|Oh no! Giant hill! But alas, the scale is only about 10 feet.|
Since it's a very stormy Sunday, I figured I'd get my recap of yesterday's marathon written up all quick-like. You're welcome. I didn't know that I was doing the Mississippi River Marathon until last week when my friends peer pressured me into joining them. Well, it actually didn't take much peer pressuring - they only had to ask the question.
Since we are extremely frugal when it comes to race travel, JB and I planned to drive up to Greenville, MS the morning of the race. And by morning, I mean we left at 3:15 AM since this would be about a 2.5 to 3 hour drive, depending on who you asked. In the days before the marathon, the directors sent out numerous emails warning us that we must be at the finish line between 6:00-6:30 AM to board the buses that would take us to the start line. If you weren't there by 6:30 to catch the last bus, you could not participate. Well this instilled great panic in us since neither of us were frequent visitors of Greenville, MS and really didn't know exactly how long the drive would be. Turns out we left WAY too early and we arrived at a very creepy parking lot in front of an even creepier abandoned casino around 5:20 AM, giving us 40 minutes to kill.
|At 5:20 AM, this is quite possibly the creepiest looking building ever.|
We sat the car and waited for our other friend Cuatro who had picked up our race packets the day before. SWAG included a long sleeve WHITE Brooks tech shirt. Also in our race packet were advertisements for several local races and some coupons, including this one. Don't think I'll be using it anytime soon!
|If I had a time machine, I might use this coupon.|
At 6:00 AM, we made the short walk over to the where the buses were lined up. I was sure that the bus situation was going to be an epic fail. BUT, to my surprise, it was extremely organized - half marathon buses in one line, marathon buses in another line. Buses departed right around 6:30 AM to make their way either 13.1 miles to the half start or 26.2 miles to the marathon start.
|My head is bigger than yours, JB!|
The ride to the start line took about 30 something minutes. We were dropped off in a field in the middle of
|I can't make stuff like this up.|
Since no one really knew what the layout of the start area would be, the plan for the Maniac picture was to meet at the start line at 7:30 AM. Turns out the start line was a short walk from the field we were standing in, but since it was so warm by the fire, no one wanted to move! So we made an impromptu decision to have the picture in front of the fires! We announced this by literally just yelling (one of the joys of a very small race) to beckon all the Maniacs. It was a sight to behold watching all the Maniacs running over to make it into the picture.
|Mississippi River Marathon Maniacs (plus some non-Maniacs).|
Eventually we left the warmth of the fire to make our way over to the start line (again, just a short walk). Before signing up for this race I had a 22 mile training run on the schedule for that day in preparation for NOLA (which is supposed to be my "serious" race for the year), so my intentions for this race were to hold an even training pace for the first 22 miles and then just walk/take it really easy for the last 4.2. I warned Cuatro and JB that I may venture off on my own during the race and to not try to stay with me.
|I'm sexy and I know it.|
|Ready to DO THIS!|
|My favorite saying!|
Race started right on time. Once turning out of the start chute, we ran right alongside beautiful Lake Chicot for the first 10 or so miles. We were actually along Lake Chicot for the entire first half of the course, but from about miles 10-13, we were a little further from it and couldn't really see it. We also ran into a wicked wind this entire time.
|Along Lake Chicot in Lake Village, AR.|
|Very pretty, but chilly and windy.|
At mile 13, we finally hit the bridge that goes over the Mississippi River. This was the only "hill" on the course, but it really wasn't that steep at all.
|Here comes the "hill"!|
|The very long Mississippi River Bridge.|
Did you know that this bridge is incredibly long?? 3 miles be to exact. After crossing the bridge, we were officially in Mississippi! First two-state race that I've done. We were 16 ish miles into the course by this point and (besides for the turns coming out of the start chute) we had made exactly ZERO turns. This race was taking point-to-point very seriously! It would be another almost 5 miles until we made a turn!
|Point-to-point - FOR REALZ!|
Once across the bridge and in Mississippi, the course was less than scenic, but there was no more running into the wind. We ran along a very boring road for a very long time. I will say here that course support was great! There were well stocked aid stations every mile (water, gatorade). The water was brown, but no biggie. Several aid stations had GU, fruit, and/or candy. All aid stations had at least one potty, most had two. Many locals had set up cheering stations along the course which I always like to see. The local community took a great deal of pride in the event. I had several people ask me where I was from and was sorry to disappoint them when I answered Mississippi (well, I'm not from Mississippi, but I didn't think it was the appropriate time to go through my whole life story with them).
By mile 18, my "training run" was going great, but my legs were starting to get a little tired. I had to keep reminding myself that I really only had to keep up my even pace until mile 22, so I tried to stay the course for those next 4 miles. I hit mile 22 at 4:00:12 (and this included a 3 minute potty break at mile 4.5). Mile splits had been pretty even except for the 4 walk breaks I took to take my GU at miles 5, 10, 15, and 20 (and the potty break). At this point, I commenced to walking a lot (consistent with my plan), but still made a mini goal of finishing under 5 hours.
|We ran through a nice neighborhood in Greenville, MS from mile 21-23 ish.|
The last few miles wound through a very nice neighborhood and then headed towards downtown Greenville, MS. I crossed the finish line in 4:51:20. I was pleased! Got my medal and my space blanket then waited for Cuatro and JB. I had lost them at about mile 4.
|Cuatro and JB at the finish!|
There was a boatload of delicious food waiting for us at the end! Great spread even at 5 plus hours - Moon Pies (which are absolutely disgusting), granola bars, donuts, pizza, ice cream (YES!!!), red beans and rice, and various other snacks.
|Ice cream after a marathon? Yes, please!|
|Shipley's donuts. Apparently these are famous...|
|Stacks of Domino's Pizzas|
It was slightly chilly, so we changed out of wet clothes and then came back to hang out for a bit.
|In front of creepy building.|
|The coolest post marathon outfit change ever!|
|Badass marathon finishers|
We hung out with a few fellow Maniacs for a bit, one of which had just done the Sedona Marathon BAREFOOT the weekend before!!! Earlier in the week, he had posted pics of his feet after doing this! I am still having nightmares about that picture!
|Me with my new Maniac friends! Eddie (on the left) is crazy barefoot man, Edward (on the right) will finish his 50 states by the summer.|
Overall, I was very impressed with the organization of this race. For an inaugural event, it was top notch! Aid stations were plentiful and well-stocked with hydration (brown water and Gatorade), fuel, port-o-potties, and cheery volunteers. Finish line festivities were also excellent. Five hour marathoners sometimes run the risk of having few options at the end of a race, but this was not the case for this race. TONS of food at the finish! They were even giving people entire pizzas to take home with them since they had so much food! There were also bands playing music and all-you-can-drink beer! The bling was great too!
Now for the next two weeks I will focus on rest and recovery in preparation for the RnR NOLA Marathon. I have hopes of PRing there, but I'm not going to stress myself out too much worrying about it!