Thursday, May 2, 2013

LEO Marathon Course review 2012

This the course review I wrote for the 2012 LEO Marathon and Half Marathon. NOTE: The 2013 course for the Half Marathon will be modified from the 2012 course.  The course will not include North Hills street and the start and finish for both courses will be moved inside the softball circle.


OK folks. This isn’t gonna be a walk in the park! Expect hills!  There are a lot of them, but this should be no surprise to anyone here.  I can say there aren’t any 'Kill-a-mans-pace-oh-s,' (BRC's nickname for that hill you curse at when running the Bonita trails...yes, THAT ONE) but I suggest you train on Mt. K so you can prepare.  (If you want a flat marathon course in Meridian, run from one end of B street to the other 7 or 8 times, or run around MHS’s track 105 times! I’ll wait for ya at the finish!)
Let me first explain a little about my hill perspective.  I am a 3-time marathoner and 9-time half marathoner. I’m no expert or anything. I just love the thrill of the run and I’m addicted to the runner’s high!  I love the long run & I enjoy hills.  I look at hills in a race as a challenge within the race.  I approach a hill by looking down at the ground so I can’t see the top (when it’s safe to do so), leaning into it a little and pumping up the arm action.  Hills are fun.  So when I say there are hills, I’m a little excited about it.  My definition of a “bad” hill may be different from some, so I’ll try to be objective.
The race starts right at the entrance to the Northeast Park softball circle. You’ll turn south onto Hwy 39. 39 is known to runners for its long, steady hills.  In my opinion they aren't hard if you are good at controlling your pace.   At mile 4.5, you’ll merge onto Old Hwy 45 and then right on 14th street. There's a fun little incline there.  (It’s a doozy.)  Just over the crest of the hill, you'll turn left on 17th street in front of Rush ER. The pavement is a little rough here, but it flattens out. Then you’ll turn right onto Front Street around the 10K mark. (FLAT!!) Relax a little on Front Street.  Because when you turn right onto 22nd avenue and head up the Anderson Cup Hill, you regret it if you didn’t. This one is a challenge. You’ll turn left back onto 14th and coast down the short steep hill to Walgreens. Turning right, 24th avenue has nice steady inclines. The hill at the point shouldn’t be taken lightly. But once on Poplar Springs Drive (PSD), you have some nice curves through the historic homes to keep you company (or distracted). Yell “GO WILDCATS!” as you pass Meridian High School at mile 8.  PSD isn't hilly in my opinion, but there are some 'bumps.'  At North Hills street, say “Good Luck” to the Halfers as they turn right on North Hills Street and head down (&up) the hills that earned NH its name!  In my opinion, the hills on the last 3 miles of the half course are the worst ones (for either course).  The hill between 15th Place & Country Club drive is a monster! Be prepared for that one!  Trust me.  I suggest a few training runs on these hills. 

The mile 10 mark is right near NH & PSD.  Full marathoners will continue on Hwy. 493, up a sizeable hill and turn right to continue onto Poplar Springs again. Mile 11 swings you around Aldersgate and into a lovely section of PSD. You will enjoy a beautiful stretch of winding curves, lakes, hay bales in open fields, and tall trees providing a nice shade.  The half marathon mark is right before Plant the Earth.  Miles 12-15 are my favorite part of the course. There are lots of nice houses with large trees and beautiful green fields. (They may not be so green in November…we’ll see.)  At mile 15, PSD ends and you jump back on 39 for a short piece, then left on Hillview Drive. (yes, HILLview drive)  The mile 17 marker is in front of Andrew Chapel Methodist Church.  If you’ve ever ridden bikes with Lora Kennedy or Jerry Whitener & friends, you know what’s coming… MR. HILL!  But don’t go demanding your registration money back just yet—you get to run DOWN Mr. Hill! Mr. Hill is a Beast to bike up; running down it should be fun! It’s a good solid mile.  Let gravity pull you along and give those lungs a much needed rest.  BUT be aware of potholes!  There are several you could break an ankle on, along with some uneven/broken/repaired sections of road, so BE CAREFUL!  Once at the bottom of Mr. Hill, thank the marathon gods for not making you go up Mr. Hill, and enjoy a nice relatively flat few miles as you turn right on short and sneaky OllHoft Rd. We almost missed it. (The surface is a little rough here as well.) Mile 19 starts as you turn left back onto Hwy. 39.  You’ll head north a short little piece (still flat) to a turn-around mark, where you’ll enter the home stretch.  I wish I could say its all downhill from here, but I’d be lying. However, you will notice that this section of 39 is pretty flat compared to the rest of it.  The hills return at mile 23, as you (ironically) cross over Ponta Hills Road. This one is long and steady, ease up it and look fresh and relaxed at the top as you cross paths with runners behind you who are exiting PSD. Give them a cheer, but please, don’t say “it’s all downhill from here.” That’s just mean. 
Take a deep breath and push through those last 3 miles.  Remember, all you have left is a 5K! Yes, I know, you’ve ran 23 already! Don’t yell at me, we’re friends.  (And remember, I’m running this race too!) As you pass Forrest Lawn Cemetery and Northpark Church, say a prayer and think about your loved ones who are resting peacefully, and how proud of you they are, because you’re almost there!  One final push at mile 26, then it’s sailing into the park for the finish.   Grab your medal, hug your family and enjoy the fact that you are now part of an elite group! Less than 1% of the world’s population has done what you just did! And guess what, you survived!  The first thing you’ll say to your family is “I’ll never do that again!” But just wait a few days… you might find yourself thinking it.  I did.   Happy Running!
~Evelyn Watkins

Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Running stats

2011 GOALS: (previous post)

-Set a new PR for 10K and Half marathon
(CHECK! 10k PR; 55:40--Half PR; 2:01:43--also PR'd in 5K; 25:22)*
-Run at least three half marathons
(CHECK! - Ran 4 Half Marathons)
-reach 1000 miles

*Unofficial Half Marathon PR - 1:57:23 - run on December 17 with Trevor Gibson during "Trevathon"

2011 Stats:

Running miles: 1150.09

-ONLY 2 of those were Treadmill miles!!!
(Buffalo Wild Wings Relay for Life Fundraiser-July 27)
-102 were run in races.
-Ran on 178 days
-Total Runs: 179 (1 day with 2 runs - Oct. 30th)

Monthly miles:

Dec-142.91 (Marathon training!)

Mile 1000 ran on November 29Th, Dedicated to Mahlon C. Smith, Jr.

Longest run of 2011 -- 15 miles (ironically the last run too!) on 12-31

Races: 17
5K - 10
10K - 3
Half - 4

Wins: 1 (Holly Arthur CF 5K) BONUS!!
1st in age: 4
2nd in age: 3
3rd in age: 2

2012 GOALS:
-PR in a Marathon (Ultimate goal: under 4:30)
-Run 1000+ miles, ideally more than 2011
-Complete my first Triathlon
-Learn to swim efficiently

Thursday, August 4, 2011

laying low...

Been lying low lately. Sorry. Not much going on. It's way to hot to do much! I did manage to get 108 miles in July though! (No help from the Plantar Fasciitis in my right foot.) Still on track for my 2011 goal. Our running group is blossoming steadily! We have 26 people running Tupelo next month. We just ordered tech tanks and I'm setting up a pre-race dinner. I'm looking forward to a great race with a great group of folks. It's likely gonna be SUPER HOT this year. Not looking forward to that. Last year's weather was excellent. I'm pretty sure that's the reason I had such a good race. Not expecting that this year.

I'm planning my next marathon adventure right now. I'm currently set on the New Orleans marathon on March 4th. It's really flat and close enough to not break the bank. (NY = $$$$!!) I'll do the Blues Half in Jackson as well on Jan. 7th. I also decided after this years Sunfish that I am participating next year!! My first Triathlon! Mom, Dad & Wes volunteered with me this year. They enjoyed it. Here's a picture of Me, Dad, Tim and Mahlon in the water before the race. (Dad wasn't paying attention).

I'm officially a college student again!!!! :) I've finally decided on what I wanted to do. Exercise Science. I'm taking a few classes at MCC, then heading to UWA next year. Can't wait! With this degree I can do a number of things fitness related, from personal training to coaching. I haven't decided that part yet. We'll see what sparks my interest. I want to remain active and involved and this will help me do that. It'll also help BRC too!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

BRC's newest addiction...

Lately after our weekend long runs, we've been treating ourselves to fresh watermelon. It's quite refreshing! Especially these last few weeks with the humidity being SOOO high! This summer is BRUTAL! I'm completely exhausted after a long run. We run at 5:30 am, the coolest time of the day. But when the coolest is 78 degrees with a high of 99, there's no relief. We've done good staying hydrated and taking it easy.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

State Games Races...

The State Games races are officially over. I placed exactly the same as last year... 2nd in Cross Country and 3rd in the 5K.... The 5K was harder this year. Definitely challenging! I felt great throughout the whole race. I walked a little bit up the hill and ended up loosing the 1st place lead. I was 13 seconds behind the 1st place girl in my age group (Kicking myself for that, but oh well...)

Anyway, I am currently (still) on track for my 1000 mile goal for 2011! I have reached 501 miles! :) There are also about 15 folks from BRC and Meridian that have registered for the Tupelo Marathon/14.2 race in September. Its gonna be fun!!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Jan Morgan and her husband David are the owners of Boardtown Bikes in Starkville. They are avid adventurers and lover of all things athletic and outdoors. I don't know them personally. I've never met them actually. But I've gotten to know them a lot over the past three weeks. Three weeks ago, Jan was riding her bike and was struck by a car from behind and thrown from the car's hood. She is in critical condition. David is by her side night and day, holding vigil. Like I said, I don't know this couple, but I can feel the love they have for each other through David's daily blog posts about Jan's recovery. Jan's accident has brought the Share the Road movement into the forefront of area running and cycling clubs.

