Back to Back Marathon Weekend – Mississippi & Alabama

This weekend my friend Tina and I met up to acquire two more states to reach our 50 states marathon goal.  We began the weekend in Jackson, Mississippi.  This was a good but hard race.

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I have come to love smaller races since you do not have to arrive so early.  The race began after, “The Star Spangled Banner” was played on an electric guitar. Some of the things we loved about the Mississippi Blues Marathon were , the hospitality, the music and the medal.  The hospitality was very close to that of Little Rock.  Everyone was so welcoming.  Every person you passed said, “Welcome to Jackson” and “Thank you for coming to our city.”

The music was great except being a, “back of the packer” most of the music areas closed before we got there.  I think if you host a 7 hour marathon their needs to be something for everyone within the time limit to enjoy.

The hardest part about the run were the HILLS.  They were brutal, at least for those of us from Houston and Orlando. The roads were also very bad.  You had to watch your step all of the time.

Here are a few of the other highlights.

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I met Jim and Larry.  Jim, in red, was the first North American to run 1,000 marathons and Larry was the second.  I felt like I was among marathon royalty.

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The state capitol.

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The finish line.

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And did I mention the awesome medal?

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The second marathon for the weekend was the First Light Marathon in Mobile, Alabama.

When we arrived at packet pick up we were given a shirt for back-to-back marathons as well as a plaque for doing both.  The plaque was made by special needs residents at  the community of L’Arche Mobile.  We were late for the spaghetti dinner but I think that was good since there were quite a few with tummy troubles the next day.  Not fun for a marathon.

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The race had plenty of water stops and even had cold water.  They also had oranges which is a huge bonus and they did not run out.  The roads were much better than those in Jackson but that was it.  There were minimal volunteers and most were teens on their phones.  There were only a handful of spectators and the course was not exactly scenic. But here is a picture from one of the pretty streets.

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We were not quite sure what this said in this yard.  It made for an “interesting” yard decoration.

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We then ran through a University and I assume this was their mascot.  See I am not just slow I like to take pictures too.

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The most frustrating part of the race was in the last third of a mile.  They opened up a fun run that merged with the marathoners.  I am all for fun runs and encouraging kids to run, but when you are finishing up 50+ miles you feel “fragile” shall we say.  It was difficult to get through the crowd and I was afraid of being tripped.  I wish there would have been a divider to separate the two groups.

The medal was also made by the community members at L’Arche Mobile.

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So for recommendations.  I would definitely recommend Jackson as long as you train for hills, but Mobile was one of my least favorites of the now 18 I have done.

Overall is was a fantastic weekend.

Happy Running!

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January Fitness Challenge

This January I am putting together several different challenges to help you make 2014 your healthiest year yet.  The challenge groups, aka accountability groups, are  “secret” FaceBook  groups made up of 5-10 people that help each other stay accountable.  In the groups, each day I post challenges, fitness and nutrition tips, keep you motivated and many other things.  Most importantly in the group we encourage each other through the ups and downs that come with getting in better shape.  If there is a group that interest you contact me and I can get you the info you need to get started.  Please do not wait these groups will fill fast and you do not want to miss out.  If there is a group that I am not offering but you think would be helpful to you please make the suggestion and we can see what we can do.

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P90X3

Join me for a 90 day P90X3 Challenge. P90X3 is the newest program released by BeachBody. All workouts are 30 minutes.  For more info click here and watch here.

To be part of this Challenge you will need to P90X3 Challenge Pack.  If you have purchased a challenge pack in the past contact me and I can send you a different link.

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T25

All workouts are only 25 minutes! This group will run for 30 days with the option to go 60 or 90 days.  T25 is a fun energetic workout that is one of my favorites.  For a preview watch here.

To be part of this Challenge you will need the Focus T25 Challenge Pack.  If you have purchased a challenge pack in the past contact me and I can send you a different link.

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The Ultimate Reset

The Ultimate Reset is 21 days of resetting your body.  In 21 days you can lose weight, lower cholesterol, lower your blood pressure and have overall better health.  In 21 days you will feel like a new person.  This is a great way to start your health and fitness journey or to recover from intense training such as marathon training.  For more info watch here.

For this Challenge you will need the Ultimate Reset Challenge Pack.  If you have purchased a challenge pack in the past contact me and I can send you a different link.

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Combo Challenge

This will be a 30 day Challenge made up of various different BeachBody programs.  There are over 20 different programs and I would love to help you find which one would work best for you.  Contact me and I can get you information.  To look at the variety of programs visit my site and click on “shop” and then “programs”.

I look forward to making 2014 a great year with you.

Make me your free coach.

Columbia Gorge Marathon

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My marathon journey continues to my 10th state, Oregon.  The only word to describe the Columbia Gorge Marathon is BEAUTIFUL.  Every mile was breathtaking.  It was certainly not my easiest marathon but the beauty distracted me enough to not care.  I think the pictures can say more than words…

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See the rainbow.  This was mile 5.  We had absolutely gorgeous weather until mile 13 when the wind picked up.

