TENNESSEE  -  Blister in the Sun Marathon
08/07/2011              http://www.harpethhillsmarathon.com/blister/
State #6
Finish time:  6:09:54
It is cousin Derek's fault.  He just had to go and get married.  We got an invite to
his wedding in Knoxville, TN, and well, since I'm on a quest to run a marathon in
all the 50 states, I thought I better check out the marathon guide and see if there
were any marathons close by.  I had promised myself no summer marathons, but
wow, just one day after his wedding, and only an hour and a half away, how could
I resist?  

The race description should have dissuaded me:

A Stupid Hot Hilly Little Run in the Park
The RD says, "I guarantee suck ass conditions and a fun time." What more do
you want?

No shirts. Maybe a "medal". If you finish. Just 5 loops of a rolling 5.24 mile
course.

There is also a cap of 100 participants for the race. You will get tired of the same
99 faces suffering as you go through your five loops. Statistics also say that out
of every 105 runners, one dies in Cane Creek School Parking lot every August 7.
I promise that the school parking lot which comprises roughly a 1.5 miles of your
marathon will be half of your nightmares for the three months following this race.
Probably the real reason I was so excited to sign up for this one was because I
had my Marathon Maniac shirt, and was just dying to wear it.  I signed up for the
club as soon as I finished my Lincoln marathon which qualified me for the 3
marathon in 90 day requirement, but I hadn't ran another marathon since then.  
Derek's wedding was lovely.  After the reception we headed to Cookeville for the
night.  We got there late, so slept in as long as I could and arrived just shortly
before start time.  The first thing I did was check in to get my race bib.  How fun!  
When I signed up for this race, I had to explain why I was crazy enough to run a
marathon in Tennessee in August.  I said how my cousin was getting married
just a few towns over, so why not?  All the bibs were personalized, and mine was
of a wedding party, with me in running shoes.  I loved it!  
The conditions were just as bad as advertised.  When you start
getting emails from a race director (who calls himself The Sadist)
suggesting you make sure your will is in order, you kinda know
you're in trouble. He went on and on about the heat and all, so I
was prepared for the heat.  I had Richard placed centrally in the
figure 8 loop, so I would see him 10 times in the 5 loops, so about
every 2.6 miles.  He had ice rolled up in a hankie ready for me,
and swapped it out every time I saw him.  However, I wasn't
prepared for the hills. How did the race director put in so many
uphills, with so few downhills? Thankfully, we got cloud cover
about one hour 40 minutes into the race. I think I heard the race
director crying when it clouded up. It didn't last though, and I had
sun for the last few miles.  I wanted to go slower, but we had a
flight to catch that afternoon in Nashville, and a shower was a
must.  I was soaking wet when I finished, from sweat and from the
ice water I was forced to use to keep cool.  I was so wet for so
long that the pins holding my bib on left rust marks on my new
Marathon Maniac shirt.  So sad.  Although the race was super
tough, the fun custom bib, even more fun "medal" and getting to
run as a real "maniac" was wonderful.  I managed a super fast
shower and we got to the airport on time.  Here is a pic of the
hard earned blisters and medal at the Blister in the Sun
Marathon.  
I also was given a warm welcome by a group of Marathon Maniacs (who else
would run 26.2 miles in TN in the middle of summer?)