2014 Spring Race Reports (Part 1): Like Hamlet in the original Klingon

5 07 2014

In the movie Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Chancellor Gorkon answers a quote from Hamlet by stating,  “You have not experienced Shakespeare until you have read him in the original Klingon.”  I can’t say that I have.  My knowledge of the Klingon language is far too limited.  However,  I do quote the fellow often enough, as I did this past spring when I railed against the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and pondered whether “to run or not to run.”

The season was supposed to have proceeded thusly:
March – NC Half Marathon brings long run distance to 13.1 miles.
April 5 – Abe Lincoln Half Marathon in Springfield, plus 2-3 miles brings long run distance to 15 or 16 miles.
A few more weeks of training brings total long run distance to 20 miles.
May 18 – Cellcom Green Bay Marathon marks my first completion of a full marathon.
However, like the Klingon prince Khamlet of the famed play, I was to find myself opposing a sea of troubles instead of following my original schedule.

On April 4, I drove down to Springfield with every intention of having a wonderful weekend:  a room at the Hilton, post-race steak dinner with a friend, and joyful celebration of kicking off the 2014 running season in splendid fashion.  I felt a little queasy early in the day but blamed it on too much coffee.  I figured it would resolve itself with time, as my rare digestive issues usually do.  As I picked up my packet, the volunteer who handed me my bib said “ooh lucky…777″ as she handed it to me with a smile. photo (3)

Shortly afterward, back in my hotel room, I began to get chills.  Feeling like something flu-ish might be at hand, I figured I’d take a nap.  I don’t nap as a rule but felt oddly tired.  I woke up 3 hours later when a forceful and insistent rush of diarrhea sent me running to the bathroom.  It continued all night long.

Needless to say, I did not run the half-marathon.  I spent the next day and a half wrapped in a blanket and watching TV when I wasn’t sweating, sleeping or pooping.  What a bummer!  At one point, I looked out my hotel window and snapped a photo of city.  It was the closest I would get to my wonderful weekend.

photo 1 (4)Phooey.

But as always, like Hamlet, opposing the sea of troubles in order to end them seemed like the wisest thing to do.  It took almost 2 weeks for my system (after 5 days of rather dramatic stomach woes) to mend itself and for me to get back to running at full strength.  This type of setback is not a dealbreaker in marathon training and I decided I simply needed another half-marathon to help me pick up where I left off.  The excitement and challenge of race is always a source of inspiration for me, and that was what I set out to find.

The Eggshell Shuffle on April 19 in the nearby Chicago suburb of Elk Grove Village looked like just the thing.  It is run every year in Busse Woods which is a beautiful 3700 acre forest preserve with large fishing ponds, boating and even its own herd of elk.  Unlike Springfield, which is some 200 miles south of our local area and usually about 10 degrees warmer, the weather around here in mid-April is as likely to be snowy as sunny and the day turned out to be quite a chilly one.  Nonetheless, I showed up and did my best.  The first few miles were slow going because I was a bit underdressed but as the morning progressed and the sun rose in the sky, it turned out to be a beautiful day.  The warmer it got, the more energy I seemed to find.  eggshell mapBy Mile 10 when others were slowing down, I just kept going faster and faster.  I finished with a better time than I have managed in 2 years.  It felt great and I was happy.eggshell shirt

In fact I was SO happy that instead of merely picking up where I left off in my training schedule and doing 2 miles after the race, bringing the long run total to 15 miles, I decided to add 4 miles on to the outing and log 17 miles instead.  “Why not?” I mused, “I feel wonderful today.”  I would just skip ahead in the training to where I was supposed to be on April 19 instead of where I really was.  No different than cramming for a test, right?

Duh!

