I don't know why I have such a hard time getting my race reports written up. I have run two more Marathons since Rocket City. Mississippi Blues in January and Surf City on February 7th.
Marathon # 10 and my first marathon as a Marathon Manic.
The Expo was nice, smallish but the location was great so there was room to move around. Throughout the whole Expo there were television screens showing some of the soliders in Iraq who had participated in the "First Wave" of the Mississippi Blues race. I cannot see a young man in an Army uniform without tearing up so I was very teary eyed walking around!! My son Brett is in the Army and is currently in Iraq. He was not a part of the race but I couldn't help but look for him amongst the sea of faces.
The best part of the Expo was running into our friend and fellow Maniac Carol E. she is such a friendly, fun, bubbly person and gives great hugs!!! We also got to see and say hi to Dane Rauschenberg of "See Dane Run" fame.
Our hotel The Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Jackson was close to the Expo but not quite as close to the start and finish line as I had hoped.
It was freezing cold!!! and since we were downtown we had to valet park at the hotel so it would be a pain to get the car and then we didnt' really know where anything was so we opted to walk a few blocks to a small restaurant that was serving spagehetti and meatballs as a special for the Race participatnts. The restaurant was OLD.. and you could tell that most of the customers other than the other racers had probably been going there every Friday night for YEARS!! but the food and service were very good. Walking back to the Hotel after dinner was Freezing cold and I kept thinking how hard it was going to be to run the Marathon in those temps! actually it was the wind that was so killer!! Once back in our room we laid out all our gear and headed to bed, not as early as I would have liked but then I never get to bed as early as I want to on race eve.
First thing Arland does when his alarm goes off is check the local tempature on his iphone. I really didn't want to know but it was 17 degrees!!! So I piled on the clothes. Tights, skirt, longsleeve tech shirt and finally my Marathon Maniac singlet. Gloves, bondi band and a throwaway jacket and I was ready to go. On the ride down in the elevator I got the first taste of Maniac love.. The Marathon Maniacs are such a fun bunch of people and there were a ton of them at this race. Somehow we managed to run into Carol before the race started, got seperated at the port a potties and then ran into each other again at the start line. Oh the start line what a confusing thing that was, we had come from a side street and there was a huge clump of people, thankfully Carol was one of those people so we just fell in with her. I knew we were too close to the front but didn't realize how close until we started. Before the race started they had a huge screen t.v. thingy going with the troops from Iraq counting down the start for us.. OMG I was bawling!!! The National Athem always gets me but seeing those soliders put me over the edge. I didnt' have much time to wallow in the emotion though because when they said go we were right there crossing the start line just seconds behind the elites! I of course was feeling extremely guilty but the course was really wide at that point and I stayed as far to the right as I could. It was fun but also made us run a little faster than I wanted to start with. By the second or third mile I was ready to shed my jacket, it was a heavy jean jacket and it felt so good to get it off!! I also had my foil blanket from Rocket City but I wasnt' quite ready to throw it away yet so I tied it around my waist. I really thought I would throw it away after a few more miles but I never did and I got many compliments on my "skirt" the whole race. Carol had run on ahead of us at the start but a couple miles later I could see her pontytail bobbing just up ahead. When we caught up with her she introduced us to the man she was running with. Larry Macon who just happens to be in the Guiness book of world records for running the most marathons in a year, 105!!! He has also been Maniac of the year for several years. He is truly a Maniac but also a really, really nice guy!!! We loved talking to him and from that point until the half way point we would do a little hopscotching with each other and whenever he would see us coming he would tell whoever he was running with "here comes Arkansas" :)
I had so much fun running in my Maniac shirt, I got to talk to so many more people than normal, all the Maniacs are just so friendly and many of them would slow down and run and talk with me for a little while. It almost always starts with "hey maniac" "what # is this one" where are you from etc. I LOVED IT!!!!! Combine the maniac shirt with my foil skirt and I got lots of attention!! One supporter commented that I had on a "bubble boy" skirt! and many many more would say "great skirt" the first time someone said that to me I didn't realize what they were talking about, I always wear a skirt so I just thought they meant my regular skirt but after a look down I realized they meant the foil skirt.
