Monday, January 31, 2011

Chicken Soup for Soul- Runners Winner

Thanks to all who participated in this past weeks giveaway, lot of great suggestions for books and it looks like I will be busy reading for awhile! 
Congrats to Amanda @ Runninghood for winning the book!

Email me at with your information and I will gladly sent that out to you this week! 

January in review!

January was a slow month for races, one at the beginning of the month and then the rest was time to focus on me. After joining Run 1000 miles w/ Tall Mom club, I decided to see if I could strictly run 100 miles for the month of January. Ideally I would like to do it every month, but I know certain months its not realistic due to time constraints, and in the summer, the weather (b/n june-aug you can't run during the day unless you get out there @ 6:30 or 7, and I like my sleep)
Friday I did a 5 miler on my lunch break which put me at 99 miles- had a plan to go to the gym afterward, but I didn't want my 100th mile to be on the treadmill. Happy to report that yesterday I did 6 miles, thus reaching my goal, and putting me over!
Ya I look cheesy, there were so many people on the trail that I was trying to do it quick before too many people saw me haha. 2 more bonuses of yesterdays run: During my 2nd mile I crossed paths with DM friend Chris- we both waved not sure if eachother was who we thought we were, and later to find out, indeed it was. It's always neat seeing your 'virtual friends' out and about. The other bonus of my run was speed. I've been working a lot on being more consistent, i.e. not going out too fast and then dying, as well as making my last mile my fastest mile. (secretly I'm also trying to see if I can do all miles under 9:00 min, just so I never go over 2 hours again in half mary, buuuuuuuuuut I'm trying to not put too much pressure on myself with just training runs)
Anyway my last mile of my 6 mile run was 8:05, yes! Early last week I had 2 sub 8 last miles, 7:45 outside, and 7:30 on the treadmill! I'm slowly getting back my speed I once had- much harder to compare myself to highschool considering I was a twig and 30lbs lighter- in due time.
So looking back for the month of January, I really feel that I'm learning how to better test my limits. I'm much more confident, stronger, and faster at the beginning of the month, which I'm hoping will reflect in February since I have races 3 out of the 4 weekends.
One month down, 11 more to go!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Chiropractor knows best

We all now how important it is to take care of our bodies- especially athletes and runners. So then why have I been so stubborn for years and refused to go to a chiropractor even though my best friend is one and tells me the benefits?
I could use time and money as an excuse, but thats what they are, excuses. I've come to the realization that its hard to do anything if you don't find the value in it. I'll throw down large amounts of money for items / trips / races that I really want, but if it's something I don't see benefit from- bring on the excuses. 
I finally decided chiro care was beginning to be crucial for me after my Mississippi blues 1/2 mary. I'm sick of dealing with migraines any time I run farther than 10 miles, I hate how my hips are killing me and I end up walking like I just gone done riding a horse all day long- I need to get better. 
I had my first consultation this morning, along with xrays. On a positive note they were able to pin point the cause of my migraines- HOORAY!! And on the negative side (which can be turned positive through adjustments): my spine, hips, neck are all out of alignment and there is muscle spasm tissue on my left side of my lower back (basically its really tight) and its due to me favoring my right side when running?? something like that. I'm not all hip on the medical jargon but basically this is what a normal spine looks like
now see those holes in the middle of the spine? That is where your erector spinae runs through. Now I dont' have my xrays to show you, but about 1/4 of the way up on this picture from the hips, there is no little holes in my xray- my spine has twisted that it just shows up as an opaque line. This is a bad thing, doctors were impressed I didn't feel pain- go me???
Now this is a normal curvature on your cervical spine
Mine goes straight up and down, no curve at all- awesome. No idea how long all this will take to fix, but I do have my first adjustment next week before my half mary, then another one after to see exactly how much each race is changing my alignment. 
Although its never fun to hear you body is not where it should be, I'm glad I finally got checked out so I can slowly start to correct my alignment, get rid of these stupid migraines, and make running that much more enjoyable.

anyone else get adjusted regularly?

