Need to read Part I? Get it here.
So remember how I said our room was an excellent bear-spotting location?
Well, as my mom and I were snuggling down in our beds the night before the race, we heard a metallic banging sound. My mom excitedly looked out the window and spotted the silhouette of a bear running back into the woods! She was pretty psyched to have seen it, and we went to bed dreaming of friendly Vermont bears (the kind who don’t attack innocent runners who stumble into their midst). 🙂
Before I knew it, it was 5:20 and the alarm was going off. We dressed quickly and headed down to the dining room to check out the early morning spread for the runners. While there were plenty of freshly baked muffins, raspberry oat squares, bacon and pancakes, we sadly opted for bagels with a smear of peanut butter, a breakfast we know works well for us on long runs.
At least we knew there would be coffee nearby at the finish.
Excited to run! (Not at all scared about those hills, no not us!)
We then headed out to the starting area, about 5 minutes down the road. The race had only 1,000 runners, split between the marathon and half marathon distances. The great thing about there being so few runners – parking was a breeze!
After a little stretching, it was time to go. The National Anthem was sung, the gun went off, and we headed out! There was excitement in the air, and it was a sunny beautiful day to run. We crossed the first of several gorgeous Vermont covered bridges-
and then the hills began.
My mom and I did our best to alternate power-walking with a light jog up the worst of the hills, and this seemed to work well. We weren’t setting any speed records, but we were enjoying the moment and the prospect of bagging another state (as a sidenote, we met many other runners who were also attempting to run a marathon or half in every state! So maybe we’re not that crazy…?)
You don’t run the World’s Most Beautiful Marathon without stopping to take a few pictures!
Another covered bridge.
We kept climbing and climbing- but what goes up must come down! While I deeply appreciated the fact that I was no longer running uphill, we had hit a fairly steep downhill stretch that must have lasted a good ten to fifteen minutes of running. I love me some down-hills, but this was brutal on the quads and ankles after a while.
Eventually we passed this sign, which made me laugh out loud (and pause to take a picture).
Keep running cows R watching. We did see plenty of cows along the course, and many DID appear to have an ominous glint in their eyes. We successfully avoided all dangerous cow-runner interactions though! Phew… 😉
Our run-walk strategy worked pretty well, although we definitely modified it on some of the hills, walking a little bit more than the 6 minutes run-1 minute walk plan we had agreed on. Nevertheless, we managed to maintain a pace right around 10 minutes/mile.
On one of our uphill walk breaks, we fell into step with a young woman, commiserating over the ridiculous hills. She was running her first half-marathon with her boyfriend (who was running ahead). After chatting for a few more minutes, we wished her good luck and continued on.
Just after mile 10, we hit another beautiful downhill section, and my mom and I were able to turn on a little more speed. My mom showcased her abundant energy in this crazy pic-
At the bottom of the hill, we had only a mile or so left, and feeling strong, I pushed the pace a bit more, getting back down into the 8 minute/mile range.
Finally, after 2 hours and 14 minutes of uphills and downhills (and stunning views), I crossed the finish line, my mom only moments behind me.
Cold apple cider and cider donuts. They were AMAZING after such a long, sweaty run.
While we were hanging out near the finish, waiting to cheer on the first finishers of the marathon, who should come over to us but our new friend from earlier in the race! She was very excited to have completed her first half marathon (and much faster than she had expected!)
Runners World writer and speaker, Bart Yasso was also at the race, having run the half marathon.
What a great race! It was definitely one of the smaller ones we’ve run recently, but it was well-organized and fun. The views truly were gorgeous, and I had a blast, despite my griping about all the hills. I’m not sure it’s the race I would choose to run 26.2 miles (those marathoners looked tired!), but it was perfect for 13.1 miles. 🙂
After cleaning up back at the White Horse Inn, my mom and I drove into Montpelier to walk around a little bit. Not too long given how tired we were though! We did a little shopping, then headed back into Waitsfield, where we had a great dinner at the Akes’ Den.
We shared salmon with a sweet potato crust (top) and crispy fish tacos (bottom). Both were insanely good. 🙂
That night, we watched a little tv and then zonked out pretty early.
Monday morning, we slept in and took advantage of being able to eat the wonderful breakfast provided at the inn.
Popover eggs scrambled with Vermont cheddar and French toast. And more bacon, naturally. 🙂
After the crazy-good meal, it was time to head home. Hope everyone had a wonderful July 4th weekend, and ate some yummy food too!