The Haunted Half

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To celebrate the Halloween season, I ran a spooky 13 miles with the Breakaway Running marathon training group.

Here’s some great history about the course!

Rainbow Lake in Overton Park where it’s said the ghost of the Lady in Blue is sometimes seen. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=536q_2kXfeo

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Bettis Family Cemetery http://historic-memphis.com/memphis-histo…/…/cemeteries.html

Annesdale-Snowden area. Annesdale Mansion served as a hospital during the Civil War. Many neighborhood homes are said to have non-living Civil War soldier inhabitants. Every few years the neighborhood hosts a “ghost tour” of homes. https://www.annesdalemansion.com/what-we-do

Skeletal remains were found recently in the Annesdale Mansion. https://www.wmcactionnews5.com/…/possible-human-remains-fo…/

The historic Elmwood Cemetery. The history of Memphis is chronicled there with many significant people buried there including generals, yellow fever victims, slaves, politicians, soldiers from pretty much every war we’ve fought. http://www.elmwoodcemetery.org/

 

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The race was great. Perfect foggy, dark, and spooky weather. During the course we ran through the thick forested Overton Park. It was so dark I could not even see a few feet in front of me. Definitely spooky!

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Elmwood cemetery was my absolute favorite part of this course. There is just so much history and beauty in that place.

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Thank you Breakaway Running and Barry Roberson for creating a great course!

 

-Sarah

 

What I learned at the marathon preview

Last week, I was able to attend the St. Jude Marathon Course Preview hosted by Breakaway Running and Can’t Stop Endurance. Coach Kevin Leathers did a very informative presentation about how to prepare, what to expect and how to recover.

I thought I would share some of what stuck out to me in case it could be helpful to someone else participating. Sarah was not able to attend so I took extensive notes to share with my fellow over-planning Virgo!

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First off, the marathon will be host to approximately 25,000 runners!! This includes participants in the 5k, 10k, half and full marathon. That is a lot of people at a starting line. Which is why it takes about 40 minutes for all runners to be released from their respective corral and cross the start line.

Sarah and I will be starting in the 11 minute per mile corral. We want to be able to start together because Sarah will be able to run faster, longer, and we won’t be finishing together. But we are starting off as a team, which I am pretty jazzed about! During the course preview, someone asked how do you stay warm in the corrals? You might need more layers while you are waiting to take off. So here’s a tip! Wear some throwaway clothes. Just some cheap layers you can take off when the race starts. The race volunteers will gather these and they actually donate them to the local community.

So the race starts and ends at Autozone Park. If you are wanting to watch any of your friends take off or finish, this is where to do it! FYI: Roads will starts closing by 7am!! Spectators can watch the runners take off on Second Street and you can catch them again on Front Street which is around mile four. The marathoners will pass the stadium area, on Danny Thomas Blvd. near Monroe, again near miles 23.5 and 25.5. This is great place for you to cheer your runner on before they finish! Friends and families can also sit in the stands and watch their runner cross the finish line. Friends and families will not be allowed on the field though. So cheer loud!!

Coach Leathers broke the race down into thirds. And this can be used for any distance. The first third is about Discipline. You are going to be excited and your adrenaline will be pumping. You have to keep in mind to keep your pace that you trained for so that you don’t take off too fast and burn out. The middle of the race you should have a Relaxed Focus. This is where you continue to take it easy. Make sure your hydration and fueling is working for you. Pay attention to your form during this time. And for the last part!! This is where you Dig Deep! You will be hurting. It will be hard but this is why you trained for six months. Welcome the Struggle!

So there are the important logistic points. Now for some fun stuff!

Mile 5.5 is where the runners will run through the St. Jude campus. The kids come out with their signs and cheer the runners on. I am really excited for this part. This is what it is all about. And you can still donate to the cause!

Kayla’s Fundraising Page     Sarah’s Fundraising Page

If you are running the half, around mile 11 is when you will leave all us crazy marathoners behind. If you are running the marathon, don’t panic! Most of the people you are running with will go left while you go right. Important note: if you don’t reach the split point by 11:20 a.m. you will be made to finish as a half marathoner. This means you must at least keep a 14 minute pace for 11 miles. It’s okay! If I can do it, you can do it!

One of my favorite parts of this course preview was that Coach Leathers covered what to do after and gave some good recovery points! Number one Don’t sit down or lay down once you cross the finish line! (SARAH) ! It’s not good for your muscles and you may not be able to physically get up! Change your clothes before you meet up with your group. You’ll be more comfortable for all the selfie taking you’re gonna do!

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He also suggested setting a new goal! Pay for a race and you won’t have a reason to slack off. You won’t have to restart your training. Rumor is we might register to do the St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville half marathon in April!

You can find all this information from the source, Can’t Stop Endurance. Coach Leathers will also be doing the presentation again at the expo Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. And you MUST go to the expo to get your packet and bib. There is NO race day packet pick up!

If you aren’t running in the race, you can still be a part of race day! Check out volunteer opportunities here.

I hope this can be helpful for some people participating. If you can catch the presentation, I highly suggest it! It was very informative, as you can tell!