The next morning I woke up and felt pretty decent except for a mild pain in the arch of my right foot.  I didn’t think much of it.  I rested a day and did a short run/walk the day after that and the pain was still there.  I tried different shoes and did some aerobics the following day and then lifted weights the day after that.  Still a little pain but less.  I figured, “it’s getting better.”  The next day, a Thursday, I went out for some speedwork.  By 1/2 mile into the session, SHARP pain with each footfall began to course through my right foot.  “What the hell?! This better not be a stress fracture,” I remember thinking as I limped home.  The pain increased over that day and into the next.  I found a pair of dress shoes with a 2 inch heel that took my weight off the arch when I walked and wore them.  That weekend I got an x-ray.  Normal.

Determined to find out what the hell I’d done to myself, I got an MRI 4 days later.  The report said “peroneus longus tendonitis at the level of the cuboid bone.”  Another “what the hell” moment crossed my mind.  I can go months, no…years, without even thinking of my peroneus longus tendon.  And if I hadn’t already learned about it in med school, I would probably think Peroneus Longus was an ancient Roman porn star.  This is how obscure an injury this was to me.  I’ve had Achilles tendonitis, hip bursitis, iliotibial band syndrome, quad strain and arthritis flares in just about every joint impacted by running.  I’ve never gotten any guff from my peroneus longus tendon before.

So off to the podiatrist I went although by the time I got in, the pain was gone.  He took a detailed history, looked at my films and considered the problem.  “I’m ready to do anything,” I told him, “Taping, PT, orthotics, rest, whatever it takes.”  I was desperate.  “I  mean, I don’t even know how to stretch my peroneus longus much less protect it from strain.”  His advice was simple.  Stretch, ice, be prepared for strains and sprains during marathon training, and get rid of the over-pronator shoes.  “They think everyone overpronates,” he said. “Wear a neutral shoe and see how it goes.  Use a medial heel lift if the pain comes back. Go run. Come back if you have any problems.”

What a joy that was to hear!  It led me to think about why I was wearing overpronator shoes in the first place.  Back when I first started running about 6 years ago a guy in a running store watched me walk.  After 2 minutes of observation, he told me “you overpronate” and handed me a pair of Asics Gel Kayano which I dutifully wore until they almost fell off.  The more I learned about running, the sooner I replaced them.  I learned about rotating shoes, wearing the right socks, stretching, foam rolling, icing — but I never considered that they might be the wrong shoe for my foot and gait in the first place.  I know now.

So the foot healed and I moved on.  But once again, a planned marathon was missed.  And once again, I emerged the wiser.  I see how I screwed myself by overtraining.  I see how the shoe played its part.  I found another marathon, this one in December, and once again I will try one more time.

For me “to run or not to run” is never the question.  “To run = to exist, no more” is from my version of the Shakespeare quote.  Or maybe I should give credit where credit is due, to the legendary Klingon playwright, Wil’yam Shex’pir, who wrote:

“taH pagh taHbe’. DaH mu’tlheghvam vIqelnIS.
quv’a’, yabDaq San vaQ cha, pu’ je SIQDI’?
pagh, Seng bIQ’a’Hey SuvmeH nuHmey SuqDI’,
‘ej, Suvmo’, rInmoHDI’? Hegh. Qong — Qong neH —
‘ej QongDI’, tIq ‘oy’, wa’SanID Daw”e’ je
cho’nISbogh porghDaj rInmoHlaH net Har.”250px-TheKlingonHamlet

Up next:  the BEST race of the year.
More later….





Race Report Winter 2014: Charlotte NC Half Marathon

13 06 2014

OK so it’s almost summer and I’ve been missing from my own blog again for months.   I have been running – not always racing although certainly running.  And it sometimes takes a lot of effort to sit down and write about a race once I’ve talked about it in person and posted on Facebook, but eventually I find myself here.  The half dozen or people who actually read this are hopefully patient enough to wait.

Anyway like I said earlier, winter sucked here.  It was snowier thaphoto (5)n it’s been in eons and each new snowfall was followed by a subzero blast of cold, so naturally the couple of races I had planned in January didn’t pan out.  I started the Polar Dash 10k but bailed after I almost fell twice on very icy pavement.

