Posts Tagged ‘alabama’

A matter of perspective – First Light

I know everyone thinks Jennifer Hienton is a kind soul with a great dog and is a ton of fun. I know she thinks of herself as a fun time girl with a great sense of humor. Unfortunately I do not have such nice reports after the h-e-double hockey stick she put me through after the Mississippi Blues Marathon. I had my Sub 3:30. I was happy. But no! She had to convince me to run another marathon the next day! Just 4 months after I would say I would never do this again. To her face even! Just moments after Rhode Island! However, Jennifer cunningly put together a plan to get me to go back to a bout of total pain. She basically convinced me to run by telling everyone I was doing it already and telling me how much fun it would be to run with her on day two. I realized after the fact I did not want to run with her and her bullying me was not a good reason to run a marathon.

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The evil one and her little dog too!

Now I know there are several people out there who don’t mind and even love to run two marathons in two days. Jennifer fits into this category and plays it smart conserving on day one so she can have a better day on day two. I am not one of those people. I usually lose 15 to 20 minutes on day two and it is not just 15 minutes but 15 minutes of pain, whining and never wanting to run again. So truthfully when I signed up to the double with Jennifer and Ethan (Cathlin ended up being the smartest of our group and did not go with us) it was more about economics than anything else.

The first economic is the economy of travel. Though I do not like to run doubles, I do like to have good running statistics. I felt healthy enough in November that I could pull out a double sub 4 and add two races and some serious minutes to my frequently fast statistics. Also it is an economical way to get to 100 marathons faster (not even sure when that will happen but in the 80’s now – I love the 80’s). And actually plane tickets out of Mobile were way cheaper than out of Jackson so it was cheaper to actually add on Mobile as well. All things considered, all I really wanted was a 3:30 out of Jackson and whatever happened in Mobile was just fine. Alabama was one of the 9 states I needed a 3:30 in but I doubted I could keep it up the second day of a double nor did I want to put that pressure on myself.

On top of that I was able to coordinate flights with Jennifer to make it so I never had to worry about extra cab rides or hotel stays so, all in all, it was the right decision. I did not and will not forgive Jennifer anytime soon. However with as many people doubling up the two states it ended up feeling like the usual thing to do as well. Funny what we Marathon Maniacs consider usual nowadays! Ethan, Jennifer and I left for our three hour ride to Mobile with a quick stop in Hattiesburg for the best meal of the trip – blackened alligator tail – at a place called Marlins grill. It was not cheap eats at Marlins however it is best meal I have had since November for sure. Highly recommended and a great atmosphere! We even got the bartender to talk running with us.

When we rolled into Mobile, Alabama I think it was a bit later than we all had wished for so we went straight to the expo with no delay and Jennifer and I raced for the first restroom we could find. Once we hit the restrooms, we came out and who was it but Mike Chewar! Mike was looking through some of the vendors and even told us to make sure we hit the Georgia Marathon (I was not able to due to someone pushing me out the door). After a short chat, we made our way over to get out packets. I had to pick up Lecia’s as well so it was going to take me a little longer. No big deal.

So I walked up to the table and said my name. They looked through the numbers. No, no Remsburg. They looked twice. I went over to the C’s to see if I had transversed my name and went with Cade as my last name. No dice. So I went over to the computer table where I would surely find my name and just an issue with registration getting a name with a bib. Nope – could not find me either. Finally the race director stepped forward and honestly, he believed I signed up but he told me I would just have to sign up that day. I knew I had signed up because I remember hitting all the buttons for running both marathons but it was beside the point. I also knew I remembered one marathon not sending an email to me. Could it have been this one? Probably so I thought at the time.

I went to the table to sign up for the expo price and it was $95. Now, I know this was an error on my part but I thought that was pretty steep for a smaller marathon. However with everything everyone had gone through with me now what choice did I have? I had gotten Lecia’s packet. Mike had tried to help me several times with my dilemma and Jennifer and Ethan were just wanting to go. If I did a whole should I or should I not pay game it would just add to their wait and they would talk me into it anyway (don’t even think that the possibility of getting out of a double was a big plus for me though).

