Did you get your presidential debate on last night? I hope so; it’s incredibly important for you to be as informed as possible. Alright, that’s the end of my public service announcement. I’m not a political blogger so I don’t like to talk politics….I like to talk about running…and eating! As promised, my Gulf Coast 1/2 marathon recap is finally ready for your viewing pleasure! I’ll try not to bore you with too many details but this 1/2 was absolutely fantastic! I give it two thumbs way, waaaaaay up and already have plans on making this an annual race.
Ok, bad blogger confession. I left my camera & phone in the car so I don’t have any pictures during the race and the professional pics haven’t been released yet. 😦 I’m sorry.
Race weekend started off Saturday with me packing
enough food to feed an army my travel snacks. I am absolutely incapable of traveling without food – thank you clean eating. Because I eat clean going out of town takes a bit more planning then it used to. I know that if I don’t have food packed I’m going to be incredibly limited on my options on what I can eat. Plus I always like having extra food for my running girlies. If you ever meet me, I promise you will not go hungry!
Now that I’ve shown you my clean eats. Let me show you my not so clean eats. One of my favorite parts of race weekend is the clean eating hiatus I take for my pre and post-race meal. See exhibit one (pre-race mufaletta, a classic New Olreans sammy, Dicristina’s) and exhibit 2 (post race club sammy with fries at Camellia Cafe). What can I say? I love my sandwiches!
Sorry, I digress. Back to Saturday… My friend Karla and I drove over to Mandeville, Louisiana, to pickup our race bibs and t-shirts. I was super excited about the shirts because the other Gulf Coast 1/2 I ran in Florida had an awesome shirt. I was disappointed. It’s just so blue. And boring. And not even dri-fit. But I did love my bib! I decided to do something different and put my Twitter/Instagram handle on it just for fun.
Then it was time for race morning. At the lovely hour of 4:50, alarms started going off. Good morning sunshine….It’s race day! A quick check of the weather (don’t pretend like you don’t check the weather before doing anything else) revealed that it was already 71 degrees and 90% humidity. Fantastic race conditions….
We got to the start area and hit the fantastic port-o-potty lines one last time. Spoiler alert this next part is TMI. I waited and waited and finally it was my turn. So I hop into the john and first check for TP. None. Ok, I can deal with that. I’m a runner, it happens. But then I notice some, uh, semi-solid stuff (gags) on the outside of the potty. Nope. NOT HAPPENING. I high tailed it out of there and yelled some words of caution to the next few people in line. I ran the entire race needing to pee – ugh!
At this time it was a few minutes before the race started so I hurried to line up. They didn’t have specific corrals (just recommended times) so it was first come, first serve which meant I was waaaaay in the back. It was cool though I decided the night before to not race but just let my body do what felt right. If I set a PR great. If I didn’t set a PR, great, my body would still like me. If you remember, in my post last week, I struggled with the decision to run it as a training run or race it. I just didn’t want to put any unnecessary pressure on myself. I still ran with my Garmin but I had it programed to where I couldn’t see any stats that way I wasn’t tempted to monitor my progress.
So the race gun went off, and I spend the first mile bobbing and weaving in and out of runners. Faster runners passing me, me passing slower runners. You know, the whole circle of life type thing. Early on in the race I got to wave hi to Mindy from Road Runner Girl. We were supposed to meet before but I forgot my spibelt (my checklist failed me) so I decided to leave my phone in the car. Even though we didn’t officially meet, I at least know there is a super cute person behind her blog – hi Mindy!!
I remember passing the 3 mile marker and thinking, “Yay, I only have 10 miles to go”! It’s funny how marathon training can warp your sense of reality. The course took us along the lake front which was gorgeous! Lots of guys fly fishing. I briefly considered jumping in to cool off. Then before I knew it I passed mile 6….and mile 9… By mile 10 I could tell I was going at a fairly decent pace. Surprisingly, my body wasn’t fatigued at all and the running just felt effortless. I had no idea if I was doing a 9:30 pace or a 10:15 pace but I had an inkling that I would at least PR by a few seconds. Then finally I saw mile 11 so I started my countdown. Only 20(ish) minutes left. Anytime I get close to the end of a run I like to countdown the minutes instead of the distance; it just seems to make things go faster.
I still had a ton of energy left so I kicked up the last mile and booked it to the finish line where I was greeted with a surprising 2:07:07 a 7:40 PR!! My Garmin said 2:07:03 but, between you and me, if I had known I was only a few seconds away from 2:06 I would have kicked it up sooner. The total distance was 13.23 which made my pace 9:36; not bad considering I walked through all the water stops. This was the lowest stress race and I really enjoyed listening to my body; just soaking in the atmosphere and running with no prerogative. A sub two hour 1/2 is totally in my future! Buuuuuut first, I have to tackle the MCM!
Question: Have you ever hit your race or workout groove and surprised yourself at the results?