A Run Through History 5K Race Recap

Over the past 5 years I have run many races and many places, but this past Sunday was definitely a first for me. IMG_1178 The Run Through History 5K in New Orleans took place entirely on the grounds of a historical cemetery. At first glance, my thought was — is this allowed? Is this okay? I remembered visiting the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia and seeing signs emphatically stating “NO JOGGING.” I couldn’t believe anyone would have actually gone running there, as it seems so disrespectful. IMG_1200 Quickly I saw that this race specifically benefits Save Our Cemeteries, which is dedicated to restoration of New Orleans’ cemeteries — so it’s approved by the cemetery people and directly impacts the efforts to keep NOLA’s cemeteries in the best shape possible. New Orleans is pretty well-known for its historical above-ground burials and mausoleums, and some of the more famous cemeteries draw tourists quite often. IMG_1180 This race took place in the Metairie Cemetery, which can be seen from nearby I-10. I got my husband to agree to run with me, and we set off from my parents’ house 25 minutes away, about an hour before the race. We had a little trouble finding the entrance, but once parked, we picked up our race bibs and shirts with no problem and had plenty of time to get situated before the race started. Like many unique races, this event attracted runners and walkers alike. IMG_1193 It had rained off and on the day and night before the race, so the weather was pretty muggy and humid. The race started about 5 minutes late, but we set off at about 9:05 and it was a pretty quick run from there. The course was entirely on the paved roads throughout the grounds, with mausoleums on each side. There were also lots of pretty trees and shade. The race was pretty uneventful — just a lot of graves! IMG_1182 IMG_1184

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Finish line photo from NORSI Facebook page

I sped up for the last 0.75 and left my husband behind — sorry babe! I got a picture of him after he crossed — he hadn’t run in like two weeks and he forgot his good running shoes, so he was wearing like 10-year-old Saucony sneakers. So he did a good job, all things considered.

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Finish line photo from NORSI Facebook page

IMG_1186 Race results are not posted yet, and my Garmin messed up (this has become a trend lately), but I passed the finish line at about 30:30 gun time. We started about 20 seconds after the gun went off and the first half-mile was pretty congested. I maybe could have gone faster, but I’m OK with that time. IMG_1196 They had plenty of food and drink items after the race, and we got a snowball since we were dripping with sweat. It was so humid! After that we drove through a beignet/coffee place in Metairie on the way back to my parents’ house. Interesting race, for a good cause!

NYC Marathon options

So this race is still 6.5 months away, but every time we get an email update, I get excited (even if it is for overpriced “in training” merchandise). Well, the latest update came with actual progress! It’s time to select our race day transportation and baggage choices.

For transport to the start, the main options are to either take a bus from Midtown Manhattan (near the NY Library) straight to the start village, or take the Staten Island Ferry to Staten Island, then take a bus to the start village. While the ferry option requires the extra step of getting on a bus once you get off the ferry, it is described as the more scenic way to get there, and there were more and later departure times to choose from. When we visited NYC last spring, we stayed in the Lower Manhattan area, which is closer to the ferry. I figured we’d just stay there again because hotels seemed to be a little more reasonable, so the ferry seems like a better choice in that regard as well. So ferry it is.

I logged on as soon as the options opened today and selected the Staten Island Ferry, departure time 8 a.m.! My last possible departure time was 8:30, but of course I don’t want to wait until the very last choice. 8 a.m. seems great because it will give me plenty of time to get there in the morning, and hopefully my waiting time for my wave start (which will probably be after 10:30 a.m.) won’t be too horrendous.

The other option is baggage – you can either check a bag or receive a post-race insulated poncho. Ummm, poncho please! This thing looks so cool. It’s hooded and everything. Plus, I can just pack a bag for my husband to bring to me at the finish line, so I definitely picked the poncho.

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I am so excited for this experience, and it’s still so far away. I don’t think I have anticipated anything this much since my wedding.

Recent purchases and latest Stride Box

I had a crisis with UPS last week when the delivery guy stopped leaving my packages at my door and started leaving notes saying I needed to sign for them. I finally got to talk to him Friday and it turned out my normal chill UPS guy was on vacation and the temporary replacement is a little more leery about leaving packages out in the open. I told him it was fine, and finally got my new book “Run Less, Run Faster” and some salt caps, which I plan to try out and hopefully use during my upcoming ultramarathon.

