Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Alabama 3N3 Challenge

There is something inherently crazy about someone who wants to continually run full marathons.  My goal last year was to run 12 full marathons in 12 months.  Due to some much needed life changes, I was not able to compete that goal.  This year I want to do 13 full marathons in 2013.  I have my double month (January) out of the way so I am on track so far.  One of the things that I did want to do last year was to do the Alabama 3N3 Challenge.   I did it this year! 

The State of Alabama has three major full marathons: Rocket City in Huntsville in December, First Light in Mobile in January, and Mercedes in Birmingham in February.  If you complete all three races in the consecutive months, you receive the medal you see on the top left along with the finishers medals for each race.  When I decided to do Rocket City very late last year, I wasn't in full marathon shape and really had no idea why I was signing up other than to get myself back into marathon shape.  My buddy Brian Mount mentioned that I should go for the 3N3 since I was planning on running Mercedes anyway, so why not run Mobile too?  One catch though, I was already registered for the Mississippi Blues Marathon in Jackson, MS  the week before Mobile.  I've never been one to shy away from a challenge so I signed up a little late and got on the waiting list.
Just for signing up I got a cool training shirt and hat which you see on the right.  Thanks to Kim Gillikin, one of the co Race Directors at Mercedes for getting me on the list.  I received word after I finished Rocket City that I was now on the real list because enough people didn't finish it.  I never wish injury or bad luck on any runner but I was glad to know I was now eligible for the medal.

Rocket City is always a great event and I love running it.  This year I was again overweight from football season and I knew I wouldn't be running it for a PR or anything.  It is a flat course and the weather is always cooler so it makes for a great running day.  I finished it in about 4:41 which was even better than last year's Rocket City time by about 6 minutes.  After I finished Rocket City I actually trained pretty hard for Mississippi Blues but at the start I wasn't quite in marathon shape.  I finished it in 4:20 and felt really good about where I was headed.  

First Light Marathon in Mobile was the very next weekend.  I developed a cold during the week and didn't run much but the no running was already planned.  I had done my "long run" the week before in Jackson and felt confident that I could finish Mobile.  I definitely had no expectation of posting a great time at Mobile.  I just wanted to finish.  I had heard that Mobile was a flat course so I fully expected it to be so.  Let me just say, it is not flat!  It is relatively flat in miles 1 through 10 but miles 11 through 18 are one continuous hill, or so it seemed.  At mile 12 I really questioned the sanity of running full marathons on back to back weekends.  I wasn't in that great of shape and I thought to myself that I might not finish.  As I continued to run I waged that mental battle that we all fight when we are tired physically.  My body was telling me to stop and quite frankly my mind was also.  I plodded through the hilly miles and it seemed that at every one there was someone saying, "the hills are almost over!".  I got to the point where I quit listening.  At mile 18 a guy midway up the hill started a conversation with me about my shoes.  We got to talking and he told me that the hill we were on, which was the worst yet, was it.  No more.  I flat out told him that I didn't believe him and laughed.  He laughed back and said "you'll see".  Sure enough, I got to the top of the hill and started what seemed like a continuous 8 mile decline to the finish.  It did get pretty hot during the last few miles but at least I wasn't climbing hills.  It was so warm that I ran through several sprinklers in yards on the course.  Weird for January!  I finished strong in about 4:31.  The highlight of the finish for me was to see Torie and Miller and Bella about a tenth of a mile from the finish.  I didn't see them at first but heard Bella yelling, "Daddy!" and found them.  

My race recap of Mercedes can be found on my previous post but to sum it up, it was a good race and great event as usual.

Each time I reach another running goal or get another medal I am always amazed at how far I have come.  Four years ago I would have laughed at you if you had told me I would ever run a 5K.  Three years ago I would have laughed at you if you had told me that I would ever run a marathon.  Two years ago I would have laughed at you if you had told me I would ever do more than one marathon a month. Last year I would have laughed at you if you had told me I had a shot at a 3:45 marathon.  This year, I will laugh at you if you tell me I can't.  That's what running has done for me.  It has changed me mentally, spiritually, and physically.  I challenge you to do like I did four short years ago.  Start doing something.  Get active.  Do Couch to 5K.  Something.  It will change your world.

To find out more about my running and my journey to a healthy lifestyle follow me on twitter (@mrhump), Facebook (, or visit my nutrititional site at  Thanks for stopping by my blog.  Please share if you like, subscribe to it, or leave me a comment with your notes.

My medal display custom made by @ironsportworks.  Check them out!

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