I was very impressed with this Marathon. The volunteers were so awesome it was 17 degrees with a feels like 9 degrees wind chill and there were hundred of them everywhere, they had every single intersection and public driveway manned to protect us from traffic. They all thanked us for running in Mississippi and I would always say THANK YOU for being out here in this freezing cold to protect us!!! I felt so bad for them, we were staying warm by running but they had to be freezing!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I started getting a weird pain on the top of my right foot around mile 4 I tried to ignore it, but it was not going away!!! it would change in intensity but it constantly hurt. I had also started needing a bathroom about this time but whenever we would pass a port a potty there would be a line and I didn't want to have to wait. Finally it was becoming urgent and of course now there were not port a potties to be found. Luckily we could see a gas station up ahead and decided we would go in there and what a great decision that was!! No line, warm and a place to wash and dry your hands!! It was great! Unfortunately I spent more time in there than I would have liked but I felt much better. When I think about this race I think about the sea of maniac shirts, Arland and HILLS!! Jackson is very hilly especially the last half! We passed Larry for the last time right before the halfway timing mat. He was planning on running another marathon the next day in Mobile so he was slowing down and taking it easy for the last half. Everyone wanted to know if we were doing the double.. one of the reasons there were so many maniacs at this race was because of the close proximity to Mobile making it an easy double. I really want to do a double sometime but I realized after jackson that I am not quite ready for that yet.
Around mile 16 mile stomach started revolting again and I had to stop for a minute and then walk a bit to let things settle. Sometimes that helps and I can resume running and sometimes I can't, luckily this was one of those times where the walking settled things enough that I was able to run a couple of miles until we found a port a pottie. This stop also ate up a lot of time, mostly because my skin was frozen and I was having a hard time removing all of my layers! LOL
Arland was great!!! This was the first time we ran a whole marathon together and he was really supportive and encouraging. I didn't even want to hit him...well ok maybe a couple of times when he was walking some of the hills that I was having to run so that I could catch up with him!!!
The pain on the top of my foot was getting worse and was travelling up my shin, I was really starting to panic thinking of all the upcoming marathons I have planned. Finally around mile 20 I stopped leaned down (not an easy thing to do at mile 20) untied and retied my shoe and it immediately felt better, they damage was done but at least it wasn't the same intense pain it had been for the past 15 miles. Why didn't I think of retying my show sooner???
I kept thinking that eventually the hills would end but they never did!!! I think it was around mile 23 I met Diane Bolton she is a titanium level maniac and ran 31 marathons in 12 months!! she is on a quest to run all 50 states before she turns 50 and she is way ahead of the game, I think she only had 8 or so left to do. She is a much faster runner than me but she was having some knee issues and was taking it easy. I really enjoyed talking to her and since then we have become facebook friends and I am able to keep up with her 50state quest.
Finally although you couldn't really see the finish line I knew it was close, if I could just get up this last hill and then ;yes.. there is was. Arland and I ran through the finish line holding hands and I was sooo happy!!!!!! I had really wanted to do better but with the two bathroom breaks and the hills I was ok with 5:27.
We got our really cool guitar medals and headed to a warming tent for some food. All of the good stuff was gone but they did have some little sandwiches. We spoke to a few more maniacs and then headed out for the long cold walk back to our Hotel. Along the way we struck up a conversation with another marathoner, who although not a Maniac has run a ton of Marathons.. I think he said 100 or more. He was really nice and we talked about different races and the fact that Arland and I might try to do the 50 state thing, he told us that when it came time for us to do Michigan to be sure to do the Grand Rapids Marathon, turns out he is the Race Director! too cool!!!
Jackson really kicked my booty!! I was sore for close to two weeks, I have not been this sore since the summer I was training for my first marathon, but I would recommend this Marathon to all my running friends!!!!! just be prepared for lots of hills!!!