The night before the race was the Go Daddy Bowl parade. My room was on the 5th floor so I had an awesome view of the parade. I grabbed a nice glass of Pinot noir from the downstairs bar and I was set for an evening of entertainment. It was so cool to watch floats go by, listen and see bands performing, and people watch from above. It was like a mini-Macy's Thanksgiving day parade.
I went to bed Saturday night feeling like the ice bath was the magic elixir for making a hilly run more tolerable. And I was sure that red wine had even more magical powers (don't all good reds have a little magic?!). But then I woke up Sunday morning to the uh-oh feeling of thrashed quads. Ooohh, this could be a long 2-1/2 hours. And it was.
Ran into Cheryl on my way to the start and so glad I did. Because of her, I got to hang out with a wonderful group of about 30 Marathon maniacs. The cult-like following of this group is so intoxicating. But before long, it was time to get this show on the run.
There was no championchip timing, no D tag or Bib tag. It was old school. Everyone started at the same time and you tore off the bottom of your bib and handed it over to the volunteers. And that was that. Sometimes it's nice to just run - no technology, just you and your shoes.
The course was not terribly scenic. It's kind of hard to describe Mobile. I had these great expectations that it would be full of beauty and azaleas. Well, since the azaleas are not in bloom, it just looked...well...like anyplace else. Not good, not bad, just another town.
The course snaked in and out of various neighborhoods, some beautiful, some not so much. It was flat, which didn't add to any level of excitement. There weren't too many people on the course cheering either. The one thing the race had going for it was the charity/cause. The people served by L'Arche made plaques for those of us that did the back-to-back races as well as handmade the medals. It was a very nice touch and I actually felt my money went to something good and decent, unlike the Rock n Roll Vegas race, where the money wasn't used wisely or for a kind cause. That's an interesting point, come to think about it. Should races always be of the fundraising sort? Or is it acceptable for race to be a big business? Hmm...haven't really thought about that.
The first 5 miles I ran with a 70-ish year old marathoner from Georgia. He shared fun stories about when his dad first took him to the Marriott Battle House (where I was staying and, historically, was the battle command center for General Andrew Jackson) when he was a little boy. He had brought his grandaughter with him on this trip to make it special. He shared with me that he almost always has a podium finish in his age group because it's not as competitive when you're in you're 70s, but that the 60s age group was terribly competitive! Around mile 8 I ran with a nice lady whose husband had left her 6 months ago with two young kids so she took up running. She was delightful actually and I enjoyed her company for a mile or two. Around mile 11, I ran alongside a 12-year-old who had an old Garmin - I think the 101! He told me this was not his first half, but he did ask me how much longer did he have to go. I swear, I think kids are programmed to ask that question!
I finished the race in a relatively decent time considering it was my second race in two days, and enjoyed a yummy small cup of ice cream with chocolate syrup. I sat briefly on a bench by one of park fountains next to lady from Mobile. She told me that the humidity about did her in (87%). I told her I was from Cleveland and was not ready for these conditions - mid 60s with awful humidity, but the ice cream sure did make everything better!
All in all, a great weekend. I knocked out two states, visited two interesting towns, racked up some mileage, chiseled my quads (a girl can dream), met some wonderful runners, and had a fun experience.
Finish time: 2:41:27 (and Garmin clocked this race at 13.41 miles).
Now please pardon me while I whine going up and down the stairs!