South Carolina’s State Capital

First, I’d like to begin by saying thank you, because if you’re reading this then I know you are supportive of my running and of my blog.  One of the goals of going public with a blog was to keep me accountable for sticking with my running goal, and the thought of my readers (family and friends) helped me very much in today’s run! 

Columbia: Run Hard Marathon
My visit to Columbia was short, but eventful! After a difficult 12 hour drive on snow covered roads, I told myself I’d take it easy on Friday.  Instead, I began the day with a hike in Congaree National Park, known for its many 130+ ft tall trees and abundant swamp areas.  I love birds and I counted over 40 woodpeckers in my short visit.  

Congaree National Park

Next, I picked up my race bib from the Expo downtown and walked to the prominent State House, known for its copper roofed dome (said to be made of the equivalent of 800,000 pennies).  I’m a sucker for State Houses, specifically for their beautifully painted interior domes (my favorite is still ours in Lansing).  I was disappointed to find that the interior dome in this one is only a facade, a much smaller dome inside of the copper dome, due to interior size and space issues.  This is still an impressive building!

Columbia State Capital
Capital Building, Columbia, South Carolina
I next walked over to trendy Main Street, filled with new boutiques, hipster restaurants and cafés.  I had dinner at Whiskey, a bourbon bar that specializes in Cajun food.  I highly recommend the Creole Mac ‘N’ Cheese.

Whiskey bourbon bar on Main Street, steps from the Capital
Finally, I drove to some of Columbia’s famous public art works, including the “World’s Largest Fire Hydrant” and a mural called “Tunnelvision”.  Columbia is charming! 
World's Largest Fire Hydrant
Public art on display in Columbia

Tunnel vision

Saturday’s race weather was perfect with cloudless blue skies and sun shining overhead.  

We ran through the campus of University of SC, up and down hilly roads lined with charming Southern homes (I felt like I was in a magazine), around Lake Katherine, and then downtown to the State House.  The cruel race directors decided to make this a double loop course, so I passed the finish line and then ran the course a second time.  This was a first for me, and if it weren’t for the people that I met along the way, I’m not sure I could’ve finished my 17th State today (a marathon is a mental race, and nothing could mess with your mind more).

This is Edward.  He is a member of the Marathon Maniacs AND the 50 States Club.  I’ve met him at a few other races, and he is on his THIRD round of fifty States!  Originally from Guam, he now lives in North Carolina.  Did I mention that he runs all of his races barefoot???? This picture is from behind because I could never catch up to him.

Also, I met this group of runners: each carry the American flag (heavy and blowing in the wind!) with them the entire race, in honor and remembrance of Veterans. 

I love running marathons because every person has a story and a purpose for being there.  I feel honored to run with a group of determined and devoted people!

Running Tip: Whether you want to extend your training all year round or you just want to beat the winter blues, sign up for a race in a warm weather location.  Make a vacation out of it!  When you sign up for a race in advance and invest money into it, you’re more likely to look forward to it and stay motivated.  AND your race fans will likely want to come with you! I use the website Marathons By Weekend to find my races.  Happy Running! 

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