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.

IMG_0160

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.

IMG_0164

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.

IMG_0167

The state capitol.

IMG_0165

The finish line.

IMG_0169

And did I mention the awesome medal?

IMG_0170

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.

IMG_0187

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.

IMG_0181

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

IMG_0176

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.

IMG_0178

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.

IMG_0185

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!

IMG_0174

Columbia Gorge Marathon

DCIM100GOPRO

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…

DCIM100GOPRO

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

DCIM100GOPRO

DCIM100GOPRO

DCIM100GOPRO

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.

DCIM100GOPRO

DCIM100GOPRO

DCIM100GOPRO

IMG_4531

DCIM100GOPRO

DCIM100GOPRO

DCIM100GOPRO

Miles 20-24 it rained.

DCIM100GOPRO

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.

IMG_1377

The End of The World

IMG_1381

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.

IMG_1371

IMG_1372

A view of the trail.

IMG_1373

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

IMG_1374

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

IMG_1367

The BLING!!

From day 1

IMG_1375

From Day 2

IMG_1382

And a coin for doing both days.

IMG_1384

Just a few more random pics…

End of the World 1

nd of the World 3

A Bald Eagles Nest

IMG_1376

Happy Running