Saturday, September 12, 2015

How many Grand Canyons are there in the United States?

In 1997, my husband and I went to the Grand Canyon in Arizona. It was amazing! 
In 2004, we took a trip to Hawaii and went to Kauai and hiked the Waimea Canyon which is also known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.
Why do I look unhappy? I wasn't.
Then when researching half marathons in Pennsylvania, I discovered the PA Grand Canyon Half Marathon! I think I was destined to do it. 

Thus this leads me to believe that there are THREE Grand Canyons in the U.S.

Originally I was going to do the Hershey Half Marathon but later learned that a local half marathon would be taking place for the last time on the same weekend as Hershey. So I figured I should stay home and support this local race. That is why I began looking for other options in Pennsylvania. I had a small window of opportunity in which a race would work and this fit. And since I'm a sucker for bonus medals, when I learned that you could do the race both Saturday AND Sunday and earned the Rock the Canyon medal...I was sold.  I was also pleased to learn that you could mail in your entry and avoid the other annoying taxes and fees. I sent in my registration and for both races I paid $115.00.

Now finding a hotel in Wellsboro where the event would be taking place seemed to be a bigger challenge. I could only find options that were in another town (Mansfield) which was only 15 miles away but there's really nothing better than being able to roll out of bed and walk to the start line! But that wouldn't have been an option anyway, since we would also need to be bused to the start line since this was taking place in a state park and parking would be limited. I finally decided on the Comfort Inn. I was able to get a room with two double beds and a refrigerator.

The race organizers did a great job of sending out weekly emails with updates and keeping us excited about that race. Whoever was sending them had a great sense of humour and was a really good writer.  One of the updates reminded participants that they could sign up for the pasta dinner before the race each night. Originally I wasn't going to pay for that but since 1) hotels were difficult to find, I began to worry about what restaurant choices I would have and 2) I read that 100% of the proceeds would benefit the local animal I wrote a check and mailed in my request to buy both pasta dinners!

Friday: July 24, 2015
After stopping for coffee and gas, I was on the road at 8:15AM
Let's do this!    PA Bound!!!
But had to stop about 45 minutes later at the rest stop in Greenfield, IN to pee. Then just after crossing the Ohio border, I had to stop and pee. It was only 10:00am and I had already stopped twice!
Stopped again at the Lee Rizov Memorial Highway rest area guessed it...pee. It was now 11:50AM. If I keep stopping every two hours I'm never going to get there in time!
I finally got into a groove and didn't stop again until crossing the Pennsylvania border. I missed the WELCOME TO PENNSYLVANIA sign because I was in the wrong lane and semis were to the right of me. So I stopped at the Welcome Center. It was 2:30pm and I had driven 368.4 miles which was just about the halfway point of my journey.
Its just not the same as the sign when you cross the border.

Up to this point traffic hadn't been too bad and I barely any construction issues. But an hour later, I'm at a complete stop on the interstate. The next SEVEN MILES was stop and go traffic. I was worried that I wouldn't make it to packet pickup on time.

Although I did feel pressed for time, I decided to go ahead and stop at the hotel and drop my things off first. Packet pick-up was open until 8:30PM and dinner was being served until 9:00PM which mean I had plenty of time.

I arrived at the High School around 7:15pm. There were a few vendor stands but other than the packet pickup area there wasn't anything else there. 

I thought that the pasta dinner was being held at the high school as well but was told it was at the Moose Lodge, which was basically just back out to the highway and across the street.

Dinner was being served outside in the pavilion and I was pleased with the selection. And there were some scrumptious desserts to choose from! I sat with a group of people that were very nice and we discussed all things running and dogs.

I didn't stay there socializing for too long. I was tired and wanted to get things situated in the hotel and get everything ready for the race in the morning.

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