Mississippi Blues Half Marathon Race Recap

Yesterday was the Mississippi Blues Marathon & Half Marathon. If you’ve been following my blog, I was a little apprehensive about running it.

I went to bed at a reasonable time Friday night, but woke up at 2am with a low blood sugar of 52. I had a GU gel next to my bed and ate that to raise it. It quickly rose 72 about 10-15 minutes later and thought I would eat something to keep my sugar up and to get some carbs in my body for the run. I ate 1 Eggo waffle with a little peanut butter and bolused for the carbs. I went back to sleep around 3 and woke up for the race at 5:30. I checked my sugar again and it was 161. I got dressed and drove down to the race. I checked my sugar again when I got there and it had risen to 218. I ate one of those Lance Armstrong waffle things and bolused only for the carbs.

It was a cold morning and the weather report had a chance of rain around 8. With a 7am start time, there would be a chance of running in the rain. I was hoping it would hold off at least until I finished. It did hold off, but came down hard around 1pm. We had about a 5 minute delay with the start, but had a pretty smooth start once the gun went off. With a sold out race of 3,000 runners and no corrals, it was slightly congested, but opened up after the first half mile.

I was wearing my Nike running jacket with my phone in an arm strap under my sleeve. I started my Nike+ once I crossed the starting gate. I realized it never told me “Begining workout”. I unzipped my jacket and pulled it half off my shoulder to make sure it was working. It was not. I started it again about a quarter mile into the race. I did hear the “Begining workout” sound and I locked my screen and zipped my jacket up.

I had a friend that was watching the race about 3 miles into it. As I began to get close, I realized my Nike+ wasn’t updating me on my mileage. The music was playing, but the GPS part was not. It was too much trouble to restart it again, so I just left it alone. I was pretty frustrated, since the run wouldn’t be documented, but oh well. The one thing I was really worried about was my time and pace. I didn’t have a way on tracking it now. I just decided to run.

I was feeling pretty good through the first few miles. I came up on a 2 hour pacer and his group and ended up passing them. I thought to myself, if I could stay ahead of them or around them, I could finish pretty good and hit my goal of finishing a half in under 2 hours.

I stayed ahead of the passer for about a mile. The entire race was through rolling hills. Nothing steep, but constant, long ups and downs. After the 4 mile marker, I started the trek up a long hill. I decided it was a good time to check my sugar. As I checked my sugar going up the hill, I slowed down and the pacer’s group passed me. My sugar had risen to 319. I guess the Lance Armstrong waffle and the adrenaline had kicked in and raised my sugar. I was afraid of it getting higher and me becoming lethargic and getting slower that I bolused for the high while running.

I started to get inside my head at this point as the pacer group was getting further ahead of me. With a high blood sugar and no way of tracking my pace or time, I started telling myself it was okay to slow down or walk if I felt like it. I fought with myself through the next mile or so. I could still see the pacer group as we hit the halfway point, but I wasn’t catching up to them. I then saw a shirt in front of me that read “It’s you vs. you”. That’s when I realized I was doing okay and I was going to finish strong. I asked a spectator what time it was, and it was 8:08. I had only been a hour since the start and that perked me up too. I was slightly behind a 2 hour finish.

As I passed the mile 9 marker, I was excited I only had basically 4 miles left. Unfortunately, those were the longest 4 miles I had ever run. If there weren’t other people around me, I would have thought I made a wrong turn. I could tell my pace was getting slower, but still felt like I was doing okay. I started having runners pass me and the pacer group was now out of site. I got back into my head with doubts. That didn’t last too long though.

As I got closer to the end, I could feel the excitement inside me and felt like I would be able to pick it up and finish stronger. I started seeing more spectators and knew I was close. As I heard cheers in the distance, I started picking up the pace. I made a couple turns through the downtown streets and saw the finish line.

About a block from the finish line I saw Karebear and Baby J. They were with my boss and his wife waiting to cheer me on to the finish. It really excited me to see them and I really picked it up.

My half PR I set in November was 2:02:32. As I was coming into the finisher lanes, the time clock had 2:03. I knew my chip time would be faster, but I didn’t think it was 3 minutes faster. If 2:03 was my chip time, I would have been very happy considering the set backs and hills.

I ended up running a new PR by 8 seconds at 2:02:24! So close to breaking 2 hours, but I am really happy with my time. I didn’t think I was going to do that well, so it was a nice surprise. It gives me hope for the next one. A sub-2 hour half is very near!

Focusing in on the finish line

Focusing in on the finish line

My HUGE finisher's medal. My sweat was frosting on my hat.

My HUGE finisher’s medal. My sweat was frosting on my hat.

The family celebrates. J loved the guitar!

The family celebrates. J loved the guitar!

My post run sugar had come down a little too low to 67, but I ate a banana and piece of cheese pizza in the finisher’s plaza. My sugars came up and leveled out by the end of the day.

It was a challenging race with lots of rolling hills, but if you’re looking for a good race, this is nice sized and has a very friendly atmosphere. I recommend it!

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9 Responses to Mississippi Blues Half Marathon Race Recap

  1. willbfit says:

    Great job and congratulations! ~ Maria

  2. Becky Conley says:

    You were amazing!

  3. Dan says:

    I know what you mean about those last 4 miles sucking. In my case, the absolute worst mile of any half marathon is mile 11. You’re going full effort at that point, your lungs burning and your legs screaming, but you still have two more miles to go. Once you hit 12, adrenaline can kick in and carry you the rest of the way. But 11 is quite the banshee.

    Anyway, congratulations on the PR! You must have been going nuts in that last 0.1, wondering if you were going to best your previous mark. I’m really jealous of that medal too. I’ve read a few recaps of this race (from trexrunner.com and racefor50states.com) and I’ve been sold on it several times. Though I’ve already run Mississippi, I could be convinced at a repeat.

    Keep it up!

    • Thanks for the read! I was so glad to hit mile 9, but it hit me. I had no idea what my time was and when I saw the finish line I really kicked it into high gear! I though I had a shot at breaking 2 hours, but oh well. There will be plenty of chances.

      It’s a nice event. Although up and down hills the entire time, it’s a great race. You should definitely run it if you get the chance.

  4. Pingback: 100 days of running | blood, sweat and…

  5. Thomas says:

    Hi, I am writing on behalf of MS Blues Marathon, would you mind if we used one of the pics here on our Facebook page?

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