|Oatmeal and coffee, made in the hotel room|
|Getting ready...sorry about the nasty bedhead and no makeup; that's how I roll for races!|
I was a bit concerned about running an inaugural race, but the start area was well-organized, there were ample port-o-potties, and the race started on time. NICE. All signs of a good race!
I had a garbage bag and throw-away gloves because it was in the 30's for the start.
|Chilly start! Notice my super-convenient Gu armband and my drug dealer gloves.|
The course was not as nice as Baton Rouge beach - more boring stretches of empty neighborhoods, less pretty lakes - and it was actually slightly hilly. Nothing bad, just lots of long stretches of mild grade and small hills. What sucked, though, is that the half and full course divided and reconverged several times throughout the race. This meant the a group of 7:10 pace marathoners were funneled into a group of 10:30 pace half-marathoners, where we were stuck for several miles, then got dunked in again even later - near the 11 or 12 mile mark for the half, when many of the runners at this point were slowed or walking (oh, and I had to skip the water stops; too crowded with stopped runners!). This happened three times; the last was near the finish, so I was dodging weary halfers drudging on, just trying to complete the distance. I'm not blaming the half runners at all; it was just the design of the course.This hurt my time a tad: I am queen of running tangents and had been spot on the mile markers, but after the second time the two races met, I was off by a full 0.1 mile (I finished with 26.35 Garmin, way far for me, since I'm good with tangents).
Around mile 16 I lost the guys I had been chatting with and passed a girl - the first female marathoner I'd seen all day - and then I passed Alison, a 16 year old from Baton Rouge! She rocks - her first marathon last month was a 3:24 and Sunday she ran a 3:15. If she was better at pacing she'd beat me. I was staying strong but I had no idea what my place was. I noticed several speedy looking women up front at the start; I guessed I might be top ten!
Then I hit the wall. Really. Here is where I think taper hurt me. I was not used to the distance and I hit the wall around mile 20. I had just taken a Cliff gel (from the course) and they are very thick, almost chewy. It tried to come back up. Like, seriously, I thought I was going to puke! I struggled, kept it down, but pitched the rest of the pack. I glanced down and my hard effort showed an 8:11 pace on the Garmin. It felt like 6:50's! By now I was so close, I just wanted to push to the end. I was getting very warm - it was in the 60's now - and the shadeless course left my head baking in the sun. I'd over-dressed in my tights. I was covered in sweat and my non-wicking Saints babydoll top was sticking to my body. Mile 22 crept up to 7:23. Mile 23 was even slower at 7:29. Mile 24 I was just holding on with 7:30. Mile 25 I ran into the halfers again and barely made a 7:41. Mile 26 I managed a 7:37, and finished the final fractions with 6:32 pace. I totally chicked this guy at the end, too.
|I'm sneaking up behing you!|
|I passed you in the chute, SO rude! Sorry dude, I had a time goal :(|
I didn't even realize that I was going to make 3:10 when I hit the wall because my foggy brain couldn't do math. I had myself running a 3:12 even if I kept 7:30 pace at the end - I cannot multiply on low blood glucose. Seeing a 3:09 as I came around the corner was a big boost; so was hearing that I was third female! I had no idea up to that point.
|My shoes are doing an amazing job of hiding amongst the orange cones. Camo!|
It's time now to think about what's next. I still have three marathons this season, but none are PR-friendly (warm weather, hilly course, Boston - I'm sure I'll bomb at Boston). Maybe I should plan longer term? What do you think?
*Then when my hubby set up my new computer, he threw it out to make room on my desk.