13 days!!

The more you know,

Kayla

Twenty. Venti. Zwanzig.

Yesterday marked 20 days till our marathon! Ahhh! Speaking of 20, this past weekend Kayla and I ran our longest mileage run ever! We both ran 20 miles! Did you know Zwanzig is German for twenty?!

The 20 mile mark in our marathon training was a major milestone. This was our final test before the race. This is where we see if we could actually make it, if our bodies can actually run 20 miles or more.

I thought of the 20 mile long run as the closet comparison to the actual race day. I was nervous. Not only was I nervous to run 20 miles but I decided to run my long run differently this time. Breakaway Running is an amazing supporter of the St. Jude Marathon. They have a training plan you can follow as well as weekly group runs. So I decided last minute that I was going to run with the Breakaway running group. I had no idea what to expect. I knew they would have water stations set up along the route and I looked at the course but I didn’t really study it because I thought that there would be enough people that I could just follow. Also the course was set up for 11 miles. People training for the half marathon would run the course once and people training for the full marathon would run the course twice. So I would actually have to run 22 miles! 22 miles!! Ahhh! Crazy right!?! The run was also at 6 am and the temperature was going to be 34 degrees. Two more running conditions that I was not use to.

So on the day of the long run I arrived at the Breakaway store only about 10 minutes before the run. I stretched a little but not that much. I was so overwhelmed with all the people and trying to figure out what was going on that I didn’t pay attention much to what the speaker was saying about the course. There had to be over 100 people there. It felt like race day. It was super cold and my fingers were freezing but I knew I would warm up once I started running.

22 mile route

 Once we started, I was in the middle of the group. I was trying to pace myself based on how they were running. Everything was going great. As I came up on the 11 mile mark, everyone that was around me stopped and turned into Breakaway. I was totally confused. I knew that I had to run the course twice so I kept going forward.  There were literally only a few people in front of me that kept going but they were pretty far ahead. I was scared that I was going to lose them and get lost on the course.  The course was actual streets going through downtown Memphis, so we were running on busy roads and under overpasses. I was nervous to be running alone. I kept running ahead and after a while I noticed that there several people in front and behind me which made me feel better. At around the 12 mile mark, my tummy was really upset and I had to stop at a gas station and use the restroom. When I got out, I continued to run and noticed that there were only a few people behind me now. At mile 13, my legs were starting to hurt. By mile 16 my feet and legs were becoming so painful. I was almost in tears because I was in so much pain. I had to keep running though. I didn’t quite know where I was and I didn’t want to lose the few people that were in front of me. There were a few times that I was the very last person with no one behind me. That was scary. I didn’t think I was going to make it. I was running so slow that I was almost walking. Everything hurt. Then I hit 20 miles! I knew I couldn’t stop now. Only 2 more miles left to go. I kept pushing, kept going till I finally made it! 22 miles!! I had tears in my eyes because I was so proud, also because I was in so much pain. I did it. Only 4 more miles after that and that would be a marathon. At that moment, I finally knew that I would be able to run a full marathon. I was scared and nervous before, but now there was no doubt in my mind that I would be able to complete 26 miles!  I was ready!

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-Unstoppable, Sarah

Now for the country girl’s tale of running in the middle of nowhere! Much like Sarah, I was pretty nervous to tackle 20 miles. The Friday before the run, I had visited a doctor so that I could get a physical therapy order. They ended up doing a bunch of X-rays on my hip because it has been hurting for a month or so now. The doctor thinks I have abductor tendonitis, which pretty much means overuse of the muscles there. Of course! Then the doctor asks me, “How important is it for you to do this marathon?”

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Like 100 percent important doctor!! Anyways, he totally understood and gave me some anti-inflammatory and ordered for me to start physical therapy. So with this knowledge, I knew that going into this marathon, my only goal was to finish without completely injuring myself.

Which is the same goal for the remainder of my training. Thankfully, my hip doesn’t completely stop me from running. I made sure to keep my 20 mile run at a steady pace averaging at 12:52 a mile. Which is really slow and I really wish I could run faster but I have to accept that I physically cannot. So that will most likely be my pace for the marathon.

My run was pretty uneventful. I did see some puppies and piggies! I didn’t experience too much pain throughout the run. Toward the end I think my mind wanted to give up but not my body. I just kept telling myself just keep running till the next mile. If you keep running, you’ll be done soon. And sure enough, I was done soon! Jk this shit took 4 plus hours!

 

Being able to finish a 20 mile run though is something I never thought I would do. Once you are done, you know that you can finish a marathon. We have been training since July and now here we are less than a month away from the start line!

During this time, I have learned that I am capable of achieving hard goals. I have a lot going on in my life but somehow I still managed to stick to my training and not give up when the miles seemed too much. I don’t even know what I am going to do with myself after the race. Like I get my Saturdays back!!

As the race approaches, we are going to be doing some fun countdown stuff over on our Facebook page. So make sure you go like us and follow us to Memphis where we will run for the children of St. Jude! (And for the food and beer!)

 

With determination,

Kayla