Do you notice benefits?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1. On a daily basis I'm always giving my clients nutrition advice and ideas of how to eat  according to their health goals. I've been recommending quinoa to many of my vegetarian clients or people who just need more protein in their diet and want to limit meat consumption. For months I've been postponing trying it, and I finally found an EASY & APPEALING recipe via Jill @ Run for the Hills, so I went Betty Crocker and made a batch to last a week! Its quick, easy, and a hearty whole grain w/ 5-7 grams of protein per serving! (great combo). I've been raving about it all week and force feeding my co-workers with my new found love. Thanks Jill!

2. I go through more cameras than anyone you will ever meet. For as long as I can remember I have gotten a new camera for Christmas bc I've already broken the one from the year before- exception was this year because I bought myself one over the summer since my christmas one already broke- oops! My current one I have been using seemed to have an issue where my zoom button doesn't work and gets stuck. February is the best month thus far for my race travels, Savannah, New Orleans, Disney World, and I MUST HAVE pictures to document and cherish these places... first time visitor for all 3! Did some research this weekend to find something decent thats small and light for running, but still takes quality pictures.... came in the mail today. Nikon Coolpix s3000
 I promised myself that I will limit the amount of drops this baby gets, and I will always have my camera case to protect it- lets see how long this one lasts :) 

Does anyone else have this issue, or is it just me?

3. One of my girl friends from Louisville is having her baby shower May 21st, so as soon as she told me I started searching to see if there were any races nearby- hit the mega jackpot and registered today.The Geist Half Marathon is held at 7:30am in Fishers, IN (suburb of Indianapolis). 
5 awesome pros: 
1. Registration was only $45!!!! 
2. Get to see family that otherwise I only see 1x year
3. Free place to stay
4. Mom said she would drive over from Ohio and do the 5k w/ my aunt and then cheer for me!
5. Less than 2 hr. commute to Louisville so I'll make the shower in time :) 

As I'm getting further into my training and races, I'm realizing how much value my weekends are. When I can combine friendship / family activities with a race OR  sat & sun doubleheader weekend, it gives me the satisfaction that there is more to my social life than just running (although running is awesome, its nice to have other interests as well) 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Chicken Soup for Soul- Runners Giveway

Saw this book about a month ago and figured I like chicken soup books and I like running stories, so great combo.

About the Book: "When runners aren’t running, they are talking about running, planning their next run, shopping for running… This book contains 101 stories from everyday and famous runners… telling their stories to other runners… about how running has improved their lives, recovering from injuries, challenging themselves, and includes amazing stories of marathons, camaraderie, and the natural high that comes from this popular sport. Plenty of stories for triathletes too, covering swimming and cycling."

Whether you're a fan of running, or another sport, its motivating to see other's dedication to their goals and what they're willing to go through to achieve them. Currently my desire to excel is enough motivation for me, but on my off days its nice to just be able to pick up this bad boy and read a few excerpts to get me back on track. 
So for all those out there that like to read, or maybe need a little push in the right direction, I decided to get another copy and give one away to my readers. 
How to Win: 
Leave one comment for each of the requirements and that will be an additional entry
1. Be a follower (or become a new one) to this blog
2. Let me know either a recommendation of your favorite athlete based book, or one you've heard of
Extra Credit!!
1. You only need to let me know 1 book, but if you have multiple you would like to suggest, you can have an additional comment for each book after 1. 
2. Add this giveaway to your blog, facebook, twitter etc (1 comment for each)

Thats it! Super Simple. I will be selecting a winner on Monday 1/31! 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Superbowl Weekend Race

Becca and I went on our long run early yesterday so I could get back home before the Packers / Bears game. My family is divided b/n die hard Packers and die hard Bears- the fact that there is this 1. division of devotion, 2.that their big rivals, and 3. it determines who goes to the superbowl makes this game one of the few games where I make it a point to watch.  Becca is hardcore Steelers fan. On our run we talked about how great it would be if out two teams played one another for the super bowl and how we would sport our team for race day outfits. 
So once both our teams made it to the superbowl, we realized that the game is played on Feb 6th (we were thinking it was a week afterward) and now are scrambling to try and fix our travel plans. That weekend we are driving (ugh yes driving) to Savannah, Ga for the Critzy Tybee 1/2 on saturday. This is our longest road trip yet, 8.5 hours, so we were planning on staying all weekend and praying for beautiful weather so we can enjoy the beach. Now we're seeing if we can cancel our saturday night stay and maybe drive halfway through (stay in atlanta???) on saturday so that way we have plenty of time to on Sunday for SuperBowl celebration!!

