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Monday, January 16, 2017

Louisiana Marathon: Sometimes you have to take the risk

My race Sunday didn't go as planned at all. Of course, I already posted about the weather situation: warmer than expected, but worse, incredibly humid. After I got my hopes up Saturday when the temperature forecast dropped a little, I woke up to 100% humidity. Yes, that's right, 100%. At least up until 11 am, when it dropped to a cool 98%. What a relief, ha. It was 62 at the start, rapidly rising through the 60s and stabilizing, for the duration of my race at least, at about 68. So actually, cooler than I thought - but oh, dear me, the humidity was killer.

And then I threw my race plan out the window. Purposefully. Because sometimes, you just have to take big risks.

Early on, I knew I was one of the top women. As the pack sorted out, this biker was hanging out by me...I realized, I had a pace bike! It turns out I was third. But by mile 7, I was second. And by ten, I couldn't help but pass the woman in first, who was already fading in the humidity. I made the choice to try to go for the win, but in doing so, I gave up on running a manageable pace. I was feeling the humidity, but a strong, dogged woman was right behind me (she'd moved solidly up from fifth or sixth to hanging a few seconds behind me). It was a huge risk - I knew I was at a pace I couldn't maintain, so my only way to win was if the second woman faded as much as I probably would! But she was a better racer and runner than I. At mile 21, I hit the wall, and gave up first to fall back to second. I struggled terribly, dealing with the heat, humidity, and the hole I dug myself. I ended up missing both my time goal and the win, although I was very happy to take second place.

It was a rough way to race. I would do it again, though. The last few miles were really, really hard: the sun was out behind the sheets of fog, heating the course like a steam room; I dropped my gel; I was mentally drained (leading a race with close competition is TOUGH, hard work!); there was oddly one less water stop than I thought?!; and I was totally exhausted. Hitting the wall is the worst! But I had to respond to that chance. I ran 3:12:07, even slower than this fall, and a much more poorly-run race. Next time I take a risk like that, I want it to pay off!


  1. Congratulations! You placed 2nd and you ran a marathon on a really hard day! Plus, you got to run with a pace bike and get that awesome picture. You made the best of a bad day and still ran a very admirable time.

    I felt so sorry for the people running the marathon here on Saturday- one of my friends is usually sub-3 and he ran a 3:20. We also had 100% humidity and it's no joke, and anyone in the South can tell you that there is a difference in 95% and 100%.

  2. I would take both a 2nd place finish and a 3:12 marathon. You're awesome! Congratulations!

  3. Frustrating to take that risk and not succeed, but 2nd OA is pretty incredible, even outside of sub-awesome conditions. Do you think you could have hit your goal if you'd stuck with your original plan?

  4. OMG. 100% humidity. That sounds awful. I'm sorry that your risk didn't pay off but 2nd place is still very impressive! And under better weather conditions it might have been a different race for you!!

  5. There's a HUGE difference strategy-wise between going for a goal time and a place, so I would not necessarily say this means you raced poorly. You just made a choice to go after a different goal (and 2nd is still pretty fantastic!). So, I am still going to say congratulations and good job, especially in the nasty humidity. You knew you were taking a risk and it wasn't awful. :)

  6. Yeah, Houston marathon got screwed by the weather too. Boo to this up and down temp swing, but nice race nonetheless!