Latest reviews by Laurie Hess

(2018)
"Running for Pride and Joy"
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After months of agonizing over the best course of action to take regarding whether to run the Marine Corps Marathon on an injured hip, race weekend was finally here. The moment of truth. There was actually very little doubt about whether I would go. As my friends and family know, I can be a just a tad stubborn. Giving up on running the race without giving it my best shot is just not in my nature.

Sunday morning dawned overcast and cool. Perfect running weather. We made our way to our corral, took a quick selfie at the start line in our throw-away shirts and watched the skydivers do their heart-stopping plunge with the American flag that kicked off the official pre-race ceremonies. After the flyover by an MV-22 Osprey (a helicopter/airplane hybrid) and a very stirring rendition of the national anthem, the howitzer, signaling the start of the race, went off and we inched toward the start line.

I was people-watching more than scenery-watching at the beginning of the race, and there was plenty to see. I saw many husband-and-wife teams running together, which made me wish Bill was running with me. There was a fireman running in his boots and full gear, including an oxygen tank, and a group of men running together who made me do a double-take.

Three men were making their way through the course, one of them in a wheelchair. One man was pushing the wheelchair and one was running interference as they wove through the crowd of other runners. I realized at second glance that the man pushing the wheelchair had one leg and one prosthetic running blade.

To read my full report, please click here

https://meditationsinmotion.wordpress.com/2018/11/05/marine-corps-marathon-race-report/

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(2018)
"Tunnel Vision Marathon Race Report"
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This is a race report that I don’t know exactly how to write. It is uncharted territory for me. Usually, the gist of my race reports is this: the race was wonderful; I had a fabulous time; I would recommend this race to everyone. Well, this race was wonderful; I would recommend this race to everyone, but, I most definitely did not have a fabulous time.

The race, a point-to-point, started about an hour east of Seattle at Hyak in Snoqualmie Pass. My hubby Bill, who did not run, drove us to the race start, which meant we didn’t have to ride the shuttle bus, always a plus. It was chilly at the start, so we were glad to be able to sit in our car to wait. You can pick up your race bib the day of the marathon, a nice perk. Even though this race is run on a rail trail (so it is technically a trail race), it is a seriously fast race. A great place to BQ.

A unique feature of this race is the old railroad tunnel that you run through beginning half a mile into the race. Runners are instructed to wear headlamps or carry a flashlight. The tunnel is almost 2.5 miles long, and it is completely dark inside. I never felt claustrophobic, however. There are hundreds of runners, all wearing lights, going through the tunnel at the same time. You can see the light at the end of the tunnel almost a mile before you reach it, so that gives you a nice point of reference.

You can read my full race report here:https://meditationsinmotion.wordpress.com/2018/08/24/tunnel-vision-marathon-race-report/

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(2018)
"XTERRA Big Elk Half Marathon Race Report"
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My hubby Bill and I got up super early on Saturday and drove to Elkton, MD (about an hour from our house) to run the XTERRA Big Elk Half Marathon. This was part of a running festival that included full and half marathons, as well as a 5k, 10k, and kids’ race. The race is part of the XTERRA Atlantic Trail Run series.

We pinned on our bibs, visited the indoor restrooms (nice!), and chatted with a friend while we waited for the race to start. The full and half marathons began at 7:00 a.m. The other races started after this to alleviate congestion. Good planning!

At 6:50, we lined up at the starting line marked on the ground with chalk and listened to the race director’s message, (basically, follow the signs). The race began promptly at 7:00, and we were off, down a gravel road to the trails.

We turned onto wooded single track within a quarter mile. It was a beautiful morning, sunny and bright with low humidity. The sunlight dappled trail was mostly flat at the beginning of the race.

My favorite kind of trail race is one run on a variety of surfaces, and this course definitely checked that box. While the vast majority of the course was wooded single track with plenty of rocks and roots, there were stretches of double track, gravel road, fields of high grass (tick check after the race!), and dirt single track through low cut fields for variety. There were mile markers at each mile, and the trails were extremely well marked.

To read the entire race report, please click here: https://meditationsinmotion.wordpress.com/2018/06/19/xterra-big-elk-trail-half-marathon-race-report/

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(2018)
"VA Wine Country Half Marathon"
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The race started and ended at Doukenie Winery in Purcellville, VA. Parking was supposed to be in two fields adjacent to the winery, but the race director had to scramble at the last minute to find an alternate parking spot to avoid having cars getting stuck in the muddy fields. We parked at a nearby high school and were shuttled to the winery, approximately three miles away. The race started about 20 minutes late. We ran out a long gravel drive from the winery and onto a paved road. The first miles of the race seemed to be slightly uphill on a road lined with fields and woods. This is Virginia Wine Country, a beautiful area with farms, vineyards and natural areas. The weather was warm, not hot, but the humidity was 100%, which made running slightly uncomfortable. The course was rolling, and before the halfway point, the paved road turned into one with a stone surface. The best place to run was where the stones had been worn away to bare dirt. To read my entire race report, please go here: https://meditationsinmotion.wordpress.com/2018/06/05/virginia-wine-country-half-marathon-race-report/

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(2018)
"Turkey Hill Country Classic 5k Race Report"
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The Turkey Hill Country Classic is a race that I have heard my friends rave about for years. It is a local race that started out small, but it has grown to include a 5k, 10k, half marathon and bike races.

The Turkey Hill race started out as flat, but soon became gently rolling. There were no monster hills on the course, but there were one or two that got your attention around the halfway point.

The first mile was marked, and there was a volunteer standing at the mark calling out times. What a great perk! I do wear a watch when I run, but almost never look at it – I want to run by feel. I felt great, and my time was good at the one mile marker. Then came the hills. They were not too bad, but I could feel myself slowing down slightly.
To read the entire race report, please go here:
https://meditationsinmotion.wordpress.com/2018/05/06/turkey-hill-country-classic-5k-race-report/

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