Then I completely skipped the F^3 Half on Lake Michigan when it was like 15 degrees.  Call me a Cold Weather Wuss if you want to, but I’m not willing to get frostbite or fall and break one of these 58-year-old bones just to do a road race.   ‘

February brought a Florida vacation and I did a Virtual 5k and a Virtual 10k for the Moon Joggers fundraiser down in St. Augustine where the wMoonJoggers Virtual 10k Feb 2014 (2)eather ranged from the 50s to the 70s.  I earned myself a pretty cool Enterprise medal for the effort and had fun.  One day I saw a flock of wild parrots during my run which was something I had never seen before.  It was a great 4 days.

Following those two months of pretty much non events came an actual half-marathon.   In March, my husband and I headed to North Carolina for my first half of 2014, the Charlotte Motor Speedway NC Half Marathon, which was also my first “real” race of the year.   It was in interesting event in that it started and ended on the actual Motor Speedway and included a small expo there as well along with a 5k the night prior.

I brought my husband along because he is a Nascar fan and even talked him into doing the Twilight 5k with me the night before the half.  We hung out at the expo looking at shirts and stuff after we picked up our race packephoto (6)ts for the 5k and that is where we took this selfie.  He’s a cutie but not a runner.  We ended up walking the 5k on the track and finishing in about 45 minutes but it was fun .  It’s cool to walk where the drivers actually race and to see the asphalt, looking at the skid marks on the walls and ogling all the cool cars parked in the infield.  It makes you feel like an insider.

The next morning I had to arrive bright and early for the half marathon.  It was still dark when I got to the track and I could feel the anticipation building in the air, coming from myself and the other runners.  I hadn’t run a half since November and here it was March.  I’d trained completely indoors on the treadmill (even doing 10 miles once) and wondered how that would translate to running on an actual pavement.  There was excitement and trepidation in equal measure when I saw that sign at the Start Line.  “Boogedy Boogedy Boogedy!”  I wanted to holler.   “Let’s go runnin!”

photo 2

 

A lot of the other runners were quite light-hearted as you can see from their attire;  I took pictures of the most fun looking ones.

photo 3

Disco guy here was quite striking, along with these 3 tutu girls.  But the cutest had to be the chick in the checkered outfit.  Everyone was in great spirits and prepared to have a lot of fun as we waited for the starting gun to go off.

photo 4photo 5

Soon enough the sky began to brighten and it was time for the race.  We took off after the gun and the pace car, which was really pretty awesome, and began 13.1 miles of basically circles and hills.  Here is a photo from the race’s Facebook page showing the start:

start car

How cool is that?!  It was loud too.  Having done a race at a Nascar course once before (the Iowa Speedway 8k in Newton, IA, at the Rusty Wallace track), I thought I knew what to expect  and I was pretty certain they weren’t going to do an entire half-marathon round and round a race track forever.  But I was sort of wrong.  The grounds in Charlotte are much bigger, with a dirt track as well as the Nascar track, and some other spots too, and they weren’t afraid to run us in circles a couple of times.  In fact, we seemed to cover the same ground enough that it felt like we were going in circles pretty much the whole time even though the map shows we were not.

charlotte map

Needless to say, by the end, I was tired of turning corners over and over, a little daunted by the big hill in the middle and ready to finish.  The day was cooler than I’d hoped (even though it was much warmer than back at home) although I did work up a bit of a sweat running and walking the whole 13.1 miles.  As far as amenities, It was excellent.  Aid stations were plentiful and well-stocked, the volunteers were friendly (including some very enthusiastic local high school musicians and cheerleaders), and the course was well marked with enough portapotties — everything a runner could want.

I can’t say that I didn’t like it because I love running and racing no matter where I am, but I had been hoping to get in some views of the countryside and should have had my own expectations a little more in line with reality before I went (like by looking at the map maybe….duh!).  I did enjoy seeing the awesome cars at each mile marker and my husband liked going to the Nascar Hall of Fame the day before, so it certainly lived up to its billing as a great weekend for the race fan.

