Race Recap: Freedom's Run

Phew, I must admit, I am all race-ed out. Yesterday, I finished my 10th race and 3rd half marathon this year. Though I am ready to finish up each race I signed up for in 2013, believe me when I say that I am incredibly thankful I have participated in this many! Only two more to go!!!

Yesterday, I ran in Freedom's Run, a Runner's World Top 25 Race in 2013.

Credit: www.journal-news.net
The race is to follow a course that takes you through the history of not only our area, but our entire country.

First, it guides you through the C&O Canal, where George Washington founded the Potowmack Company. The company's purpose was to make navigational improvements to the Potomac River, allowing boats to travel easily to Georgetown. They made canals alongside the river to allow  transportation of goods.

The ditch parallel to this trail at Taylor's Landing was a canal.
Once runner's made it through the canal section of the course, they departed to Antietam Battlefield, where in 1862, 23,000 Americans were either wounded or lost their lives. This was considered one of the bloodiest days in American History, hence why they call part of the Battlefield "Bloody Lane."

View from the Watch Tower at Antietam Battlefield
The course is truly one of a kind and absolutely stunning, which is why I make an effort to run on the canal as much as possible. However, due to the Government Shutdown, the C&O Canal and the Antietam Battlefield became inaccessible, which resulted in a complete revamp of the race course.

The race course now took place on West Virginia's River Road, which still followed alongside the Potomac River, but on the opposite side of the canal itself.

Credit: Freedom's Run Facebook
It was an out and back course that was shared with every runner participating in a race that day, whether it the was marathon, half, 10k or 5k. Marathoners were required to run the 13.1 mile loop twice, while the half marathoners ran it once, and the 10k and 5kers ran just a portion of it.

The half marathoners, started their race just an hour after the marathon race began. However, not 5-10 minutes into the start, the lead marathoner, Michael Wardian, was finishing the first 13.1 mile loop. I was absolutely impressed by this man, running effortlessly towards our pack, and just minutes later, passing by us all. I only just began and Michael was speeding past me like he had just started himself. He ended up finishing in first with a time of 2 hours and 33 minutes. For those of you who do not know who Michael Wardian is, read this article that Runner's World wrote on him.

The course was beautiful, but very challenging. I am no stranger to hills, but THESE hills were a different story for me. First, I had more of a pleasure of the downhills that were so steep, you could do nothing but pick up amazing speed, running as fast as Michael Wardian would have been if he were on flat land. But that hill was waiting for you when you came back and had to run up it. One increased by over 100 ft in a quarter of a mile.

Credit: Freedom's Run Facebook.
This was the hill that nearly killed me in the end. The picture
does NOT do it justice.

Though, once you made it over that monstrous hill coming back, you had a mile to go till you hit the finish.

You filtered in to Ram's Stadium in Shepherdstown, WV, where you crossed the finish on the 50 yard line. I finished in 1:59:33. I finished 200th overall, and 16th out of 72 females in my age group

It was my goal to finish in under 2 hours, but not to PR since I have the Hershey Half next week. I am also tapering for my marathon the following week.

Anyway, I give this race a 10. Though it was not the actual course, I give those who put this race together HUGE kudos for keeping it going regardless of the shutdown. It was also a great challenge for me. Not only were the hills an absolute bitch, but this is the first race I chose to compete in without my iPod. It was liberating. I may continue doing my races sans iPod. It was not bad at all!

Did you have a race this weekend? Which one did you compete in and how did you do?

Do you race with or without music?

If the course changed last minute in a race, would you compete or chose to defer?

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