I had already made a plan to dedicate this race to my 5 month old nephew, Joseph, who is having open heart surgery the day before to fix the hole in his heart, and now this race is that much more important.  

Friday, January 21, 2011

Five things Friday

Today was a day of learning for me, 5 things to be exact in order of learning

1. My car does not like and will not go up hills if there is the slightest bit of ice. Got stuck on the way to work going up a hill and my only option was to reverse the whole way down and find a new way to get to work. On another road to work my car hit a patch of ice, lost control of the car and hit a pole. Weird part was not a scratch or dent on my bumper (score!)

2. Get to work around 10:15 and I am the ONLY one on my team there- office opens at 7:30 and there are 7 people who are scheduled to come in before me or at same time as me. What that means for me is that not only do I have all my appointments to do, but I have to call all my other fellow colleagues members and explain to them why they never got called for their appointments- YIKES. 2 other colleagues saw that I was by myself and offered to help me out (people really do care) and after a quick crash course in teaching them the system I was able to drastically cut back my workload down and of course, decrease stress. Glad to know that there are still some people willing to help a hand w/o anything to gain!

3. Got my results from my biometric screening from monday, and everything came back great. From June 23 to Jan 17 the only thing I changed was running. My eating has stayed the same, but July is when I actually started to get motivated / consistent with training.
Improvements: lost 1 inch on my waist;
BP: 106/70 to 100/60
Cholesterol: 155 to 127
HDL the same
LDL 82- 67
TC/HDL ratio 2.77 to 2.49
Glucose 94 to 82
I was so surprised that levels could change that much in 6 months time when I already am eating well and exercising. Who knew, thanks Running! :)

4. I get really bad migraines from time to time, and when I can feel one coming on- its downhill from there. Sleep is the only thing that helps. When leaving for work today, I randomly grabbed another person (which unknowingly to me had Excedrin migraine in it) and thank goodness for that. Not sure what caused my headache today, but at the first sign I took excedrin and it actually WORKED!!!! This is HUGE for me, and also hard for me to digest because I am extremely anti medicine and think that Americans are overly medicated, but I can't help but feel relieved that at least something is strong enough to at least help me get through the day.

5. Went to the gym today after work and realized too late that i left my ipod and headphones at home. Unless I'm running with someone and we're talking, I need my music. Apparently at my gym no headphones = invitation to get hit on, who knew?!? I NEVER get hit on at the gym, which is great because I'm in my own world dancing / running to music, and for some reason, everything I did, there was a guy. Elliptical man, treadmill man, cybex trainer man, stretching man, free weights man, and machine man. That's 6! I would say I'm flattered, but was actually annoyed because I'm at the gym for me, not anyone else. haha maybe thats why i'm single ;-) Now I know to always double check my gym bag before heading out for the day.

So I guess there are days that go by that aren't memorable, but today, took a little bit of knowledge with me and have learned some important (and maybe not so important) lessons!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1. I bought my Newton shoes for Christmas with the intention that I would be ready to run half marathons in them by February, my busiest month thus far. This doesn't look promising. I work 10-7 during the week so unless I want to get up early or run in the dark at night, my only option for running is either my lunch break or the TM at the gym. Due to hating doing long distances on the TM and only having so much time to run at lunch, the longest I've been able to do is 4 miles consistently in the shoes. I decided to just wing it and do my long run this past sunday, 9 miles, in them. BIG mistake. By mile 6 my feet and calves were cramping and I had to walk a little. Its thursday and the tightness is just now starting to loosen up. My stick isn't working on speeding up the process either! I need 2 things- 1. Start adding in a mid distance (I'm thinking 5-6 miles) on saturday to start building up comfortable mileage on my shoes. And 2. I need someone w/ strong hands to massage out the knots in my calves... hmmm I think Ryan would fill that role nicely :-)

