Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Back2Back Challenge 1 - 2 Marathons, 2 States, 2 Days!

Back2Back Challenge. 
2 marathons, 2 states in 2 days!

Race: Mississippi Blues Marathon
Date: January 9th, 2016
Finish Time: 4 hours, 11 minutes
Distance: 26.2 miles
Gain: 1283 ft

Bear with me here, this is a recap of 2 races so it is a long blog! I considered splitting it into 2 separate entries, but felt like it should be all 1 since it was all one big race weekend.

After 7 months of preparing for this race, it's finally here! Justin and I trained together, but each had our own goals for this weekend. I hoped to finish with a comfortable pace on Saturday, with enough energy to encourage Justin as he competed his first marathon on Sunday! His goal was to finish the race, and hopefully not walk. I planned to find a 4:20/4:30 pacer for Mississippi and hang with them so I wouldn't start off too fast.

We left early Friday morning for Mississippi. It took us about 12 hours to get there, we stopped several times to stretch and eat over the course of the drive. It helped a little but we were definitely still pretty stiff. We drove straight to the Mississippi Blues Marathon Expo. It was a great expo with quite a few vendors. Live music playing which was a cool touch for that rock n roll vibe the race has. We went out to a great little Mexican restaurant for dinner, La Cazuela. After dinner we went back and got settled into our Hotel. We stayed in the Old Capital Inn. Such a beautiful, historic hotel. They had complimentary beer and wine out for hotel guests in the evening, and in the morning they set out bagels, coffee and juice pre-race for us. I highly recommend this hotel to anyone traveling to the area, especially for the marathon. They also had a cool rood top bar, and a beautiful garden area to sit and drink coffee outside. We stayed on the 3rd floor, our room was small, but quaint. It had a nice walkout balcony

I woke up to the sound of wind and rain. Oh boy this doesn't look good! After going round and round on what I wanted to wear, I decided on shorts with a lightweight running jacket. The temperature was 55 with 10 mph winds and rain. I didn't feel real great, I figured it was just nerves but I couldn't handle the idea of eating. I drank a little OJ, and some water and visited in the lobby with other runners while we killed time before heading to the race start. We walked .6 miles to the start line, in the rain. The race started and it took me 2 minutes to cross the start line (so quick!). First several miles were cold, wet and congested. The rain stopped around mile 4 and I saw Justin at mile 5, he had my sunglasses for me. I lost the 4:20 pacer somewhere in the distance, but wasn't worried. I was running this race by feel and if it was a slower pace I would be ok with that because I know I have to save enough energy to wake up and do it again tomorrow.

It was a very hilly course, much more than I had anticipated! I met a woman named Jen, Jen from New Hampshire around mile 8 and ran several miles with her. She just turned 50, and had completed 14 marathons in 10 states. I lost miles 9-11 completely in conversation. Around mile 12 I cracked my ankle in a pothole going down one of the hills. It hurt but I carried on with my run. The roads in Jackson Mississippi were pretty rough, unlike the nicely paved roads I have trained on. This race had the most amazing volunteers. Even in the rain they were all out there rooting for us and cheering us on. They would joke "Don't mistake this rain for our southern hospitality, we are happy you're here!!" Most volunteers and police officers were also thanking us for running this event.

Around mile 15 I stopped to pee, when I came out of the bathroom I was right behind Jen from New Hampshire! I ran again with her a few more miles and carried on. Mile 20 the rain started again, mile 22 was a HUGE hill, it lasted about a mile, maybe more. Running this huge hill, with a sore foot, in the rain after running 22 miles made me feel pretty BA if you know what I mean! I thought to myself "that's right, you're one tough momma!" The rain turned into a downpour around mile 24, then thunder and lightening began. I was running hard at this point trying to get to the finish line. When I finally crossed 4:11:52. I couldn't believe I had somehow finished in the low 4's? How did that happen I took it easy! I couldn't believe how hard it was raining when I finished. My husband looked shocked when I crossed, one of my favorite parts of running a marathon is seeing his face at the finish line.

We didn't hangout long due to the rain, but the Race Director did a good job providing enough shelters for those who wanted to hangout to take cover in. We walked the .6 miles back to our hotel and took a long warm shower. Then had 45 minutes to pack up and hit the road. We stopped at a gas station about half way between Jackson Mississippi and Mobile Alabama to stretch and pickup more water. We walked in and there were several other people in there, we all had the same "walk". You know the one, kind've limping and scrunching our faces ect. We all looked around at each other (7-8 of us) and just started laughing. Everyone in the gas station had just ran Mississippi Blues and were on their way to Mobile. It was a pretty funny coincidence. We ate lunch at Chilis. I only could stomach about 1/2 my bean burger with a side salad. Altogether the drive was about 3 1/2 hours from Jackson to Mobile.

To be Continued...

No comments:

Post a Comment