One of my favorite people Colleen Cannon (check out her retreats with Women’s Quest by the way because they are phenomenal) once told me, “I never have a bad training day because there is always cake.” I remember those words when I’m struggling during a workout or even during a race. Because truth be told any day I get to move and run and laugh is a good day regardless of the weather or my pace or even pesky things like my bank account.
But there are some places which are just special. Here are a few:
Hatfield-McCoy Marathon: The course crosses between West Virginia and Kentucky and, as you can guess by the name, passes by some of the famous (or is it infamous) sites in the Hatfield-McCoy feud. The town of Williamson, W.Va., was an amazing host. The people were welcoming. They wanted you to succeed. Never have I heard volunteers so proudly proclaim, “We keep the water stops opened and stocked until the very last runner goes by.” It is hilly as all giddy-up and hot, too. But I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed 26.2 miles more than I did here.
Detroit International Half Marathon: This how the story starts — I was in Alaska on an adventure outing, hiking glaciers and whatnot, when I started talking about the training I was doing for a half marathon. Nora said, “Have done Detroit? It’s in October. Come and stay with me and do it.” And just like that a stranger became a good friend and I got to run an amazing race. The route takes you over the Ambassador Bridge into Canada where you run a few miles then return to the U.S. through the tunnel. Seriously that was cool. While the run was fun, so too the company. Nora opened her home and showed off her city, which gets an unfair bad rep. New place. New friend. That’s what I love about running.
Kentucky Derby Festival Half Marathon: I love the Kentucky Derby. There’s something about the southern tradition which I find fascinating. Also when I was in college I loved the Gin Blossoms and the horse “Go For Gin” won the Derby my senior year. So there’s that. Anyway, this race had me intrigued and I convinced a friend to do it with me. I registered. She ran into a whole boatload of issues and had to back out. I went anyway. Solo. By myself. First time I ever did that. And I highly recommend it. I loved Louisville. The race was solid, well-supported by spectators and you got to run around the grounds of Churchill Downs and I mean, come on. That’s cool. It also happens to be my half marathon PR, which I had engraved in a bat at the Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum that afternoon.