2. I get extreme migraines about 2-3 hours after running any mileage over 10 miles- therefore its a given after every half mary, I'll be out of commission for a bit. For me the only cure is sleep, no meds help. My 'chiro go to' RJ keeps telling me I need to come in and get adjusted and get some xrays to see whats going on, and me, being stubborn, have put it off.... until now. I  FINALLY made an appt for next Wednesday to get looked at. My company partnered up with a clinic where I get a 30 minute massage, consultation, and xrays for $20- umm yes please! ( I need to talk to them about the possibility that I can request Ryan as my massage guy... might be too short of notice)
3. I put on a good solid 5lbs over the holidays, (didn't we all) and I'm proud to report that as of this morning I've lost it all and then 2 more lbs to officially put me at a weight that I haven't weighed since college, say what?!? I get the comment a lot that since I'm tall it probably makes for easier running- to an extent it does, but you also have to take in consideration I'm carrying an easy 20-30lbs more than the average runner due to my height, so even though I look fine, any weight down makes it that much easier on my joints- my knees and hips just LOVE me. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Nike Training Jacket Winner

 Since this is my first giveaway- I decided to have 2 winners- SURPRISE! If you weren't one of the lucky winners, no worries as I will be posting another giveaway sometime toward end of the week / weekend, so be on the lookout.

Also- I decided to change my title of my blog- thus how it would appear on your blogroll- "Because I can..." Will show up starting tomorrow. Its a great answer to when all my non runner friends and coworkers ask about the crazy miles and races :)

Josh W @ Purposely Running
Sarah @ Run Write Conquer

If you could both email me at jamesondirect (at) yahoo dot com your mailing info by the end of the week, as well  as confirming the size of your jacket.

Thanks everyone for the adds and music input- my workouts over the last week have greatly appreciated all the suggestions. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday funday run

Sundays B and I usually meet up and do our longer runs together.  I was excited to finally feel comfortable enough to wear my Newtons for a longer run. Up until today, 4 miles was the longest I would wear them for, but considering I run so often in them, I thought 8 or 9 would be a good upgrade.
As I leave my house to head to B's I didn't realize its was so warm outside- SCORE! Head back inside to change into a skirt. Got my stash of new runnings skirts in the mail yesterday- Running Skirts is having a sale where all their skirts (both running and athletic) are $20.11, so I had fun shopping through what was left over.

Once I get to Bs we decided to do our usual 9 mile loop where we run by Belmont University and the infamous music row. Since we generally do this loop every sunday, we decided to mix things up and have fun- because after all, it doesn't matter how fast you go on your long runs, just that you get your mileage in.
Just a little background on me, I am obsessed with taking pictures with inanimate objects, mascots, funny signs, whatever. When I lived in Louisville, I would go around the city trying to get my picture with as many of the Derby gallapalooza horses as I could. ( there are hundreds and more come out each year for the Kentucky Derby) Up to date I have pictures with 118 of them, and dorky as this sounds, everytime I go back I try to get at least one more

So Louisville is known for the Kentucky Derby, and in Nashville we have the nickname 'music city', thus guitars around the city. I got my pic taken with the main guitar on Broadway when I first moved here, and never had the desire to search out for the rest of them....

... until today's run.  Last few days I've been dealing with a lot of personal issues that have been bringing me down, and I finally vented about it at the beginning of the run to B (thanks for listening) To liven things up, we decided to find random things to take a pictures with, including guitars!
"Heartbreak Hotel" ~ Saw this gem outside the building where  people meet to hop on a tour bus and drive around and gawk at famous people's house. This one took a couple tries and in the mean time a tour bus pulled up and emptied out- I felt so cool standing there lol- but I did get a compliment on my shoes. On our way to the other guitars we passed music circle and I FINALLY decided to sit down with piano man and help him play a tune!

B really wanted to sit on his lap haha

We normally stop at this point for our gu, but since we were goofing off and feeling good, we decided to push it till our next guitar stop
Double Dose of fun! 

Rock on! 
Despite all the hills, of course, I'm  feeling pretty good so we pick it up to our next stop- the statues in front of Belmont University's cafeteria (which was surprisingly busy for a Sunday)
can't tell so much in the pic, but B put her gu in the guy's hand.

