Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Race Recap

Disclaimer...there are a LOT of pictures in this post. And it's really long.

We (by we I mean me, Joel, Kara, and Joel's momma) piled in the car and left bright and early on Friday morning for Memphis. -Side story: Joel was born in Memphis and his mom's best friend lives there so she hitched a ride.-

I'm ready with my bags and wine :)
We dropped off Joel's momma and went straight to the expo at the Cook Convention Center.

find your name and remember your bib number
get your bib

I grabbed my bib, goodie bag, and t-shirt. They set up a huge St. Judes booth near the bib pick-up, before you could see the rest of the expo. Clever strategy and for a worthy cause! I enjoyed the other vendors too. Lots of samples. Got me some local chocolate milk!!

After the expo, we headed to Michelle and Will's house. I've known Michelle since middle school (I'll see if I can dig up some proof..we had some serious swag..heh) and she and her hubs (Will) moved to Memphis almost 1 year ago. It was a great way to see them and use them as a cheering squad ;)

Anyways, carb load, chug water, and sleep later, it was race day! 5:30am wake up call!! I did my usual pre-long-run-day breakfast (oatmeal, banana, some sort of nut butter, and green tea) and got dressed. The forecast had changed a million times and ended up being much warmer that my recent training weeks. Glad I brought an obnoxious pair of shorts "just in case". My race day outfit was supposed to be bright and obnoxious so my friends could find me in 18,000 people. Glad I could still wear my highlighter shirt for a bit.

We headed to the race at 6:30ish am. I managed to forget my watch and could NOT run 26 miles without it. We turned around but were still downtown Memphis by 7:00am. (I realized later that I also forgot my extra GU). We cheered on the 7:30am 5k starters while Will parked the car. I'm glad we got there early enough to be stress free before the race start. Plenty of time to find a potty for last minute business! And take pics

I look like I already ran the race
starting to freak out a bit

7:45am came and went, and it was time to get in my corral (10ish min mile pace). Joel walked me over while the rest of the crew scouted a place to watch. The race started at 8am and I was in the 7th corral so I had another 15ish minutes to get really nervous.

getting in my corral
yes, the girl on the left is laughing at me

Finally, we start the race! My race crew was amazing! They caught me right out of the gate. Apparently I was really excited to be running. Probably the best running picture of me to date.

I'm a looker

Miles 1-3 were great. I was keeping an easy breathing pace. It helps that Memphis is flat. Mile 2 was a little crazy down by the river. The street was narrow and there were waaaaay too many people trying to fit. I was happy when it opened back up.

Mile 4 we came back up a teeny hill towards Beale Street. There were so many people cheering us on! I saw my friends again!! Surprise! We had discussed crossing paths twice during the day - once at the half-way mark and at the end. It was great to see them and all of the support for St. Jude in the city!

still super happy

Miles 5-9 were still good. Nothing crazy to report. Keeping things comfortable. Lots of music and people around. Grabbed my first GU at mile 9.

Miles 10-12 were still pretty flat. At this point we were headed back downtown. I took a walk break in mile 12 to remove my bib and all 4 safety pins from the highlighter shirt and pin them to the tank I was wearing underneath.  It was getting warm and I knew I could drop it at mile 13 with my sag crew. And running while using sharp objects seemed like a bad idea.

Mile 13 I was on target for a sub 4:20 finish even with my little walk and feeling great! We split from the 1/2 marathon crowd just before mile 13 marker and the runners really thinned out but I knew my sag crew was close! I could hear my friends before I could see them! That's how great they were! That and Will's voice carries like no man I have ever heard.

here friends, take my shirt

Mile 14 took us on a U-ie. We basically ran a few blocks down, over one, and then back up a parallel street.  Surprise #2!! The crew had walked one block over to cheer me on more! Joel jumped in and ran with me for 5 minutes or so. It was really nice to get that fun break with him!  Just after Joel turned around, I got a bug in my eye. I felt the thing fly in and messed with it a little. I didn't want to end up pulling out my contacts and figured I was imagining things, so I left it alone. Only to find it still in there after the race. Gross. 

Miles 15-19 took us away from downtown and the cheering sections and support was lacking. We still had GU and water stops fully supported (thanks to all the amazing volunteers!) but my mental game was forced to kick in. These miles were on a slight incline. My legs were starting to really feel the fatigue.

Mile 20 was near Rhodes College so there were frats out helping with water stops and cheering. I was told I had a nice ass by a frat boy. Cracked me up but helped a little with the motivation.

Mile 21 was the 4th GU station, and man I needed it! I hit mile 21 and all the muscles in my legs started to burn! 

Miles 22-23 I thought I was going to have to stop or die. I was running really slowly at this point and I was getting delirious. The road was bouncing with me. I decided I should take the powerade instead of water at the next couple of water stops. Then an angel caught me! The pacer group that was behind me passed me. It was the 4:25 group. The pacers were super perky and grabbing everyone they could to help them through the last few miles. Only a 5k left, only a 5k left! They pulled me for about a mile.

Mile 24 I was feeling better and pulled in front of the pacers for the last 2 miles. They gave me my second wind!

Mile 25 I just kept repeating "I can do anything for a mile".

Mile 26 push to the finish!!

I did it!!!
my results! 
After the finish, I went straight for the food and my friends! Joel was really excited and wanted pictures.

pose for a picture...fine
do something else....ok
one more...Joel stop taking pictures

Thanks to my amazing race crew for supporting me through the whole thing!! Couldn't have finished without you guys! 

Michelle, Joel, me, Kara, and Will

Joel also took some recovery pictures to round out the day...

food, shower, sweatpants, then ice
Neyland, the dog-bear, helped


  1. Great job Melissa!!! Loved all of the photos, you will be happy later that you have so many great ones. Enjoy some rest and treat yourself to a massage :-)

    1. Thank you! I do enjoy the pictures now...at the time, not so much. Been getting plenty of rest but I still need that massage!

  2. so awesome! Sounds like a great race, i would have thought it would be super hilly! (shows how much i know) I don't know pacers can still be so chipper at mile 23! They save me everytime... I would love to be one some day, but i don't know if i could keep up that attitude!

    Again, congratulations - what an amazing accomplishment - i hope you wore the medal out on the town!

    1. Thank you!! West TN (Memphis) is actually pretty flat. Perfect for marathon running. East TN is super hilly but really beautiful. The scenery makes up for the hills.

      I wore my medal to work on Monday. My boss was proud!

  3. This is awesome! I still have dreams of becoming a "marathoner". One day at a time grasshopper...but you are an inspiration. Congrats! ...and that medal is pretty cool.


    1. Thank you!!! You can do it! Just build up to it!