I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes Nascar and wants to run in a unique location as well as get a close up look at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.  By starting and ending in the same place the drivers go, you will really get to see places by running it that you would not experience if you showed up to watch an auto race as a spectator.  Charlotte is also a nice town for a weekend visit with good food and friendly people.

As you can see from my finish line photo (where I’m wearing my shirt sleeves like the gloves I should have brought along) I managed to finish smiling despite the limerick I wrote on my Facebook page:

Lianne came to Charlotte to run
Because that is how she gets her fun
But endless circles and hills
Did give her no thrills
As she knocked out that 13.1.

nc half marathon

 

 

 

So that was Charlotte in March of 2014.
NEXT UP:  April (featuring another race that wasn’t and an unexpected one that was), May (where an injury knocked me out of yet another full marathon) and June (the best race of the year so far).

More later…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





A small measure of solidarity

21 04 2014

As I came cruising down my street after a quick 3 miler on a beautiful spring morning, more than 36,000 runners were lined up in Boston waiting for the starting gun to go off.  I couldn’t help but think about those racing today, those still recovering both physically and mentally as well as the ones who will never run again.  God bless them all!





Photons Be Free (and take the snowflakes with you!)

5 03 2014

In an episode of Star Trek: Voyager, the holographic doctor wrote a novel called “Photons Be Free” which was a parody of the actual crew and consisted of some rather dramatic antics that he thought would be entertaining.  Of course, it caused a major stir among the protagonists when they found out about what Captain Janeway called “extracurricular subroutines” and each sought to alter the way their character was portrayed.

Image

Photo credit to Memory Alpha: http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Photons_Be_Free

That’s pretty much how I feel about winter every year  —  that I’d like to rewrite the way it unfolds  —   but this year especially.  Snow, snow and more snow with almost each dramatic swell followed by an Arctic blast of cold has a way of dampening anybody’s good mood.  I don’t even need to mention what it does to a person’s hopes of running outdoors.

This year I decided to break the season into weeks and find something to like about each one.  I called it my campaign to Unhate Winter.  I had no idea it would be as big a challenge as it’s been.  Seeing spring on the horizon now, even as yet another snowstorm roils outside at this very moment, I can release my findings from the log I’ve been keeping since December:

UNHATING WINTER 2014: 

Week 1 – 12/21:  Trip to a cabin in the woods to start winter on a good note and my birthday 12/21; it was very nice

Week 2 – 12/28:  produced videos of marathons I downloaded from YouTube and added good music soundtracks so as to enjoy the Treadmill

Week 3 – 1/4/14: bought and tried out a new TM workout then ran sometimes twice a day

Week 4 – 1/11/14: did some of the Polar Dash race in downtown Chicago, even though I bailed early due to conditions being too treacherous

Week 5 – 1/18/14:  ran on the treadmill until my shins were sore so started back to cardio DVDs

Week 6 – 1/25/14:  Frozen Half Marathon too frozen; skipped it and saw The Hobbit movie instead

Week 7 – 2/1/14: Planned, shopped and packed for my next two trips…..but barely hanging on now.  Desperately cold & dreary!

Week 8 – 2/8 :Trip to Florida which was WONDERFUL for 4 days, 70 degrees and a chance to run or walk outdoors every day

Week 9 – 2/15:  Basked in the joys of a couple of 40 degree days back at home and even got outside once for a few hours.  But still stressed and not enjoying winter.

Week 10 – 2/22:  Winter sports weekend in Wisconsin brought the JOY back to my life!  Dogsledding and snowshoeing reminded me there is something to like about snow.

Week 11 – 3/1/14: Planned Trip to NC and did some new TM workouts to train for the first half marathon of the season

Week 12 – 3/8: North Carolina Half Marathon week

Week 13 – 3/15 is the LAST WEEK OF WINTER!