Looks like hes saying 'STOP!'
 We changed up our route a little bit to see if we could find more fun stuff- unfortunately no. Shortly in between mile 6-7, my feet are KILLING me. Its like I can feel the lugs hitting the ground, as well as everytime my heel slightly strikes the ground- ugh. There were a few times I had to tell B to go on ahead of me so I could walk for a few secs and then just strided it out to catch up to her. I'm getting kind of nervous if  these shoes end up not working for my races, not only because  they're expensive, but I was hoping so much they would prevent my feet going numb like they always do for my halfs. Guess I need more practice running longer distances in them.
Because we did all the stopping and photo opting, some of our mile splits were in the 12 or 13 min range (ouch) So for the last 2 miles we picked it up to run 9:25 splits each- was great to finish strong. 
The best part of the run- it was nice to just be able to enjoy the sights and have fun vs. chasing a time or a certain mileage. I think its important to be reminded of why we started running in the first place, I  know that I was today! 

* side note, I found $40 toward the end of the run, icing on top of the already delicious cake!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Tough Mudder Anyone?

A few of the guys I work with have been nagging me to join their Tough Mudder race team in Atlanta this march.  My deadline is approaching if I want to join or pass, and I'm just wondering if anyone else out there in the running world has done one of these, or something very similar to it such as a Warrior Dash. If so, would I have to do any other training outside of my already existing running / weight lifting routine?

For those who have never experienced a tough mudder race, its basically an extremely long obstacle course, this one being 10 miles, that you and your team have to complete together. "Tough Mudder is also about experiencing a true sense of camaraderie that, sadly, is rarely seen outside of the military these days. To get over some of our obstacles you will need the help of others – they are simply too much for one man to tackle alone. Tough Mudders, unlike some other types of endurance runners, are team players; they help out other Tough Mudders. We want everyone to compete, but being a Tough Mudder is also about making sure no man is left behind, not worrying about your finish time."
I figure, with all the halfs i'm doing, it might be nice to switch it up every so often, and March is a slow race month for me with only my Little Rock, AR race on March 6th. Major hold backs is I have very little upper body strength, and of course there is the risk of injury. I will be royally p.o.ed if I hurt myself and not be able to run for a bit because b/n April & May I already have 8 halfs on the books,  potentially a few more.
Soooooooooo any input, greatly appreciated :)  In the meantime, here are some photos of past mudder events.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Being fickle paid off!

When it comes to designing and such, I change my mind constantly. For those that have been following my blog for a bit, I'm pretty sure I've changed my template / design at least 10 times before sticking with one that works. All that being picky paid off because Busy wife mom runner nominated me for the
absolutely awesome, so thank you! 

Here’s how it works…
There are 4 duties to perform to accept this award:
1. Make a post + Link back to the person who awarded you this award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Award 7 recently discovered great bloggers
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them they’ve won!

7 random facts about yours truly

1. I have a slight (and by slight I mean HUGE) obsession with everything about Germany (grew up there as a child)  Accents, beer, food, scenery, castles, lederhosen - EVERYTHING
German Flag

Wertheim Castle my old house overlooked 

Bavarian style architecture.

2. I do not like cats (and they can sense this) Love dogs though!
3. Seafood makes me gag 

4. I'm a Twilight Fan and I'm not afraid to admit it - Team Edward haha
5. I'm  a beer snob- I will gladly pay $6-$10 for a good import, then $2 for a crappy standard domestic- I also don't drink light beer- Bring on the calories, that much more to make me work out harder ;)
6. My whole family lives in Ohio, yet I choose to live 5 hours away in Nashville- damn independence! 
7. I'm 5'10 barefoot- probably pushing 6'0 with shoes. I'm the shortest of the kids. Height does have its advantage in sports... trying to find my better half, not so much! 

Seven People that I nominate are:

Hope that was random enough for everyone. Look forward to learning about you guys. ] And if you haven't registered for my giveaway yet, you can do it HERE Enjoy the rest of the week!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Nike Dri Fit training jacket Giveaway!

