Monday, January 7, 2013
Southern Comfort - Part I
The 2013 sub-3 marathon campaign began for me in Jackson, Mississippi at the 6th Annual Mississippi Blues Marathon.
I had signed up for this marathon during my November shutdown when a herniated disc and useless hammy sidelined me from running for three solid weeks. To be honest though, without this marathon on my calendar, I would probably still be sitting on my ass with a herniated disc and useless hammy, and a bag of Cheetos.
The sub-3 card was definitely stacked against me leading into this one, and I still had some doubts if I could even pull it off a few days before the race. Most of it was my own doing, but I'll just blame Fil for it.
I went into full-on marathon training mode at the start of December, but didn't do my first long run and track session until mid-December. I followed that up with another solid long run a week later, which gave me a little more confidence, mainly because I actually felt like I was finally getting 100% use from both of my legs again. I continued strength training at the gym throughout this period, and I think that was what got me up-to-marathon-speed/strength the fastest.
Of course, signing up for a regular marathon wouldn't be the same without running a marathon four days prior and driving 25+ hours before the race. Again, this is all Fil's fault.
Even before visiting the Magnolia state, I knew I didn't want to go back for another visit, let alone, another marathon. It was going to be sub-3 or bust.
After arriving in Jackson the afternoon before the race, Fil and I visited the low-key expo, got our race gear, grabbed some lunch, and checked into our 5 star accommodations (out of 100) at the Travelodge. The hotel was conveniently a mile from the race, and even less conveniently, ten feet from the highway. The only thing missing from our stay were dead bodies, but I'm sure if we had the energy, we would have found some.
Fil and I ended up having a pasta dinner with fellow citizens of the Commonwealth, Gail and David Martin, and another runner named George.
Mississippi was going to be Gail's 38th state, and she wanted to kick off 2013 with a bang.
It was an enjoyable dinner with a lot of banter about previous states, and what we all had in store for 2013.
After dinner, we all just went back to our hotels/holes-in-the-wall. Fil and I didn't get a chance to check out the state capital itself, but I don't think we missed much. More on that gem a little later.
I was running absolutely on fumes by the time we called it a night around 9PM. I used the last of my 4th wind to prep my gear for the next morning. The race was a 7AM start, so I wanted to get as much sleep as possible. Making sure I had everything ready to go at the ass crack of dawn was a huge load off of my already heavy shoulders.
I don't even remember falling asleep.
When I voluntarily woke up at 5AM the next morning, I would have to say that it was probably the most well-rested I've ever felt on a marathon morning. I guess there's a lot to be said about sleep deprivation to make you sleep like a baby when you need it most. This was a very pleasant surprise, but I don't plan on testing it again in the future.
I literally jumped out of bed and was ready to go, since I had worn my compression calf sleeves to sleep. I've been doing this a lot recently, and it seems to really help with those first few, typically, sore steps each morning.
My Boston run from a few days prior, and the unholy drive down to Jackson, was now a distant memory in my mind and all over my body. I wasn't sore, and I felt 100% certain that I was going to pull off a sub-3 today.
And then I really woke up from my restless sleep and realized that it was almost 6AM. My body was a wreck and I had the worst shits you could possibly have before running a marathon.
No matter what, it was time for me to suck it up, pack the toilet paper, and play like a champion today.