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I already run only about 3-4 times a week, so I am hoping to read this book and figure out how to make my runs more meaningful and hopefully gain some speed. This will be tough with summer approaching, as the heat gets pretty bad and endurance is tested. We’ll see how it goes! I think having a new strategy could help keep me motivated during the hot months coming up.

I ran last Thursday before work – it was 8 a.m., overcast with no glimpse of the sun, and only 2 miles, but when I finished my shirt looked like this:

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Granted it was a cotton/polyester mix, and I have plenty of other shirts that wick moisture better, but that was a wake-up call to how close summer really is!

I also got my 2nd Stride Box in on Friday – I was starting to wonder about it, because I got my first box on March 2 and I was charged for the 2nd one on March 26. But thankfully it came in, and it had a variety of items!

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I was excited about the Arctic Ease sample, because I’ve heard it advertised on the Jillian Michaels podcast and wanted to check it out. I have also heard a lot about Vega, but had never tried one of their products before, so I will have to try this gel on a long run soon. The Squeaky Cheeks chafing powder sounds really interesting and could be very useful as sweatier running commences with the higher temps.

Davy Crockett Bear Chase Marathon Race Recap

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This race could have been a disaster! All week the weather forecast showed 90 percent chance of thunderstorms taking place all during race day. I decided to register on the Tuesday beforehand because the RD assured me the race wouldn’t be cancelled. So I signed up and prepared for the race to be delayed by lightning and/or to run in the rain.

Well, by now I know that the forecast doesn’t exactly stay the same from day to day. Even though it consistently showed race day rain and thunderstorms, the day before the race the rain was forecast to hold off until at least 3 p.m. And true enough, we did not experience one drop of rain during the day! The sun was actually out and shining bright during the second half, making it a very warm finish!

Starting from the beginning, I left my house early Saturday, April 11, and made an uneventful drive to Groveton, Texas. This tiny town is kind of out in the middle of nowhere, and as I pulled into the parking lot of the Groveton High School football/track stadium, I could hear roosters crowing from nearby farms. It was very quaint. The stadium had real bathrooms which was awesome, and there was plenty of parking right at the stadium, so after picking up my bib I went back to my car and hung out there for a few minutes, getting all my racing stuff together.

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The race started on the track at the stadium, and we headed out to a gravel road which was very rocky at some points. There were loose rocks scattered all over the trail at this point, so you really had to watch your step. This was maybe almost a mile long, then we got on more of a packed dirt road which led us to the real asphalt country road.

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The scenery was beautiful! The road was open to traffic but it was a very low-traveled country road taking us past some farms and cows and wildflowers. We were on the road longer than I expected, about 4 miles or so. You could tell when the Davy Crockett National Forest started as we were surrounded by dense trees on either side of the road, but we didn’t actually enter the forest until about mile 5.5.

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Once inside the forest, we ran down a dirt trail for a mile and then turned around at an aid station and took the same route back to the football stadium. There were some rolling hills on the course, and it definitely felt more difficult coming back to the start/finish then it did going out to the forest. Once off that rocky road, we entered the track and had to run around it, going back to the start/finish line. Half-marathoners finished, and marathoners kept going to repeat the same out-and-back.

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I had an unspoken goal of breaking 5 hours, but the weather was warm and at the halfway point, I was at 2:29. As I went back out on the rocky road to start my second half, my right hamstring and left IT band were both pretty tight. I doubted I would be able to take the 2nd half any faster than the 1st, so my sub-5 goal seemed bleak. I focused on just holding off walking until I absolutely had to, and also made a goal to not really walk at all until the turnaround in the forest.

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I did a pretty good job fueling in this race – the aid stations were packed full of stuff like pickles, oranges, and other things, but I didn’t know if I could stomach any of it. I started taking gels at 5 miles, and took one about every hour. I also had salt packets and took four throughout the race, plus drank Gatorade or water at every aid station (every two miles). That combined with running kind of slower in the 1st half really helped me. By the time I got to 20 miles, I was feeling strong. Leaving the forest, I felt good, and at mile 21 I looked at my Garmin and determined that if I ran at least 11-minute miles for the last 5 miles, I could break 5 hours.

