Saturday, January 07, 2012

Mississippi Blues Marathon, Jackson MS

Marathon number 62, state number 43. Seven left: Vermont, New Hampshire, Maryland, West Virginia, New Mexico, Alaska, and Hawaii. We have a plan for running a marathon in each of those states in 2012. Lots of things can go wrong though - we’ll see if it all works out.

My race:

  • No injuries! HOORAY. More below in the "whining" section.
  • I explained my situation to one guy, that I was running with cancer, seeking to finish the 50 states while I could still run, and he congratulated me on that active lifestyle, complaining that too many people with incurable cancer are too busy dying.
  • I’m not sure that I know any of those people; the ones I know in the support group are pretty busy living, but he may be right.
  • I started a little slowly because the race course was hilly, so it’s possible that I could have gone a little faster, but not much.
  • For the first seven miles I ran with Elvis! He liked to talk, so he ran my pace, but he was breathing pretty hard and I eventually left him behind to talk with some other folks.
  • One man in the race ran 113 marathons last year. By comparison, I ran 13 and thought it was a lot. He ran more than two a week.- I’m not even sure how you do that! It must be a logistical nightmare just getting from one place to another.
The Marathon:
  • Organization was great.
  • Volunteers were wonderful! We drove the race course the day before the race, and Sunshine commented that it would take a million volunteers to keep us on course and guard the side streets. Yup, it did, and there were a million of them!
  • Mile markers were nice, and hard to miss (though I missed a few anyway).
  • Aid stations were plentiful, with both water and energy drink, and there were at least three gel stations.
  • It’s hilly! We spent more time and distance going up or down than we did on the flat. No complaint - they said it would be hilly.
  • There was music here and there, and I enjoyed it.
  • Food after the race was great.
  • Complaints:
    • The course was entirely on city streets, and not more than a mile of those streets were closed to traffic. A lot of the race was in residential neighborhoods, and traffic there was light, but some was on more heavily traveled roads with traffic moving faster. That’s never very comfortable.
    • The running lane was always coned off, but on most streets this put the runners on the edge of the road, where the running surface was usually sloped sideways. I’m very happy and a little surprised that I didn’t have any knee or hip problems, as I have in the past from this kind of course.
    • The streets of Jackson are in very poor condition. Runners definitely had to watch their step to avoid tripping on a bump or stepping into a pothole.
    • I know that it’s hard to lay out a course, but this one didn’t take us past the current state capitol building or the Supreme Court building, and I’m not sure about other landmarks. I don’t remember many city parks, or any other scenic areas (rivers?), mostly residences, including a few burned-out ones. I did see lots of churches, though.
    • Bottom line: I didn’t like the course. I have no other complaints about the race at all.
  • The PFS (runner’s knee) showed up by mile seven but never really bothered. Hooray!
  • Similarly, the abdominal wall strain (sports hernia) also showed up around mile seven but never became a problem.
  • At one point my left leg went a little numb for a while, then slowly returned to normal. It happened while I was walking. I hope this was an anomaly and not a new problem.
Splits: 37:16 (3 mi), 38:04 (3 mi, chatting w Elvis), 12:19, 11:49, 12:11, 25:39 (2 mi), 12:58, 11:50, 1:30 (0.11 mi, half-marathon point 2:43:37), 10:52 (remainder of mile 14), 12:37, 25:21, 12:12, 16:40 (potty stop), 12:54, 12:53, 13:42, 12:34, 13:03, 12:30, 14:37 (1.22 miles to finish). Total 5:33:33, according to my watch. Official results are not up yet and may be slightly different.

This was a city street, and a lot of them were as rough as this half mile:

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