Training run on the Blue Ridge Marathon course

IMG_20140222_111618_331Our plan was to run (roughly) the first 15 miles of the marathon course. We did two similar runs before the race last year.

Even though it was just a training run, I had been pretty nervous about it for a few days. It’s a tough run, and although I’d been running up O Hill here in Charlottesville as part of my training, I hadn’t done any climbing comparable to what we were about to tackle.

This shows two trips up O Hill:

O HillOur training run today:

roanoke mountain runI wish my Garmin showed all runs on the same scale, it would be easier to see the difference.


Miles 1-5:

When we started, I was wearing two layers on top, a hat, gloves and shorts. I took my hat off 3 minutes into the run. Just after mile one, I took off my long sleeve shirt and gloves. As I was stuffing them into my hydration pack, I realized that I’d forgotten my body glide. I was also having trouble with the bite valve on my hydration pack. I had to close it after every sip, or it would leak all over me. It’s really hard to get the stupid thing closed while I’m running, so this was a minor annoyance I had to deal with for the rest of the run.

I was kind of tired when we started climbing, and didn’t feel much like talking. I still wasn’t sure how the run was going to go. I tried not to think about the long climb ahead.

As we neared the Blue Ridge Parkway, I started to feel better. The sky was bright blue and we could actually feel the warmth from the sun.

The overlook turnout just before the Blue Ridge Parkway was snow-covered and we wondered if the road up Roanoke Mountain would be clear enough to run on.

Miles 6-9:

The road was surprisingly clear of snow. It almost seemed as though it had been plowed.

Pretty much as soon as we started climbing up Roanoke Mountain, I knew I was going to be able to finish the run. I was feeling better than I had early on in the run.

We stopped at the Mill Mountain overlook and took a picture of the Mill Mountain Star, where we would be in another four or five miles.

IMG_20140222_100513_412IMG_20140222_100540_647At this point, we were still pretty far from the top of Roanoke mountain, and it was hard to get going again after we’d stopped.

When we reached the top, we stopped again for more pictures and some fuel. I’ve been using unsweetened and unsulfered dried fruit (apricots and mango for this run) instead of Gu lately.

IMG_20140222_101451_121IMG_20140222_101657_632Then it was time for some very-welcomed (by me, anyway) down hill running.

IMG_20140222_102219_581The road down is on the shady side of the mountain, so there were a few snow-covered sections.

IMG_20140222_102342_628Miles 10-16:

I continued to feel good until we started the climb back up Mill Mountain. My legs were getting tired and my upper arm was starting to chafe. I made Kurt stop so I could put my long sleeve shirt back on. I was quite warm and didn’t want to, but I had no body glide and didn’t want to end up with a bloody arm.

It was tough going for a while, but I just put my head down and kept shuffling forward. There was a lot of traffic on the road up to the Mill Mountain star and all the cars started to annoy me.

Finally, we made it to the star.

IMG_20140222_111618_331IMG_20140222_111708_181I was happy at this point because all of the tough climbing was behind us.

As we headed down the mountain I realized that it was actually nice that so many people were outside enjoying the beautiful weekend day on the mountain. I forgave them for driving by me in their cars to get there.

Kurt and I were both pretty exhausted (and hungry!) when we got back to the car, but my Garmin said we’d run 15.35 miles. We ran around the park to make it an even 16 miles.

We cleaned up and headed to the best Chipotle on the planet.

IMG_20140222_122905_213We’ve only been to the Chipotle in Roanoke after running up Roanoke Mountain, so our food always tastes insanely good. It was so good today that I wondered if it actually is better than any other Chipotle. One day we’ll have to go when we haven’t just finished a long, hard run and solve that mystery.

Author: healthyincville

Nemophilist Trail runner Introvert Animal-loving vegetarian * My ideal city would be car-free. I love my cats.

11 thoughts on “Training run on the Blue Ridge Marathon course”

  1. I ran Blue Ridge last year, and am signed up again this year. I am a blogger for the marathon. I have had some hamstring issues lately, so not sure if I will get to the race this year, but I wish you all the best. That course is surely a beast!

  2. Awesome training run! I’ve run the Blue Ridge Half twice, but I never go and run on the course beforehand. Maybe that would help?? The climb up Mill Mountain is tough (I’ve never experienced Roanoke Mountain), but what actually gets me every time is coming down the mountain. For some reason it makes me nauseous every time and it takes me 4 or 5 miles to get over it afterward.

    Did you see where the added Peakwood to the half marathon course? Tell me: What am I in for??

  3. I definitely need to do a training run on the course for 2016’s race. Richmond is not close but I have a rep who calls on that area – I can always sneak in a run during a work trip.

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