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This was no easy task for me, as heading back to the finish involved more hills and I was already tired. But as the remaining miles passed by, I kept between a 10:20 to 10:40 pace and only felt myself really tiring at mile 25. That also brought the rocky road, and it was a challenging finish. As I entered the track to do my loop and cross the finish line, I was doing a 8:35 pace and thought I might faint. But I crossed the finish line and the first thing the lady said to me was, “You got a sub-5!” I hadn’t even looked at the clock as I finished, I was so focused on that finish line! My final time was 4:57:21 and a negative split! My Garmin had messed up and apparently turned off at mile 18, so I did not have my complete time on my watch. There was no chip timing, but it probably took me 5 seconds at most to cross the start line, so that didn’t matter.

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Finishers got a medal with a hilarious picture of a bear chasing Davy Crockett on it, along with a teddy bear wearing a tag with your finishing rank written on it. I apparently finished 27th – not sure yet how many runners did the marathon, but I know it was a small race. Afterwards, there were all kind of treats for free at the concessions stand including hot dogs, donuts, pickles, popsicles and lots of beverages. I got a Sprite and pickle for the road.

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This was a really great race! Small in size, but the course changed up a bit and the parts that were run down the same country road had lots of pretty farmland scenery. I would definitely consider running it again – volunteers were great, plenty of aid stations and porta-potties, and I was very relieved when the race director wrote me back almost immediately early in the week, assuring me the race would not be cancelled due to weather. This was my 7th marathon, third in Texas. Though each of my marathons were very well organized and have special things about them, this race would probably be one of my top favorites so far.

Marathon prep

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I get a little crazy when it comes to preparing for marathons, as there is so much to remember and the thought of forgetting something important freaks me out. I also don’t want to be stressed the night before the race, so I start getting stuff ready earlier in the week. This always involves a very long to do list, organizing my duffle bag, washing clothes, trips to the store and double-checking a thousand things. I have to ensure all my electronics are charged, my race playlist is synced to my iPod, I have my registration printed out in case they don’t have me on the list at packet pickup, I have enough gels and don’t forget my pre-race bagel and peanut butter.

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My cat interrupting my packing process

I also spend the week of the race trying to drink a lot of water, upping my carbs and protein midweek and deciding what my dinners will be the last two nights before the race. I am an over-analyzer by nature, so going into a big race always brings this out of me.

Because of a bad weather forecast, I wasn’t sure until Tuesday whether I’d be running the Davy Crockett Marathon tomorrow. After the RD assured me the race would not be cancelled, I registered and got to preparing. Now the weather forecast shows thunderstorms holding off until 3 p.m., at which point I will hopefully be long done, so we will pray that holds true!

Temperatures will be in the high 60s, low 70s during race time, so I am dressing for summer. I am very excited to be wearing my first piece of Marathon Maniacs gear during a race.

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Here goes Marathon #7!

Lately…

The last 10 days since the Bridge Run have gone by pretty fast. Since that run, I:

  • Have eaten crawfish twice! 

I also enjoyed a very Louisiana afternoon at my uncle’s house last Sunday, along with my family. It was a great time.

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  • Signed up for my first ultramarathon – a 50K on April 25.

It seems soon, but I’ve been considering it for a while now. I have run 4 marathons since January 25 and have kept up my mileage, so I feel ready and prepared to tackle this distance for the first time. I can’t wait!

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  • Signed up for marathon #7 – set for this weekend!

It is the perfect timing for a last long training run in anticipation of the 50K. I have been considering doing this race for several weeks now as well, and despite a terrible forecast of thunderstorms, I decided to risk registering. I contacted the RD to find out about their procedure for cancelling a race, and he told me they are not going to cancel it – if there is lightning, they will delay the start until it has passed. So I am going for it! I was going to be really disappointed if I had ended up skipping out.

  • Ran 17 miles in Shreveport along the Red River

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This took place this past Saturday, and while it was a slow run for me, it felt pretty good. There are several hilly parts of this running path, so I slowed down when it came to those, and I also took some time to appreciate the scenery.

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Polaroid CUBEWith my 50K coming up, I wanted to try out my Camelbak, which I haven’t used in several years. While I have had no problems with my Nathan 10 oz handheld water bottle, I will need more water than that and I sometimes have shoulder cramps when I carry things. The Camelbak, which I ran with for about 7 miles, worked out great, no bouncing, easy to drink from, etc. I will probably put some wipes and an extra gel in the small back pocket.

