Gulf Coast 1/2 Marathon Recap

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….

I threw this tree pic in here because I want you to see the gorgeous southern oak trees that were all along the course.

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.

Did I mention it was still insanely early when we got to the race?

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!

Sweaty finisher’s pic.

Hooray for functional race bling – a bottle opener!
What do you think of my lovely sweat line?

Question:  Have you ever hit your race or workout groove and surprised yourself at the results?

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16 thoughts on “Gulf Coast 1/2 Marathon Recap

  1. YAYAYA, GINA!! Congratulations, lady–you rocked it! 😀 You are going to take the marathon by STORM!

    At this point in time, I’d like to say you’re a girl after my own heart with making lists and packing snacks; I always need to have an emergency snack! Whenever I go anywhere, my friends give me the weirdest looks when I take a banana or a bag of almonds out of my bag. To each their own. 😉

    • Thanks Carrie!! I love that you tote around food with you, too! I tend to get a little panicky (ok, and grouchy) if I can’t quickly put my hands on food. I’m a total list person, too, but I realized this weekend that they’re only as good as what you have written on it. No spibelt on list = no spibelt for race. Lesson learned…

  2. Wows!! That tree is so gorgeous! I love that pic! I also watched the debate last night! I have never been “into” politics but I’m finally realizing how important it is to be educated as well!! I hope your day is absolutely wonderful!!

    • Thanks Jenna! And I loved looking at all of your pictures from the cruise; I’m so glad you had an awesome time!! I agree with you, the older I get the more I realize how important a part we play in politics.

  3. Woohoo Gina!!! Sooo proud for you girl! Congrats on a great PR! This is a great course to PR on for sure! Hopefully next year I will be injury free and can try for a PR. And funny…I LOVE the blue shirt! But all my friends didn’t like it either lol! It was great seeing you on the course! Hopefully we can officially meet soon! 🙂

    • Thanks Mindy!! I hope that you’re injury free soon, too! Boooooo for hip pain. 😦 I promise not to hold it against you that you liked the blue shirt – lol! And yes, we will ‘officially’ meet soon!

  4. You’re so awesome and inspiring, Gina!! 🙂 I love how you guys say, “..only 10 miles left..” Psh. hehe. 🙂 Awesome PR!!

    I did turn on the debate last night, btw. And I don’t think I am any more informed about anything and while I, too, don’t like to talk politics, at one point I was hoping they would have just put down their mics and fought it out. lol.

    • Aw, shucks, I don’t know about inspiring – maybe, motivating?? If I can do it, anyone can! 🙂 I was totally waiting for both of the candidates to throw their mikes down and duke it out, too! I kept hoping someone would bust in with, “Let’s get ready to ruuuuummmmble” like they do in boxing!

  5. What a cute ‘medal’! You’re too cute in your skort! Too bad I couldn’t meet ya’ll up there, I was like 10 hours away 😉 Don’t worry, I never carry my camera or phone on me..it’ll be a challenge to do that for the first time – can we say spi belt?

    • I love the medal, too! I race in Florida on occasion (really just the pan handle part) but I always have my eyes open for fun races over there. It would be awesome meet up! I always carry at least my phone with me which was why I was so aggravated about forgetting my spibelt. Oh well…

  6. Pingback: MCM Training Recap: Week 15 | Noshing On Asphalt

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