Sunday, December 17, 2017

MS Gulf Coast (WW # 124)


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Mississippi Gulf Coast Half Marathon
Biloxi, MS
December 10, 2017
Half Marathon  # 49

After the heat, lack of hydration and ensuing poor performance at the PCB Half Marathon, I was feeling...meh.  Don't get me wrong, I had a blast with my Southern Sole Sisters.  But race-wise?  Not so much.  While in PCB, Tricia mentioned she was running the MS Gulf Coast Half the following weekend. I didn't think much about it then but after receiving a mid-week email from the Battleship12k with a discount for this race, an idea formed.  I threw it out to PoPo who seemed interested...or at least didn't say "NO".   I put my head down and slogged through the rest of my week with my idea on the back burner. 

The decorations at the Beau Rivage were spectacular!
Saturday morning (you know, the day before the race -- that's how I roll), I threw the idea out again.  It was a go!  I was still able to register online with my Battleship 12k discount code, I booked a room at the Beau Rivage ($100 cheaper than mid-week!) and we threw some clothes in a bag.  I sent Tricia a text we were headed her way.  We initially experienced traffic issues due to our overnight snowfall, but once we were out of town the trip went smoothly.

The view from our hotel.

Packet pickup was quick and easy, although we found it irritating to pay for parking when we were only inside a few minutes.  We then dropped by the campground where Tricia and my running buddy Valerie were staying.   They had graciously invited us to dine with them.  But, we had stopped in Mobile for a late lunch so we just hung around the campfire for a while.  We certainly appreciated their hospitality.


 

Race Day!  This race is point to point from Gulfport to Biloxi.  The race shuttles were boarding in front of our hotel which made for easy race day logistics.   After arriving at the start, we were allowed to stay on the bus for a while since it was cold -- 32 degrees plus wind.  {What a difference a week made on the Gulf Coast!}  After a porta-a-potty stop, gear bag check and an "I'm in an ugly gold sweatshirt" text, I connected with Tricia, Valerie, Jenny and Katie.  We enjoyed a nice sunrise.

Me, Tricia, Valerie, Jenny and Katie

I hoped to run solid with a negative split and knew the cold temperature should work in my favor.   After the best rendition of the National Anthem I've ever heard, we were off.  Wow!  The first two miles were crowded; perhaps my own fault for starting too far back.  Watching the sun rise higher and higher over the Gulf was priceless.  I'm glad I had brought my sunglasses, just in case.  I never wear them while running, but this time they came in handy.

The timing plate and still camera around mile 7. 
Running into the sun the whole time!
As I often do, I zoned out and can't tell you much.  I ditched my sweatshirt after a few miles and when I dropped a glove while opening a GU, I let the other one go as well.  Thankfully, my top had thumb hole sleeves.  I didn't drink at each station because it slows me down.  They weren't in every mile but were plentiful.  My mantra was "make it count" and my only goal was to stay in the 9's.  A few times I went over a bit; mile 1 due to crowding, mile 9 due to veering off to a side street aid station, and mile 12 due to a steep highway ramp.  Breathing the cold, crisp air was a gazillion times better than last weekend's scorcher and I was able to remain strong to the end.

Not my pic...but this was our view for much of the race.

The course was mostly flat with the Gulf on our right and beautiful old antebellum homes dotting the resort-town landscape on our left.  Sadly, you could see where homes were missing due to Hurricane Katrina's wrath.   In mile 12 we started up our only hill; a long curved, banked, concrete highway ramp going up, up, up.  My left ITB was not happy.  We turned around and came straight down on the other side where I picked it up as fast as I could.  I spotted PoPo standing on the corner at our hotel a block before reaching Biloxi's MGM Baseball Stadium for the finish.



Hey, PoPo!
A few years ago I would have been disappointed with my chip time of 2:09:14.  But the older it's-always-something me appreciates the effort it now requires to obtain it.  I ranked 14 out of 78 in my age group. My last mile was the fastest.  I'm thrilled anytime I can do that.  It validates a well paced race effort and enough gas in my tank for a kick.


Trying to not let the gun time clock click over to the next minute.
The after party was an awesome venue with food and drink everywhere.  I drank a chocolate Core Power protein shake and sampled Chicken Alfredo, Seafood Gumbo, and a BBQ Sandwich.  I needed my warm jacket and spent an excessive amount of time locating the gear bag truck...more due to my foggy post race brain than race direction.  Sadly, that left no time to find my buddies since we had a hotel checkout deadline.  I was pretty bummed about that.   We brunched on the beach before heading home.


