Race Review: MS Blues Half Marathon

Enthusiasm snags runners the day they are to pick up their race bib. As least it does for me, I suppose some people are nonchalant about it……. hmm like my husband… but that’s another story for another day (race 2 of the back to back)….. Let’s start this again……. Enthusiasm grabs me when it’s time to pickup a bib; if you throw in expo and another state, the impact upon my enthusiasm is exponential.  So I dragged Paul out of the house pretty early Friday morning so that we could begin our vacation drive to Jackson, MS. I had my sense of adventure hat on and hydrated well enough to drive my husband crazy with bathroom stops every 45-60 minutes. hahahaha.

IMG_1096[1]We got to Jackson in great time despite the stops.  I don’t know what I was expecting from the expo, but somehow, I was disappointed.  They had everything from super discount clothes and shoes to overpriced GU and socks.  There were a couple booths for upcoming races and plenty of witty t-shirts.  I suppose I could blame it on my hunger.  We had no idea where we wanted to eat so we took of walking.  We wound up at a place called Keifer’s Restaurant known more for their Greek style food than their burgers but it smelled delicious when we came up to it and they were featuring a bacon cheeseburger. So that’s what Paul and I both got. Ohhhhh man. My mouth is watering now.  It was delicious. maaaaaaaaaaaan oh man…. anyway! We went to the Natural Science museum, an art museum, and walked all over just exploring. We had a very good day full of a ridiculous amount of laughter and a little bit of learning.  I learned that my husband apparently has been taught that salamanders are called squids. Just the darndest thing that made me laugh until I cried and then I laughed some more (in his defense, he was running low on sleep). Dinner was frustrating because of the lack of a gameplan so we wound up eating some okay fast food quesadillas and added some veggies to them to make it “okay”. They really weren’t bad.

Race morning: Nervous butterflies fill my tummy as I consider the fact that I am about to run the first (that means there is at least one more) half of the weekend. WTF am I thinking?!?!?! I don’t train endurance throughout the rest of the days other than CrossFit a couple days and I think I can just go run 13.1mi…. not just once, but twice?! Brilliant plan. (sarcasm). I get all ready and follow my brother’s advice regarding body glide and have planned a post-race ice bath in the hotel before we have to check out. I barely make it to the startline before they are sending us off (I waited in line to pee forever, like I do before EVERY race. good time for before pic though!). I accidentally started too far back, but lets face it. That was a good idea since:
1. I didn’t have a clue what the course was like
2. I needed to pace myself because I don’t train endurance at the moment
3. I have an ankle(bone) injury I’ve been ignoring.

IMG_1100[1]AND WE’RE OFF
0-1 I work to find the 2:15 pacer guy. I wish my ears would hold headphones. I curse people who get the joy of music.
1-3: I run just in front of the pacer guy ensuring that I don’t go too fast and regret that later. I listen to people talking around me. I love the friendly chatter. It puts a smile on my face. There is a mentally handicapped runner that is just beaming about his girlfriend that loves to run. Mi 1.5ish had the Jackson St Univ band out there rockin’ it for us!
3-4: Eventually, I can’t take it anymore that pacer guy is annoying so I put some distance between myself and him.
4.5: “OH HI HUBBY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” (turns out it was a complete accident that he saw me there. best accident EVER) I felt amazing. (middle pic)
5: GU time. There are some people talking about the hills… Apparently, the second half is gonna be fun….
6.5ish: the marathoners split off from us.
7-9: Down a ramp for interstate and up the ramp on the other side. sloooooooooow hill that never. seemed. to. end. I’m feeling some hot spots and general discomfort in my feet at this point, otherwise I’m golden.
9-10: Oh hi museum that I went to yesterday!
10-12: OM NOM NOM NOM CLIF SHOT (they gave them out at the race, never every turn down free fuel)… oh hillz. yeah, with a z. okay, I’m being obnoxious, but this hills were kicking my boo-taaay. I remember thinking “short choppy up, run like hell down”. I was determined to run them all. FAIL. there was this one hill so steep it was stupid, I walked the crest of it. It was a short hill. I came up over that and had around a mile to go.
12ish: THE MOST SIGNIFICANT MOMENT ON THAT COURSE FOR ME: I look too my left and see a man walking down the sidewalk (clearly a runner) with the BIGGEST HUNK OF MEDAL I HAVE EVER SEEN. I think the words that tumbled out of my mouth were “holy shit“. I couldn’t help myself. That was the little push I needed. At this point, a girl is trying to talk to me and I’m trying to talk back but she’s killing me. I need my stinkin’ O2 so I pull back a hair.
IMG_1101[1]13-13.1: I caught my hubby off guard because he wasn’t expecting me for 8 more minutes. I gave that last tenth everything I had (and passed that girl that was trying to kill me with oxygen deprivation. I crossed that finish line at 2:06:47 and collected my gigantic medal and could not help but smile like I just did something awesome.

Seriously, you can’t help but feel like a champ when you are given this medal. Now if I had crawled across the finish line for a full marathon and they tried to put that crap on my I would have fallen over with it. haha. I understand why the medal ranked 22/25 for the top medals.

Overall, I really enjoyed this course. The hills kicked my butt, but I love when the course is like that because I change up my stride and technique. It gives me something to focus on besides monotonous flatness. If I had music, I would love the flat. Jackson’s course is no joke though. I am quite pleased with my time without training.IMG_0888[1]

Post race, I had chocolate milk and a banana. I took a sorta ice bath. It was effin cold. haha. all the ice melted though so I know we should have thrown one more bucket in. I was shivering for 10min so it counts.  Then we went on over to Newk’s eatery where I had salad and pizza.  After stuffing my face, it was time to head down the road to Mobile, AL where race #2 for the weekend would be (that review will come tomorrow).

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