On January 27, I ran the Mississippi Blues half marathon in Jackson, MS. Since I have a goal to run a race in every state, this was a new race state (and state in general) for me.
I was in Memphis, TN a few days before the race for work, which was perfect because Memphis is halfway between Nashville and Jackson. But in order to avoid paying an extra night for a hotel room, I moved up my Jackson stay from Friday-Sunday to Thursday-Saturday. The race was Saturday morning (which meant I was driving 6 hours after the race to get back to Nashville).
I arrived in Jackson on Thursday evening. Just missed happy hour with free snacks and drinks at the hotel, so I bought some food items from the lobby store and relaxed in the room. On Friday, I went to the race expo to get my packet of goodies – race shirt, bib number, and a jazz CD.
There was a band playing live jazz music at the expo, which was neat. Otherwise, the expo wasn’t very exciting. I got my stuff and headed out.
Friday evening before the race, I got to meet up with another Team Beef TN member (one that lives in Memphis and I hadn’t met in person yet) for dinner because he was also running the race the next day. We met at Olive Garden to carb load up and it was great to meet him and share our love of running. He had run the MS Blues race several times and was pacing the 2:20 group. I told him I would start out running with his group and see what happened (spoiler: that didn’t go as planned).
On Saturday morning, I got up and ate breakfast and got ready for the race. It was raining, which had been predicted. I drove to the race start and stood huddled under the overhangs with all the others trying to avoid being soaked before the race began. I stood there looking out over the crowd of runners in the rain and thought, “this is why people say runners are crazy” LOL.
Well, the rain never let up. It was cold at the start and I didn’t have a poncho so I wrapped my Tennessee Titans flag around me to shield off some of the rain. By mile 2, I had warmed up and dropped the flag.
The course was not great. There were quite a few hills but worse, a lot of the race was run on roadsides, which meant the road was slanted, which is never ideal for the hips and knees. At other times we were crowded into a small stretch of road with cars driving close by. There were also a lot of potholes and at one point we were on a gravel, wet, muddy stretch of road that made me think, “I didn’t know this was a trail run.”
Towards the end of the race, my IT band was flaring up I believe due to the cold and rain as this happened during the Little Rock half as well but I had no troubles during the Huntsville half. I had lost the 2:20 group at the start since the start was so congested. I ended up finishing at 2:42:44, which is not my ideal time but I’ll take it. Training was lacking this go round and a wet, hilly course just didn’t give me the motivation to be awesome!
I was glad I had my Team Beef visor to keep the rain out of my eyes. I also put on the race shirt last minute before the start because it was cold and I wasn’t sure a short sleeved shirt would be enough in the rain. I do like my new race medal:
And just for fun, I’ll share this pic because this is what happens when three dietitians get together for dinner and see this awesome photo op:
Race #61, Half marathon #12, and race state #20 complete! What’s next?