The MS RIver Half Marathon + Why I Run

I ran the MS River Half Marathon this weekend and I've got the jacked up toes to prove it.  
 Isn't that an odd shot?  I though so.

Not only do I have the jacked up toes, I also have this image forever in my minds eye....and on this blog.
Freaking A, that river is big.  And that bridge is long!  And that water....she looks mighty.  Glad I didn't trip over my jacked up toes and fall in.  

The race route was nice.  A stretch on Highway 82 was tough at times but sanity was saved by the Greenville High marching band.  I may or may not have frantically waved my arms in the air screaming "OHMYGOSHILOVEY'ALL!!" 

The last few miles went through Greenville, past my old neighborhood and down roads that my friends and I used to ride constantly...listening to Matchbox 20, pining and acting grown. 

Since the race was in my hometown, I was lucky to see the familiar faces and hear the cheers of people I've known since I was a wee tot.  My mom, Chick, Brandon and Nanny were around mile 10.5 armed with signs and a golden doodle.  Brandon's sign claimed "I MARRIED A WINNER" (damn, right) and mom's sign, I couldn't really read I think it said something about I AM SO PROUD OF YOU with things underlined multiple times.  

My dad and step mom had a water station at mile 11; friends were stationed at St. James Episcopal Church at around mile 11.5.  

It's good that all these folks were towards the end as towards the end of a half marathon is where you always think that you are going to die.    
I finished the race in 2:24:26, a time of which I'm pretty darn proud.  I didn't meet the goal that I set for myself to finish in 2:16:00 BUT I did meet the goal that I set for myself to not get beaten by whoever won the full marathon. 

HA!  Take that, dude from Poland.  I finished my race before you finished your race.  Barely

Running for two hours and twenty four minutes gives a gal some time to think.  For the most part, I've always been a lone runner. I enjoy the time to reflect, process, pray and practice mindfulness. 
I also enjoy the random thoughts / memories / ideas that pop into my mind while I'm running.  Last Saturday, I passed by King's Daughter's hospital, the spot where I was not only born but also where I worked upon finishing graduate school.  It's also a place where I used to have a Dr. Pepper heavy and a muffin the size of a grapefruit every single morning.  Downtown Greenville is a hot bed of memories as well as it's where I spent a majority of my college career wearing a prairie skirt and trying to turn a train wreck into a picnic.    

Never in 800 million years did I think I'd be running a (second) half marathon.  I was overwhelmed with that sense of beauty and gratitude one gets when they realize how amazing it is that our lives end up exactly how they are supposed to...no matter how wonky the path.  Running, for me, represents making a conscious effort to get from where you are to where you want to be.  Especially on the day of a race...the collective energy of that many people working towards the same thing is super cool!

It's not just about calories burned or races completed but about taking things one step at a time and making more healthy choices than unhealthy choices.  There're amazing runs and horrible ones, sometimes it hurts and sometimes it doesn't.  It's very zen, very one foot at a time, very mindful.  Distance running is a wonderful way to practice just thinking about where you are, not focusing on what's next.  Thinking about mile 12 at mile 2 doesn't do much good, neither does thinking about next Sunday on Monday. 

Whether Saturday's race was one of the first or one of the last, I'm grateful for the lessons.

I'm also grateful for the excuse to eat a (large) chili and slaw burger from Ginos.  Greenville people,  you know what's up.

What's your thing?  Maybe it's moving or changing jobs or traveling or being honest with yourself or rescuing stray animals or bungee jumping.  Whatever it is...find it, be epic, share your lessons, go.    


  1. Laura Merrill, you never fail to make me laugh. And, I needed that today....:) So proud of you & so sad all your cousins crumbled. It sounded like such a great idea back in July. ;)

  2. Go Minya!!! I'm so proud of you and so sorry we couldn't be there to cheer you on :(

  3. Thank you for inspiring me! And honestly, Gino's has never tasted as good as it tasted on Saturday :)