After my interview with the race director of the Mississippi Blues Marathon, I was very excited to head to Jackson and run my first marathon of 2013! That excitement lasted for approximately 30 minutes in the car, whereupon I remembered how much I dislike long car trips. Fortunately, I had a fully reunited Team T-Rex to keep me company! Amanda, Kristen and I left from Columbia verrrrrry early on Friday morning for a long drive on I-20 all the way to Jackson. It’s been awhile since I did a road trip with them – I’m pretty sure the last one was the Hatfield-McCoy Marathon back in June – so I think I had forgotten what it’s like to go anywhere with them. If I were to summarize the Team T-Rex road trip experience, it would be the following:
- Terrible music
- Lots of laughter
- Even more bathroom stops
Yes, I had tricked myself into believing that maybe we wouldn’t have quite as many bathroom stops this time. I don’t know why I thought this. Our 9 hours drive involved 5 bathroom stops, and it would have been more were it not for the fact that I drove the last 3 hours of the trip and refused to issue hall passes to anyone. T-Rex Mom has taught me well.
We arrived in Jackson around 4pm local time and headed straight for the expo. I wanted to find John, the race director, and we had heard there would be blues musicians playing, so we wanted to check everything out.
I was able to talk to John for a minute, and he is just as personable and enthusiastic in person as he is on the phone. While we were in the expo, I noticed a news crew kind of standing around looking for people to interview. I wasn’t sure I really wanted to be on the news, but then I decided screw it, why not? So I went over to the news guy and volunteered myself.
Me: “I’ll let you interview me if you want!”
News guy: (visibly thrilled.) “Oh, ok. Well, sure.”
Me: “You seem really excited about that, and I don’t blame you.”
So it turns out the news guy’s name was Joe Barnes, and despite his initial lack of enthusiasm at my volunteered interview, he asked me a whole bunch of questions. Of course, the entire time he was interviewing me, the ever-supportive Team T-Rex is pointing and laughing at me while Dave Mari tried to photobomb the interview. Not to worry, I kept my composure. And guess who made it onto the news?
AJ has been laughing about this for the past hour. “I don’t always get a good time, but I always have a good time? That sounds like something a hooker would say!”
Joe pretty much picked my least insightful responses to appear on the news, but oh well. I’ll take it! He asked me a bunch of questions about how many marathons I have done, why I’m doing the 50 states, why I decided to run the Blues, etc. At the end of the interview, he actually asked me if I do TV interviews regularly because apparently I am quite well spoken. His enthusiasm was now legitimate. Not to worry – I quickly dispelled that notion by saying something to the effect of “Oh, no! But I have a blog, soo…” And that was the end of my career as a television professional.
Immediately following my epic television debut, we decided to continue the trend of humiliation by attempting to get a jumping picture in front of this huge Mississippi Blues sign out in front of the convention center. We should have known that someone (ahem Dave Mari) would silently stalk us from indoors and document the experience.
After many, many attempts, we finally got a decent picture. I clearly need to work on my form.
We had enough time after all of our antics to head over to the host hotel and check in before dinner. It’s not very often that we stay at the host hotel or within walking distance of the start, so knowing that we were just a few blocks from the start/finish and in a really nice hotel was very exciting. It wasn’t long before we were off to dinner at Julep, where we would be meeting up with Krissy and some other Maniacs. In my research to find a local brewery near Jackson, I quickly got frustrated when it seemed like there weren’t any. The breweries couldn’t sell their own beer, and the bars that sold the local beer didn’t seem to have “runner friendly” food, so I frantically emailed Krissy, who I had never met, and asked her if I really was crazy and/or stupid, or if there just aren’t any good local beer options in Jackson. She confirmed that I am neither crazy nor stupid, and that Mississippi just has really weird alcohol laws. Fortunately, this exchange led to her inviting Team T-Rex to the dinner she was planning, and as luck would have it, Julep served a few different local beers, including a pecan ale that was extremely tasty.
We had about 14 people for our dinner by the time all was said and done, and this would have been perfectly fine if the waiter they gave us was not on his first night ever of waiting tables. Ok, maybe not his first night ever, but he was clearly quite overwhelmed by our contingency. It seemed like our dinner lasted about an hour longer than it should have, and were it not for the fact that we were there with some locals, we would never have gotten a delicious bread basket because we didn’t know there was supposed to be one. The only pasta on the menu was some cajun crawfish pasta, which I kindly requested that the waiter serve without the tiny lobsters. Krissy, Andrea, Kate, Amanda, and I realized that we were all aiming to run somewhere around 5 hours but mostly just have fun and enjoy the race, so we decided to try and run together the next day if it worked out. Meanwhile, I was busy trying to choke food down thanks to the foreign device in my esophagus and was pretty worried about how it would affect me the next day.
After our fantastic dinner was over, it was time to head back to the hotel and try to get some sleep. My television debut had exhausted me.