Driving the course in Jackson, Mississippi on Friday afternoon I'm pretty sure that Sweet Baboo and I were thinking the same thing:
Mo##erfu@#er. For a flat place, there sure are a lot of GD hills here!
(This, of course, was something I mentioned to a volunteer during the race, and she laughed like hell and slapped her knee. "Girl, you gotta go down to the DELTA if you want FLAT!"
Pre-race Breakfast, 4am: leftover Torellini, soy latte and sports drink. Now, I run slowly, about a 12-13 minute pace for these things. If you run faster your tummy probably won't tolerate this breakfast.
Results and recommendations: According to my Garmin I ran a tiny bit faster than at Las Vegas about 5 weeks ago: a 12:54 pace. I did NOT run a negative split this time; I went out way to fast and from then on just watched my average pace go up, and up, and up...my legs really took a beating on those hills.
The road is tilted, so I ran toward the middle where it's flatter (a tip from Bones). There was a lot of potholes; we were joking and calling them Mississippi speed bumps because I know how southerners drive, being one. (I think stock car racing started in the south.)
It was clear as early as mile 4 that the course was long. This was agreed upon by everyone I talked to, and each time I passed a mile marker, Garmin showed 0.22 past that. So they might want to move their start or their finish line to make it 26.2 or have the results adjusted.
There was this one chick that I focused on beating...hey, you got to focus on something, right?
Well, here's why: her family showed up around mile 14, swapped out her bottles and took the things from her that she didn't want to carry any more. RRRRR. Then her sister or something stepped into the course right in front of me to take pictures and I ran smack into her.
HOWEVER, when I passed her, she would pass me back and then slow down and stay the same distance in front of me. WTF? So, I stayed behind her until about a quarter mile from the finish, and with her mom was running with her, rubbing her shoulders and encouraging her, I sprinted past both of them and finished a couple minutes ahead of her. Ha!
(I know, pointless. But satisfying, nonetheless.)
My favorite race volunteer: a Jackson policeman around mile 4.4 scolding all the cars., e.g.: "HEY! You THINK, oh you THINK you're going that way BUT YOU'RE NOT AND--HEY, JUST WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU ARE GOING? oH, i KNOW you aint thinking of cutting through THERE! GET BACK! GET BACK"
Post race there was pizza (athletes and their families ate it all before I finished and hey you fast runners out there, tell your spouses and kids hands off until all the runners are done!) and pasta salad, red beans and rice, bbq, and other such goodies, and a woman singing excellent blues music (of course) on a stage.
Then we headed back for a soak and then headed for iHop, our favorite post-race place.
Later that night we were given free admission to Hal and Mal's Blues Club. They had an excellent concert featuring "Super Chiken," and we were also given two free drinks each. I had 2-cheese nachos, which were excellent, smothered in salsa, cheese, and black beans. We joined Bill Anders and his family who were a lot of fun, but it was difficult to talk because it was a noisy place. Bill ran the half marathon and his family provided cheering and support.
I would highly recommend this race. It was small, fun, friendly, well-supported (could use more potties, though! Some ran into some of the local businesses to pee) and a nice, but challenging, course. Jackson is a very nice little town with a great local coffee chain (try CUPS) and great food (Bravo Italian restaurant and Hal and Mal's) and music. Oh, and race shwag included sunglasses, Mississippi Blues CD, a hammer gel, and a very nice long sleeve technical t-shirt.
But, do not get a margarita at Hal and Mals. Just don't. Get a whiskey sour or Alabama Slammer instead, or a microbrew. Just trust me on this.
So, my legs are trashed. Sitting on a jet-propelled pencil for a couple hours didn't help. I'll let Sweet Baboo talk about his results.
Next up: Sandia Snowshoe race, January 26th