I can’t believe it’s Friday already – woooohoooo!! Tomorrow I’m running a Christmas 10k where I’ll be rocking a slightly
tacky festive Christmas outfit. I was sick earlier this week but I feel 100% better and ready to tackle this weekend. Y’all know that we only have 11 days until Christmas, right? I hate to admit this, but I haven’t really started shopping… whoops. I think I do my best under pressure.
This past Sunday I ran my final 1/2 marathon of 2012; the Womans Half Marathon in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which I ran in memory of my Aunt Kathy. Even with feeling horrible during the race, this was one of my favorite 1/2’s to date!
Let me start from the beginning. Saturday, my friend Lorena and I drove to Baton Rouge, LA, which is typically a 2 1/2 hour drive. We hit some major road work and then I missed a couple exits once in Baton Rogue, so almost 4 hours later hours later we finally made it to the expo right before it closed. We picked up our bibs and freebies – this race had a ton – and then went in search of food.
We ended up at a local place called Sammy’s Grill which looked super cute. I ordered an avocado BLT on wheat and a side of onion rings completely oblivious to the fact that hose darn onion rings would come back to haunt me. Unfortunately what I ordered wasn’t really good but it got the job done.
A few hours later I started not feeling great and vowed to the onion ring God that I would never eat another one if I just felt better. Apparently I’m masochistic; I know my body can’t handle food like that any more. I laid out my stuff for the next morning and just kind of vegged out for the rest of the night.
Bright and early the next morning my alarm went off. I love race mornings, there’s just something magical about them; I feed off of the excitement and anticipation. I was not, however, in love with this race morning. I woke up feeling even worse than I did the night before. I tried to eat my usual pre-race Kashi cereal but only got 1/2 way through the bowl before I couldn’t eat anymore. Strike one.
My RBFs (running best friends) and I hopped in the car to drive to the start and luckily Lorena had some Pepto Bismal tablets; I took two. They didn’t kick in immediately so by the time we got to the race, I had to make a mad dash to the portopotties. Bleh. Fortunately, the Pepto kicked in before we had to start running.
A few minutes after 7am we crossed the starting line and embarked on the 13.1 mile journey ahead of us. To add to the fun, it was 96% humidity and almost 70*s at the start.
I planned to give this race my best but wasn’t really looking for a PR since I hadn’t trained for it at all. Prior to the race, 10 miles was the furthest distance I’d run since the Marine Corps Marathon in October. The first few miles snaked through downtown Baton Rogue; this portion of the race was just ok. We were treated to some lovely (please note the sarcasm) odors along the route. Hey, it was downtown, what do you expect…. I looked down at my Garmin and noticed my pace was right around 9:15 which made me happy because it felt effortless.
Somewhere around mile 3 I noticed some stiffness in my knee and foot. Strike 2….I decided my body hated me. I panicked a bit thinking that I was going to be in some horrible pain by the end of the race, but fortunately that didn’t happen.
After another few miles the course took us out of downtown Baton Rouge and looped us around the LSU campus. Seriously, this was the most beautiful, scenic race course I’ve ever run. It was gorgeous! We ran by huge, historic houses that lined a lake where countless large white birds, geese maybe??, were enjoying a leisurely float. That scenery lasted for several lovely miles. I noticed around mile 7ish that my blood sugar was getting low so at I decided to risk my stomach issues and take the Honey Stingers gel. It went down without a problem – whew.
Strike 3 came after mile 9. At this point in the race I felt like crud again, the Pepto had worn off but I still had 4 miles to go. I walked through a water stop, grabbed some water and started running again. A few short strides later I ended up doing something I’ve never done during a race…..I threw up. UGH! Luckily I didn’t really have anything in my body other than water and Honey Stingers gel so it wasn’t a huge, ‘look at her, she’s throwing up’ type deal. I don’t think anyone except the two girls in the closest proximity to me even realized what happened. (Sorry ladies…) It was still embarrassing nonetheless. And the worst part was that I had already passed the water station so I had to wait until the next one to get the taste out of my mouth. (Sorry, TMI, I know…)
After that bit, all I wanted to do was finish. I didn’t have enough energy to pick up the pace so I did my best to just maintain. I remember coming into the finisher’s chute and the announcer saying something about “smile, don’t look so serious” over the loudspeaker and all I could think to myself was, “lady, I’m going to puke all over you if you don’t shut it”. I got my medal & finisher’s picture, grabbed a bottle of water & 1/2 a bagel and promptly found a patch of grass to die on.
My final chip time was 2:04:29; almost a 3 minute PR. All things considered, not too shabby. Stacey and Lorena both got stellar PRs of their own!!
Ok, I know I did a great job of making this race sound miserable but the actual event itself was phenomenal. It was so much fun running an almost all woman’s race (there were handful of men) and you can tell that this event was put together with lots of thought and care for the runners. However, all the great swag, the awesome course, and shiny new bling can’t compare to the feeling that I got from running in memory of my aunt Kathy. It makes my heart happy knowing that at least a small portion of the race proceeds go to help cancer patients and survivors. I think this would have made Kathy incredibly proud and I can’t wait to run it again next year! (Sans flu symptoms.)
Question: Have you ever run a race sick? Or gotten sick on the race course?