. I saw all the mile markers except for 1 mile. They had many water stops and a station later in the race that gave out gels, but I carry all that stuff with me, so I didn’t stop at all. I had a Larabar 30 minutes before the race, a gel 15 minutes before the race, another gel between 5 and 6 miles and a third get between 8 and 9. As I mentioned before, I use Hammer Nutrition, because they are gluten free and as you are ordering you can have a live chat with someone for questions. At about the half way point in the race, my lower back started hurting again. It ramped up through the remainder of the race and I had to just put up with it and realize that I wasn’t going to break any records. It bums me out to run in pain, because I LOVE running, so much, but the steroid injection that I had had in early April, wore off about 3 days before the race and that was unfortunately that. I gutted it out to the end and ran that last 0.1 in the grass across the finish line. They had good treats after the party and I was happy to be done. After a picture we were back to the hotel for me to get cleaned up and we made a plan to go to Charlottesville for the afternoon. Shannon had been there once before and said it was cool and had a yarn shop that she wanted to stop at. So, off we went. We walked only a short distance and I needed to sit because of back pain, we sat in a microbrewery and had a flight (beer sampling platter). Fun!!! Then off for yarn, Shannon found some super cuddly stuff and then we decided that it was time for some art so we went through a cool studio that reclaimed an old elementary school and the artists are working as you wander through their studios, very interesting. Later we headed back to the yarn

store, Shannon, had passed on a couple that she decided she needed. Brian and I nailed down some outdoor seating at a bistro and they returned to find us relaxing and snacking and we had a great meal and headed back to the hotel for all of us to have another piece of cake, delicious!!! Peggy and Shannon left to go back to Shannon’s school and collect some of her stuff before Peggy headed home. Shannon only has another week of school and she will be home for 1-2 weeks before she heads off to the outer banks. Brian and I had a nap, it was AWESOME!!! Then, we got up and headed out for dinner at the Heritage Pub in Waynesboro, a night cap at Logan’s Roadhouse and to sleep early. We were up and out by 6:30am and home by 6:15pm. The country is big, but it is also small. I finished in 02:03:47, a 9:29 pace, 331 out of 611 runners, 13 of 32 in my AG. Number 30 done!!! 3/5th of the quest is behind me!!! 20 days until Massachusetts.

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