For entertainment I mostly listened to music, but also listened to an old Ginger Runner podcast where he interviewed Jenn Thompson, an ultramarathoner who got bitten twice by the same rattlesnake. :0 That was pretty harrowing.

  • Bought things – 

Cat Daddy by Jackson Galaxy, the cat whisperer from “My Cat from Hell”

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Two Sweaty Bands, plus a tank and sports bra from Zulily.

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A Marathon Maniacs hat!

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United Way of St. Charles Bridge Run Race Recap

IMG_0763My hometown race! This run over the Hale Boggs Bridge in St. Charles Parish has been around for quite some time, but I’ve never done it before even though it is the biggest race by far in my hometown. I guess the fact that I haven’t really lived in my hometown since graduating high school contributed to that. This year we were looking at weekends to come down and visit my family, and the weekend of the Bridge Run happened to be a good one, so I decided to do it.

IMG_0762This race has grown into a huge event over the years, but I was able to register for the 10K the day before. Online registration had already closed, so as we got into Luling we had to stop by the Bridge Park Friday evening so I could register in person and get my T-shirt and bib. Looking at last year’s results, I saw that the 10K had about 300 participants and the 5K had about 1,600 participants. This is definitely a big community event that attracts a lot of non-runners/walkers for the novelty of crossing the huge bridge, a symbol of our parish.

IMG_0765 IMG_0772The 10K race was slated to begin at 8:15 while the 5K was to take off at 8:40. Both races began on the east bank of the Mississippi River, so I planned to park on the west bank (the side my parents live on) and take a school bus over the bridge to the 10K start. I thought leaving my house, about 5-7 minutes away, at 7 a.m. was plenty of time, but there were already tons of people out at the West Bank Bridge Park by the time I got there. I had to wait in a bit of a line but was able to park not too far away from the park in some grass. There were separate buses for the 5K and 10K starts, because the starting lines for each race were different. The 5Kers basically started right under the bridge at the East Bank Bridge Park, but the 10Kers were starting about 2.5 miles down River Road across the street from a place called the Seafood Pot.

The bus ride over was uneventful, and when we got to the Seafood Pot, there was still 30 minutes til starting time, so I and some others huddled inside the restaurant to get out of the wind. It was chilly, but I knew it would warm up as soon as we could run.

IMG_0776The national anthem started playing around 8 a.m., so I left the warmth of the Seafood Pot and climbed on to the levee path, where the race was to start. The actual race didn’t actually begin until 8:25 a.m., 10 minutes late. I couldn’t detect any reason for the late start – there were no late buses bringing more runners, no long lines for the restroom.

The first 3 miles of the 10K race were basically on the levee alongside the Mississippi River. We ran down a smoothly-paved asphalt path, which was congested at first. But once the race got going and everyone got comfortable, the congestion thinned out and I found myself going pretty fast. I had an unspoken goal of breaking an hour, and I knew I needed to go all out while I was still on flat ground. About two miles in we approached the East Bank Bridge Park, where we could see the huge throng of 5Kers waiting for their start.

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We continued on for about another half-mile, then turned off of the levee down to the road, and headed back the way we just came toward the bridge. At this point, the 5Kers had been released, and we were to merge with them and begin our trek toward the bridge’s entrance ramp. It was a sea of people, a lot of them walking, so I had to run on grass and weave around people for what felt like forever. This was pretty frustrating, because at this point we were approaching Mile 4, I had been keeping a great pace, and then I had to expend all this extra effort to cut through this wall of people.

IMG_0788The fifth mile was definitely my slowest as we began our ascension up the bridge. I finally was able to get more freedom once I passed a lot of walkers, but then the uphill climb began and it got tougher to keep running. At a water stop on the bridge, I took the opportunity to walk some and take some photos. A lane of traffic next to us was open and separated by cones, and at one point I remember feeling sickened by the exhaust from a truck. I tried to take some selfies unsuccessfully, and then got to running again. It was rough and it felt like the crest of the bridge would never arrive.

IMG_0799 IMG_0801 IMG_0804 IMG_0807When it did, and the downhill began, I started FLYING. It felt great! I was going faster than I ever go and it felt effortless! I definitely made up for a lot of the time spent climbing up and taking selfies, and my last mile was 2 minutes faster than the previous. But after the downhill ended, we had to climb one more overpass shortly before the finish. Ugh!

