Start Time: 7:00 am
Temperature: 38 degrees
Division Place: 21/111
Gender Place: 158/771
Division Place: 21/111
Gender Place: 158/771
Finish Time: 2:07:38
S and I met Elizabeth (Running for Bling) in the lobby of the Jackson Marriott at 6:40am. That's right, 20 minutes before race start. The lobby was crowded with runners, huddling inside as long as possible, avoiding the bitter cold outside.
|I thought I'd need my jacket and gloves...|
During the quick walk to the start, E kept saying it didn't feel that cold and she regretted her outfit choice.
I agreed, and was able to give S my jacket and gloves (since he wasn't racing) at the last minute.
|Pretty Jackson sky|
E and I split up, before a bluesy rendition of the national anthem. I made a joke to S about the helicopter "fly over" before the race. There were pacers, but this race was smaller than I expected (sold out at 3000 runners for the full and half combined). I put my music on for the first time in weeks, and we were off 5 minutes late.
E had an elaborate pacing plan from her coach, much faster than I would be running. I hadn't logged a lot of miles in November and December and this course has
You can check out the course and elevation map HERE. When I showed it to S the night before the race, he described the course as sawtooth.
My plan? To run strong/aggressively up each, um, incline. Then relax, drop my shoulders, lengthen my stride, breathe deeply, use my arms, on the declines and flats. Hoping this would get me to a 2:10-2:15 finish time, without looking at my pace very often.
The marathoners stayed with us for the first three miles. We ran out of downtown, past a medical center and hospital. At the hospital, a car was trying to cross in front of runners. The police were not aiding the driver, so it was awkward, to say the least. One runner banged her hands on the driver's hood as he inched forward, other runners yelled at the poor guy, who yelled back, "I'm just trying to get to the hospital!"
At this point, the cops chastised the runners for hassling the driver. I ran behind the car, confused as to why the cops didn't leave the hospital access road and come out to direct the traffic and runners. There had to be a way to accommodate all of us.
After the split, we ran through a pretty neighborhood, then under the freeway at mile 4 and onto closed roads (until mile 6) that paralleled the freeway. Not pretty.
There was a band under the overpass and as we came out the other side, I saw my new favorite race sign ever.
|I found the sign maker at the finish, and she was nice enough to pose for me.|
Some guy was running with his dog. Huh?!? Very annoying. I stopped to take a chocolate gel at the mile 5 aid station and got a good look at the guy. He was a bandit! No bib number on his front or back. We were on closed roads that clearly weren't a normal running route (no shoulder). Dude, next time you bandit a race, keep your dog at home.
I took my gel early, since I knew the course had gels at mile 7. I was alternating water and Gatorade at the aid stations (which were very plentiful, well done race organizers).
Sadly, at mile 7, they were only handing out the yuckiest flavor of Gu ever (Triberry). I had to pass, and chose Gatorade at the remaining water stops.
The back half of the course felt flatter overall to me. I was glad I had given S my jacket and gloves, but my behind and quads took a long time to warm up.
The course passed our hotel, near the finish, so I knew when there was a half mile left. Of course, the finish was uphill, but I attacked that like every other incline. I was delighted at how strong I finished. I did what I set out to do.
Don't quote me, but I think I liked the rolling course. It was never boring, because I felt like there was always another hill just around the corner. My legs felt good, since different muscles were used going up and down (I think a flat course can wear out my calves).
|I don't know that dude in blue. But, last one in gets an action shot. E, P and S were cheering for me!|
There was lots of post race food. I couldn't eat much, but I did see beer, cookies, beans and rice, pizza, bananas, coffee, water and...
|....peanut butter and banana sandwiches (a race first for me).|
A blues band was playing at the finish. We took a few photos, then made the short walk back to our hotel.
|Check out our gigantic guitar medals. Awesome!|
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