I'm excited to announce I have my first giveaway! I am very fortunate to have a friend who works with Nike who was willing to help me with a few giveaways (more from Nike to come for future giveaways)
This time around I will be giving away a royal blue dri fit training jacket as seen below in your choice of  sizes ranging from S up to XL.

If you haven't run in Nike Dri Fit- its comfortable and amazing. The fabric wicks away from your body to the fabrics surface, and then evaporates.  (thus keeping you dry) "Spandex fibers in the fabric allow it to stretch for better mobility, and a comfortable, athletic fit."
**How to Win**
Please leave a separate comment for each. Each comment is an entry and at end of contest I will use a random number generator to choose the winner
1. Be or become of follower of this blog (and let me know)
2. Let me know what size you would prefer
Addition entries
1. Share this giveaway on your blog, facebook, or twitter (1 comment for each)
2. I'm updating my running mix, so let me know your favorite running / workout songs (can leave up to 3)

You have until 1/18 to enter- Good luck everyone! 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Mississippi Blues 1/2 Recap

Mississippi Blues Half Marathon- Jackson MS
 State 5/50 - 1/10 if the way through! haha
January 8 2011; mid 30s

** apologize in advance for lengthy recap**
Choosing this race was an easy decision- race on Elvis' birthday that is blues inspired- sure! B and I took off work on Friday and made the 6.5 hour drive to Jackson. 3 things we learned on our road trip down.
1. There is absolutely NOTHING to look at, scenery was lacking, so we started watching the temperature  gage in my car creep up, and were excited every time it raised a degree
it did reach 68, but B couldn't get the camera fast enough.
2. Great "southern hospitality" at all the stops/ gas stations/ restaurants. So refreshing!
3. Gas station pumps DON'T turn off automatically. The pump was going extremely slow so I went in the car and got caught up in reading blogs haha. Was actually reading Tall Moms  blog when this car pulled up and said my gas was overflowing! $63 later, this is the result. 
Went in to let the clerk know there was gas everywhere and she just stared at me, not even an apology that apparently the pump was broke and I just threw away $20. (the one instance on non southern charm we experienced).
We actually managed to get one of the recommended hotels on the race website, Hilton, at a crazy discount thanks to B's AAA membership. Location was PERFECT as it was an easy 5 min walk to the convention center/expo, as well as on the homestretch of the finish line. 
After unpacking we decide to dress for the evening so we could get packet pickup and then walk around in search of food. Expo was inside the Jackson convention complex- which the building itself (at least on the outside) was gorgeous. 

Can u see me in the picture?
So apparently B and I came in the 'wrong' door because we went up to the escalator to the expo, walk into the race pickup area, and realize we didn't see a sign where we needed to look up our bib numbers. A lady outside packet pickup told us we had to go back downstairs and there was a large board with all the numbers. Down the escalator. Ask some of the 'helpers' (who by the way were standing by the door we came in and should have told us to go down the hall first before going upstairs) and they point us in the right direction. Look up our bib numbers, go upstairs, get in line, and then my turn comes up and I tell the lady my number. She informs me I need to have a waiver that has my bib number first before she can give me my number. I ask her where they are located and she lets me know right where I looked to find my number- seriously? Back down the escalator. Manage to find a stray waiver lying on the table (which by the way wasn't obvious if you weren't looking for it) and fill out info to head back up to show the ladies. I was extremely frustrated because wasn't it supposed to be the 3 ladies job that were standing at the door when you walk in to tell you what to do?!? 3rd time is a charm and finally got my number and bag.
The expo itself was smaller, had your typical merchandise. They did have Dane Rauschenberg from See Dane Run, so that was pretty neat (although I didn't officially meet him, I was 5ft away from him)
Now if you're the type of person who gets excited about what comes inside your race bag- you would have been in heaven with this race.
So we have the bag itself, which as you can see is pretty awesome, especially because its like a track / athletic drawstring bag that you can put on your shoulders. 
2nd is the shirt- now its not a tech tee that most  races will hand out-just plain old cotton t-shirt. However since I'm obsessed with Elvis, I love it :) 