This is definitely a race worth repeating! 

And that's a wrap!



Have you run a race in Mississippi?  If so, which one?

Have you visited Biloxi?

Are you ready for the holidays?





60 comments:

  1. Yes, ready for the holidays ;-) But, no.... no Mississippi running or racing ;-( I love that medal...two of my kids are zodiac crabs LOL Congrats on a strong race! That mile 12 hill sounds ominous!

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    1. This race was truly a well done, nice surprise! The view did not disappoint either.

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  2. Thinking I"d like to do this one (hint, hint)...but since it's the weekend after PCB, I'll just have to come for 2 weeks... congrats on a strong half and yep, when the last mile is the strongest, you've run a good race!

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    1. This was really a nice race. But with all gulf coast races -- you never know what weather you will get. We definitely lucked out on this day! Two weeks? I think we'd have a blast!

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  3. You do get around! How fun to have another girls race weekend

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    1. Ha! Well, I think I was making up for lost time. The beginning of this year was not very productive in the half marathon department.

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  4. Congrats on a strong race! That fastest last mile speaks volumes. Love that crab medal so much. Now I'm wondering if I have any "animal" medals at all...

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    1. I think it's my first true animal as well. Unless you can count Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck. I have a few of those!

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  5. I love that you packed up and took off the day before the race! Looks just beautiful too ;)

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    1. For whatever reason, the last minute plans seem to turn out better. There is certainly no time to worry or stress over anything beforehand.

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  6. Glad you got to run another race! I've never done a race in Mississippi but Rob wants to do a race in every state at some point...so hopefully one day!

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    1. I've only done two. I enjoyed the scenery at this one much more. Put in on the list.

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  7. Congrats on another great race! I love that you were able to meet up with Tricia again for a fun race weekend :)

    That medal is super cool and I love your finish line photo!

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    1. I forgot to mention the photos were free. That's always a nice bonus. And PoPo got some good ones too!

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  8. Wow! It's amazing you were able to run a "redemption" half so soon - and with Tricia no less! That's a great way to end 2018 -- although with 2 weekends left in the year, maybe you're not done? :-)

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    1. I think I am done for the year (but you never know!). It was nice just to go out and run a stronger race than the week before.

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  9. I love your spontaneity in signing up for a race the night before you! I don't think my type-A would allow that. :) Congrats on a great race!!

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    1. I've gotten to where I don't like to plan my races very far in advance. It's probably from having to DNS the Chicago Marathon due to injury. Now, I'd rather wait to the last minute and see how the body feels.

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  10. Glad to see that you got back out there and had a good race! I'm impressed with your quick planning on that!

    Hope you have the best time this holiday season! I'll be taking a short blogging break over the next two weeks.

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    1. It was a pretty quick drive for us so that made it easy. There's no way I'd wait to the last minute to fly somewhere. That would be stressful! And expensive!

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  11. I've never been to MS. At all. Or AL. Only driven through GA, NC & SC. So many states, not enough time! I remember Tricia's report from last year . . . this definitely sounds like a great race.

    And it sounds like you ran a really smart race, too! I love it when my last mile is my fastest, although it makes me wonder if I didn't actually run hard enough.

    I'm also amazed you guys just decided the day before. No way Mr. Judy would do that! Heck, once we almost did a half a week after my last -- that was kind of wild & crazy of him (turned out the race was sold out, though).

    And we once had a similar situation with paying for parking with just being in & out. I agree that shouldn't happen!

    My holiday is almost over. Hope you have a great one!

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    1. PoPo is pretty spontaneous. He is always asking if I want to go snow skiing last minute, etc. I think if you give it everything you have in the last mile (and boy did I) it means you absolutely did run hard enough.

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  12. I love that you were able to jump right back in and run another race after last weekend. Congrats on a great race!

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    1. I think since I had to walk so much in the half the week prior, my body didn't need a lot of recovery and I was able to jump back in.

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  13. I've raced in Texas and Florida, but nothing in between. Glad you have a much better race than last week. It's amazing how the weather can swing. I am ready for the holidays, and I'm pretty sure work will be torture this week.

