I ran the Mississippi River Half Marathon on Saturday! Let me tell you, it was one of the best half marathons I’ve ever run for so many reasons. When I started running four years ago, I started researching different races around my home state of Mississippi. I immediately found the Mississippi River Half and Full Marathon. I loved the idea of how they take you by bus across the Mississippi River to Arkansas and you have to run back over the river into Mississippi! The idea was to one day run the full, but I am not quite ready to tackle that distance again. My husband said he would take me this year, so I happily registered after Christmas for the half marathon!
We arrived in Greenville around 4 PM and checked into the Holiday Inn. We rested a few minutes, then headed to packet pickup at Greenville Mall. I was super excited to get a pullover for my race shirt! I’ve never gotten one before! It only took 16 half marathons to get something so nice!
We headed to dinner at the Cow Pen which was just across the MS River Bridge on the Arkansas state line. We spotted porta potties and hubby said “I bet this is where the starting line will be.” We ate and drove the course on the way back to the hotel. I set my alarm for 5:15 and fell asleep around 9.
Saturday: Race Day!!! I met Angela @raceaddict in Greenville 3 years ago at the Hotter than Hades Half Marathon and have followed her a long time on Facebook before that. We also met up at St. Jude Marathon weekend in December 2014. We had been texting and planned to meet in front of her hotel where the busses would be loading to take us to the starting line.
We chatted the whole time on the bus during the drive over the river bridge back to the Cow Pen where we had eaten dinner the night before! We got off the bus and waited in the loooong porta potty line. We talked with a man whose wife had won first overall female for the marathon two years prior. I may be wrong, but he said she was going for a sub 3 hour marathon that morning. I was amazed. He was a running coach and was pacing another female that morning too. I also met Amy, Angela’s friend from a FB running group while waiting in line. Funny how you meet people waiting in the porta potty line! 😂 By the time we got through the line and talked a few more minutes, it was time to make our way up the bridge to the starting line! Starting line picture!
We walked a little while up the bridge and I met another one of Angela’s friends. We took more pictures then it was time to race! We sang the National Anthem and we were off!! Running over the bridge was my favorite part! The Mighty Mississippi River
I stopped to take a lot of pictures running over the bridge. I used the run/walk Jeff Galloway method running 2 minutes and walking 30 seconds pretty much the entire race. I started off strong running 10:15 to 10:00 minute mile pace during my run intervals. Here I am coming down the bridge feeling strong!
It was very windy on the bridge. My hair was blowing all over the place haha! I decided not to wear a hat because it was going to be really hot and no compression socks. I was off the bridge in no time and had made it almost 3 miles. From mile 3-7 it was completely straight and flat. Not much to look at and I was thankful for cloud cover. I ran 10 minute paces for the first 5 miles. After mile 6, my pace was 11:06 and started to drop from there. After running an hour in the upper 60 degree weather, I was getting hot. I can’t run fast in the heat, so my pace slowed down during the running intervals. After mile 7 it was time to make the first turn!
I turned off after 7 and a half miles and once we passed the 8 mile marker, I turned into a gated community where people were outside their plantation style homes cheering for us. I posted a video of the neighborhood on Snapchat. It was such a nice place and the street was tree lined. I texted my husband at 8.5 miles and told him I was getting HOT. This was taken around mile 9 in the tree lined neighborhood! You can tell I’m HOT, but still smiling. I am happy to say I felt really good despite the heat thanks to running and walking. One aid station in this neighborhood had fruit and donut holes out. I grabbed a Shipley’s donut hole! They’re my favorite! Hubby met me at mile 10 with cold Gatorade and offered me my hat. I didn’t take the hat since the sun was in and out and I was hot. He jumped in his truck to head toward the finish line and I kept going slowly but surely! Yay for mile 11! I passed a lot of people at this point because the heat was pretty brutal. Most everyone was walking. One woman I passed told me “Great job!” And I told her the same. I passed a young guy probably about 15 years old and offered encouragement. I passed another man that said “This is starting to suck! And my knees hurt.” As I approached mile 13, my favorite song “Hallelujah” by Casting Crowns came on. I saw a sign that said “Jesus is Lord” as I made the last turn to the finish line. Let me tell you, that finish line was so far away! My distance measured 13.3 miles! I saw hubby from a distance snapping pictures. I didn’t have much energy left to sprint at the end so I just ran slowly to the finish line. Praise the Lord, I made it!! My official time ended up being 2:28:57! I was just fine with that time considering it was so hot. Angela finished not long after me and we took a couple of pictures and I got to meet her son. She met my hubby too! We made it! Do our faces look red?Me and my sweet hubby. And my crazy hair! Lol! I did dump water on my head twice trying to tame it!A big thank you to my husband, Christopher for driving me over 4 hours so I could run my dream race and over 4 hours back home. He bought me 4 dozen Shipley donuts to eat after the race! Swoon! I can’t say enough about this race from the volunteers, aid stations, and crowd support. I made sure to say thank you to the policemen and women and crossing guards directing traffic and keeping us safe. I hope y’all do that when you’re running a race. The pullover shirt and the medal was pretty sweet too!
I truly enjoyed this race. It was hot, but I never felt like I was struggling thanks to the running and walking. My legs were not sore at all the next day and I went right back to teaching my classes no problem Monday and Tuesday. I hope I can go back and run this race again next year! It will go down as one of my favorite half marathons! Half Marathon number 16 ✅