Even though it isn’t over yet, I will call it a success in that I hated the season less than I usually do.  Old Man Winter is really pushing his luck this year but I think I’ll make it.  The end is in sight.  And despite not being able to rewrite the story, I’ll see it through to the end.

NEXT UP:  Race report from North Carolina, first half marathon of the season, which will be Sunday, March 9, 2014.





Greetings from Rura Penthe! Wish you were here.

6 01 2014

Just kidding.  I’m not at the Klingon penal colony.  It only looks like it outdoors, thanks to Winter Storm Ion.

rurapenthe

BlizzardFred

My poor husband who had to shovel

We’re in the middle of what the Weather Channel has called an Arctic Blast.  First it snowed about a foot, then the winds kicked up to maybe 30 mph or so and finally the temperature dropped to minus-17 degrees last night.  I’d call that the perfect weather to think about 2014′s races (since the only running I’ll be doing for a few days will be on the dreadmill).

It’s got to be just about laughable at this point that I’ve signed up for a full marathon every year since 2011 and haven’t managed to actually do one yet.  The first time, what I call the “Berlin Boondoggle”, went awry because I hadn’t factored in 7 hours of jet lag and no sleep on the flight to Germany.  I ended up running but not finishing.  In 2012, I registered for the full and later dropped to the half at Kiawah Island, SC, due to work obligations interfering with training.  And in 2013, it was an injury that caused me to lose 2 months during training and drop from the full to the half in Meridian, MS.  Being the stubborn kind who doesn’t take “no you can’t” for an answer, I’m going to try again this year.  I just can’t rest until I’ve conquered 26.2.  I don’t know why.  Maybe because it seems so impossible.

Anyway, this is the plan so far:
January = two races in Chicago (Polar Dash 10k  1/11/14 and Frozen F*cking Freezing Half Marathon 1/25/14)
February = no racing but I’m going up to Wisconsin for a winter sports weekend to try out cross country skiing, dog sledding and ice-fishing which I’ve never done before
March = Charlotte NC Half Marathon 3/8/14
April = Springfield IL  -  Abe Lincoln Half Marathon 4/5/14
May = Green Bay Marathon 5/18/14
June = Valentine NE  -  Sandhills Half Marathon 6/8/14
November = Savannah GA  -  Rock n Roll Half Marathon 11/8/14
December = Memphis TN  -  St. Jude’s Half Marathon 12/6/14

2014′s overall goal is to arrive uninjured at the start line in Green Bay by doing 2:1 run/walk intervals according to Jeff Galloway’s training plan, and then work on speed over the summer with shorter races.  I purposely chose a race with a generous time limit so I wouldn’t have to worry so much about pace.  As always, improving my fitness via weight control, cross-training and flexibility work will be keys to that as well so I’m taking measures to ensure those factors don’t fall through the cracks (as they too often do).

A secondary goal is to become less of a solitary runner by becoming more engaged in the local running community.  To that end I have joined a nearby running club which has circuit races in my area and a Facebook group where I can get acquainted with people I may eventually meet in person.  I also did something else just for fun: I joined a group called the Moon Joggers who sponsor a competition to commit to a goal which, taken cumulatively among all of us by year’s end, will equal the number of miles it takes to get to Venus.  I pledged 1000 miles for the year, and had to submit a photo with my name and goal.   It inspired me to download a fre trial of Photoshop and learn it.  Fun!

moonjoggers venusSo that’s it thus far.  I’m sure there will be plenty of smaller races and maybe even one more half marathon in the fall but those are the goals with which I start 2014.  Like all sports bloggers, I’ll be back with every moment of trial and tribulation to share with my fellow athletes.  I am going to make this a good year and finish those 26.2 standing up.

Live long and prosper.





