On Saturday I ran the Race 13.1 Memphis half marathon with no pressure or expectation. While it definitely wasn’t my first half, it was the first time I’d run this distance without a watch or goal and for pure enjoyment. I didn’t expect to place or to rejuvenate my love for racing, but it ended up being a morning full of surprises.
I became I Race13.1 ambassador after how much I enjoyed running the series last fall in Nashville. Race13.1 hosts over 20 races around the Southeast and Midwest and is only expanding. My favorite part of their events is that they go above and beyond in every aspect. Everything is so well planned and put together and no detail goes unseen from the packet pickup to the award ceremony. They provide video course maps, virtual race bags, informative emails and texts leading up to the race, and live music, entertainment, and vendors at each location.
As a part of my ambassadorship, I’ve been given race entries throughout the year so it was no question that I’d be running the inaugural race in my own city. Since 2015 was such an intense year of racing, I decided to do this half for fun, which also fulfills a promise I made to myself. I didn’t worry about training, nutrition, strategy, or even sleep as much as I would’ve in the past. That morning, I woke up and realized I hadn’t charged my watch so even that was a sign from above to just enjoy the run especially since it was such a great course.
I got there fairly early since parking is always an issue for races that start on Mud Island, but ended up running into a friend from church on my “warm up” and took a shuttle just a half mile to the start. On the shuttle he informed me that it was his first half and I offered to pace him once he said he thought he’d be running somewhere between 1:40-1:50.
It was a chilly (hence my angsty model shot below), but ended up being the best morning for a run and there seemed like a pretty big turn out especially for being it’s debut in Memphis. We made our way pretty close to the start to look for my friend Erica who I train with a lot. She popped up a couple minutes before the gun and we started with her, but then we let her go and told her we’d see her after she won. There was one more girl who seemed pretty quick, but I didn’t recognize her and Erica ended up passing her in the last mile.
As far as my friend Louis and I, we had no clue how fast we were going, but were comfortable enough to chat and goof off the whole time. We thanked each volunteer, police officer, and cheerleader in our path and engaged with all the poor other runners around us. Without the beeping countdown of my watch, the miles seemed to fly by.
We ran down riverfront, the landing, Beale, and South Main. The course was one of my favorites I’ve done in Memphis so far, but there’s a few things I would change for the upcoming years. I love how we started from Mud Island and ran to the far side of downtown and then down through Beale Street Landing, but at one point it had us crossing back over through the corrals of people who were behind us, which was both awkward and inconvenient. I also really liked how we ran through a different part of Memphis to the backside of Mud Island, but we had to run past the entrance and did a terrible sharp turn around down a random maintenance gravel road, which I really didn’t like.
For his first half or for anyone for that matter, Louis did great. I’m assuming that we ran pretty steadily at 7:30 pace and then picked it up some at the end. He told me there were times that he was feeling tired, but really didn’t show it maybe until the very end. I felt great considering the fact that I really didn’t train for it and that I felt like I was just doing a regular long run at somewhat of a tempo pace. To my surprise, I finished 3rd female overall and Louis placed in his age group with a time of 1:36. Erica, of course, got first and won a gift card to Fleet Feet.
Other than two little course hiccups, everything was perfect. They had more than enough porta potties, shuttle services from the ample parking, great tech shirts, and they even let us pick up our awards before the ceremony, which was a first and a new favorite. For post race eats, they had pizza, bananas, Nuun, and water. Fleet Feet even brought foam and stick roller stations for recovery and there was a Chiropractor company on side for stretching and massages, which I have a hilarious story about and a new most embarrassing moment EVER.
I’m only telling because I’m in my hotel room two glasses of wine deep and it’s TOLT so why not.
So after the race I really had to pee and B-lined to the porta-potties almost immediately after crossing the finish. TMI, but my legs were too tired to squat so I put toilet paper down on the seat as the next best sanitary alternative. After that sweet relief, I mustered up the courage to go to the chiropractor station to be stretched and/or massaged for the first time out of all the billion races I’ve done in my life because my calves were really bothering me. It must have been my lucky day because I ended up getting the most attractive young DILF of a chiropractor and was in p a r a d i s e. I stared deeply into his eyes as he stretched me out, charming him with both my whit and grace (yes, I told Mark the exact same account, who I’m sure wouldn’t have blamed me at all if he’d seen him). But anyways, after my 7 minutes in stretching heaven I limberly headed towards the water stations to who knows flush out the toxins or whatever, when Erica came up to me dying laughing. She turned me around and pulled none other than a full piece of porta-potty toilet paper off the lower edge of where my butt meets the back part of my thigh. At first I was like whatever, don’t care- no one saw that, but then I remembered all the vulnerable positions that would have definitely shown my toilet paper ridden lower butt to the dreamiest medical professional I’d ever seen. Yes, he must have been staring at the toilet paper for at least 5 minutes and now that I recall, he was 100% trying not to bust out laughing, but I hadn’t known why. I was mortified, but it was also so funny.
Anyways, the overall event was great and I can’t wait for it to get bigger and bigger each year. I’m definitely going to do Race 13.1 Nashville in October and then hopefully choose from a couple others on this upcoming list.
Have you ever done a big race just for fun?
Whens the last time you surprised yourself in a big race or run?
What’s your most embarrassing moment?