While some people are getting prepared to run Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans this weekend I can rest a bit. I decided to add some new bling to my collection with the ‘8th Annual Mississippi Blues Half‘ and then the ‘4th Annual Louisiana Half Marathon‘ the very next weekend. I was a bit concerned since the MS Blues promised rolling hills and inclines that would be a bit more challenging than I am used too plus cold temperatures of a feels like degree of ’19’ on race morning. YIKES!! This southern girl likes it a bit warmer. I was worried the steep inclines may take me out for Louisiana Half since that course has more promise for a PR. My head knew that goal was going to be a bit ambitious for me anyway so first thing first was just to finish both uninjured and have a good time doing it.
That secondary goal was definitely accomplished 🙂
Part one: The Blues
My running buddy Francine and I enjoyed the expo in Jackson for the MS Blues. Terry “Harmonica” Bean was performing on the Expo stage at the time we were there and he oozed soul. To my delight he was featured in a couple songs on the Blues CD that was included with the runners packet.
Terry “Harmonica” Bean doing his thing on the stage at the MS Blues Half expo
There was several race booths setup such as Zydeco Marathon, St Jude and plenty of runner aid supplies. At the expo you could get just about any last minute items that you may have forgotten such as gloves for the drop in temperatures that was expected overnight for race morning. We found the race medal for the Half which gave us more incentive for being there. It was different than the year prior. Slightly smaller and less glitzy but would certainly be a nice addition to my collection. MS Blues also gave runners a vest with their entry which was something different that the usual race T shirt.
We had our pasta dinner at the historic ‘Mayflower Cafe’ walking distance from our our hotel. They even had a sign outside and food discounts to welcome the out of town runners. In fact everything was walking distance from our hotel which was very appreciated. One downside I hate to mention was the streets. They were very uneven and lots of potholes. I asked someone at the expo if that’s what we were going to be seeing throughout the race and unfortunately yes that was going to be the case. Since I had a taken a couple recent spills during training runs back home this did worry me a bit. ( No bandaids or neosporin was packed for this race lol!)
The next morning we made sure to have our throwaway layers and gloves as we started to head out for the race start on a very chilly morning. (Actually it was the coldest one we had done yet). My friend Francine had a fantastic attitude going into it. She said the cold and hills would make us stronger because of it. She was right! I decided to go at an easy pace and save some energy for my race the following weekend. The race started after the most amazing blues guitarist performed the National Anthem (What an incredible race moment! He killed it!) Because of the cold I would not be taking pictures during the race so I left my phone behind in gear check. The sun started to come up for a beautiful but cold morning and we were off for a 13.1 mile jog. There were not as many bands on the course as expected unfortunately due to the weather. I think I only saw “3” when I expected more like 8-10. This was a bit disappointing but to my relief the spectators still braved the cold to cheer us on. One setup in particular I liked was “Sorry about the potholes, enjoy a donut hole”. Anything that could make us laugh that morning was appreciated. There wasn’t that many sights to take in throughout the race course but we hit the inclines as a challenge that felt at times like a never ending treadmill stuck on “+” and let the miles tick away as we got closer to the Finish.
Success!!! We Trained together, Started together and Finished together at a time of 2:22.
The race had a tent setup for the finishers with heaters, pizza, red beans and rice plus plenty to drink such as hot chocolate/Gatorade. We grabbed a couple of items and went to look for the massage area inside the musuem that was being offered complimentary by Bluecross. There was a very short line and we were happy to get some knots worked out from the hills. This would give us a headstart on recovery since we had a race the very next weekend. Unfortunetly the cold set in again for us and we had to head back to the hotel to get cleaned up and go home.
Goodbye Jackson the Blues was a blast. Next up the Bayou. Stay tuned for Part 2
Numbers of Runners at MS Blues:
- 808 for the Marathon
- 37 for the Marathon Relay
- 1783 for the Half
- 84 for the Quarter
Elevation for MS Blues Half:
For more information on the Missisissippi Blues Race weekend check out their website at: http://www.msbluesmarathon.com/