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We got one free photo download, and I looked like death in almost all of them, so this is the one I chose.

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The only other race photo I could find, me looking like I hate my life at the last overpass shortly before the finish, from the NORSI Facebook page

We made it back toward the West Bank Bridge Park and the Finish Line on the road. They had two clocks set up, one for the 10K time and one for the 5K time. I was thrilled to see that I made it under an hour!

IMG_0813After crossing the finish, we were handed a medal, and I immediately started searching for water. I felt a little disoriented but finally found a table of water bottles near the park entrance. There was also a table set up with plastic containers filled with orange slices. I grabbed one of those, then sat down to catch my breath. There were other refreshments, but I planned to go home and run more miles, so I didn’t want to eat or drink anything else. The post-race party seemed big and exciting, but I needed to get back home, so I eventually got up and made my way back to my car. One side of River Road was closed for the finish line and runners, but the other side had been divided into a two-way road, so I was able to get out pretty easily.

IMG_0836This was really fun! There were tons of people, so any race like that is going to have a hiccup here or there. I read complaints last year from 10Kers about running into the wall of 5Kers at the bridge, and that was an issue again this year. I don’t know what they could do except start the 10K just a little earlier, maybe at 8 a.m. It was very frustrating to have to weave around all those people 3.5 miles into my race, but I survived.

IMG_0817I want to get my husband to do it with me next year, and then he can take pictures of me on the bridge ;) My own photos of myself came out pretty lame. I loved the medal and shirt that came with the race, and I thought pretty much everything ran smoothly. I was very proud of my home parish today!

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Course taken via Garmin

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Splits

bridge runThis was maybe the first EVER race where my Garmin distance said exactly what the race distance was supposed to be! 6.20 on the dot. After the race, I went to my parents’ house and then ran 5.8 more miles to get to 12 for the day. I didn’t do a good job of fueling for that 2nd half and felt miserable. It was considerably slower than my 10K time.

IMG_0851I am very glad to have gotten double digits in for the day. Next weekend I need to run 15-16 or so.

Ode to the Brooks Ravenna running shoe

IMG_0695I recently ordered a new pair of running shoes after realizing my current pair had about 400 miles (and four marathons) on them. When it comes to running shoes, I am super loyal to one kind – the Brooks Ravenna. My first pair was purchased after I got fitted at the running store in Baton Rouge in summer 2011, and was told I slightly over-pronate. That day I bought the Brooks Ravenna 2 shoes, and I trained for and ran my first marathon in them. Since then, I have gotten two pairs of Ravenna 3, the Ravenna 4 and my newest pair, the Ravenna 5. I have gone off Brooks only twice, both times because I got shoes for free! I won a pair of Mizuno Wave Riders in a Twitter giveaway, and I was given a $100 Adidas gift card by a friend who works for Adidas – with that I bought the Adidas Supernova Glides. I liked both of those, but when it comes to spending my own money, I always return to the Ravennas. Though I definitely veered off trend this time around with a very BRIGHT color!

IMG_0676I do need to think about giving away some of these older pairs I don’t wear anymore, but I don’t think I will ever give away my first marathon shoes. I am way too sentimental.

Seabrook Lucky Trail Marathon Race Recap

I had been scoping out the the Seabrook Lucky Trail Marathon for several weeks before I decided to register a few weeks ago. It seemed like a great race, but the things that swayed me to do it were that they offered race day packet pickup and it was close enough that I could drive there the morning of the race – it gets expensive booking hotels to go along with my marathons, and I wanted to avoid that just one week after going to Lafayette for Zydeco.

I left the house early early and had an uneventful drive to Seabrook, Texas. I was very excited about this race because all the reviews I’d read were glowingly positive. This would also be my first trail marathon and I wasn’t going to worry about my finish time, so I expected to go out and have fun.

When I arrived I got my packet and race swag, which was amazing! The best free race gear I’ve ever gotten – the only thing comparable was possibly Goldenfliers 5/10-miler in Baton Rouge or the Baton Rouge Beach Marathon, but this still topped all – a really cute soccer-style race shirt with cuts for men and women, socks with the race name, a moisture-wicking hat with the marathon logo and a nice duffel bag.

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I got there an hour early and was surprised at how much activity was already taking place at the park pavilion where the race’s start/finish was located. It was still pitch black outside. Parking was very organized and directed by volunteers, just a couple of blocks away. After I got my packet, I went back to the car to get everything together and get myself situated. I headed back to the race start about 15 minutes before gun time.

