Monday, January 9, 2012

Mississippi Blues Half Marathon Recap and Review

Saturday I ran my second half marathon, the Mississippi Blues Half Marathon!
Friday, as you all know I went to pick up my packet and went to the race expo.
The expo was way smaller than the Savannah Rock 'n Roll expo, but I enjoyed the smaller crowds and less frantic atmosphere. Packet pickup was really easy and fast and the volunteers working at the expo were incredibly nice and friendly.
There was a blues musician playing at the expo. I enjoyed hearing him play while I walked around the booths.

After a lunch at PF Changs and a relaxing evening at Zach's grandparents watching the Arkansas game, 5:00 am came fast!
Since this was a relatively small race, parking was a breeze, there was no traffic, and only a short walk to the start line. The line for the port-a-johns was about 10 minutes, then I just walked right up to the start line. There was no corral start at this race; just fast runners in the front and slower runners in the back.

The first 5 miles was fairly easy. I had been warned that this course was hilly, but the first part of the race wasn't too hard. There were some inclines, but they were slight and I ran up all of them. I took my first gel at about mile 5.25 and kept on truckin' towards Zach. He was waiting at about mile 7.
Here I come! (Ridiculously good picture, I know ;) )

I was glad to see Zach because the course had gotten really hilly after mile 5 and I definitely needed a quick hello break.
Off I go!

After mile 5 the course definitely had some rolling hills. Don't let the little ones from miles 5-8 trick you-they were steeper than I was expecting. However, while this course definitely has some challenging hills, I can't imagine that they would be difficult for someone used to running in the mountains or New England. I'm used to running in Mississippi so it was a bit challenging for me.
I hit mile 13.1 at 2:44 (according to GPS, which is 16 minutes faster than my first half marathon). The course wasn't over yet though! The last leg of the race was an uphill finish. My GPS said 13.6 miles at the finish in 2:49, an 11 minute PR!! Regardless of the time, I'm really happy that I improved that much in 2 months. I'm really looking forward to continue working hard this year and improve even more! I want to reach my time goal of 2:20 this year!
Here I am after the finish! Glad to see Zach and walk around! My legs were super tight so we got some food and I stretched them out and we headed back to Zach's grandparents!
After a shower, nap, and some football we saw Zach's parents, brother, and sister and her boyfriend for dinner, which was fun. We hadn't seen them yet since we got engaged so we had a great time.

Here is the race tee shirt (bottom left), a shirt I got at the expo (top left), and on the right side is the bag, a blues CD, and a MS Blues Marathon and Half Marathon harmonica!
The race shirt was a little loud for me so I got a more subdued one at the expo.
Here is an up close of the medal! I love it!
Overall this race was a great experience. The volunteers were amazing on the course and were always cheering for the runners and had plenty of water and Gatorade ready. They thanked every person for running the race. The expo and race execution was perfect - everything was on time and super organized. I highly recommend this race, plus I can tell y'all all the good places to eat in Jackson!

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  1. congratulations on beating your PR! that is awesome news, sounds like a difficult race but you rocked it!!

  2. Great job Ashley! What a cool looking metal!

  3. The medal is super cool. And congrats on your new PR. You can totally reach your 2:20 this year!

  4. I would love to try that race one day! Looks like it was a lot of fun!

  5. trekking your blog!!! keep posting! Happy New Year!


  6. Well DOne!! Awesome time!! Im hoping to get within 3 hours for my first running half in March! Your well on your way to your goal!! :)