West Virginia has a couple of marathons to choose from. I had my eye on the Freedoms Marathon but due to scheduling I decided to try the Morgantown Marathon instead. They had their first running of the race last year and the reviews were pretty good. They decided to redo the course so course maps were not up when I signed up. That was unfortunate. They said it was hilly, but I figured how bad can it be? I’ve done some really hilly courses: Big Sur, Atlanta, Knoxville, and New Hampshire. I was wrong, oh so very wrong.
We got in to Morgantown Friday night and went to Morgantown Brewing Company for dinner and had some beer. We then hit up Apothecary Ale House and that was a fun place with a good beer list. We finished up at Applebee’s because where else would we end up? As we were driving around, it was dark, but that didn’t stop me from realizing that there were a ton of hills and they were long and steep. I was pretty sure I was going to die. Our Uber driver even agreed with me.
After the expo we headed downtown for lunch and of course one more brewery (actually two: Mountain State and Chestnut). Again we were now driving around in the daytime and I could really see the hills and I was even more certain I would die. We had my traditional pasta dinner at Puglioni's and I tried to go to bed early.
I also had my bib rip around the halfway point and was trying to repair that so I didn’t lose it. Also I itched my back at one point and this caused my bra to come unclipped. This was not the back part but the part that slides in at the shoulder blade. This is pretty much impossible to fix while you are wearing it. I was panicked. I kept trying to fix it and couldn’t get it. There was a cop car up ahead and I was going to ask him if I could sit in the back of his car and try and fix it. Thankfully by some miracle I was finally able to get it back together. At this point it was just comical.
Dave was doing a great job of following me and was being very supportive. I was going so slow. Towards the end they had popsicles and I was so happy. I had an 18 minute mile while I was enjoying that popsicle! Good thing because I needed to save whatever energy I had left to walk up the last ridiculous hill. I finally made it to the top and actually ran it in to the finish. I was so happy to be done, but I now only had 45 minutes to get back to the hotel and shower and checkout. I chugged half a beer and jumped in the car. The medal was nice and the volunteers for this race were really great, except for the one at mile 18 who said “Only 8 miles to go”, UGH, that is far! If you want a super challenging race with tons of hills then this is for you. This is now going to the top of my least favorite marathon list, beating out the Indiana indoor track one. Super tough and I’m glad it’s over. And as they say, “Yes it’s hilly!!”
I flew to Pittsburgh a few days early for work reasons. I had to drop off my work rental car an hour before Holly was supposed to land and pick up our new car. Of course her flight was delayed due to mechanical reasons. She wiggled herself onto another flight, but it would be a few hours later than planned. So to kill time I found the nearest brewery. Insurrection Aleworks was in a non-descript building in a working-class suburb. Inside the restaurant was nicely decorated and the food coming out of the wood oven smelled great. I had time to have two great sour beers and some tasty chicken wings. Eventually we made it to Morgantown and decompressed in a few local establishments.
Race day navigation was hard. Most of the race occurred on back roads or neighborhoods. Almost every branch of law enforcement or national guard were out blocking roads. The early portion of the race bottlenecked a whole neighborhood for at least an hour because the half course repeated back onto itself while marathoners ran a different route. In some sections I passed Holly a few times but there were no turnoffs. The town traffic circle was closed so I had to go way out of my way to get back on course. Good thing we did this the day before getting to the expo and I had landmarks: notably the airport and the strip club.
We left Morgantown as quickly as possible. We figured out that we had enough time to get to The Church Brew Works - one of my must-see breweries. It's housed in a church built in the early 1900's that was closed in 1993. The food and beer were good as usual (not much changed since Wednesday).