Three Sundays ago, I ran my second half marathon ever! You may ask why it’s taken me three long weeks to post about this race…and I wish I had a good answer for you…but I don’t. Even though I PR’d in the race, I was still slightly disappointed with my time. My journey is below…
My mom came down to visit for the week and cheer me on…so we spent a lot of time Friday, Saturday,and Sunday touring New Orleans. Since I just live across the lake, I ended up only getting a hotel room for Saturday night so that I wouldn’t have to get up at dawn and drive an hour before the race. We went to the Race Expo Saturday afternoon, and I finally got to meet some of my Claim Your Journey (Run Louisiana) family!!!
I woke up at 5:30 am on Sunday morning, ate my Luna bar, drank some water and Gatorade, and got dressed for the race. Due to the sharp winds and slightly cooler weather, I originally stepped outside the hotel wearing my running tights and a long-sleeve tee. Eh…it wasn’t really THAT cold…so I ran back upstairs and changed into shorts.
The start line was less than a half mile from the hotel, so we left around 6:30 for a 7:00 start. After taking a few Look at Me, I’m Actually Here! pictures, I wound my way to Corral 9.
With about 10 minutes until the start, I realized I should probably pee again…so I headed back to the port-a-johns…and *GAH* the lines were HUGE. I decided to wait in line and ended up listening to the start of wave 1…wave 2…wave 3…wave 4…wave 5…and wave 6 before I made it! I hurriedly rushed to meet up with my corral…and ended up near the crowded back. Not a good start!
But…the waves were starting pretty rhythmically every 1-2 minutes, and before I knew it I was under the start sign, starting my GPS, and was off! I set my race goals HERE, but as I was fighting a pretty nasty week-long cold, I knew chasing down my 2-hour finish would be tough. My first goal for this race was to not start out too fast. Mission accomplished – due to the fact that it was so crowded, I couldn’t go fast even if I had wanted to! I immediately got annoyed because my GPS was off from the start (due to the fact that we started in-between some tall buildings), so I had no idea how long my actual splits were! I kept trying to subtract mile splits from my start time….but me, math, and 13 miles just do not mix!
I felt really good starting off, but was greatly distracted trying not to plow into the back of someone. My mom was supposed to be around Mile 1, but due to the HUGE crowds, she only made it to about the 1/2 mile mark…and I barely got to smile at her as I breezed by. I was weaving in and out of people like it was my job!! Once I made it to St. Charles Street, I was able to jump up in the median on the street car tracks. From here, I just had to make sure to jump down when I needed to in order to cross all the timing mats.
Between miles 3 & 4, I started to hear clapping from all the runners. It was then that I saw the first runner coming back the other way! AMAZINGLY FAST!! Granted, I started twelve minutes after the gun, but it was still pretty cool to see him fly by and feel the utmost respect and support from fellow runners. I kept up a pretty strong, consistent pace, only grazing by the water stops to grab either a water or some Gatorade. Again, very congested at these spots. Next time, I may just have to run with my handheld for the first half to avoid these lil’ pit stops.
About mile 5, the sunshine parted through the clouds and trees and I instantly got very hot!!! I was in a long sleeve shirt and felt like I was suffocating. If I had been brave enough, I would have pulled off my shirt and ran in my sports bra…but I decided to just tough it out until I get back under the shade of the lovely live oaks. After missing my mom for the first photo-op, I tried to text her after all the major miles so that we could plan the next meeting! She was supposed to be somewhere around Mile 9. Need some laughs…check out my AWESOME running and texting skills below.
We made our way back towards the French Quarter and down Decatur street. We passed Café du Monde and the French market before turning onto Esplanade. Mom and I drove this length the day before…so I knew it was a straight 3 mile shot to the finish line! The marathoners started at the same time as the half-marathoners, so at some point near the end, there were signs for marathoners to veer off to the left. Let me tell you, I was NOT envious of those folks!
I flew past the New Orleans Museum of Art and hit mile 13 with everything I had left and threw my hands in the air as I crossed the finish line.
I looked down at my GPS and was shocked to see a new PR! I didn’t reach my 2 hour mark…but I did get a 2.5 minute PR! I got my medal and funneled out to the after party area.
It was an absolutely gorgeous sunny day in the mid 60’s. Overall, I felt great about the race, knowing I gave it almost as much as I could have. And to be honest, I will probably sign up for another half soon. Plus, my finish time proved to me that I have it in me to reach my time goal next time!
Half #2 is in the books!
A huge thanks to my mother who flew down to support me, and my husband who supported me every day, and also to all of you who have helped me along my journey. I am starting to feel strong and determined, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year has in store!
How are you doing on your goals for the year, now that we are three months into 2012?