I went up to the pay table and tried to not sound like a total jerk, “Now I know it says $95 but I swore I paid when it was $75…” and the race director came up behind me and cut me off, “He pays$55.” I actually argued with him and said I would happily pay the $75 I knew I meant to pay but he cut me off again telling me not to worry about it and he would only charge me $55. I was just floored and am still thankful for his graciousness. Shortly after that, I got a bib and the person who helped me moved me to the front of the t-shirt line and gave me my extra t-shirt for running the double and also the extra gift as well. No problems at all. Next, I stopped to try and take some pictures of some beautiful girls in some fantastic dresses but Jennifer was pushing me out of the door already. I did not even get a chance to visit the Georgia Marathon! I guess Jennifer and her vindictiveness versus expos had destroyed my fun as well!

We had tried to talk Mike into going out to eat with us but he and pretty much everyone else was all about the free dinner the marathon had to offer. I do not blame them. Save your dollars where you can! I chose not to go with the free spread for two reasons. 1. I have done more than a couple free pasta dinners and most of the time the choices are limited to just red sauce. I am allergic to tomatoes (not horribly so) but the slight constriction of my esophagus is enough to make me say no to anything tomato related the day before the marathon. 2. I do like to eat the local fare and see what a city has to offer. And Jennifer and I already had dinner plans at a place called the Royal Scam! It just sounded fantastic.

Lecia had made the plans for us and she was arriving at 6:30 at the earliest, so we made 7:30 reservations and of course Jennifer just could not stop complaining how that was too late. It was just ranting and raving about how she wanted to be asleep by then. I politely interjected that we did eat late and it was better that we not eat early. She was not hearing any part of it demanding I call Lecia and find out how far out she was. I had to acquiesce for Jennifer is very tall and intimidating. When Lecia said she could not make it until 8:30 the decision was made and we went without her. It was a sad defeat but we did arrive for our reservation on time.

The rest of the night went without issue (shocking I know with Jennifer there). Lecia did join us for dinner! She was only a little late and a couple of Jennifer’s friends came along as well to enjoy the menu. The burgers were fantastic and Jennifer had to have the peanut butter cheesecake so we shared a slice. I barely got a couple bites in as Jennifer made sure she had her king’s share but it was fantastic! When we went to bed that night Jennifer informed us that we would not be leaving until 7:15 and no, she was not interested in a picture beforehand as she needed her “beauty sleep.” So yes, Lecia and I did miss the picture.

We did arrive to the start line with not much time to spare that morning and everyone was discussing the same thing – the meal the night before. There were stomach issues galore and several people said they had been kept up at night with trips to the restroom. I would find out later a few people would not even run due to the issue. Others would have issues kick in during the race. I guess I have yet another reason to skip the pasta feed the night before a race.

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The picture I missed

Lecia and I made our way to the front. Last year a 3:38 was tenth overall so I think most of us were not expecting a fast crowd. It was not a chip timed race so that was another factor to start up front. If you started mid-pack that could mean you were at a thirty second disadvantage! We got the countdown and Lecia took off and I, well I started to go backwards! Finally after thirty seconds I started to surge ahead and catch Lecia a minute into the run and eventually move past her. I also caught Steve (who was doing the double too) and the two of us ran together for the first two miles. I lost him sometime after that and was able to hold my own with a steady pace after that.

Apparently I was not the only one who had a slow start because at Mile 5 I was passed by a couple fast runners. Another runner by me mentioned something about the shirt she was wearing as she was proudly wearing the Back 2 Back shirt we received for running both marathons. She explained it to him and I got into a conversation with her and her friend. She was the winning female from the day before and she seemed real sure she may win this race as well. They looked great and we were able to run and talk for the next three miles. Unfortunately a hill stole some of my power and I dropped back and lost them at Mile 8. Then as I another couple of runners picked me up, the guy runner told me he had won this race in the past!

