St. Jude Memphis Marathon Registration Open

The St. Jude Memphis Marathon has already opened registration for this year’s race on Saturday, December 3, 2011!

The half marathon sold out way ahead of time last year (some time in the summer, I think?). Then the marathon sold out in the fall. Even the 5k sold out in November! So register now.

Fees until August 1 (note they have not increased, but last year these prices were good until September 1):

  • Marathon: $85
  • Half: $60
  • 5k: $30
  • Family Race (Parent): $15
  • Family Race (Child): $10

St. Jude Marathon Report

I did it! I finished and survived the St. Jude Marathon relatively unscathed and in a reasonable time. Here’s a play-by-play of the day (Warning – it is long!):

So the song goes:

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you can call him a man?

It’s a little known fact the song originally went:

How many times must Bethany change her clothes
Before she runs in this dern marathon?

First it was the long-sleeve coral Saucony shirt with long black tights. Then the long-sleeve awesome purple Nike shirt with long black tights. The answer truly was blowing in the wind because it was warm and windy that morning. I walked out on the front porch in the long sleeve outfit for a test a realized it would not do. So I changed to one of my favorite short sleeve shirts (Breakaway’s “Run for the girls”) and knee-length black tights. Later on in the race I would have liked to have on a tank top and shorts!

Here is what I predicted for race day using my Totally Unscientific St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weather Spreadsheet:

  • Min Temp: 38.2
  • Mean Temp: 46.0
  • Max Temp: 56.6
  • Precipitation: 0.3 Inches
  • Snow Depth: 0.0 Inches
  • Mean Wind: 9.4 MPH
  • Max Sustained Wind: 15.3 MPH
  • Max Wind Gust: 14.1 MPH

Here is what it really was:

  • Min Temp: 37.0
  • Mean Temp: 54.3
  • Max Temp: 62.1
  • Precipitation: 0.0 Inches
  • Snow Depth: 0.0 Inches
  • Mean Wind: 10.24 MPH
  • Max Sustained Wind: 16.9 MPH
  • Max Wind Gust: 28.77 MPH

Not too far off! The max temp was higher, we ended up getting no rain instead of a little and the max wind was almost double. If you need me I’ll be in Tunica placing some bets…

My dad woke up at 3am and drove 2 hours from Selmer to see us run! I ate oatmeal and Bobby had a banana for breakfast. We headed out at 6:15am in separate cars since Bobby and I planned to have fun downtown all day long after the race (I laugh at this impossible idea now). Parked at Parking Can Be Fun, one of our favorite garages and headed to Autozone Park for bag check. I kept a hand warmer out while we walked down Fourth Street to see our corrals, the start line and stay warm in the FedExForum. Bobby discovered the idea of waiting in the FedExForum last year as he was waiting around for the marathon to start in the 28 degrees weather. In the Forum we met up with Yu, Patrick, Beth and Virgina. Used the nice restrooms (no porta-potties for us!) and at 7:45 we headed to our corrals. Bobby and Patrick were pretty much on the start line while the rest of us meeted and greeted our way back to the back. I saw lots of running friends and even the Russells from my church back home!

First half
Mile 4 we ran by my building at St. Jude and my manager Leigh snapped a photo of me. The Hashers offered me a beer at mile 7, but I was too nervous to risk anything! Loved the YMCA dancing group outside the Memphis College of Art at Mile 9 – just what was needed after the boredom of Overton Park (sorry trees). The first 13.1 was going by fast. Oh, and just a tip to spectators: Not everyone is running the half. Don’t yell out, “You’re almost done!” at mile 12. Beth, Yu and I had fun saying, “No we are not!”. My first half pace was around 9:30 – 10 minute miles.

