Around Christmas my friend Nicole asked me if I would run a half-marathon with her. She missed the race the year before and we have talked for months about a girls weekend, so it was the perfect excuse to take a trip. Plus, I think I’ve caught a little thing called “run all the races” bug. When she asked I immediately said yes, bought my packet and then asked Stephen. Ya, I didn’t do those in the right order. Thankfully I have a gracious husband.
Nicole booked us a hotel online and we awaited our trip to Jackson to run the Mississippi blues race. During the weeks leading up I did a horrible job training. I probably ran once a week and met up with Nicole one Saturday morning so we could do a 10 mile run together.
The Friday before race day I dropped the girls with my mom where Stephen wuld pick them up after work. Nicole met me there and we loaded up in the van and started our trip.
We went from there to the hotel. The hotel. Ya. When we drove up we both looked at it and thought “okay, this’ll do for 1 night”, then we went to our room. When we walked in it made me think of the 80′s, only no one had been in it since then, or at least no families had. I’m sure it’s had a lot of visitors, just not the kind that stay for an extended period of time. After sending a photo to her husband for laughs, Nicole and I sat in the room a few minutes discussing dinner ideas. We checked the room out which had cleaning products on the front table, a sign that informed all guests to deadbolt their door and not answer unless expecting guests, and the bathroom was just…ick. I was making a joke about not sleeping under or on the covers when Brandon, Nicole’s hubby, texted her that we should go find a new hotel. We debated for about .03 seconds and decided the $74 loss was worth it to not be there another minute, much more overnight.
We drove across the highway and the second hotel we checked had a room available. Hampton Inn to the rescue. When we walked into the room to a giant king sized bed, bright working lights and a shower with normal sized towels we didn’t look back for a second, except to laugh at the concept of staying in the other place. I think it was only $35 more for this room, which had a later checkout (so we could shower after the race), continental breakfast and an immeasurable amount of peace of mind.
That morning we woke up to rain, just like the Pensacola half I did in November with Miriah. We got dressed and headed out to wait with the crowds.
The race started promptly at 7 and it only took about 35sec for us to get across the start line. I felt good when we started. I usually take about 3 miles to get in my groove and that held true for this race. Then, the hills. So many hills. At one point I heard the man behind us telling the people he was running with that we were about to reach the highest point in Jackson. I looked right at Nicole and said “then why in the world are we running to it?” That sums up how I was about to start feeling. The first 5 or so miles weren’t bad, we pushed through the city hills and we’re keeping a good pace. We eventfully turned and ran along the interstate and under an overpass to the other side. Nicole took a little video which made me laugh and we kept trucking along. Then we hit mile 9. Oh the dreadful 9th mile and its jerky jerk hill. I took my first chew at that point, which for me says I’m seriously feeling it. We ran through some downtown neighborhoods, which I always enjoy because of the different architecture of homes in old towns. Then we made the turn back into the city. One thing that was different about this race was how thankful and appreciative the volunteers were. They were thanking us for visiting their city and running the race, it was really nice and encouraging. The ladies were so southern and sweet. At mile 12 I got a nasty cramp and our pace slowed down but knowing we had just a little over 1 more mile I knew I could push it. We made the last turn, which an older man called the “time to smile turn” and we sprinted to the end. Crossing that line felt great. We walked a bit to let our legs relax and then grabbed a photo at the finish line.
After we finished and walked around to cool down we both got hungry fast. The pizza, cookies and chili that was offered was not sounding good to either of us and after checking the time we saw we had 25 minutes left until breakfast ended at the hotel.
After a huge and filling breakfast we both cleaned up and packed our overnight bag to head home. The drive was a lot easier than I thought it would be, but Nicole and I had a lot to talk about and catch up on so that made it fly by.
When I got home the day continued as normal and then that night I ate most of an x-large pizza from papa johns. What can I say, I run to eat