Mississippi Blues 1/2 Marathon Race Recap

Half Marathon #26
State #18
1st race of 13 in 2013

I was lucky enough to sign up for this race when it opened for only $35. The goal for the race was to treat it as a training run-which I am thankful I did since I was coming down with (and currently on meds) some sort of virus.

Pre Race

I picked P up from the airport, we grabbed lunch at Hal and Mals, and headed to the expo. I was excited to see the Lillywhite family again and they were so sweet to bring me a NC ornament! Thanks Lillywhite fam!

The expo was small, organized and had lots of volunteers. They did have products for sale (I needed GU) in case you need to know for future reference.

Later that evening we met Kim and S for dinner at Bravo-it was great, and packed full of runners.  Sorry, no pics. I was enjoying the company!  We decided since the Marriott was so close to the start, we would meet at 6:40 in the lobby on race morning.

I got up around 5:45. I was up all night blowing my nose and felt pretty crappy. I went downstairs to grab peanut butter and a bagel and was shocked to see people eating a FULL breakfast. Pastries, eggs, hashbrowns, etc. People do this?? Anyway, I ate my breakfast and my Kona Kola NUUN, got dressed, and headed to meet Kim.

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I rarely check a bag, but wanted to bring warm clothes and my race shirt to exchange for a smaller size (note-organizers were great and changed out after race-no issues. Even though they are women’s cut-they run big). We had just enough time to get to the start, check a bag, and get to the start line for the very blues-y national anthem-electric guitar style.  This was the first race that runners actually respected the start. It was only 3,000 people (marathon and full) and there were no corrals BUT no walkers in the front. It was a beautiful race miracle.

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Miles 1-8

I had plenty of room to open up my stride at the beginning and focus on my own running. I did my best to hold back and stay around an 8:45 pace. I knew the race was going to be hilly, and with being sick and having asthma, I needed to be safe. Jess told me a few days before to treat it as a training run, make it effortless. Don’t push too hard. And this is exactly what I did.

The 1/2 marathoners split at mile 3 and we ran through some nice neighborhoods.  To be very honest, I don’t remember much about the course other than it was was pretty boring, hilly, and I was thankful that I brought my music.  I stayed in a zone and got lost in my thoughts.

Miles 9-13.1

I knew the last 4 miles were meant for me to step it up a bit and get to MGP (note-I know that 8:18 isn’t enough for a BQ-but that’s what my plan says right now until I get faster) of 8:18 for the end. I honestly felt great and had plenty left in the tank-the only hard part was the hills and the road.  The last few miles of the course didn’t seem to be in a very good part of town, and the roads were rough and full of pot holes.  I knew we were close when I could see the hotel and turned the corner to see P taking pictures. I was glad to be done! Of course the race would have an uphill finish.

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Official Results

I’m very happy with my results. I am glad I played it safe since I was sick and used this race as a training run. I’m also glad I have the willpower to stick to my goal and do what Jess says…see, a 1/2 marathon can still be part of a training plan!

1:52:18

151/1345 overall 

34/771 females

8/110 females 30-34

Garmin Results

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Post Race

I grabbed my warm clothes from bag check, exchanged my shirt, and went to find P and S to cheer for Kim. We didn’t hang around long after Kim finished-but did go grab some post race food. I was VERY impressed: pizza, pb & banana, tomato basil soup, red beans and rice, cookies, bananas, coffee. For such a small race-this was great. I had half a sandwich and red beans and rice since I knew we were going to brunch.

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We heard a little bit of the blues, snapped a few pics, and headed back to shower before going to brunch.

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must admit, one of my fav things about the post race! something not terrible for you!

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I wanted to make sure Kim and S had their share of southern food at brunch- and a little taste of New Orleans too.

beignet heaven.
beignet heaven.

Kim and S had to catch a flight and me and P were staying another day. We debated on leaving-it was raining and we quickly saw how empty Jackson was, but decided to just stay and relax. We literally did nothing all Saturday afternoon, went to dinner at Parlor Market, and then went out on a Blues Crawl.

This woman was AMAZING!
This woman was AMAZING!

Overall

Favs:

  • Bling
  • Post Race
  • Volunteers
  • Swag

Not so Much:

  • The course
  • The city

The Bling:

Seriously, one of the coolest medals I have now. The shirt is okay, the bag is nice, and it included a blues CD and a harmonica.

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Final thoughts:

This one is tough. In my opinion, this is the best MS race out there for those of you racing the states. ESPECIALLY if you get in early and get a good deal. I wouldn’t spend the money to travel for this race if you aren’t racing the states. Perfect for those that can drive easily (Birmingham, Mobile, anyone in MS, LA) but not for those traveling and just wanting a good race. The course is boring and the roads are tough to run on, not to mention Jackson doesn’t have a ton going on (downtown literally felt like a Will Smith end of the world type movie on Saturday night). BUT, the race itself is still good-the volunteers, bling, attention to detail, post race and spectators make it that way. It’s just not great. Do this if you are racing the states or live close, skip it if not.

 

 

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Elizabeth

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