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This did not turn out well but it was graffiti that had been carved into the rock back in the early 1900’s when there was a snow storm and people were trapped in the tunnel.

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Miles 20-24 it rained.

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For anyone who might be considering this marathon you have got to do it.  It has an early start for those needing more time, and there was plenty of food, beverages and port-a-potties along the route.  At the end they even served a full meal and hot apple cider.  Great course. Great people. Lots of Fun!

What an Honor

In my last post I wrote about the End of the World marathon.  Well I am by no means fast, or as John Bingham says, “I am getting my moneys worth out of the experience.”  Well the second day of the race I was so close to quitting.  My body hurt everywhere and I had an extremely swollen achilles tendon.  If you have never experienced that, It hurts!

Well needless to say I was neck and neck for last place, or as my kids call said, I was next years winner.  I will go with that.  But in the back I had the honor of meeting an amazing man. We talked about his favorite races and he gave me tips on ones to take the kids to.  I noticed he had on a 50 states club shirt so I asked him how many marathons he had completed.  I had guessed around 100, but his response was 677!  Can you imagine 677 marathons. Thats 17,737 miles just at races, not training.

So as disappointed as I was to be so close to the back I could not have chosen a more amazing person to finish with.

My new friend Gene.

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The End of The World

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I have not yet finished blogging my different marathons.  I need to get on it since I have another one coming up next week.  I love when I get comments and emails from you saying that the posts have helped you decide which runs to do.  I just love hearing from you all.

I have now done 13 marathons and I know I say that each were my favorite, but this one was really unique.  On December 21, 2012 I did, “The End of The World Marathon” and then the following day I did, “The Day After The End of The World Marathon.”  The races took place in Humble, Tx.  There was not much that was special about the location.  It was basically a plowed field with course markers. But what made it awesome was the husband and wife team that put it together.  They were amazing.  I would do any race this couple put on.  Here are a few of the course markers that were put out.

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A view of the trail.

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Not too many places do you get to run by where they are drilling for oil.

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Most runners will admit that we are in it for the bling.  This race not only had the bling but it had great swag.  For each day we got a duffle bag, a shirt, a hat, a medal and a squeeze toy.  The toy is just something this group likes to do.  One was a Easter Island head and the other was a smiley face.

The shirts

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The BLING!!

From day 1

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From Day 2

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And a coin for doing both days.

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Just a few more random pics…

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A Bald Eagles Nest

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Happy Running

Pontypoole Challenge Day 1

As you read in the previous post the Pembroke Coastal Challenge did not go as planned (cliffs, 45 mph wind gusts, hail and mud).  So Tina and I chose to make out own challenge.  We called this the Pontypoole Challenge.  I do have to say it was a lot more fun.

Sam, my husband, dropped us off at the canal close to where we were staying.  We knew the canal was roughly 45 miles long so he just said for us to call when we were done.  Here are just a few pictures of what we saw along the canal.

Sunrise over the canal.

The beautiful fall leaves.

Tina on one of our detours from the trail to see the little water falls.

Sheep, Sheep and more Sheep.

The canal boats.

Next time I am there I want to take a ride in one of these.  However, this time we got to assist in a dog rescue using the boats.

 

Our Finish

 

 

One of the best parts about the UK is that everything ends in the pub.

It made for a great after run meal.

Pembroke Coastal Challenge 2012

The Pembroke Coastal Challenge consists of three marathons in three days where you run along the Pembroke Coastal Trail. This is an absolutely beutiful area of the world and definitely a place worth putting on your bucket list. However, training in Houston, Texas could not prepare me for what was required. I looked up YouTube videos of the race to see the different terrains. I saw gravel so I ran many miles on gravel. I also saw lots of dirt trails, so I trained on dirt trails. But what we came across was mud! Not just regular mud but ankle deep mud. Those in the challenge that live in the Pembroke area were flying across the stuff. As for Tina and I, it slowed us down considerably. While trudging through the mud I fell not once but three times. The first time I just got agitated, the second time I twisted my ankle and fell face first in the most awesome grass ever. I just laid there for a while having an emotional moment, but felt I better get up before Tina found me laying there and panicked. The third time however, after I fell I heard some stomping and looked up to find five cows staring down at me. One warning given to us before the challenge began was the cliffs.  It was mentioned that 5 people had died by slipping off the cliffs from 1981 – 1996.  I did not want to be the next statistic.  My concern was not the closeness to the cliff as it was the closeness combined with the slippery mud. I completed 20 miles and had to make the decision that I should not continue the challenge.  It is the first time I have not completed a race I have started, but with conditions I was just not prepared for I had to listen to that gut feeling that says to stop.  So I did.  I am very disapointed but I know I did what was best for me.  Below are some more pictures of this fabulous coast.

 

Even though I did not finish it was an experience I will never forget.  I have never run through cow pastures, flocks of sheep or among horses.  If you are someone considering this race and you are from a flatland area I would suggest you really think about how you can train for such an event.  If you are already one of these crazy mountain runners then this would be an amazing race for you.  The staff were wonderful and very concerned for the welfare of each participant.