Mississippi Blues and First Light Marathons, a one-weekend recap!


First Class upgrade, sweeeeet.
Dear Friends, Family and Neighbors-

Successfully made it through my first double-marathon weekend!  Two marathons, two states, two days.  I'm grateful that it all worked out.  It seemed like a fairly reasonable idea since I'd already run a 50 miler (JFK50, 11/09), and I thought that if my body could handle that, it could handle two marathons in two days.  Only 2.4 additional miles, right?  It was a mental game of perseverance -- a 'just do it' attitude -- and putting one foot in front of the other.  Not over-thinking, just starting...  The hardest and most stressful part of the weekend though, was navigating back through the Atlanta airport before the big storm hit on Sunday.  Made it home by hustling, riding standby (3 times), and a whole bunch of luck.

Before I start with the recap, some Housekeeping:

  1. December's Washingtonian article, did you see it?
  2. End-of-Year donations are just about in and it looks like... $32,500+.  Thanks to ALL for supporting The RunningBrooke effort and making a real and lasting difference.  More to come as I start making my grants!
  3. National 1/2 Marathon and The RunningBrooke Fund (in association with Lululemon).  An exciting opportunity to challenge yourself and change a life.  Train (I'll help you), raise some money for The RunningBrooke Fund, and run a half-marathon through downtown DC.  What's in it for you -- besides health and satisfaction of helping your neighbor?  Great Lululemon team-gear, a training plan,  race-day Pace Runners, a Lululemon after-party and more!  Register HERE using these special discount codes:  11rbhalf (half-marathon) and 11rbfull (marathon).

So without further ado...

Part 1: Jackson, MS and the 4th annual Mississippi Blues Marathon 1/8/11.  A small marathon -- 665 finishers -- with a big marathon feel.  A very friendly place where onlookers yelled "thanks for running in Jackson!"  My goal was to take it easy and finish strongly, with enough left in the legs to run again on Sunday.  Fairly pleased to finish 146th overall, 8th in my division with a 3:46.  Especially with the relentless hills...  Big thanks to Ken from Celebration, FL for providing the tunes -- ipod/speaker attached to his belt.  He and I ran from mile 6 on, and played 'name the song/artist/band/album...'  Highly entertaining.  See you in New Orleans, Ken!

Jackson, MS elevation chart

New Capital - 1903

Jackson, located on the Pearl River, is the State Capital and the largest city in Mississippi, with the slogan: City with Soul.  And it has that.  In and around Jackson are known for its greats: Elvis Presley (race day was his birthday),  Muddy Waters, Charley Patton, BB King, Bo Diddley, just to name a few.  This unique Mississippi art form has long been recognized as the foundation for much of today's music.  It's tangible, a way of life.

Terry "Harmonica" Bean
Since the mid-60's, Jackson has undergone a series of dramatic changes and growth.  Much of its downtown has been replaced by modern-ish buildings that little resemble a city with history.

Named after President and General Andrew Jackson, in recognition for his victory in the Battle of New Orleans, Jackson in the 1960's became a site for civil rights activism.  A place of sit-ins, merchant boycotts, Freedom Rides and the murder of Medgar Evans.  Evans, a prominent civil rights activist and leader of the Mississippi chapter of the NAACP, was murdered by Byron De La Beckwith.  Thousands marched in his funeral procession to protest the killing.

MS state flag outside Jackson's Governor's mansion

** Factoid:

In 2001, citizens of Mississippi voted overwhelmingly (65%) to keep their original Rebel Flag as part of their state flag.

Part Two: Mississippi to Mobile, Alabama, and the 10th annual First Light Marathon 1/9/11

In my Lululemon
After some finish-line red beans and rice (with Andouille sausage) -- I know this will surprise some of you -- I drove 200 miles from Jackson, MS to Mobile, AL, in my hot-rod, rental car.

Fun to drive, and pleased that I didn't get lost OR get a ticket (8 hours of recent driving school left an impression).

Mobile (pronounced / mou'bi:l / moe-BEEL)  Finally got the pronunciation right just as I was leaving.  I kept wanting to say Mobil, as in Mobil oil.

Mobile is the third most populous city in Alabama,  and sits at the junction of the Mobile River, Mobile Bay and the northern Gulf of Mexico.  That's a lot of water!  But it is the state's only seaport.  Mobile felt like a less-amplified New Orleans, more Old Town less Georgetown.

** Factoid: Mobile is known for having the oldest organized Carnival celebrations in the United States, dating to the 18th century and its early colonial period.

And I'd go back there in a heartbeat.  For everything Jackson has lost in its old-style architecture and sense of 'walking back through time,' Mobile has retained.  Huge trees, converging limbs, and large concentration of historic architecture.

Sunday's course was much flatter (thankfully) and was run to support the L'Arche Mobile organization, an international group that help those with intellectual disabilities lead fulfilling and independent lives.  Unbelievably, I felt pretty good -- the hardest part, motivating to the start line.  Finished 3rd in my age group with a 3:55, 95th out of 471 finishers.  Thanks to Paula -- Lobsterman from Maine -- for her entertaining stories and descriptions about her life as a lobster-boat captain.  Made for a very quick 20 miles.

L'Arche Mobile resident who gave me my hand-made, by him, finishers medal
**Factoid:  This marathon was not chip-timed.  We ran into chutes and tore off the bottom portion of our bib to record our finish place.

Home along a tree-lined street
Like Jackson, Mobile struggled with social justice and race relations.  By 1840, it was the second only to New Orleans in cotton exports for the nation.  As we all know, Mobile was part of a Confederate state and we know the history.   Starting at the turn of the 20th century, segregation ordinances and Jim Crow laws were passed, legislating what had been the informal segregation practices.  After WW II, according to some accounts, Mobile became more tolerant and racially accommodating -- compared to other cities in the South.  Its police force and Spring Hill College were integrated in the 1950's and bus and lunch counters were voluntarily desegregated by the early 1960's.

The Good

  • Running two marathons (#28 and #29), in two states in two days.  And, it wasn't that hard.
  • Reuniting with running-pal Jerry. Jerry has completed marathons in all of the continents and is on his way to finishing the states.  Way ahead of me!  Jerry and I compare marathon notes, okay, it's usually him giving me loads of practical advice and me following his instruction to the letter.  He and I have now run simultaneous marathons in Easter Island, The Outback, Omaha, Hartford and now Jackson.
  • Hearing awesome Blues at The Mississippi Blues marathon expo and getting a good sense of what Blues is all about.

The Bad/The Ugly

  • The Atlanta Airport.  Just the thought of being stuck there.

That's it.  You made it to the end.  Next month's marathon New Orleans Rock 'n' Roll Mardi Gras Marathon.  See you there!

Assorted Pictures

Me and Terry "Harmonica" Bean
met back up with Dane at the Mississippi Blues expo.  We last saw each other in Kiawah Island, SC.  Dane ran 52 marathons in 52 weeks after losing a bet...
    Governor's Mansion, Jackson, MS

    Me and Paula (Lobsterman)
    Mobile, AL
    Mobile, AL
                                                               her hoop and hat were so large that this was a close as I could get...

    Weekend Finisher Medals


    Justin Pink said...

    Come see me again at DCA!! -justin

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