Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Mississippi Blue and First Light Double... Post Race Thoughts

Wow, what a double! This past weekend I ran the Mississippi Blues Marathon (Jackson, MS) and the First Light Marathon (Mobile, AL). I planned this double as my "southern, warm, winter marathons"... guess what? It was FREEZING!!!!

You may remember my last double in NH and ME went very smoothly. Wheather was a little rainy, but overall I felt great the entire way through! The freezing temperature shot my race plan right out the door. Originally I had been planning to run pretty even for both... around a 4:20. That was I wasn't pushing myself, but I also wasn't spending too much time running and making myself tired. That so did NOT happen...

My Race (if you want to hear more about the races, and less about my personal race experience, please scroll down... I understand...)
Jan 9, 2010. Jackson, MS- 07:00. Temp: 18, with windchill, feels like 6 (acc to the weather channel). OMG... I've been avoiding running outside in Cinci when it has been in the 20's... and now I have to run in 6!!! Who DOES that? So I did what I thought was best and ran HARD. I ran hard for 3 reasons...

1) It's been 6 weeks since my last one... with fresh legs, I thought I was running around an 8:30/8:45 race, but when I looked at my watch it was closer to 7:50. Oops
2) It was so cold I just needed to get it over!!!!
3) It was so cold I could NOT feel my legs (or the pain I was in) til the end.
I stopped twice in port-a-johns just to get my hands out of the cold wind and warm for about 5 minutes. It really didn't help. I thought for SURE I had frost bite on at least ONE finger. I ended the race around a 3:58! With the 10 minutes hand-warming stops, that was WAY faster than I wanted. Uhhhh Ohhhh

Jackson, MS- ~12:00. I've slowly warmed my hands up in the hotel sink- warming the water every few seconds. Then I took a shower as HOT as it would possibly got for 20 minutes... STILL NOT WARM!!! That race chilled me to the bone. However, a little bit later, my legs thaw out and I realize... ouch, I'm hurting a little. Maybe running hard to "get it over with" wasn't the best idea... I have another race in the morning.

Jan 10, 2010. Mobile, AL- 07:30. I'm lined up on yet another bitterly cold starting line with aching legs and a knee thats not feeling wonderful. Crap, crap, crap. Oh well, there goes the start gone and we're off!!! By mile 3 I realize that my whole body aches, but no matter the speed it's going to hurt the same. Oh so wisely I come up with the same theory to the race as yesterday "just run fast and get it over with!"... when will I ever learn!?!?!

Mile: 10. Not only do I ache all over, but my knee is realllly bothering me. It MAY have something to do with the new form I was trying to use (will discuss in a later post, but 3 words... Born To Run). So I decide to take it a little easier.... slowing down to a 9:15. Ok, this isn't so bad... just keep going.

Mile 19. The sun is actually starting to warm me up... YAYY!!!! I take off one layer. This is my 45th mile for the weekend and I'm sort of hoping to go on auto-pilot til its over. Bad idea #2 for the weekend. I go around a tight corner coming out of one of the universities and hit a rock. WHAM!!!! Oh hello ground!!! I don't even think I had my hands out. I was running then I was on the ground. My knee (the bad one) hit first and my ankle got caught on the rock. Loveeeeely. One of the volunteers tries to get me to a table to get somebody to pick me up. I yell at him (oops, sorry!!!!), get up, and hobble as fast as I can away. Ugh... 7 miles and all I can feel is a zinging in my knee and ankle. So I walk/jog the rest of the way to get this mess over with!!!! Not great, but I ended in a 4:45'ish... Oh well, next double we'll see if I can do better!


About the Race... Mississippi Blues Marathon

Pre Race~ The expo was actually a lot of fun. There weren't a TON of vendors, but you could get everything you needed. Also... Bill Rogers was there giving a little speech of sorts. I told Wild Willie that I would love to meet Bill, but I didn't expect him to actually go get the man and bring him over!! New people scare me... especially new people who have won 4 Boston Marathons and made the sport what it is today. He chats with us for a while, we turn to go down stairs and see a man coming up. He looks AWWWFULLY familiar and gives us a little wave and a smile... it's Dean Karnazes!! Woah, I'm in dorky marathon idol heaven!!!
(Pic right courtesy of Bill "Wild Willy" Theis~ Steph, Wild Willy, Bill Rogers, and Pete!)

The Race~ COLD! Ok, not the fault of the marathon. They DID prep as well as they could, offering hot drinks at some spots and heated tents at the end! The course was kind of boring, but I liked the flat/rolling hill mix they had going on. The course was also VERY well guarded, with police men everywhere. And the volunteers? WONDERFUL!!!!... thanking us every mile for coming out and running! Seriously??? You're standing out here in 6 degrees handing us water and YOU are thanking US for coming?? Woah... holy southern hospitality!
(Left: Photo courtesy of Bill "Wild Willy" Theis)

Post Race~ Didn't stay much post-race, but the tents were warm with LOTS of hot food items, including soup, hot drinks, pizza, the works! OOH and the medal? Tooo cool! A guitar medal with a cool lanyard (pictures later).

Thoughts~ GREAT race overall with an obviously fast course. The race organization was wonderful, especially facing unexpected, abnormal cold weather! Great swag and very nice volunteers!

About The Race... First Light Marathon
Pre Race~ The expo here was a little lighter. 1 clothing/running stand and maybe a few people selling drinks. Prior to the race there was a hotel to hangout/stretch in and stay warm.

The Race~ If you're looking for a VERY quite, calm run, this is it! It was just relaxing and fun... well except for the falling part (but that's my own fault). The entire course is just silent... especially in the morning. The cars aren't really allowed on most of the streets we're running. The spectators were definitely fun- scattered through the race.

Post Race~ There was an entire lunch provide after the race! They had pork, chicken sandwiches, different kinds of salads, hot chocolate, cookies... yummm!!! They also had a heated tent for those halfies or early finishers... by the time I was done it was warm and not needed.

Thoughts~ A nice quiet race. Average course, but a fun run.


  1. Oh holy cold! I can't believe you finished the second marathon after falling and with your legs in a state of failure. That takes some real dedication. I can't even imagine what was going through your head at that point. Congrats on another double!

  2. I just stumbled upon your blog! I'm doing something similar (on a much smaller scale with Half marathons) but your blog and goal inspires me! I ran the Misssissippi Blues Half this past weekend, and holy moly - you are not kidding. It was FREEZING!

  3. Great job on the double! You totally killed it at Mississippi and trooped through First Light!!! AMAZING as always! Sam from Operation Jack did the same double this weekend too!!! Great job to all the runner's with that crazy weather!!

  4. Great job on the double! That's some COLD running!

  5. The guitar medal sounds awesome! I loved your comment about dorky marathon heaven! What a duo to see so close together! I fell in my last marathon (The Maine one you did) and was so worried I was hurt and couldn't finish. I was fine but rather shocked as I was also running one minute and on the ground the next. But I was only doing one marathon. You are amazing with your doubles!

  6. What do you mean 'do better'? That was great! Freezing cold, wind chill, hidden rocks...and you still finish!

    Yeah for #22 & #23! Great job!