Monday, September 5, 2011

Tupelo Marathon

We came, we ran, we got soaked!! Tropical Storm Lee pounded us a bit as we were running in Tupelo yesterday. I can now officially say I have never been wetter during a race. My shoes are still drying out in the laundry room. All in all, it was a great race. We started the race at 5am. Now, most races have a starting mat that let's you know when your time starts so you can also start your watch when crossing it. Most races also have an announcer calling out to everyone over a PA system, telling them to "GO" or getting everyone pumped up. I'm guessing by the lack of the PA system, they were trying not to wake up the people in the houses right by the start line. The lack of the starting mat confused several runners as to what their official starting time actually was.

We had several Muckas running this race. Brandon, Jody and Sherry ran the 14.2 miler. Holly and I ran the full. This was Holly's first full. We also had Tony Brake (Indiana) and Houston Wolf (Memphis) running the full with us. My Pit Crew, Deb and Amy, were still fast asleep back at the hotel. As we set off, the road was lit up by runners with glow sticks, lights on their hats or shoes and some even had blinkers on their backsides. Now that was funny. :) As we ran, we watched the police car, who was leading the elites, disappear over the hills. We ran through the dark for about 8 miles. We also ran through light rain for most of the race. Just prior to the 8 mile mark, I heard a voice behind us calling out, "Go Muckas!". Turned around and realized Jody and Brandon were right behind us. Then they passed us and never looked back. I hung with Holly up to around the 10 mile mark. Then a case of the "Bubble Gut" got the best of me. Not trying to be gross or anything but I had to peel off into some woods and take care of business. Thankfully, I always carry TP with me on long runs.

Up to this point, Holly said our average pace was 8:52. I knew we were going too fast, at least for me, as we were encountering hill after hill. These weren't major hills but, they never stopped. Just as you would finish one hill, you would start another one. By this time the rain was coming down a little harder. As I was approaching the turn for the turn around point, Holly was already heading back in the other direction. I lost Tony somewhere in the initial darkness. Half way through the race and my energy seemed to be zapped. August was a rough, and sucky, month. I saw Sherry as I was heading back. She was close to finishing and had a big smile on her face. She rocked that 14.2 miler.

At this point, I took on the plan of walking up the hills and running the downhill side. Flats were fair game but, there weren't many flat parts. The rain really started coming down a little harder. By now it is daylight and you can actually see the sights we missed while running in the dark. There were some beautiful homes out there. Not to mention several road kills along the way. As I was approaching mile 20, I thought I could see Holly not to far ahead of me. By mile 21, I caught up to her. I could tell the wall smacked her right in the teeth. She was having cramping issues with her legs. Right as we hit mile 21, the skies opened up and the rain just poured down on us. I kept giving Holly different goals to reach during the run. Told her to make it to a certain house or sign before she could walk. In doing so, it took my mind off my own pain and lack of energy. By mile 23, she started to fall behind. I pushed on at this point.

One more hill to go over before turning into the parking lot where the finish line was located. As I rounded the last corner, I gave it all I had left and pushed across the finish line. Just before the finish line, I could see my girls (Deb and Amy) standing there, cheering me on. That alone gives me a great sense of accomplishment. Having them out there, supporting me is awesome. :) I finished in 4:22:10, placing 88th out of all males running the full, and 121st overall out of 300 runners. Not my best run but, not my worst. And I was in the top half so, I'll take that anytime. :) Cheered Holly into the finish line. Then hung out with the Brakes and the Cooks for a bit while we all tried to recover a little. This makes my 9th marathon overall, and 5th state completed. Two more marathons to go in 2011. Great job to all my fellow Muckas for completing new distance goals in this race. There was one fatality in this race, that I know of. My iPod took a fatal blow from the rain and died on me. We are attempting reviving techniques but, the outlook is bad.

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