Friday, June 28, 2013

I Got Lucky In TN - Part 1

This past weekend, I went to Jackson, Tennessee for the Jackal Marathons - 4 marathons in 4 days put on by RIF #1 Josh (@bayou). I went to help out at the first 2 and run the 3rd one on Monday, the Asphalt Jackal. It would be my 13th marathon!

Being the normal person crazy runner girl that I am, I woke up at 2:30 am on Friday morning to get a run in before flying to TN. My flight left at 6:05 and that is darn early! But I made it and my connection so I made it to Memphis at 2:45. I picked up my rental car and drove to Jackson to check into the hotel and go for run #2. Yes, I'm that nuts. I only needed to get 2 more miles in to hit my plan for the day and figured how bad could it be...

BAD. Very bad!

Holy cow, it was hot and humid and I was soaked within the first mile. Granted, it was about 5 in the afternoon and there was no shade but I was seriously reconsidering the idea of running on Monday. I took it easy and checked out the area. I needed to do 6 on Saturday and 3 on Sunday so was hoping to run near the hotel before I left to help at the races. This test run didn't seem like it was such a good idea to be running there so early in the morning though.

I finished my run and then showered and got ready for the first pre-race dinner at Fazoli's. There were 7 of us there and it was fun.
I had the spaghetti with meatballs and it was pretty good. After that, I drove to pick up the timing clock and then took it over to Josh's parents house to help with race prep. Clark was there as well and once we finished with cutting up the oranges & potatoes and getting the bibs & shirts ready, we left Josh slaving over a hot stove and went swimming. It felt good and was pretty nice...except for the part where Clark attacked me with a huge killer frog! And when both of them teased me about serial killers in the woods! Boys!

I relaxed in the hot tub for a while, just watching the fireflies (the first I've seen in 16 years!) and looking at the stars and then I went back to the hotel and got ready for the next day.

Clark and I were going to do the timing and race support for this race and I'd told Josh I would be there about 6:30 and he said they would be there about 6 so I skipped breakfast (not my best idea) and met them there about 6:15 to help set up. It is a lot easier to get ready when you aren't racing! I wore the race shirt I'd gotten from Josh the night before and was ready to be Ms. Race Support for the day. Here is the back of our shirt for the weekend. It's a new favorite!
As we got stuff set up, I handed out shirts and bibs and checked people in. Then it was time for the pre-race pic and prayer and then they were off!

I'd never been a co-RD for a race before so I was a little nervous but there weren't that many runners so it wasn't hard. Clark and I checked people in as they came thru each lap and we wrote down their times. We made sure the water jug was full and the ice was good for them and helped fill bottles, etc. When Clark took over for timing, it gave me a chance to take pics out on the course and cheer people on. It was a lot of fun.
This is RIF #179 Arthur and RIF #27 Anthony out on the sunny portion of the trail. This is what running one of Josh's races is like...running with friends and having a blast. Of course, we pay to do this!

I also got to meet Monique on Saturday. She designed the shirts and medals and Josh introduced us. She is going thru some of the same things I did in that she's losing weight and just starting out running so I've been trying to help ease the pain of beginning running. Guess what? She brought me presents to thank me!

Very cool Wonder Woman socks, a "never, never give up" necklace and a bracelet with my favorite George Eliot quote. I was not expecting that at all and it was really nice to know that I'd made a difference, even a little bit. :)

About lunch time, I was starving and so was Clark so I went and got burgers for us. Also not my best idea because I needed to get a 6 mile run in. With the heat and then the burger, I wasn't feeling a run. :( There also wouldn't be time between race clean-up and meeting the Donnas (RIF #181 Donna Pittman and RIF #277 Donna England) at the hotel (they were staying with me) and I for sure didn't want to run after the race dinner in the dark so I decided on a 1 mile streaksaver.

