Because one mountain just wasn’t enough

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.

2013 Blue Ridge Half Marathon Mill Mountain

View from the top of Mill Mountain during last year’s race

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.

2014 Blue Ridge Half Marathon course elevation profile

This year’s elevation profile.

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.

2014 Blue Ridge Marathon course elevation profile

Full marathon elevation for this year.

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.

2013 Blue Ridge Half Marathon Mill Mountain

View of Mill Mountain from town, during mile 1.

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.

2014 Blue Ridge Marathon Logo

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):

Running motivation

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.

3 Comments

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  1. Love this post! I’m excited! Don’t underestimate Peakwood. That is my advice 🙂
    My goal for this race is to have fun. Unattained time goals have been making me cranky.
    Good luck to you and Barry.
    Maybe we’ll see you there!
    Jo recently posted…Seen on the run (April 24, 2014)My Profile

    1. Glad I got to see you out on the course! I can’t wait to read your full race recap. Thanks for the Peakwood advice. That climb was intense!

  2. Hey just an idea you could probably drive your car up and get the same view. LOL! I hope you have a great race! I don’t think your strategy of “run as far as you can” is all bad.
    jan recently posted…Treadmill Watching: Movies or Shows?My Profile

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