Second half
Everything went well until a little past mile 13. Then the ghosts of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins jumped out Sun Studios as we ran by and stabbed me in the stomach with a knife…or at least that is what it felt like. I hadn’t had a cramp like that in a long time! I had to walk for a minute and my stomach wasn’t 100% for the rest of the race, though at least no dead musicians stabbed me again. Mile 13-16 were my hardest. I got so sleepy running down Peabody. I found myself thinking, “I could just curl up under that tree on the sidewalk right now and take a nap”. I began to wonder why I had registered for this race; I lost pace. Beth kept it up though and she pushed on. Seeing BR as well as Ron and Beth’s kids in their Suburban were some great moments on Peabody. As Yu and I got into Cooper Young at mile 17 the crowds made me feel better, and I realized that we were down to single digit miles left now. Second wind – You can make it now! But Yu was feeling a bit nauseous, and she decided to walk a bit. So from 19 onwards I was on my own. I would stop every mile, then forced myself to only every 2 miles for water stop/walk breaks. Seeing the Hashers again at mile 22 was a great pick-me-up. Luckily, no muscle soreness except for a tiny bit of upper foot pain and a little shoulder stiffness. Just a little stomach cramps. I was thinking, “There’ no way I’m making 4:45 and I do not even care if I make 5 hours!”. My pace for this second half was 11 – 12 minute miles.

That last mile was so long – what the heck – was there some kind of infinite loop portal I was unaware of? But once I got to mile 26 I picked up the speed from 12:00 to 8:00 and “sprinted” in. I had some energy left in me for sure. Crossed the first pad in the stadium and heard my named called – the best! It felt great to finish: 4:57. As I walked up the stairs I thought I would cry like at the Germantown Half, but by the time I got the top I was good. And Beth and Ron were there at the top – she wasn’t too far ahead of me. Just a few minutes later Yu finished: 4:59 – just in time! Tried eat pizza and drink a beer in the free food area, but after a couple bites I didn’t feel too good. Bobby also told me how he got ill after the race, and I think it scared me. But after a visit to the restroom and a change of clothes, I got my appetite back. It was so nice to rinse off my face – I could have filled a salt shaker with my saltiness! Dad, Bobby, me, Patrick and Yu all went to Rio Loco for some lunch. Afterwards Dad headed back to Selmer, and Bobby and I went home to spend the rest of the day on the couch.

Next time
What am I thinking about doing differently next time?

  • More medium distance (5-8 miles) runs during the week in increase speed and stamina.
  • No Gu packs with caffeine (Yu said they upset her stomach before so that could have been what upset mine – worth a shot)
  • No PowerAde (I usually don’t drink it while running and that is something I did different – could have caused cramps, who knows?)
  • Water at mile 3, then only every 2 miles (I was drinking too often at some points, slowing me down. I might adjust this if it is hot)
  • Gu at mile 5, 10, 15 and 20

Is it bad…

Is is bad that I bought brand new shirt specifically to wear for the race a month ago…and then replaced it just Wednesday when Bobby and I went on a taper madness shopping spree? But, THIS IS THE MOST AWESOME SHIRT EVER! It is a gorgeous shade of purple with a metallic gold nike logo (not that I’m all about brands, but it is shiny), long, the softest thing ever, and (the best part) has extra long sleeves with these little thumb slits for your…thumbs! Only problem is it hasn’t been field tested like my other shirt. It could burst into flames at mile 5 – who knows?
PS: I also bought new dri-fit, super soft, running-specific gloves. They have tiny pockets for a car key or whatever else tiny thing you could fit in there (Exactly one Sport Bean, perhaps?).

Is is bad that I have had my entire marathon outfit laid out on the guest bed since Wednesday night?

Is it bad I had a nightmare/dream about the race last night? I was running in the marathon with my girls (even Keshia was there, who isn’t actually running in the marathon). We were doing great and having fun. We were running through buildings and up staircases and were thinking, “Hmmm, this is a strange marathon course”. We were at mile 8 when Bobby appeared and said, “Listen, I’ve been done for awhile, and I’m bored and ready to go home, so let’s leave”. And then he grabbed my hand and made me leave without finishing! I was reaching out to the girls as they ran away on the course saying, “Noooooo!”. LOL – It was so ridiculous.
I think I had that dream due to my great fear of not being able to find my friends in the pace group marathon morning and having to run the entire race by myself – That would not be fun. I’ve had to run Road Race Series races by myself before because I got there late so it is not that crazy!

Is it bad that not long a ago (6 months?) the idea of an 8 mile run would have filled me with worry and dread. Yet last Saturday I found myself saying, “Yay, just an easy, short 8 mile run today!”. And it was an easy, short 8 mile run. My world has turned upside down.

