Okay, I admit occasionally having envied Karen’s plaques and mementoes for those races where she has actually placed in her age group or a category. And despite the pride factor, I don’t really remember (of course, I have failings there now, too) using the “I” word (for injustice) or coveting them. I wondered whether I realistically ever had a chance of placing in my own group. Ultimately, I think I came to the conclusion that if I found a race small enough….it might just be possible. Welcome to Mississippi! On the Saturday following Thanksgiving, we ran the Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon and Half-Marathon on the Stennis Space Center in the southwest corner of the state, just a few miles from the Gulf and Louisiana. I won my age division! True, there were only 11 other men in that division, but it just so happened I also ran a “Karen-era” PR – by a considerable margin – finishing the course in 1:42:40. I’ll take it! As it turns out, this was NOT our smallest race. In fact, there have been quite a few that were smaller – but it was definitely more “down home” than many have been. However, it was a perfect day and course for a PR. It was cool, overcast, very little breeze, and about as flat as a pancake. And there was irony, as well.
Karen also finished first in her age group – and had more competitors! So we had a bit more in our luggage on the return trip – two plaques to help us remember our moment in the spotlight.
It was another great trip and weekend. It was actually preceded by a complete surprise trip (for Karen) to Chicago for Thanksgiving for a very nice, but quick visit with family. We then had 2-3 days in Mississippi, where neither Karen nor I had ever spent much time. We enjoyed an afternoon on the Gulf Coast (still quite a few reminders of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina a few years back) – which looks like it would be ideal for family and kid bathing in season! The whole area is part of the Mississippi River delta, so lots of swamps, southern forests, and bayous. Our half-marathon was through such forest and bayou country – certainly no urban areas. We drove up to Jackson and, after church on Sunday morning, visited the Capitol where we got a private viewing. We found it closed, but knocked and a security guard let us in to tour the very impressive edifice. We then spent half a day driving down the Mississippi River or along the Natchez Trace, a famous trading route for centuries. We visited Vicksburg National Military Park (a Union victory that had perhaps more significance than any other during the Civil War); stopped along the Trace to enjoy an authentic southern fried chicken lunch; and had a little time in Natchez – which, in its day – was one of the wealthiest cities in America and was replete with southern estates and mansions.
After Mississippi we flew from New Orleans to Orlando and met Buggy and Grace for several days at Disney World – which was a great finish to our week away. But more on that trip in a later post. As for Mississippi – it was ONEderful! (And by the way, at the end of 2009 we have completed 37 States! Thirteen plus DC to go!)
Father of five; husband of one! Grandfather of twelve. Twenty-five years of commissioned military service, then nine years working on a government contract to destroy a portion of the nation's chemical weapons and munitions stockpile. Have lived in Europe eight years, on both coasts of the US and several places in between. After running our second half-marathon together in March 2007, Karen and I decided we enjoyed it and the associated travel enough to set out on a quest to run a half-marathon in all 50 states. We completed the quest in January 2012 in Hawaii - with the entire family there and many participating with us. We've now also completed running a half-marathon together in each of the 10 Canadian Provinces. Like to run and it often gives me time to think - and some of those thoughts need a sounding board or just might be worth sharing.
Recently hired to be the Orchestra Teacher at Timpanogos HS in Orem UT. Looking forward to starting in Aug 2014.