The back of everyone's shirt varied, but they were all quotes from famous people talking about what they thought of Elvis Presley! 
Inside the bag I think they tried to mix up who got what, but in mine I got Elvis' signature gold glasses with attached sideburns (pic farther down); cd of blues music, and a harmonica. B was laughing at me because I was like a little kid in the candy shop with my excitement. I got the last laugh though because she didn't get the cool sunglasses in her bag! 
its tiny, but it has the race and date etched on there
After expo we walked around by our hotel. Grabbed 2 drinks at a swanky bar / restaurant, but food was so overpriced that we decided to check out the bar in our hotel for dinner. Now this is the 2nd race that while sitting at the bar, we friended an older man trying to do 50 marathons in 50 states. In Charlotte it was Bob, and in Jackson we met John. The cool part about John, was he actually came down here to be the 3:20 pacer for the marathon (super fast) AND after talking for awhile he told us that a year or two back he ended up beating Dean Karnazes aka 'Karno' in the last 100 meters of the Arizona Rock n' Roll marathon. Apparently Karno wasn't too happy about being beat in the last part of the race, and let John know about it lol. Whoops!
We said goodnight & good luck to John and headed to our room for shut eye around 10pm.

So even though the day before it was in the 60s, saturday was much colder, especially for a 7am race start (mid to low 30s). Me being the forgetful person that I have a tendency to be, didn't plan for cold weather because told me when I was packing it would be 55, so all I had were my skirt and tank top. 
Rocking the shades w/ sideburns and the harmonica- no i didn't run w/ them
I was nervous for this race because there were a lot of firsts for me.
1. compression socks- only wore them once, and it was for a 3 mile run- decided last min to wear them to offer me some warmth
2. new and shorter skirt- did wear my compression shorts under them
3.Garmin watch- was worried that i would be obsessed w/ my time and not focus on the run itself
4. Ipod shuffle vs. my phone on armband
5. new earphones (still haven't found any that i just love)
6. wore my fuel belt (minus the bottles) so I had a pouch to keep my phone in so B & I could find eachother after race.
Race start was about a 7-10 minute walk up our same street, so we waited in the WARM lobby for as long as we could

Now again, I don't know what it is about older men, but they just LOVE me and B- so naturally this one (who i forgot his name, but of course was running the full) started talking to us about how he is trying to do a race in every state as well. He offered me a trash bag to keep warm, which I happily accepted and after my struggle to put it on, all 3 of us braved the cold and made the walk to the start line. Wished him good luck, as well as B and then made my way to a more comfortable position. B and I have different paces, so she likes to start farther back... I'm still trying to convince her to at least start closer so she doesn't have as much bobbing and weaving to do.
I ditched the trash bag a min or 2 before gun went off and just waited for the start. If there is one thing I have learned about myself and running in the cold, its that I need to go out easier to let my lungs adjust, and then pick up the pace when I'm ready. Luckily I'm trying to be a good student and listen to my body, so I ran a very comfortable first mile at 8:39- If I would have known what this course had in store, I probably would have gone out MUCH slower.
Now this is the elevation profile listed on the website- I don't know how to copy and paste the elevation from my garmin, but i can assure you- its like you are looking at 2 different maps (with the one shown below as the lesser elevation change of the two)
After running the rolling hills of Charlotte, I thought that had been a tough course, but now I can officially say this is the worst.course.ever. 
1. Hills, Hills, Hills. I kid you not, when one hill would end, there may be a min or two break before another one began. It got to the point that when mile 6 came, I was cursing in my head thinking I wasn't even half way done 
2. Completely boring. They had us run along the highway a few times and along the most unscenic nothing to look at streets
3. Pollution / car exhaust- bc we were constantly around the highway and lots of cars, it was hard (at least for me) to breathe without sucking in all those fumes
4. some of the mile markers weren't marked-  unless I blacked out and missed it, so there was one point where I didn't know what mile I was on. Now for the mile markers that were on the course, they were way off. I remember at mile 6 my garmin beeped at me and then 50 sec later i get to the the marker. 
5. the terrain / asphalt was uneven and full of potholes. There was a guy in the beginning who zoomed by me wearing vibrams, I caught back up to him at mile 7- he said his feet were in so much pain. I learned later that day from my gf who lives in Jackson that its because of the Yazoo clay in the soil that expands and contracts with rain- bah!