St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weather Forecast

Bobby asked me yesterday if I could forward him links to websites that had long-range forecast (I had found some in the past to help predict the weather on our possible wedding days). He wanted to figure out the weather for the St. Jude Marathon. Here’s what I sent him:

DryDay doesn’t predict temperature, but you can get a free 30 day forecast of the chance for precipitation (you can pay and get up to 18 months). It even shows the data in handy bar charts: Short, yellow bars mean less chance for rain; higher, black bars mean more chance for rain.
DryDay says that the 2010 St. Jude Memphis Marathon (December 4) has a 60% chance of precipitation!

The Old Farmer’s Almanac 2-Month Weather Forecast
This gave a general forecast, saying that, “The December average temperature will be 47°. Precipitation will be 7″ (5″ above average in the South). December 1-4: Sunny, turning warm. December 5-9: Thunderstorms, warm. Winter will be colder than normal, with precipitation below normal in the North and above normal in the South.”

The Old Farmer’s Almanac Weather History

View the weather on a paticular day all the way back to 1946! Then if you love Excel like I do (thank you Operations Management with Dr. Tracy) you can copy and paste the data for each year into a spreadsheet (I used 1989-2009 because I didn’t have THAT much time to kill). There you can create averages, make graphs, etc.
So here are my predictions (place yer bets, place yer bets!) for 2010 from my Totally Unscientific St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weather Spreadsheet:

  • Min Temp: 38.2
  • Mean Temp: 46.0
  • Max Temp: 56.6
  • Precipitation: 0.3 Inches
  • Snow Depth: 0.0 Inches
  • Mean Wind: 9.4 MPH
  • Max Sustained Wind: 15.3 MPH
  • Max Wind Gust: 14.1 MPH

I really thought it would have snowed at one point on December 4th in the last 20 years, but no. (It just feels that cold) That column of information was useless.
If you look at the graph, I created a Mean Temperature Trendline that is different that just the daily mean temperature that was recorded. It shows that on average it has been getting a little colder over the past 20 years. Except for that December 4th in 2001: High of 75, Low of 57.9 and Average of 64.3 – Lets all keep our fingers and toes crossed for a day like that again!
Here are the spreadsheets in Excel and PDF format if you would like to view them:

St. Jude Marathon Gift Shop Goodies

The St. Jude Gift Shop has outdone themselves this year with a HUGE variety of St. Jude Memphis Marathon apparel and promotional products. Here is my detailed report:

Love the Brooks dri-fit “In Training for the St. Jude Memphis Marathon” series of shirts for men & women. The half marathons (13.1) are short sleeve only and full marathons (26.2) are long sleeve only – I guess the half marathoners aren’t going to get cold?

The placement of the “26.2” and “13.1” on the lower back is really unique. I love the bright yellow color (your fans will be sure to spot you in the crowd) but it only comes in the women’s 13.1 – No fair! And the women’s 26.2 (white with a neon yellow imprint) looks very difficult to read – Bad choice there. Maybe the men’s 26.2 (red with a white imprint) in a small size will do for me.
I also love the Brooks dri-fit “Race Map” series of shirts (for men & women; long and short sleeve). If I get lost on course, I can just look down at my shirt! Hey, maybe it should have been printed upside down then? Yeah, that might have caused some confusion…

There are also some hoodie sweatshirts to warm up in post-race (It was so cold last year!) and a funny, “26.2 miles…seemed like a good idea 3 months ago!” long-sleeve t-shirt.

It is going to be a tough call whether to buy the “26.2” Brooks shirt or the “Race Map” Brooks shirt…We will see which one I choose!

St. Jude Memphis Marathon – Registration Now Open!
The countdown has already begun! (Check out the new countdown clock on the St. Jude Marathon home page that Bobby personally requested last year!

Online registration is now open – The sooner you register the more you save!

Yours truly has already been signed up by Mr. Bobby…for the full marathon!!! Eeeek! Will I be able to do it?

Register before September 1:
Marathon: $85 (Cap is 3,500)

Half Marathon: $60 (Cap is 8,100)

Memphis Grizzlies House 5K: $30 (Cap is 4,000)
Family Race – each parent: $15 (Cap is 500 families)
Family Race – each child: $10 (Cap is 500 families)