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    1. The temperature was about 40 degrees lower in one week. Obviously, I do much better in the cold. And without the high humidity too!

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  14. That medal is so unique! I've never been to Mississippi, but I could go for some warmer weather!

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    1. I thought the medal was very nice and different! MS is definitely warmer most of the time. The 32 degree race start was out of the ordinary.

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  15. I would love to do a race in the south someday!

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    1. There are so many good races in the south in the colder months. In the summer? They are hard to find. And they aren't enjoyable in the summer anyway.

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  16. So fun you met up with Tricia again! Congrats on another race! Awesome job on the last mile! I've never done a race in Mississippi.

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    1. This race was really a pleasant surprise! It is always great to see Tricia too.

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  17. I've never been to Mississippi before. I might be in Orange Beach, AL in March though. My mom and aunts are renting a place there and invited me. Way to go on the race! I love how you just jump right into it!

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    1. Orange Beach is a beautiful location with emerald waters and white sand. You should definitely go!!

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  18. Nice job on the race!! I think that the time you ran it in is GREAT. Happy it was a little cooler and you were somewhat able to enjoy the rear- or at least zone out!

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    1. The colder air makes such a difference for me! Now if I could only get some speed back!

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  19. Love that you fit in a last minute race-cation.

    Congrats on a great race!!

    Happy Holidays!!!!!!!!

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    1. I more often do things last minute these days. I'm afraid to sign up for too many races in advance these days (like Vegas) and not be able to go.

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  20. How fun! Congrats on a great race!!

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    1. This was a fun and scenic race and well worth our last minute trip to Biloxi!

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  21. It was wonderful to see you again and to get you to the MS coast! I think this needs to be a yearly thing too! You surely looked strong in that home stretch! I love how the course changed for the better right at the end!

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    1. That ramp was something else! I had a hard time staying upright it was so banked and I was getting tired. LOL.

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  22. Sounds like a great race! Congrats on the pacing and that last mile :)

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    1. If you ever want to run on the Gulf Coast, put this one on your list!

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  23. Last minute race decisions have worked out the best for me this year... and sounds like this one was great for you!

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    1. Yes. Last minute decisions are working better for me as well!

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  24. Definitely a well paced run when your last mile is your fastest! Love that ya'll are able to meet up for races. I've never been to Mississippi but would love to go! And YES, totally ready for Christmas and the break that comes with it, haha.

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    1. You'd enjoy this race. It would be a bit cooler (typically) from your usual FL temps too.

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  25. That looks like a beautiful race and not how I would have thought for Mississippi! Congratulations on your race, and for taking the positive spin!

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    1. Biloxi is a nice resort town with casinos, beaches and lots of dining and entertainment options. You'd like it!

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  26. Sounds like a beautiful run... i just love running along the coast!

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    1. I do too. But as you know, sometimes it can be very humid. We lucked out with this one.

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  27. This sounds like a great race! I know exactly the ramp to the bridge you are talking about and it is a doozy for sure! You looked strong, determined and fast there at the finish!! Way to go Coach HoHo!!

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    1. Having that ramp right at the end, I literally was fighting to stay upright. It was so banked and curved and yeah...I was getting tired.

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  28. I'm so glad you could make the last minute decision! I'm sure Tricia enjoyed it too! Love the medal and love how much fun y'all have racing!! I now Tricia mentioned rnr Nashville on her race schedule. Are you planning it too? There's a chance I'll run it too, but the 5k...
    Anyways hope you enjoy the rest of your week!

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    1. I've gotten where I don't plan too much in advance. But, you never know where I'll pop up. LOL. The only race I've done in Nashville was pretty hilly!

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  29. This race experience sounds so much better than #49! I’m a fan of last-minute race adventures and it’s even better when you can meet with friends. The temps seemed much improved too! Cold is always better, to an extent at least! 😉

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    1. I'll take a cold race any day! Well, like you said...to an extent.

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  30. What a fun recap and how cool that you got to see Tricia and Valerie again. That medal is very cool! I have never been to Mississippi, so no to your first two questions. I'm pretty much ready for Christmas and just trained my last client until the 27th and I'm looking forward to taking a little time off and enjoying my family! I hope you have a great Christmas, too!

    Thanks for the linkup!

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    1. It's always fun to share races with friends. The race direction was excellent at this event and Biloxi is a fun place to visit. Add it to your list.

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