I'm off my rant now. The race itself was pretty uneventful. I did get passed by an Elvis- I wanted so bad to ask him if we could get our picture together... I should have. Miles 1-9 were brutal with constant hills; finally we got a break and miles 9-12 were relatively flat with an occasional hill.  I'll admit, I worked so hard in the first half that my body was exhausted the 2nd half and I walked.... several times :(  When mile 11 hit there was one major hill to go up and then I told myself that I just had 2 miles left, anywhere b/n 16-20 minutes depending on how I wanted to drag it out. My hips were KILLING me with all the pounding of the hills and the uneven roads. I let myself take it easy till mile 12 hit, and then I attempted to 'pick up the pace' the last mile. Finally I get to the area I recognize, pass my hotel, and get within range of other people. (I was pretty much running by myself after mile 7) I passed up an older guy who i briefly talked to around mile 9, so that felt victorious. The last stretch was frustrating because you know the finish line is at the top of the hill at the end of the street, yet it doesn't look any closer. On my venture to the start line earlier that morning I picked a spot where I told myself would be a good distance to start kicking it in- Congress St. Once I finally reached the intersection, it no longer looked doable to have a fast pace for that long, but I managed to open my stride and pass one person. I finally could make out the numbers on the clock and it was in the 1:56- I was so shocked because I had walked quite a bit and expected my time to be slower. As I'm approaching the finish line they announce my name (I love it when they do that!) and immediately was greeted with my medal. Race official time was 1:56:50, so garmin was super close! Was funny to see that all my slowest times mile 10,11,12 were when it was flat- kind of took advantage and attempted to rest my legs. 
















After the race I headed into the food tent and was actually impressed with variety of choices. Bananas (of course) all different types of cookies, granola bars, rice and beans w/ sausage (its the south), little caesars pizza, pb and banana sandwiches (elvis' favorite meal), water, gatorade and my absolute new FAVORITE- Gatorade Recovery protein shake (out of the new Gatorade 3 steps series) Never have seen this before and it was awesome- take 1/2 of it within 30 minutes to 1 hour of workout, the other have 2 hours later. If you like chocolate shakes, you'll like this.
As I was waiting to get my phone call from B that she was done, I happened to find fellow blogger Becka @ 50 half marathons in 50 states and her sister. After a few months of following her racing ventures, it was neat to finally meet her in person. Got to chat for a few minutes on what they both thought of the race / swapped stories. As an added bonus, she showed me how to change the settings on my garmin so I can see my pace AND my total time- will definitely come more in handy for my next race! Said goodbye to them and wished them both luck for their half in Alabama the following day (double header weekend) and ventured off to find B. She did pretty well too despite all the hills. Goof off for a bit and the make our way back to hotel
An Elvis cake!
On our way back we saw the first marathon guy finishing 2:19:47 w/ 2nd place 2:19:51- damn thats close. The female time was AMAZING as well 2:40:18- geez. I can only hope that I finish in under 5 hours for my first one haha. As we're walking back it was fun to cheer for people and how receptive EVERYONE was as they're running or in some cases struggling- each one thanking us. 
Official time 1:56:50

finished 218 overall
10/61 in age group
40/442 sex /pl

Overall I loved everything about the race, except the actual race itself. The bags and goodies were awesome, the volunteers were great, lot of people i saw in costume which livened things up, the spectators that were out were friendly, after race food was plentiful, and of course I enjoyed the southern hospitality of everyone we came in contact with. The course was just awful terrain, hard on joints, and boring. However if you HAVE to race in Mississippi because you need to complete this state, I guess this would be the one to choose bc Jackson is the biggest city in MS, and from what I'm told, the best financially stable of all the cities in the state as well (MS is poorest state in US) **Word to the wise though- if you stay downtown, get your car from valet and drive out for food, found out the hard way for our post race meal that restaurants either don't open on weekends, or only for dinner after 4:30 pm **

State #5 check done
Next up- Savannah, Ga February 5th!