Thank you for stopping by on the Rites of Spring Blog Hop. We are sharing some of our character’s firsts. Ryan Grant, from my upcoming book, Climbing Heartbreak Hill, shares the experience of his first and his second marathons and how they set the tone for the rest of his running career.
When Ryan Grant ran his first marathon, it went smoothly. He put in the required six months of training, building up to the twenty-mile runs.
He’d always been a long distance runner. All through high school and college, he raced, winning titles and setting personal and school records. To challenge himself, he increased his racing distance to the marathon – twenty-six miles. He chose his first attempt carefully, evaluating his time to train and the potential weather for the time of the race.
After deliberate searching, he discovered a marathon with all the right ingredients: high temperatures in the fifties, a competitive field, and a challenging, but not grueling course. As an added bonus, it was a qualifying race for the Boston Marathon.
Any marathoner wanted to test their mettle against the historic course and its infamous Heartbreak Hill at mile twenty-one.
Ryan’s choice for his first marathon proved a good one. The day was ideal. He handily finished in the top ten, securing himself a qualifying time for the Boston Marathon. The perfect experience left him pumped for the next one, so when he toed the line for Boston, he couldn’t help the adrenaline that surged through his veins. He flew through the first miles, ignoring the aid stations with water or sports drinks. With the overcast sky, he planned to get some fluids around mile ten. At mile ten, he was enclosed in the lead pack. He had a good rhythm and wanted to stay with them. As they passed mile fifteen, the other runners started dropping away from the pack, but Ryan was determined to stick with the leaders. he ignored the next water stations as the sun broke through the clouds that April day and quickly heated the course.
Hot sun wasn’t his favorite running conditions, but he dug deeper, trying to keep the pace that had been set. He refused to acknowledge how the heat affected him as the asphalt warmed and it felt like he was running in a frying pan. As he reached the bottom of the dreaded Heartbreak Hill, his steps faltered, but he pushed forward. After the hill, there were only five more miles, less than a 10k, something he could run in his sleep.
Then his vision wobbled, his steps wavered, and he couldn’t control his legs. His knees gave way and he collapsed on the hot pavement. He awoke in the back of an ambulance with an IV pumping fluids into his arm and his chance at Boston incomplete.
Over the next years and through many more marathons at New York, the Olympics, and World Championships, he wondered if he’d get another attempt to conquer Heartbreak Hill.
Then came his chance. His training schedule would put him in peak condition for another attempt at Boston. Would he be able to conquer Heartbreak Hill this time?
Find out the answer in Climbing Heartbreak Hill, coming soon from Astraea Press.
Blurb: Professional runner, Ryan Grant, blows out his knee training for another attempt at the Boston marathon and the dreaded Heartbreak Hill. Ryan retreats home, not looking for anything more than a fast recovery, but he finds solace in the arms of his tax preparer, Tara Mansfield.
Tara’s cheerleading career ended abruptly and she faces an upward climb beating the stereotype as dumb blonde in her new calling as an accountant. Framed with defrauding the IRS during the last weeks of the tax season, Tara’s tentative confidence is shaken, but Ryan coaches her in ensnaring the true perpetrator. She cheers him on in discovering his identity as a coach rather than an athlete.
With the help of the junkyard king and a mechanical bull, can Tara and Ryan find the courage to climb Heartbreak Hill together?
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Dark, creaking trees. Cracking thunder. A ghostly orb.
Barbara Milanowski couldn’t have picked a worse night for her amateur paranormal investigation, but she couldn’t let her longtime crush Elmer Derecho’s skeptism go unchallenged. When Elmer runs her off the road with his motorcycle and scolds her for being out in the inclement weather, her happily ever after drops with the barometric pressure and the loss of her keys and glasses. While spending time alone with Elmer was one of her fantasies, the dream date didn’t entail diving into the mud and untangling herself from a raspberry bush.
While trying to protect Barbara from the storm, Elmer’s eyes are opened to all the things in his life that are missing. Elmer had gotten comfortable with his maps and pictures and chasing tornadoes after the fact. But Barbara reminds him of his forgotten zest for adventures, and ignites his interest in the Warden’s Lantern and for Barbara
While sheltering in a dilapidated guard house, Barbara and Elmer are drawn out of the protection by the Warden’s Lantern, the ghostly light Barbara had been trying to document. Elmer dismisses it as a trick of the electrical storm, but together they attempt to find the true source of the light. Will their shared talents solve the mystery and start a lasting relationship?