Race Report -- St. Jude Memphis Marathon, Dec 5, 2009
by Raquel Dufrene
The trip there was a lot of fun, as I took my Mom with me and of course we ended up getting lost, as usual! We drove 10 hours instead of
8 which was frustrating to say the least and therefore we missed our “relax” time before the expo and dinner. So straight to the Expo we went after checking into the hotel. I met some of my Arkansas running buddies there and had planned to meet up w/ Tiffany at the expo or dinner but the day got completely mixed up after we got lost. I missed Tiffany at the Expo, they had left to find their hotel and so we just picked up our packages and went to eat.
This was my 4th year of running St Jude. It was my first full marathon back in 2005 and in 2006 and 2008 I ran the half marathons there. I love the atmosphere and knowing that we are running for such a great cause. The children’s families actually hold up signs thanking the runners and some of the St Jude Children, if well enough, actually come out to the marathon. It is very emotional or can be through-out the run. I was excited to have my Mom w/ me as it was the first time one of my relatives was able to come to a full marathon with me. She had come to a few of my half marathon’s but not the full.
We made our way to the start line at 7 (29 degrees) and by 8 the temperatures were in the 30’s so good running weather. One of the St Jude’s little girls sang the National Anthem and it was the sweetest version of that song I have ever heard. I wish I could get a copy of it. The race started promptly at 8 and once my feet warmed up, around mile 3 or 4 I felt good. (My toes were actually numb for the first few miles, ha!) I was able to hand off my heavy fleece gloves and a vest I had on, at mile 4 to my Mom and some friends. It was nice to see them along the course. We made our way through Beale Street and past the Pyramid. The crowd coverage was great and before I knew it we were at mile 20 and still feeling pretty good. Just past mile 20 they had a table full of beer and anytime a runner would grab one, the crowd cheered even louder. Well a friend of mine took one as we ran by and it was great to hear the people screaming and clapping all in good fun! I kept taking in my GU and sportlegs hoping my calf would not cramp up on me.
By mile 22 I was beginning to feel my legs and the bottom’s of my feet were starting to talk to me. I kept reminding myself how hard I had trained for this and just kept putting one foot in front of the other. Up until this point I had drank my water on the run the best I could but by mile 24 I decided to take a few steps through the aide stations and then that was my goal to get to the next aide station, one mile out.. This was the first marathon I actually ran without stopping except for water on the last 2-3 miles. If I stopped too long, I’m not sure I would be able to run again, ha!
For some reason, in my mind I thought the last 4-5 miles were downhill. WRONG! There were a few good little inclines probably wouldn’t have bothered me earlier in the run but by now I was starting to really feel it. I thought of my Mom at the finish line and kept going until I saw AutoZone Stadium! You could hear the announcer and people cheering, it’s really exciting. Once I hit the stadium the adrenaline kicked in and I picked it up for the last few tenths. I was excited and it was very emotional for me as I set a new PR and my Mom was there at the finish to see it! It was a great run for me, everything just seemed to come together and that doesn’t always happen in the marathon world. I recommend this marathon to everyone. J