Tomorrow morning is the fifth running of the Blue Ridge Marathon. I will be running the half marathon for the third year in a row. As always, I am really excited about this race. Don’t get me wrong, it’s incredibly challenging. But the views are amazing, and Roanoke is a great town to run through.
The total elevation change has actually increased each year since the inaugural event in 2010. This year they added an extra mountain (Peakwood) to the half marathon course at miles 8-10, because one mountain just wasn’t enough. Anyone who has run the full marathon is already familiar with Peakwood, as the full marathon course has always included it around the mile 17-20 mark. This year’s addition of it to the half marathon course brings us to a nice even 1,897 feet of total elevation gain, and a total of 3,790 feet in elevation change for the half.
Funny story: Barry is signed up to run the full marathon at Blue Ridge this year. When they announced that Peakwood would be included in the half course for 2014, he said the only reason he signed up for the full was to get to run Peakwood. I guess the jokes on him! Instead, he will be conquering three mountains tomorrow morning (Roanoke Mountain, Mill Mountain, and then Peakwood). But I know he’ll feel so accomplished when he crosses that finish line. Plus it’s going to be the most gorgeous marathon he’s ever run.
Each year, I try and come up with a strategy for how I will handle the elevation gain. But I always end up doing the same thing: running until I can’t anymore, and then alternating run/walk until I get to the top of Mill Mountain around mile 3.5. I have no strategy this year. I do have a goal, though.
Despite the addition of another mountain, I am hoping to PR (personal record) again on this course. Now when I say PR, I don’t mean I intend to run a best half marathon time because that just doesn’t happen on this course. Unless you’re Barry, who I believe PR’ed on this course either last year or in 2012. Crazy! What I mean is I want to run a course PR.
The first year I ran Blue Ridge, I crashed and burned. But the second year, despite an increase in elevation gain, I bettered my time by 22 minutes. I am hoping to better that time again this year, but plan B is to not run slower than I did the first year, ha! A little while back, I made some ‘homemade’ motivational pictures and shared them here. One of those was inspired by Blue Ridge (and the picture comes from the climb up Mill Mountain):
That will be tomorrow’s race mantra: It’s never a question of can you, but will you?
Do you make specific A, B, and C goals for a race?
When you’re gearing up for a race on a challenging course, do you make a game plan?
Who else is racing this weekend?
Note: The two course elevation profiles and the race logo are all from the Blue Ridge Marathon website.