Three Races (and I ran in two of them)

Two weekends, three races!  I only ran two of them though. I’m not THAT big of a glutton for punishment.

Run with a Dot 5K

I signed us up for this one because it was put on by an organization I’m a part of, not worrying about how we’d get in our OTHER 9 miles for the day.  My strategy here:  slow and steady warm up for the rest of the long run miles. And boy, was it cold!  29 degrees with a RealFeel of 18.  Mark and I had to make an emergency trip to Target to buy enough clothes that we wouldn’t freeze.  I do not like cold.

F'n cold and f'n hills. 12 painful miles done.

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Adding in a few carbs (i.e. pizza) the night before helped my poor, carbohydrate-starved body to make it through the race pretty well.  I think taking a Gu before (something I never do for a 5K) would’ve helped a bit.  I’m not going to go through mile by mile, but I stuck to my plan, and the morning was a nice little run with a few other people.Mile 1: 14:18 Mile 2: 14:47 Mile 3: 15:07 Mile .1: 13:19 Overall it was a fun race.

The course at South Alabama is hilly, but not too bad, and the organization was very good.  If it had been warmer, we hadn’t had to do 9 more miles, and the whole Whole30(ish) thing, we would’ve stuck around for the Firehouse subs and Flour Girl cupcakes.  Man, I miss cupcakes.

Time: 44:51 (46:28 by my watch, and I didn’t finish 2 minutes ahead of Mark.  I think the official results are messed up a bit)

Overall: 84/134

Gender: 67/105

Age Group (16-50 – whoa big age group!): 55/87

*****

First Light Marathon

The next day, Mark and I volunteered with Half Fanatics/Marathon Maniacs to hand out the Back2Back medals for runners that completed both the Mississippi Blues and First Light halfs and fulls, including my sister and our friend.  I love volunteering at races and getting to cheer runners on, even if I’m a little bit jealous I’m not out there running myself.

****

Louisiana Quarter Marathon

Walking the three blocks from our hotel to the start line, it was pretty chilly.  I’d signed us up for the Quarter Marathon thinking it would be good to improve our corral placement for Tinkerbell, but this morning I was pretty sure that wasn’t going to happen.  Even with the addition of speedwork to my training, my paces seem to be getting slower rather than faster.  Plus the now-traditional pre-race pizza was not sitting well with my stomach.

The drive to Baton Rouge had been easy, and packet pickup at the small expo was stress-free.

Ready to go 6.55. #lamarathon

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There were no corrals, and the 5K and Quarter marathon all started at the same time.  There were a lot more people than I expected, but at least the masses kept us warmer in the corral.  We planned on a 4/1 run/walk, and to complete the race as a tempo run.  We got ready to start, and there was announcement that we’d be walked past the time clock to the end of the street, and the timing mat there was the race start.  A little odd, but whatever works.

The gun cannon (!) went off and, man, it was crowded!  Lots of weaving around walkers and strollers (not the kind with babies in them, the slow, wandering walking kind), and even people running with their dogs!  I did better about getting caught up in the madness, but I still felt like the first mile was a little fast.  It really wasn’t.

Mile 1: 14:17

The second mile brought the only real “hill” of the course – an interstate overpass.  We walked, seeing as I can walk up a hill faster than I can run it.

Mile 2: 14:08 (!)

At the point where the 5K split and turned around, I looked up and said “well, THAT thinned out a bit!”  Probably 8 out of 10 other runners turned around, and we headed into some nice, shaded, flat neighborhoods.  It was warming up pretty quickly, so I started shedding my outer layers.  Also stopped for a Gu at the water station.

Mile 3: 14:45

Mark let me know he was going to keep pushing me and giving me the tough love.  My legs were really starting to get tired from the hard effort, and I had a hard time catching my breath.  I really felt like I was starting to slow down a lot, so I just hung on with Mark, with the agreement we could walk  a little extra in Mile 5.

Mile 4: 14:04 (!!)

Just a note here — getting in 4 miles in under an hour was huge for me.  I haven’t done that since before I broke my foot.  It’s been a long time coming.

Walked the agreed upon extra interval while I tried to get my breath back, and then again back over the dreaded overpass.  It was a lot different this time around.  With no 5K’ers, we were practically by ourselves on the bridge.  Last night’s pizza really started to haunt me, and if I’d been running the half, I would’ve been in trouble.

Mile 5: 15:13

My legs were really exhausted the last mile and a half.  My 10K PR time passed, which was disappointing, but I knew it was a pipe dream anyway with the way my training has been going.  I did go out and gave everything I had, so I have nothing to be ashamed of.  Plus, running a quarter for the first time, I got an instant PR!

Mile 6: 14:44
Mile .55: 13:56

And the medals — just awesome!  Double sided, and they double as a bottle opener.

The finish line festival was pretty great.  There was all kinds of food, and Abita was a sponsor, so good beer.  Runner’s got a wristband with 6 checks, and each food item or beer was a check.  I thought this was a great system because it kept earlier finishers (or those in the shorter race) from eating all the food and ensuring those of us in the back of the pack had something too.  I’m sorry I didn’t run the half the next day, because I’m sure it was just as well run, and there were even more food vendors.

What a great race! First ever quarter marathon. Of course that's a PR! #nuunlove #keepittight

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Time: 1:35:34

Overall: 355/397

Gender: 215/249

Age Group: 31/37

Organization

Very good.  Packet pick up was quick and efficient, the course was well marked, lots of police to make sure the roads stayed clear, and even bike support for the Quarter.

The Course

Pretty flat, except for the overpass.  We ran through some older neighborhoods, which was nice, but the tree roots that buckled the road were annoying.  I saw one runner who had bloody knees from a fall.  At one point we were running through a back alley.  But overall not a bad course.

Water Stations

There were 3, maybe 4 well attended water stations, all with port-a-potties, which mercifully I didn’t need to make use of.

Crowd Support

A few residents came out to cheer for us, and there were lots of cheering volunteers.  Big crowds at the start/finish line. I’m sure there’s more support along the half/full course on Sunday.

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