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Monday, December 5, 2011

Running the extra mile: Baton Rouge Beach Marathon recap

This weekend was another PR for me, 3:22:18, which I am happy with. This is the first time I've run marathons back to back weekends, and the course was slightly (mildly) hilly. And that time is for 27.2 miles!
As you probably assumed from my last post, I got off course during this race. I'm not going to go into details, but let's just say I need to be more observant ... and police directing traffic are not course officials, so don't ask them for directions!
But the extra distance and messed up time, although not thrilling, doesn't really bother me. Remember, this race simply took the place of a long run, and I am very happy with my time and pacing for the race. My overall pace was 7:26 min/miles for all 27, but if you exclude the slow mile when I was lost and back-tracked (I stopped, looked around, asked directions, etc) my pace would have been 7:23. 
And even with that slow mile, I hit 26.2 at 3:14:38!
So, while I would like to be able to claim a 3:15 PR, I am more just delighted to know that I have the ability to run a 3:15 - or faster. 
Yes, I am totally showing this picture to PROVE I can run a marathon under 3:15; I am pretending I don't really care but obviously I do, LOL!

I spent the night before the race at a friend's house. BIG MISTAKE. His housemates didn't leave the house to "go out"* until 1 am, and since I had the couch, I had to stay awake. I finally turned out the lights, but I was miserable thanks to allergies. They have two dogs and I was having a very bad reaction to them, worse than usual. I was tired and slept anyway - until 3 am when housemates returned, flipping on lights and making horrific noise. They didn't head to bed until 4, and I got some fitful sleep, but my alarm was at 5 am so I was back up in no time. I was SO exhausted and my eyes and face were itchy and puffy with allergies.
This picture was actually taken AFTER I got lost and got back on course: almost finished!  Look at how pretty is was!

I took a shuttle to the start, hit the port-a-potties, and chatted with some runners in my Monday track group who were doing the half. We started on time and I immediately noticed the rolling hills - I run in such flat conditions normally that the even minimal hills were noticeable.
The miles just flew by this race. I ran the first 6 right around 7:25's, and I reasoned I could shoot for a 7:30 pace or maybe a 3:15 race, depending on how I felt after the half. The course is a double loop, so we actually passed the finish line at the half. I cheered on the runners I knew, who finished just seconds before I crossed the half mark. I still felt just fine, so I decided to run 7:25's until mile 20, then speed up a little. I actually ran the next 7 miles under 7:25, and although I felt great, it was after 20 that I got lost. That was an awful feeling. My stomach dropped when I realized I didn't recognize the route and I would have to turn around! When I got back on course I had to pass two women I'd passed many miles before, and I admit my attitude sucked a little at this point. Knowing you are a full mile behind is so draining! Plus I took my last Gu at mile 20 - ok if you have 6 miles to go, but not really enough for 7!
Nonetheless I kept trucking - my pace for the last few miles was slower than I'd like, about 7:30 to 7:50, but I hit 26.2 in under 3:15, proving I CAN run that pace! After I finished, other finishers crowded around me. I had passed them and then suddenly vanished! And they wanted to know what happened. Let's just say it gave me plenty to talk about!

What was awesome: This pace didn't hurt or feel difficult, even with mild hills and slightly warmer temps than ideal (although it seemed like the North Pole compared to last week's inferno). I loved this race, and I enjoyed myself.
What sucked: It is a huge demotivation to go off course. I usually enjoy the final miles of a marathon - I'm almost done, it's fun to cheer other runners on, spectators are very encouraging. But this time my heart was not in it. I actually considered dropping out when I saw I was a mile behind.

I stayed long enough after finishing to get my age group award - first - and see that I was third overall. The post-race party was awesome, so I enjoyed that, but I missed my hubby and headed home after a little while.
Time aside, I loved this race. It ranks right up there with the best and I can't wait to review it. I had the best time and made some friends!

Question for you: have you ever run off course? If not, please lie and say you did so that I will feel better about my imbecility.
*What does this term even mean? It distresses me.


  1. Sweet! Congrats on an amazing time. I am super impressed you could do this so soon after the last one! Enjoy your victory!

  2. Awesome time, even with the additional distance!

    "...and police directing traffic are not course officials, so don't ask them for directions!"

    I ran a marathon once where a group of us stopped and asked the police what side of the cones we were supposed to be running on. His answer - whatever side you want?

  3. DANG girl!! That's an awesome time!!! At least you still got the age group award :)

  4. congrats! I ran the half (my first ever) and the hills really got me. But it was a gorgeous route!

  5. congrats on your time!! I was with the lsu tri team volunteering at the waterstop around mile 7, and I recognized you when you ran by, you were flying! sorry about that mis-direction though, where did you end up going off course? I know a lot of people were going the wrong way right after our aid station, and we had to chase them down to turn them the right way...

  6. Wow, you are insane!!! Amazing job out there! That 3:15 will come soon enough!

    And that feeling of running off course must have been tough. I've only gone off course during a race for very short distances (like less than 50 feet), both during trail races. And it didn't really affect my time or placing. Going a mile off course really affects your time.

    And that must have been comforting to have the other finishers crowding around you asking what happened - I bet they felt really bad for you.

  7. CONGRATULATIONS on powering through less-than-optimal circumstances and having a fantastic, fast pace, too!!!

  8. Congrats! I am just amazed by you. You are so fast.

    I have never gone off course, but I am always in a pack of people since i run a very average/typical time!

  9. I totally did that last year in a 5K. It was 2 loops and the kids on the XC teams were lapping all the adults. I got confused and started to follow the kids, and was "SENT BACK" to repeat what I missed, ended up running about 4.2 miles...and getting second in my age group. It was so frustrating, I thought that was going to be a PR race. Well, yeah, not so much.

  10. ok, somehow, I missed your Gulf Coast marathon report, I read it tonight. Unbelieveable! Back to Back marathons, with the 2nd one running a mile extra, and still running a PR.

    You crack me up, except you kind of make me sick....(kidding) here you are fixing your hair, stopping to tie shoes, running extra miles, not sleeping, and still blowing these marathons away. Super things ahead for you when you get a good weather day, and a race with no issues. so what's next?

    sorry to hear you hated Stennis. It's MUCH better when the weather is good. I've been there for both. It can be brutal or great. Unfortunately, you had one of the brutal years. It's definitely the fastest course around if the weather cooperates.

  11. I have never run a half or full marathon before so how do they mark the course? They need to do a better job of making sure it is clear. I am never a front runner (other than one time in high school) so I usually have people leading the way. Great job on your race! That pace is amazing to hold for the entire race. I would love to one day get that pace for even a 5k. :)

  12. Despite going off course, you did a great job! You are speedy and that's amazing you can run a 3:15. Way to go even with all your sleep interruptions. That would have put me in a very cranky mood.

  13. That is an awesome time! You are super speedy. I have never gone off course, but usually I am in a large pack of mid-pace runners, so I don't have to worry about it.

    What "beach" is in BR? The lake near LSU?

  14. Was it a small marathon?

    Any way great time.

  15. Very well done! I am sure you have a 3:15 in you. I can imagine how easy it could be to get off course in some races.