Thursday, February 18, 2016

State #15 Alabama: Mercedes-Benz Marathon Weekend

I came to Alabama to run my 19th marathon and 15th state in my quest to run a full marathon in all 50 states! I took travel plans to a whole new level of crazy. I woke up at 3am Friday and drove 12 hours solo to Birmingham! I will fly, but I don't jump at the opportunity so if I feel I can make the drive you better believe I will. And I did.

First on the agenda was straight to the expo at Boutwell Audotorium. It was a nice size and I felt like I could breathe and walk around freely. Maybe the crowd came later but it wasn't busy when I was there. They provided lots of great vendors and I said I wouldn't buy anything but that was a lie. 3 shirts later...

Probably some of my favorite race swag to date because I've never had a cape and M&M's are my favorite candy. Plus you didn't have a million papers of coupons flying all over the room because they did a virtual race bag for those items.

After the expo I checked into my hotel. I literally unpacked all my things and laid out running stuff for the next 2 days. And then I slept for 9.5 hours. In a big giant bed that never felt so relaxing! :)

Next morning I arrived at the starting line of a VERY cold 5k! I didn't pack well so I wore shorts and Procompression socks to save my pair of pants for the marathon. I looooved this 5k! The majority of the course was flat and it wasn't too crowded. Lots of little kiddos running which was great. 

Lots of capes flying around!

We got a cute super hero medal at the finish too. I didn't stick around because I was freezing and needed a hot shower ASAP.

For the rest of the day I watched some of the Olympic Marathon Trials and hung out with another 50 states runner, Rebecca. We had dinner and talked running for hours! So fun and glad I met a new friend to hang out with during the trip.

The next morning I met up with Rebecca before the race. It was soooo cold again! I almost didn't bring my cold gear but was really glad I did! 

I also wasn't feeling well and literally could barely stomach water. I sipped some Nuun and became really nervous that I would crash at some point during the race. Any other marathoners look at this sign during a race and wonder why you didn't sign up for the half? Haha, I do every time but then am so happy I ran the full! 

I really liked the course and it was 2 loops. I always get nervous about courses like that because I'm afraid I will get bored, but I really liked this one. The only thing I would change is more spectators. I feel like a lot disappeared for the second loop!  

I did end up crashing soon after mile 20. I made it to that point pretty strong and ended up slowing wayyyyy down. I just had nothing left in me so at that point I was just surviving. Taking all gu and sports drinks offered to me. I crossed the finish line freezing, with swollen hands, and burning quads in 5:30:30. But also a big smile on my face because I finished my 19TH marathon!! 

After crossing the finish line I couldn't eat anything. I went back to Rebecca's hotel that was near the finish line to chat about the race and snap a pic with our medals. She ran a super speedy PR that day!! How awesome! 

 I drove home super early the next morning and arrived home to a wonderful surprise from Brad! He really is the sweetest :)

Overall it was a great weekend. I love meeting new running friends and traveling to new states. I would definitely recommend the Mercedes Marathon for anyone looking to run in Alabama! 

Next marathon is Little Rock in Arkansas in less than 3 weeks and hoping to get a short run in tomorrow.

Happy running! :) 

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