There were only a few runners left on the course so Josh told me to go ahead and run during the race. I decided to run 1 mile in the reverse direction on the course so I could meet up with RIF #45 Leanne who was running her first trail marathon and on her last lap and then I could walk back with her. I timed it perfectly and got to keep her company for the last mile. :)

Once everyone was back, we cleaned up the site and took everything back to the cars and then I headed to the hotel to shower and meet the Donnas. After they got there and rested a bit, we drove over to Rafferty's to meet the others for the race dinner.
Of course, my eyes are closed for the pic! But it was a lot of fun and the food was good. I REALLY wanted to try the honey buns but I hadn't run enough to justify them. :( But I did have a pulled pork sandwich. :)

After dinner, we went back to the hotel so they could get ready for their races on Sunday and I could get the shirts and bibs ready for the morning. I slept like a baby for 6 hours. Even when I remembered that I had left Josh's watch hooked on a tree at the trail. Oops. I prayed it would be there or I knew I would never hear the end of it.

Sunday was pretty much a repeat of Saturday except I had been smart enough to pick up some protein bars for breakfast so I wouldn't be starving all day. First thing I did when I got to the trail was check to see if Josh's watch was there and it was! Score! :)

We had the routine down better for the second day so it felt more relaxed. I handed out shirts and bibs and checked people in and pretty soon it was time for the pre-race photo and prayer and they were off!
Sunday felt slightly cooler than Saturday and everyone seemed to be having a pretty good day. I had thought that the runners who ran on Saturday would slow down for their second marathon on Sunday but they were all just as fast or faster!

Clark and I had more help on Sunday from some of the other club members throughout the day and time just flew by. I got to take more pics and do a lot of cheering and crewing for everyone.
Really green, eh? Before you knew it, it was lunch again and I got burgers again for us. And then the day was over. We finished earlier on Sunday than we had the day before so I decided to run after we cleaned everything up. I think it was about 3:30 when I got my run in. My schedule said 2-3 miles and I decided 2 would be enough. I was going to run around Union University and there was no shade so I didn't want to overdo it since I would be running in the morning. It was HOT but I survived. I slowed way down and drank plenty of water. I was soaked again but felt better once I got back to the hotel and showered.

For dinner that night, we went to Coyote Blues which is a Cajun-Mex place. Good food and some great conversation. I love, love, love hanging out with runners because you learn so much about where they've run and what they've done and it inspires me to do more. I didn't want to eat anything too crazy since I was running a hot marathon the next day so just had 2 tacos and rice. But I did stop at Baskin Robbins on the way back to the hotel. I tried to go to bed early and not freak out to much about the race the next morning but I was pretty nervous. I did sleep okay though. After 2 days of helping out other runners, now it was my turn. I was as ready as I'd ever be for what was to come. Or so I thought....

I have volunteered at one race before but only manned an early aid station so didn't really do much. I'd also crewed Josh at YT100 and did a mini crewing for him at a couple of other races. But that was the extent of it. I wanted to do more and give back to the running community and that's why I flew to TN for these races. Not to mention the bonus that it would mostly be friends and Run It Fast Club members running so it would be a lot of fun.

The other reason I wanted to go was to support and help Josh. I have been on the receiving end of a lot of the good he's done - from encouraging me at the beginning of my journey to ultras to offering help when I ended up in the ER to driving me to races and waiting for me many times. I've seen him do that for others too and I wanted to make sure he had all the help he needed for the weekend. He still did a lot but hopefully Clark and I were able to take some of the burden from him.

Helping out felt good. I was happy to be a part of so many great runs on both days and spend time with friends and make new ones. :) The first 2 days were a blast and I would do that every weekend if I could. Except that I would want to run too so not sure how that would work out. ;)

Part 2 will be coming this weekend. I hope you'll check back! Thanks for reading!


  1. Sooo many races! That's awesome that you could volunteer AND run! That's probably ideal for you, huh? =)

    1. Yes, it was the best of both worlds. :)

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  3. It feels great to be on the other end of the racing spectrum, doesn’t it? Makes you appreciate how hard it is to organize and facilitate such events. Now imagine how the support staff on those big marathons feel on D-day. Haha!

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