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There didn’t seem to be that many marathoners at the race start, but I am always underestimating numbers. The race supports a group that benefits victims of domestic violence, and before the race started, someone gave a short speech about how she had been helped by them. That was pretty cool.

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First light at marathon start line

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Ready to start selfie

The marathon started 15 minutes ahead of the half marathon. It was my understanding that the trail could get narrow and crowded at points. I didn’t have any plan or goal – I just wanted to go by how I felt. The half marathoners would do 2 legs of the trail, while marathoners would do 4 legs. That was a bit intimidating because sometimes loops can be very mentally challenging.

Each leg was about 6.5 miles long, and I definitely did each subsequent leg slower than the one before. The trail really wasn’t difficult – it was packed dirt and gravel, so very soft on the legs and easy to run on. Hilly parts were minimal. For the first two loops, I had some very decent miles that were probably faster than I wanted to be going. It was pretty warm for most of the race, with a gentle breeze here or there. The heat was the most concerning aspect, and I was constantly sweating, so I made sure to drink plenty of fluids. I took 5 gels during the race as well as three salt packets.

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Sunrise

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Puddle jumper

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Several portions of the course were out-and-back in and of themselves, so you were constantly seeing people coming in the opposite direction. Doing a course 4 times gets you pretty familiar with it, and I definitely had my favorite and not-so-favorite parts. Any portion where we were surrounded by trees was great with me. There was one part where we had to run about a half-mile down open non-shaded dirt trail, the end of which was blocked by a water stop. We had to basically stop and make a hard turnaround at the water stop and go back the way we came. I don’t know why but I despised that part, my least favorite of the course.

Another favorite part – hitting the Galveston Bay.

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I carried my Polaroid Cube with me, so all of the on-course photos are from that camera. I took some others before and after with my phone.

The first half went by pretty quickly. I made one bathroom stop which added about 2 minutes to my time, and I hit the halfway mark around 2:26 – subtract the bathroom time and that is pretty typical for me the past few marathons. The second half fell off a truck, though. I had run several miles faster than planned, and it was starting to wear on me, as was the warm weather.

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The third loop was also mentally the toughest, the nature of it being the third time I had done the loop but not being the last time I would have to do it. There were still a good number of people on the course, from marathoners either on their 3rd-4th loop or half marathoners on their 2nd loop. I ended up taking a few walking breaks during the third loop, but only a few. I definitely still ran the majority of that loop by a lot. Then came loop 4.

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Selfie during loop 4. Am I done yet?

It felt so great to finally begin my last loop, and I started it off by walking quite a bit. I was tired. I had run a marathon the week before, I had woken up super early that morning after not-a-lot of sleep, it was hot, etc. I had all the excuses and every reason to let myself walk. I had already anticipated the fact that I would have my first 5+ hour finish, and by loops 3-4 I welcomed that thought. I did not feel like nor want to run the pace that would be required for me to get a sub-5. So by loop 4, I walked a lot more. What was the difference to me between 5:00 or 5:15? Those times felt the same. So I walked a ton. I did force myself to run at several points, giving myself a landmark to get to before I could walk again.

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At mile 21 I stopped for several minutes to replace a bandaid on my left big toe, which has had blisters pretty much since I ran the RnR NOLA Marathon Jan. 25. At mile 22.5 I took my last gel and then my stomach immediately regretted it. I walked the next .75 mile in fear that running would cause me to throw up. I also noticed how high my heartrate would get when I ran for extended periods of time – every time I stopped running, my heart would be pounding. I took it all in stride, though. I really, truly did not care about my finish time. Except… at some point at the last mile I calculated what I would need to do to break 5:20, and ran the rest of the way to make sure I achieved that.

Chip time= 5:16:16 – My slowest marathon time yet, but I feel fine.

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I had no appetite after the race, as per usual, so I didn’t do too much other than wipe my face with a wet towel provided at the finish line, take my finisher’s photo and then head out. This was a first class race! The swag and shirt were great, medal is huge, the course was well-marked and organized, volunteers and water stops were plentiful, etc. etc.

I was shocked to see on the online results that I came in 2nd place in my group! I wonder if I had stuck around would I have gotten an award? Oh well. This was well worth the race fee and gas to get there. Fun times.