Personally, I love training for a marathon. I love our Friday night routine of a catching up on the TiVo with some Punch Pizza. I love the Saturday long run. I love the occasional post long-run brunch. I love the weekly workouts. I love picking out our next marathon location; I love finding a new state where we will explore 26.2 miles of the best it has to offer. And the actual marathon? I love the excitement of the starting line, the thrill of the finish, the spectators, the funny signs. I love pushing my body to its limit! There are so many things I love about training for a marathon. Obviously I love the marathon, or I wouldn’t keep doing them again and again!
But what I don’t like?
The day before the marathon.
I don’t like worrying that I’m eating the wrong things, that I’m staying hydrated enough (or too much?), that I’m walking too much. I don’t like killing time in a hotel room in charming places like Scranton, PA! I don’t like being on vacation, and not being able to enjoy the local food and drink (perhaps a bit in excess, true) like we like to do when traveling.
And today is that day….
So, we needed to pass the time. The marathon expo was really nice (I’ll write about it in my race review) but it was small, and we really didn’t need too much time there. We had the rest of Saturday to kill, so in order to pass the time, we needed some excitement!
And where better to find excitement, but 300 feet below the ground at the Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour!
The Steamtown Marathon is held in Scranton, Pennsylvania, which is coal mine country. It seemed only right to do a little touring of a mine while we were in town.
Our guide did a really great job of explaining the history of the mines. He also shared some information on coal in general, as well as what life was really like for a miner.
Even though I completely sympathized with the tough lives of the miners, my heart really went out to the mules that worked down there.
Yes, the mules. I know, I’m a softie for animals!
But the miners had a choice (well, most of them; apparently some were indentured immigrants) But the mules? They didn’t choose this job, but they spent their entire lives in the darkness of the mines. During the off-hours, they were left there in underground “stables” completely in the dark, never to see the sun. During working hours, they hauled tons of coal through treacherous conditions. What a sad, sad, life…
Overall, I enjoyed the tour, and would definitely recommend it for an activity for runners in town for the Steamtown Marathon.
But heed this warning- it’s cold down there! The mine is quite chilly, at a damp, dark 50 degrees no matter what time of year. And there are no bathrooms…which can be a problem for a group of 5 marathoners who are drinking a ton of water all day to stay hydrated!
But don’t head off the path to find a bathroom…you might end up like this guy!
The tour went about an hour. But it was a good deal of walking. Hopefully it won’t affect our performance tomorrow!
The Lackawanna Mine Tour was an enjoyable way to pass the time on the “Failed Fit” that is the day before the marathon. I still prefer a Saturday marathon, as it seems that there is always less waiting around, and a Saturday race leaves more time for the post-race party, which is my favorite part of the day!