As he told me how he had won, all I could think was, “And there is no way we are even in the top ten now!” And at this point I was still on a sub 3:20 pace. I mentioned this to my new friend and he replied, ‘I did run a 2:50 that year and a lot of these people will drop off when they hit the hills.’ Uh-oh. The people in front of me will not be the only ones dropping off when they hit those hills. And as the next hill came, my new friend moved on. A big hill came up at Mile 12 and the pain was great I just walked it. Lots of people passed me. There was no doubt. This race was much, much faster than the year before! Some people would later say it was because of the double but usually the second day of a double does not bring faster runners!

Just about the halfway point the course went downhill and it was time to coast! But I did not coast nor did I feel good. I would struggle up to Mile 23 and no one really wants me to go into great detail of every ache and pain, so instead I will just say it really was a great course. The miles around 13 were woodsy and had a secluded feel and after that even though we were running through suburbia it was nice even pavement and we were able to run through a college with energetic crowd support. We went through a nice park and a conservatory area. The volunteers were chatty and friendly the entire way, and bikers that went along the course were incredibly nice. There seemed to be people controlling every intersection and cars did not even come close to anyone I saw. And the crowd support was fantastic!

And then in the last three miles I got a second wind and a downhill surge! I started passing runners and felt great again. I came in at 3:40 and though certainly not my best – it was 17 minutes slower than the day before, usual. I loved that ending downhill. Seriously I did not have a single complaint other than if they really upped their game this could be a destination marathon – perhaps even the preferred Alabama race.

Some suggestions would be to start chip timing, offering gels and a significant medal. Chip timing is key, and runners will always complain if there are no gels. I think the idea of all monies going to L’Arche is fantastic and I would never not support a marathon for the medal but there will always be marathoners who go to a marathon for the medal and the medallion we earned would just not cut it with them. I am not an expert on any of this so please take it with a grain of salt. I just wish more runners would come see this awesome race. On another point, I am sorry for those with stomach issues. I hope that really did not ruin the entire day for you and I hope you noticed the greatness of the course.

I finished and the first person I saw was Steve. He passed me around Mile 16 and came in a couple minutes ahead of me. We looked at results and sure enough everyone in the Top 50 came in under 3:38 this year. I have not a clue where all the fast people came from and where they were hiding last year. Just around 3:50 new friend Jen Bakula came in. We had met the day before. She was the female runner who almost passed me in Mississippi! We talked for a couple minutes that day but after she finished on this day I got to know her as my new friend.

Jen is from California and an aspiring 50 stater. I talked to her about 50 sub 4 and met her friend that she had met on a cruise ship and gave her a ride to Mobile. She told me that she had signed up for the double on a whim – she may not even be a Marathon Maniac! It just amazes me how so many of us just have such a similar goal and start off on different paths and end up meeting at one point or another. The 50 states goal is a much more popular goal than you may possibly think. I hope I do get to see Jen again. There are not too many fast females out there that are willing to run as often as she is. She could become a name in our circles. I am currently trying to talk her into her next race!

Lecia came in under four and she was pleased. She was hoping for an improvement on her Boston Qualifier and calls me her lucky charm (I was there for her other two BQ’s and even got her BQ with me leading her in Maine!) Today was another good race but not an improvement. Unfortunately the good overall feeling was ruined by a certain tall lumbering runner crossing the finish line. Yes it was Jennifer. She bragged how she left Ethan in the dust and pretended that she felt bad about leaving him behind. Ethan would come in eventually and he was thrilled to keep his 4:30 going on day two. Ethan was running for a longer race on these two days.

We chatted for a while, took a picture, and started to head back. Lecia stayed behind and Ethan wandered off to his hotel. Jennifer had to get a coffee so we went into a local coffee shop.  There was only two people in front of us and I did not mind waiting but Jennifer just would not stop complaining about how long it took and how she wished she had never ordered it. I just tried to enjoy the ambience of the local flavor.

The trip ended soon enough with a trip to the airport and if there was one thing I had to take from the second day of my double it would be sometimes these small marathons can be the biggest gems. That and if you get a chance to run a marathon with Jennifer Hienton please take it! She just has a stellar personality.

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I finally got my picture on race day!