On October 2nd, the marathon I'll be running (and hopefully finishing) is Freedom's Run. It's a small marathon, in its second year which goes through four national parks. It starts in Harpers Ferry, WV, then onto C&O Canal, through Antietam Battlefield ending in Shepherdstown, WV. Deciding on this one took a little while but am I really excited about my first marathon choice. It's not going to be easy at all, but that's part of the excitement.
My sister, who seems to be my running enabler, is the one who first planted the seed about signing up for a marathon. In March, we started initial planning for a trip to Utah this fall. In lots of e-mails back and forth, she suggested trying to incorporate a marathon. I immediately nixed the idea. While I had already started to think about possibly trying a marathon at some point, I didn't think incorporating on into the first day of a week long vacation was a good idea. I did agree to do a half marathon on the first day of our vacation though!
We finalized our trip plans and shortly thereafter she asked if I wanted to try the Richmond marathon in November. They had some friends running it and she didn't really think she wanted to do it, but wanted to check with me. It's shortly after we get back from our trip and she didn't really want another weekend away, etc. I agreed. I didn't want another night in a hotel, plus the stress of getting ready for a marathon so soon after our trip.
But, around this time, I was searching and searching for marathons in the area that might work. I realized that if I attempted one before Thanksgiving, I will have completed everything from a 5K to a marathon in a one-year time span. This sounded like a pretty awesome goal to have.
I considered Baltimore, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and Freedom's Run. Ultimately, I decided Freedom's Run sounded like the most unique one. It also had the huge pro of being close enough that I wouldn't have to book a hotel, travel, etc. I told my sister I was having a change of heart and wanted to try a marathon and showed her Freedom's Run. She thought it sounded cool but it was the same weekend as some other race she normally does so she sent me some others to consider. None of them appealed to me so I let her know that I still thought I was going to try Freedom's Run as long as she didn't care if I did it without her. She looked at it some more and agreed that it sounded really cool so she signed up as well.
I know the course is going to be hard. When I was trying to read about it, I found Dorothy at Mile Posts who ran it last year. All of her posts about it made it sound like a very difficult course. When I talked to the owner of the local running store, he seemed shocked that I was going to try it as well and suggested I run some of the course. From what I've gathered, the first half of the course is fine but the second half has lots of lots of hills. I've run a 5K at Antietam Battlefield to get an idea of the hills. I also generally know the area of the 2nd half so I feel like I'm preparing the best I can for it.
A couple of weekends ago, I went to Shepherdstown for the grand opening of Two Rivers Treads, which is a new store opened by the guys who created Freedom's Run. I got to quickly (the place was packed since it was the grand opening) meet the race director. It was nice just to get a general feeling of where everything was and eased a few of my nerves about the race. Can't wait for October to get here!!!!