Please read David's posts and be in prayer for her. And SHARE THE ROAD!!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Running update...

So far this year, I've achieved two of the four running goals I set for myself. I've set new PR's in both 10K and the Half Marathon. I do plan to run a third half this year (there aren't any nearby until the fall), which will complete the third goal. The fourth goal is the one I'm unsure about. I want to run 1000 miles this year. So far I am on track. I have to maintain at least 84 miles each month to achieve this. I did 100+ in January, 90+ in February, 100+ in March, and 89 in April(I can't remember the exact numbers). This left me with a 55 mile surplus going into May. I felt great about this because I was hurting a good bit when training for the Renaissance Half. I felt like I could relax a little in May if I needed to. Well, I needed more than relaxation. I pretty much needed to stop running all together. I've had injury after injury. Once my shin and knee stopped hurting, my Achilles started hurting. Then I got Plantar Fascitis in my right foot. I feel okay today, but because I have ran only 3 miles this week! For the month of May, I will have 35-40 miles, depending on whether or not I can suffer through the pain and gain a few more over the last few days of the month. This month I'll eat almost all of those surplus miles, which means I won't have room to relax anymore this year unless I can get over all these injuries and gain it back. I haven't totally given up on my goal yet. But I've accepted that fact that it may not happen. (If I'm 10 miles shy on New Year's Eve, I'll definitely be out for a run!)

The next race is the State Games... the cross country race on June 4, and the 5K on June 18.

Friday, May 20, 2011


This is a new JJ Abrams drama coming to FOX next year (2012). It looks great! Finally, good stuff on TV again!!

Youtube video

FireWire Review

Thursday, May 19, 2011

yummy homemade pizza

If you enjoy a homemade pizza for lunch (like I do nearly everyday), you must try these flatbreads I found at Wal-mart. They are $2. The perfect size for a small pizza. Very Yummy!!!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

It only takes a spark....


And Now!!

This weekend at Camp Meridale was just what I needed. There aren't enough words to describe how much I needed this. It brought me back to what I knew before life got in the way. Simplicity, friendship, compassion, fun. I had forgotten how to have those things in my life. Instead of getting upset because there was no 3G service and I couldn't access my email, I put the phone down and enjoyed nature and the fellowship with old friends I hadn't seen in almost 20 years. I enjoyed the scenery and listening to the other Girl Scouts' stories from their summers spent at Camp Meridale. Stories from the 1940's. Stories from the 1970's. I loved walking through the camp and realizing the "long" walk to the treehouses, really wasn't that long at all. I remember the dinner bell being huge. I remember walking arm-in-arm with fellow campers, shining our flashlights on the path watching for snakes and other critters. I remember the treehouses being really high off the ground. At 10 years old and 4 feet tall, everything seemed larger than life. Now, despite my perspective changing, it was still a magical place. Carla, Brandye and I (girls from my old troop) immediately became best friends again. We walked around the campsites posing for each others pictures and remembering which tents, treehouses and wagons we slept in as kids. We reminisced about campfires, mock suppers, skits and songs, breakfast in the trees and the adventure course. I truly felt like a kid again.

I saw these cups in the cabinet in the old lodge and started remembering how much we used them! These cups were our drinking cups at all our meals. It's little things like this that allow those memories to come back! Carla, Brandye and I wanted to take some home with us!
Troop 16 together again! Mrs. Eloise (back) was our leader. In the middle is LaShundra and Brandye. Sitting is Tabitha, Carla and me.
This is Leslie Lee Priester. She was instrumental in organizing this reunion. She started working with the Girl Scouts in the 80's when I started camping. I remember her and Mrs. Lexie (old B&W photo below) were the camp directors. Ms Leslie Lee lead our campfires and songs this weekend.

Mrs. Lexie Muse passed away earlier this year. She was instrumental in the camp's development during the 70's, 80's and 90's. I remember her always being so strong and held together with a bunch of little girls running around. She lead Grace before meals .She was always involved with the skits and songs we sang. She entertained us with her stories and songs.

During this weekend, we planted a Southern Magnolia tree in her memory. Mrs. Lexie will definitely be missed.

This past weekend at Camp Meridale was amazing! I haven't laughed and cried happy tears this much in a long time. I still get all sentimental, days later. I feel rejuvenated and have a fresh perspective on life.

Since the reunion, I've made many new friends. Together we have come up with the idea of starting a blog to collect all of our camp memories. Here's the link. I added my thoughts already. We hope others who weren't able to make it to the reunion can add to the blog their photos and memories of their fun times in Girl Scouting. I also emailed the current director of the local Girl Scouts about volunteering this summer.