“It takes a little courage, and a little self-control. And some grim determination, If you want to reach the goal. It takes a great deal of striving, and a firm and stern-set chin. No matter what the battle, if you really want to win, there’s no easy path to glory. There is no road to fame. Life, however we may view it, Is no simple parlor game; But its prizes call for fighting, For endurance and for grit; For a rugged disposition that will not quit.”
Navy SEAL Masterchief
I went into this race, as y’all know, a little beat up and somewhat under prepared.
I came out knowing I could get through just about anything if I set my mind to it.
My longest run was 12 miles way back on Christmas Eve. Over the past 3 weeks, I MIGHT have run a total of 6 times. Only 1 of those could even remotely be considered long, at 11 miles, the weekend before the race. Another was a horrid 5 mile stop and start pseudo-run the day after I strained my left quadriceps.
To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t sure if I was even going to run this race until last Tuesday. It was then I managed to complete a 6 mile run, following Sunday’s 11 miler. My leg was tolerating the stress, recovering, and healing as well. I felt like it was safe to attempt the half, while also understanding I wouldn’t be able to run it as fast as I had once hoped.
Ya’ gotta be grateful for the small things and just being able to put on my bib was to be considered a success, but..
My goal, since I ran my last half a year ago, has been to break 2 hours. As training progressed this fall, I began hoping for 1:50-1:55 . I ran a local 10k in early December to measure my race pace/fitness and felt really good about the possibilities. Then came the leg injury and I knew it was a now an unrealistic expectation. I was back to the original plan of crossing in under 2 hours, but also promising not to beat myself up if it didn’t happen…
I wrapped my thigh, pulled on the tightest pair of compression pants I could get my ass into, and we headed to the state capital.
This was the inaugural event for The Louisiana Marathon and let me say it was fantastically organized. Everyone from race organizers and volunteers to police and safety officials were top-notch. The t-shirts and finishers medals were definitely some of the best I’ve ever been fortunate enough to earn.
Back Side..the finishers medal is actually a bottle opener!
I really should’ve checked the course elevation (or maybe it’s better I didn’t), but because the race website said it was flat I took it as FLAT….as in NOLA flat. Well, flat is a relative term and this course WAS NOT flat. In actuality, miles 8-13 were a gradual climb out of the LSU area back into downtown. Some were pretty steep and while its certainly not Mt. Kilimanjaro, it made for an “extra” difficult back half of the course when those miles were going to be hard enough without any additional help.
One really cool thing about this race was that we got to run with the marathoners and use their pacers. This was the first time I’ve been able to do it and it was great to have an opportunity to experience that.
We lined up with 9:05 runners, figuring it was a good place to start. We headed out and within the first mile we ran on and joined the 8:55 group. It took some discipline to stay here, but I felt if I got to the 10k point and still felt good then we could run ahead.
The 6 mile marker approached at 53 minutes and we were easily holding an 8:45 minute/mile. I felt good, my leg felt good, and we were about at the half-way point. We picked up the pace a bit and the goal was to try to maintain an 8:30 minute/mile for the duration.
And then I got to mile 8…
and the hills…
At first they were gradual not such a big deal hills. More slopes if you will.
THEN they become those kind of inclines where you look ahead and you lose runners going down the other side. It’s bad enough going uphill, but the skill it takes to go down those hills without injuring yourself (further) is almost as challenging.
I’m a little embarrassed to admit that it was around this point that my legs began their revolt and at a record pace might I add. About mile 9 they were forcefully telling me how they were done with this little party. I’d been sucking down gels since mile 3, praying the simple sugars would put off the inevitable, but it wasn’t working.
10 miles down and we are STILL climbing and my legs are on the verge of going on a full-blown strike. I was teetering on the verge of nausea so I passed on the aid stations for the remainder of the race.
It was just past mile 11 when we finally met up with the overpass from hell once again. We climbed this bad boy at the start of the race and I had no issues with it other than knowing we would soon meet again. And meet again we did. It was here my lactic acid eating husband left me for the finish line.
Let me just say…this man runs MAYBE 10 miles over the course of an entire week. He ran 1 long run of 8 miles the week before the race and that was the longest he has ever run in his ENTIRE life until this day. He not only ran this race, he did so without an ounce of struggle and was even able to crack out a sub 8 minute/mile from 12-13.1. He’s jumping around this week like he didn’t even race while I’m waddling around like I’ve got a corn cob stuck up my ass. He’s got some killer DNA in there. I really wish I could him to tap into his full potential a bit more.
The road to the finish was all uphill.
It was rather symbolic actually.
When I saw the clock and my watch and figured my official time was around 1:56 my 1st reaction was disappointment.
A gut reaction.
I was so close to 1:55 and missed it…
“If I had only…” flooded through my mind for a few moments and then I did something I rarely do…
I gave myself a pat on the back.
I worked harder for this than anything I’d ever done.
My body gave up when we started climbing at the 8 mile point. It was pleading with me to stop and walk. Reminding me of how I was injured, how I hadn’t put in the training, and that no one would question that choice. It didn’t have to hurt today. I had a hall pass.
My mind said otherwise.
It wasn’t going to happen.
Because 2012 is the year to find a way!
Official Time: 1:56:33
16/99 in my AG
292/1201 runners overall
I’ll take that all things considering….
And just maybe even NOT considering all those things!
My husband got there in 1:54.
Now it’s time to shift focus to the next block of 70.3 training which means a lot of time back on the bike.
74 days till Galveston
Ride Happy, My Friends!