Mississippi River Inaugural Marathon (1/2) Recap

This past Saturday I ran the Inaugural Mississippi River {half} Marathon in Greenville, Mississippi.  I had decided to run the race in honor of my stepmom Starla’s ongoing battle with breast cancer.  She’s actually going back this morning for more surgery.  They thought they got everything with the double mastectomy last week but found a small amount of cancer in one of her lymph nodes.  We’re all praying that this will be the final surgery.539568_582279051800520_2118421503_n

Friday afternoon my running buddy Stacey and I made the 5 ½ hour drive up to Greenville.  We arrived at packet pickup and were greeted by amazing friendly volunteers.  In just a matter of minutes we got our bibs, shirt and some freebies (GU chomps and a cowbell) then headed to find some last minute cold weather gear.

bibs

Apparently Stacey and I both missed the memo that it was going to be FREEZING race morning.  Whoops.  We found some adorable gloves on clearance at JCPenney but no head gear.  Then it was time to grab some grub.  We went to a restaurant, Garfields, in the mall (where packet pickup was) and waited….and waited…and waited for our food.  It finally came but wasn’t anything special.  However, it was food which I guess is all that really mattered.

food

My turkey avocado sandwich with very little turkey and basically no avocado.
And french fries I didn’t want…

Stacey and I headed to the hotel to get ready for an early morning wakeup call.  Since this was a point-to-point race the runners had to be bused to the starting line.  We had been cautioned several times through e-mails to make sure to be at the buses no later then 6:30 or risk being left Saturday morning.  We made it to the bus area by 6 and hopped on.  I have never been so happy to be on a school bus in my life; it was 35* degrees outside and I was in a skirt.  Fantastic planning, Gina.

buses

We made the 13ish mile trek to the starting line in Arkansas and were treated to a beautiful sunrise.

sunrise

herding area

I enjoy the irony of the picture. The check out the sign.
The way the buses lined up, it really felt like herding area for the runners.

MS River

The downfall of being bused in was that we had roughly 1.5 hours of waiting time before the start.  I snapped some pictures and tried not to freeze.

Brrrr

Before I knew it we were lining up for the start.  I had my sub 2 hour goal in mind but I really doubted that I was going to be able to do it; especially since I would be squaring off against an incredibly strong {and cold} headwind.  See the thing about running in the Delta is that it’s all open plains; no trees or buildings to block the wind.  On the plus side, the Delta is incredibly flat.  The only incline was the bridge and that was basically flat, too.

before running

Ready to run but I can’t feel my legs…or my toes…or my nose…

3…..2….1….. And we were off.  I knew that I would need to maintain around a 9:10 pace to get my sub 2 goal but I wanted to give myself a bit of wiggle room so I planned to keep it around 9.  The first 2 ½ miles took us over the Mississippi River; the bridge was absolutely gorgeous.  Looking up and seeing the suspension beams was so cool.

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Miles 3-6 were the absolute toughest for me.  My toes were numb and I was having fairly bad calf pain, most likely from not stretching / warming up properly.  Coupled with the headwind I really thought about ditching my sub 2 goal and just using this race as the training run for the marathon in 2 weeks.  Then I thought about my stepmom and how she couldn’t give up with her fight.  I felt terrible having even considered backing down.

Mile 7 was where I put my big girl panties on and stopped internally whining. I had been watching my splits and knew that I could still pull off a sub 2.  I decided to lose myself in the run and just have fun.  The crowd support was amazing and I was having a blast high-fiving any poor soul that happened to put their hand out in my direction.  I thanked the volunteers at the water stops and shook a few of the police officers hands for directing traffic.  The next time you’re running, thank the people who are helping out, race volunteers are seriously amazing!

Mile 10 came and I knew that there was only a 5k left.  I remember actually feeling a bit disappointed knowing I only had 27ish minutes left to run; however I was also excited because I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was going to get the sub 2.  I wasn’t fatigued at all and knew I could pick it up a bit. {side note: When you’re just getting into a groove by mile 10, you know you’re made for marathons.}

Mile 13 came and I finally caught a glimpse of the finish line.  Sweetness.  I kicked the speed up and coasted to the finish line at a 7:53 pace for a finish time of 1:58:24.  I’m not usually an emotional runner (I didn’t even tear up after I finished the MCM in memory of my brother) but I actually got a bit choked up thinking about Starla and everything she had just gone through with the double mastectomy.  She is such an amazingly strong and courageous woman and inspired me throughout the entire run.  I was proud of my sub 2 finish but even more proud of Starla.

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splits

My {negative} splits.
You can see where I was having trouble with the early miles.

Stacey also finished very strong (especially for being sick all week) at 2:06.  After the race, a friend of ours that lives in Greenville surprised us.  It was so great seeing her and getting a quick hug.  Then we all headed over to get some food and chocolate milk.

Laura

Donuts

My overall impression with this race is that it was amazing.  With inaugural events you never really know what to expect but the event staff did a great job building hype and then living up to that hype.  From packet pickup, to the finish line, and everything in between, this race was exceptional.  There were plentiful aid stations, volunteers, and phenomenal crowd support with lots of cheers for the runners.  You could tell that the entire town really took pride in this race.  I think this inaugural event was just the tip of the iceberg and that it’s going to become a ‘must-do’ race in this area.  I can’t wait to see how awesome it is next year!

Question:  Have you ever fought hard for a goal? How did you feel once you reached it?

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Weekly Workout Roundup

Looking back on last week, I have mixed emotions on my workouts.  I had some really great ones, and some really terrible ones.  Because I like to focus on the positive first, take a second to check out Saturday’s work  out.  🙂

*BOOM* Sub 2 PR!! I’ll have a full recap later this week, but suffice to say, Saturday’s race was ah-maaaaa-zing!  I kept a pace of 8:54 but what really surprised me is that I totally could have pushed it harder.  So a big thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your encouragement! I really didn’t think that I could do it.

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Another proud moment from last week’s workouts is the fact that I got in 215 {total} pushups.  If you remember, I decided to start the 100 pushup program again after failing to finish it last time.  I just nailed week 4 and today starts week 5.  This is really where it got hard last time but my friend Jennifer from Wine to Weightlifting started a “No More Girly Pushup Challenge” which is helping motivate me.

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Even though I’m 4 weeks ahead of everyone else, I’m really loving the support and encouragement.  Plus there are PRIZES!! Take a second to check it out if you’re interested.

Now let’s talk about where I fell short.  No cross training or weightlifting whatsoever and Tuesday’s 8 mile speed work session ended at only 2 miles.   Rarely do I cut runs short but my heart was just not there.  That was the night before Starla’s surgery and I just couldn’t focus on speed work.  I had full intentions of making it up but then I traveled for work the next day.

So here’s the breakdown of my workouts this week.

workoutroundup

Monday: (am) Yoga – hip flexors, (pm) 6 mile run.

Tuesday: (am) 63 pushups, yoga – sun salutations, (pm) 2 mile run.

Wednesday: travel for work

Thursday: (am) 72 pushups, yoga – hip flexors, (pm) 5 mile run.

Friday: Rest.

Saturday: Mississippi River Inaugural Marathon (13.29 mile in 1:58:24)

Sunday: 80 pushups

The marathon is now less then 2 weeks out which means that my miles are reduced significantly.   BOO.  I didn’t experience any taper madness during the first marathon so hopefully these next two weeks will go by without me clawing my eyeballs out.  I do plan on hitting the gym hard this week for both cross & strength training.

Question:  What was your proud moment from last week?