2013: The Year of Seven Races

31 12 2013

It started off badly:  too much work at the new weekend jobs and a winter that wouldn’t leave.  Then there was the summer injury that took months to recover from, but finally things got back to normal in the fall.  So 2013 was The Year of Seven Races.  I remember each one fondly and all have their tale to tell.  They were just too damned few.  Oh well, 2014 will be a new year and I am not complaining.

20131231_210436February brought the Seabees 5k for which I travelled to beautiful sunny Hawaii.

In early June there was the Hatfield McCoy Half Marathon where I went possibly slower than ever but had the most fun at a 13.1 miler.

Late June held the Disco Dash, a 5k in Chicago that I ran with my cousins, and got to see the Village People in concert afterward (along with some really cool people in costume) once the rains cleared up.
village
213Then in July came the Achilles injury flare-up and I ended up doing pretty much nothing until September when I began gingerly training for the three half-marathons I had signed up for earlier in the year.  So it was October before I raced again.

October 20 was the Detroit Free Press Half Marathon which was extremely cold but a thrilling chance to run from the U.S. to Canada and back.

November 3 was the Red Eye 8k, a local race in town, which I’d never run before but will certainly do again.

November 16 the LEO Run to Remember Half Marathon in Meridian MS was the hilliest hellfest ever but I still did enjoy it.

Thanksgiving Day, another new race for me, the Poultry and Pie Predictor here in Joliet, whose entry fee was less than $10.00 (how unbelievably low is that?!)  —   in which I didn’t even try to “predict” because I didn’t really get the whole thing about predicting your pace then running without a watch so you could win a turkey   —   but had great fun anyway.

And that was it!  I had registered for the St. Jude’s Marathon Weekend to run the half (if I could raise $500 which I couldn’t) and then for the 5k but ended up running n-o-t-h-i-n-g because the whole thing got cancelled due to an ice storm.

The closest I got was the banners on Beale Street the next afternoon during lunch after driving for 12 hours and not even getting as far as Tennessee the night before because traffic slowed to 20 mph on the dangerously icy roads:

.st judes

But it was all good.  St. Jude’s made some money from my efforts so they can continue their excellent care of kids with cancer, and I’ll get a chance to register before everyone else in 2014.  I’ve already reserved my hotel for December 6 and I’m ready to run.

2013 was The Year of Seven Races but I won’t remember it as a bad one.  I got a slow start and then overcame an injury.  2014 will be better.  I already have some spectacular plans.  I’m going to run farther and maybe even faster but no matter what, I am definitely going to have fun.

As 2013 ambles off over the hill, I bid it farewell and look forward to the future.

More later….





2013′s last halves: Detroit Free Press (October 19) and Meridian Mississippi Leo Run to Remember (November 16)

26 12 2013

The injury that started with a too-long and too-fast 10-miler in July dragged on for well over two months.  I took it easy the first month and hoped it would get better.  When it did not, I pulled out all the stops and began treatment with first rest, then rehab exercises, night splinting and home ultrasound.  By early October, I was able to walk a mile without pain.  I started from scratch back to running, slowly adding 10% per week of distance and stretching like someone was paying me for it.  I had already registered for three half-marathons in the fall and did not intend to miss them, even if I had to walk instead of run.

By October 19, when it was time to drive north for the Detroit Free Press International Half, I was up to 3 miles of running.  I figured I’d run 3 and walk 10  —  anything, just to be doing the race  —  no matter how many hours it took, as long as I finished.

detroit freep lineup at start It was a surprisingly cold day with a strong wind when I lined up in the dark with approximately 23,000 of my closest friends and running companions.  I didn’t bring enough clothing and my teeth were literally chattering.  Any runner who has ever been injured knows the thrill of finally being “back”.   But even the excitement of the first race after 3 months off couldn’t cut through that weather.  We started out and soon the really quick people were casting off clothing.  I saw a girl in front of me pick up a pair of gloves from the ground and so I did the same thing.  A couple of blocks later, I donned a discarded  windbreaker too.  I needed them.  Honestly, I was so conscious of the cold and of every little twinge possibly coming from my Achilles tendon, I don’t remember much else about the race.

