If you’ve been paying any attention around here, you know that Holly has been training for her first ever marathon since February. The culmination of all that training was a few weeks ago, on June 18, when she ran in the Mayor’s Marathon in Anchorage, AK. We spent an extra day before and after the race, but right now we’ll just focus on Holly’s marathon.
Even though the race started at 8 a.m., she had to be ready to go and in the hotel lobby at 6 a.m., which isn’t as bad as it sounds since it was 9 a.m. Dallas-time. (Of course, we had been up until after 2 a.m. Dallas-time, so it cuts both ways.) Against all running advice, she had on brand new (fancy) shorts, LLS tank uniform, and long sleeve undershirt. Holly is not one for taking the advice of others. Anyway, I saw her off.
As for the 26.2 mile course, here’s the route. Notice how miles 7 thru 17 is in the green area? Most of that is a gravel road through the forest just short of the Chugach Mountains. And then there’s a couple of terrible miles on a tow path.
But the weather cooperated, giving Holly a beautiful day in the low 60s with the slightest breeze. Locals were complaining about the heat, but Holly was very happy for it. Nobody from her training group in Dallas was running today, so she joined up with Robert, a Dallas guy that she had run with once and for whom this was his second race.
Robert’s wife Joan and I went to see them at the second spectator area at Mile 13. It was a bit of a hike out into the woods but far more direct than running 13 miles to there.
We were very excited to see them come around the gravel bend at 10:37 a.m.–halfway in 2 hours and 33 minutes. Not bad. Holly was looking and feeling pretty good.
I restocked her with some energy beans and refilled her gatorade bottles while she grabbed an orange before they got back to it.
Joan and I headed to the spectator spot at Mile 21, which took us less than 15 minutes by car. It took Holly and Robert a bit longer. Holly arrived, alone, around 12:10 p.m., still looking great.
She stopped for just a minute to say that she had separated from Robert at Mile 18, and then she was off again.
Robert came by 6 minutes later. Joan and I headed to the Finish Line, which was West Side High School, but you could still clearly see the mountains to the east of town.
There was an announcer at the Finish who didn’t really know what was going on. He would try to read finisher’s numbers to identify their name and hometown, which went fine. But on at least two occasions he mentioned that the marathon was seven–7!–miles. The first time I wasn’t sure what he said. The second time he said it as a guy finished the marathon–making this his 100th consecutive month of running at least one marathon. The announcer: “One hundreds months times 7 miles–I’ll let you do the math, but it’s a lot!” The number’s even bigger if you know how long a marathon actually is.
So that entertained me. Meanwhile, Holly was being differently entertained by the last mile, which is tough since it’s almost all uphill, including a series of switchbacks. The switchbacks give you the false impression that you’ve reached the top only to find more upward slope.
But she made it, officially in 5 hours, 32 minutes, and 50 seconds.
And she got a finisher’s t-shirt and this sweet medal.
Robert finished about 30 minutes later.
Big congratulations to Holly for accomplishing this big task. Very proud of her. When Holly texted Layla to let her know that she had finished, Layla responded: “Did you win?” Not quite.
Two final notes. First, at some point, she stopped along the route and took this one photo of a creek.
Second, despite having just finished a marathon an hour earlier, when we got back to the hotel, she took a shower and was ready to go back out into Anchorage. I was ready for a serious nap.