Friday, March 4, 2011

It's Official: April 16, 2011 - Blue Ridge Half Marathon

It's official. I signed up for the Blue Ridge Half Marathon. Yep, that's the one that goes up Mill Mountain. If you're not super familiar with Roanoke, that's the one with the neon star on top:

This is Andrew and I standing under the star (this is from our engagement session a few years ago. Don't we look tall?)

It's also the same mountain from which you have this amazing view:

You can also check out live views from the Star from the StarCam!)

So yes, we're running up Mill Mountain. Call me crazy, but I'm really excited about this race. Training for this half marathon has also been much better because I've had a wonderful running buddy to talk to through most of my long runs and during some training throughout the week. It's amazing what a difference it makes! And I honestly have to say that I'm loving the challenge of training for this race because I know I'm pushing myself to limits that I've never pushed myself to before (specifically, running up mountains!), and in the process I know I'm making myself stronger.

Here is a little bit more about the half marathon from the race's website:

Runners will start in the heart of the city in front of the magnificent Taubman Museum of Art. The course begins easily with one mile of rolling hills, before taking its first turn upward as runners begin the two-mile climb up Mill Mountain. While full marathoners will continue on to the brutal but beautiful climb up Roanoke Mountain, half marathoners will ascend Mill Mountain to the famous Mill Mountain Star, overlooking the beautiful Roanoke Valley and — much of the course still to be run!

From the Star, runners will encounter a major 2-mile decent down Prospect Avenue – also known as the “old road” to Mill Mountain. Back on the valley floor the final seven miles is rolling with several challenging hills, but no additional significant climbs.

The terrain flattens out for the next 3 miles as you emerge from the neighborhood and make your way along the Roanoke River on a portion of Roanoke’s greenway system. After a few miles on the greenway the course will head toward the finish line. The final two miles return you to downtown where the course takes you past the Virginia Museum of Transportation and back to the Taubman Museum of Art.
And a video from the race's website:

Another exciting thing about this race is that my brother will be doing it, too! But I'm sure he'll finish much faster than we will. Also, the route for the full marathon goes right by my parents' house. I wish we could be standing there to cheer people on, but I guess some encouraging signs will have to do. The full marathon is also "challenging" the Mount Lemmon Marathon in Tucson, AZ, which has 6,000 feet of straight climbing, for the title of "Toughest Road Marathon in the World." Some say that the Blue Ridge Marathon's 7,234 feet of elevation change is worse than just 6,000 feet of elevation gain. Apparently they are going to let the runners decide.

Personally, I'm just excited about being a part of the HALF marathon portion of what could be the World's Toughest Road Marathon.

I'll let you know how it goes!

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