detroit bridgeBy the the time we hit the International Bridge and ran into Canada there was no longer anything blocking the wind, and it was a bitch.   I’d never run from one country to another before so it was pretty exciting and the day was beginning to warm a bit. We spent a few miles on the Canadian side and it was a very pleasant little jaunt.  We came back below ground through the underwater tunnel which marked another “first” for me.  I’d never run underwater before!  In contrast to the chill on the surface, it was really hot  and humid down in the tunnel.

detroit freep half coursemapI ran most of the 3 miles to Canada, did a lot of run/walk intervals the next 3 miles in Canada and then walked pretty much all of the final 7 back on the Detroit side.  Even with the cold weather and my constant vigilance about the injury, I did enjoy the race and would recommend it to anyone seeking a unique experience running to another country and back on a fairly flat, well-appointed course with a lot of amenities.  Yes, it was a “big city race” with crowds and parking issues, congestion and blocked streets, all the typical complaints Chicago people have about races in our hometown, but it was quite a bit of fun and a great way to convince myself I was indeed healed from my latest bout with rotten old Achilles tendonitis.  It is a race I would definitely consider doing again (once all 50 states are off my bucket list).

A month later, I flew down to Meridian, Mississippi, for the second annual Leo Run to Remember Marathon and Half which benefited the Alzheimer’s Association and was sponsored by the Leo branch of the Lions Club.  That race was pretty much the polar opposite of Detroit:  small, poorly-supported and hillier than I’ve ever seen, but the weather was nice and I enjoyed the overcoming the challenge of the course elevation.  In a brief race report I wrote the day afterward on the Facebook page for one of my running groups, I said:

  •  “A nice “little” race, the second annual, put on by an enthusiastic group of people for the Alzheimer’s Association. The 1/2-M course started at a softball field and wound along a state highway and through some neighborhoods. It was a very hilly course and some were unbelievably brutal (a fact I wish I’d known ahead) but otherwise the scenery was gorgeous. The course as well marked and there were adequate water stops about every 2 miles. Porta-potties were only at Miles 2 and 8.5 of the half. I saw runners using local businesses to “do their business” and I went into an urgent care center to do mine when I couldn’t hold it any more by Mile 6 or so. Nice tech shirts and medals were provided but there was no refreshment at the finish line (not even water nevermind the bagels or bananas). The weather down here is nice in mid-November, misty and 70ish, so it is a good choice for a late fall race. It is Meridian’s only marathon and brand new. I think the amenities will be better as they continue doing races and figure out what runners expect/need. For 50-staters or people who like to travel to do tough courses, I’d recommend this one. For people who like a well-appointed race or a flat course, keep looking. If I’d known ahead what it was like, I’d probably have chosen otherwise myself but I’m glad I did it. Being pushed and challenged but finishing with a smile is what makes us all better runners. Choosing the easy course keeps us rooted where we are.”

By that race, I’d gotten my running up to 5 miles straight and so I ran the first 5 and did run/walk intervals (with a lot of walking) for the final eight.  Like I said in my little review above, the course is TOUGH.  Even the races’s own Facebook page states the hills of Meridian are brutal and I couldn’t agree more.  But each one showed me how gutsy and strong I am and I AM glad I did it.

me in a raceA photographer on the course caught me unawares and took a photo that showed up in the proofs package which inspired me to make my very own meme.   LOL

I do believe they will add more amenities as they go along and in future years there will be enough porta potties, free bananas at the finish, and many of the other staples we runners have come to expect as a given.  I like smaller races and earnest people, so I hope they do succeed in Meridian.

And that’s pretty much it for half-marathons in 2013.  I had signed up to run at the St. Jude’s Memphis Marathon Weekend but the entire weekend was cancelled due to an ice storm and I ended up concluding the year’s running with a couple of small local races right around Thanksgiving.

And injury rehab continues.








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