I took to Jackson, Mississippi at the end of January with the hopes of leaving behind some holiday lbs at the Mississippi Blues marathon. Instead I literally left my blood, sweat and tears that even the rain couldn’t wash away. Actually, it was the rain that caused most of them. Never have I experienced so much chafing in a race. For all 4 plus hours of this race, not once did the rain stop. For anyone thinking of this race as an option, it seems that historically the weather is complete shite on race day (last year it was cancelled due to ice). But I digress. Let me tell you first about visiting Jackson.
The race took place on a Saturday so I arrived Friday to pick up my race packet. Of course, Friday was a sunny, beautiful day, perfect for running. I stayed at the host hotel so didn’t have far to go to pick up the race packet. Runners were welcomed with a live blues band rocking the convention hall. Afterwards we walked around downtown to grab some lunch and see whatever there was to see in Mississippi's capital. Surprisingly, downtown Jackson, Capital City, home to trial and appellate level courts and presumably other governmental offices, was virtually empty. We there wasn't a lot to do right downtown except visit he Capitol Building, which has a pretty remarkable dome on it.
After the dome, we stopped at a bar behind the main courthouse, the Ole’ Tavern on George Street. Hoping to meet some fellow esquires, I instead ran into some fellow runners, also on the quest to finish a marathon in all 50 states. They were quite a few beers into the afternoon, impressively. We had a great conversation taking about different races we’d done and as we left to grab dinner, I wondered if they’d make it to the race the next day. (I did see them in the first few miles and it seemed they had some second thoughts on their life choices from the day before. They still finished ahead of me though).
I honestly didn’t know what to expect of the dining in Jackson, MS but was pleasantly surprised. Dinner was downtown at a pretty good place called Parlor Market, and I had an octopus dish with squid ink linguine. I have a fairly low spice tolerance, so to me this dish had a bit of a kick. Fortunately, that didn’t have an impact race day. Phew! Sorry, TMI?
Ok, so for the race itself....ugh. Rain, rain and more rain. It was horrible. And somehow, we always seemed to be running uphill, although I don’t know how that is possible. But I still haven’t figured out how the wind in Chicago can blow all directions at once, but yet it still does. And as some sort of sick joke, around mile 18 or so, you run through the “agriculture museum” which was a nice muddy path at that point. I've never had so much chafing ever, and stopping at the port-a-johns, well that was interesting. If you've ever worn a wet suit, gotten it wet, taken it off and then put it back on, well the going-to-the-bathroom experience was pretty much like that.
The only saving grace of this race were the few blues bands that stuck it out in the rain to play to us and the AMAZING volunteers who were just as cold and wet but NEVER stopped cheering us on. Thank you race volunteers, you were incredible!! You deserve all the love!
As in usual post- race tradition, oysters were had at a great seafood place, Saltine. Great for oysters and dinner!
That's about all I have to say about Jackson. As I post this, I'm gearing up for the next race in Lincoln, Nebraska. Fingers crossed for no rain and mild temperatures! But might have to forego the post-race oysters there!