Friday, October 10, 2014

Preview: 2014 Appalachian Series

Over the next five days, I’ll be doing the Appalachian Series.  This is a series of five marathons in five different states on five consecutive days.  Series like these are becoming a popular way for people to quickly do marathons in five states, while saving on travel expenses.  Of course, running marathons five days in a row is intense.

This series includes West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.  I’ve run in all of these states before, but these races are in smaller communities or state parks in or near the Appalachian Mountains.  It’ll give me a chance to see a different part of country.  Today I flew to Charlotte, NC, and I drove to Bluefield, WV, where I’ll be racing tomorrow.  As soon as I crossed the Virginia state line, I entered the mountains and had great scenery.  Unfortunately, that’s also when it started raining.  It stopped raining when I arrived in Bluefield.

What distinguishes a series from a stage race is that you don’t have to race every day.  It’s still five separate races, and anyone could choose to run any single race.  Most people, however, choose to do multiple races, if not all five.  For me, it’s mostly a chance to race on five consecutive days.

This series is sponsored by Mainly Marathons, which has several series of five or more states.  Last May, I did the New England Challenge.  That was a series of races in five of the New England States, which was sponsored by Savage Racing.

When I did the New England Challenge, I was able to keep all my times under four hours.  That will also be my goal for this series.  This time, I’ll have two additional challenges.  First, the races don’t start as early in the morning.  Each race starts at 7:30, which means that I’ll be finishing shortly before 11:30.  That won’t give me much time to check out of my hotel after each race.  I’ll have to rush my post-race recovery.  I’ll also have some longer drives.  Twice I’ll have to drive for two or three hours to get to the next city.

Today, we were able to pick up our race packets for the entire series.  Runners doing more than one race wear the same bib number for each of them.  For the next five days, I’ll be wearing number 17.

We also had a pasta dinner in the same park where we’ll be running tomorrow.  I didn’t get much sleep last night, so I ate as early as I could in hopes of getting to bed early.

I probably haven’t seen the last of the rain.  Rain is in the forecast for the next five days.  It seems like rain is always going to be a 50-50 chance.  I won’t mind a passing shower or two, but I hope we don’t get soaked.  I only brought two pairs of shoes, and once they’re wet, they can take a few days to fully dry.

Between races, recovery and driving to the next state, I’ll be busy.  I’m hoping I can find time to post a race report after each race.

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