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Half Marathon is rigorous, rewarding challenge

August 16, 2015
By CHRISTINA MYER ( , News and Sentinel Half Marathon

Well. I didn't die. And I crossed the finish line of the Parkersburg News and Sentinel Half Marathon before the parade started. That's saying something.

I am not an athlete. This column may be the only time my name appears in the sports pages. And this year, I made the mistake of not really training. Still, the early miles were much the same. I assessed the folks in the pack around me and thought, "Oh, I can keep up with these people, no problem." Two-mile mark at 23 minutes, I'm OK with that. But then, the thing I am convinced added 15 minutes to my time happened.

Two walkers - who were considerably faster than I am - got to the gentleman at the three-mile mark who gives high fives at the same time I did. I tried to take a swipe at his hand anyway, as I was almost past him, and missed. No good-luck high five.

It was all downhill from there. Well, it was all up and then down and then up again, and then, WHY DO WE LIVE SOMEWHERE WITH SO MANY HILLS?

Something else happened that did not happen last year (or, at least, I don't remember it happening). The temperature went up about 15 degrees between the time I started and when I crossed the finish line; and the sun was relentless. Maybe it was the heat; maybe it was the lack of training; maybe I need to work on my form, but at about mile 10, my legs and feet started to cramp spectacularly. Picture Frankenstein running with a broomstick between his legs. That's about what I looked like for a minute.

Taking Gatorade at every drink station did not help. Nor did the candy I was handed. Only getting to a curb and stretching, and then slowing down for a bit, made the muscles behave themselves.

On the other hand, just as helpful this year as last, were all the amazing people along the race course who cheered even slowpokes like me. (Still looking over my shoulder for the giant man-eating chicken, sir). A young man on the bridge reached out to give a high five and encouraged us that there was a little downhill just ahead. Bless him. A couple of girls along 13th Street ran out to tell those of us who were gasping up that sassafrassin' hill that we were awesome.

Those who took the time to plant signs along the route really made me smile. Two of my favorites: All toenails go to heaven; and This seemed like a good idea ... four months ago.

Yes, it did seem like a good idea four months ago. But when I crossed the finish line - only about 11 minutes slower than last year! - and got that cool wet towel (thank you, Lord, for the people who hand out those towels), I said to our race coordinator, "I'm not doing that again! Nope."

One of our photographers grinned and told me, "You said that last year."

Contact Christina Myer at



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