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!

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.

Zydeco Marathon Race Recap

I went in to this race with a goal of breaking 4:40, but deep down I knew it would be pretty hard to accomplish. I didn’t train quite enough, and in the last 5 weeks since the Galveston Marathon, my long runs had only totaled 13, 20, 11, and 13 again. I had focused on speedwork during some shorter runs, but I think I would have had a better idea of my abilities had I tried to do speedier mid-range runs like 5-7 milers. So I was hopeful, but not too confident.

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The week leading up to the race, I ordered a new duffel bag and then organized all of my running stuff in Ziploc bags. This bag contains everything I could possibly need for a run or race, including sunscreen, energy gels, pepper spray, headbands, band-aids, ice packs, medicine, armband/fitness belt, baby wipes, gloves, etc.

On Saturday we drove into Lafayette, which is a quick 2 hours away. I had reserved a hotel on Expedia for a very cheap $55 – I was a little leery about it because the hotel was apparently a former Ramada and had been purchased and re-named, but the reviews on Yelp and other places were pretty much positive, so I went for it. I am not high maintenance and it was just for one night.

Check-in wasn’t until 3 so we went to lunch as soon as we hit Lafayette. I had a nervous stomach, I guess due to anticipation of the race, so for lunch we went to Saigon Noodle and had Pho. The food was very good. Afterward we went next door to Frutti Smoothie and I got a Tropical Splash Protein Smoothie, which was also absolutely awesome.

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smoothie

Finally done eating, we went to the expo at the Cajundome Convention Center, near the ULL campus. For some reason I thought the race shirts were going to have cuts for both men and women, but they were unisex, which was super disappointing because I like the shirt so much! But even getting the XS, the unisex Brooks shirt never fits me right. We also got a cool little shoulder bag, and I went and purchased a Zydeco 26.2 sticker that has the distance written out in French, plus a nice glass with the race logo on it.

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We checked into our motel, which was outdated but worth the cheap price. It feels like it’s been such a long time since we stayed in a motel, and I prefer that so much more actually – I loved having our car right outside our door so I could run out and put things up or grab something I had left in the backseat.

dinner

Dinner was at Bon Temps, a popular Cajun restaurant just a few miles from our hotel. I got blackened chicken pasta, and could only eat about half of it. After dinner we were pretty much spent and I was trying to go to sleep by 9 or so. This was the weekend of Daylight Saving Time, and we were losing an hour of sleep, so I knew the morning would probably be extra rough. But when my phone alarm went off at 5:30, what felt to my body like 4:30, I woke right up. I started getting ready, forced down a bagel with peanut butter, and at 6:10 got my husband up so he could dress and drop me off. The race started at 7, but I figured it wouldn’t take us long to get to the start.

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We drove in the darkness to the Cajundome and encountered a long line of cars waiting to park and policemen blocking the way up further, so I hopped out of the car in the street and started walking with other runners down a sidewalk toward the starting line. I was in my corral by 6:40 with nothing to do but wait for 20 minutes.

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Miles 1-13.1

It was chilly at race start, but the kind of chilliness you could tell would go away pretty quickly once the sun came up and you started running. I wore a light short-sleeved shirt, light capri tights and Nike shorts over the tights. There had been a 90% chance of rain for the daytime earlier in the week, but by Friday the forecast showed rain holding off until at least 2 p.m. They had a short wave start, and by the time my corral got started, the sun was coming up. We headed off and I almost immediately started feeling dread. Not a good sign. At mile 5 I had to take a Pepto Bismol powder I’d brought with me because my stomach felt very unsettled, and I feared if that kept up I would throw up. The medicine worked very well, and soon I was feeling better.

My goal was to keep about a 10:50 pace for the first 10 miles, 10:40 pace for the next 10 miles and then try to go 10:40 or less for the last 10K. Well, I did pretty well with this for the first 10 miles. I had to slow myself down at some points even, because I found myself going too fast. It was getting warm rather quickly, so I drank water or Powerade at every single aid stop. The water stops were plentiful and the volunteers were great. I felt like there was a regular occurrence of cheering spectators, which for some reason surprised me.

Even though I wasn’t feeling excitement to run, the first 7-8 miles went by pretty quickly. We ran through Lafayette’s downtown, near the university and around a park. It was around this time that we encountered a very hilly neighborhood that was pretty difficult for me. The hills were rolling though, so I never had to stop and walk them, I just ran them very slowly. I have found in my last three marathons that the first half is always toughest because you just want to reach the midway point. As long as there are half marathoners on the road with you, you still have more than 50% to go. So I was aching to see the halfway point and felt it would have to be easier mentally once I got that far.

At mile 11 I had to stop at a medical tent and ask for a band-aid because my shirt sleeve had chafed my underarm so badly it was already bleeding! Bad news. The band-aid helped a lot.

Miles 13.1-Finish

This was a double loop course, so as we approached the finish line, marathoners veered left to do the loop a second time while halfers headed to the finish. I was very relieved to finally get to this point, and I felt like the first half had gone by pretty quickly so I knew I would survive the second half. My Garmin said it was about 2:22:something at the half, which was disappointing because I knew there was little chance I’d run the second half slower in order to get under 4:40. The course also was already 0.25 over according to my Garmin, so I’d have to make up for that too. I had been confused as to why the 4:45 pacer was ahead of me most of the first half, because I was sure I was running a pace faster than that, but he must have been accounting for the course being longer than 26.2. He was right on the money, and I was completely off.

Knowing my goal was probably impossible, some of the pressure came off and I just focused on holding on to a sub-11 pace. On the second loop, I saw a lot of half marathoners who were walking coming back the opposite way, and then I started seeing marathoners! They were like an hour and a half ahead of me. I think I did a good job of mentally keeping my head in each mile rather than thinking of the miles to come. I started walking a little slower through water stops, whereas in the first half I had tried to be quicker.

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At mile 20 I stopped and took a picture of the sign, then texted it to my husband to let him know I was a little over an hour away from finishing. I was determined not to take any walking breaks outside of water stops, because it’s so hard to start running again when you’ve stopped. I just wanted to hold on to running, even if it was super slow running.

The last mile and a half of the race runs down this one street which leads to Cajundome Boulevard. It goes slightly uphill near the end, which is a nice little torture tactic for someone who has just run 25 miles ;) When you finally reach the top of the uphill climb, you are at mile 26 and turn left to head for the finish line.

As I approached the finish I felt like crying, not of happiness but a little disappointment. This was the second time I had set a goal for a marathon finish and it was the second time I had failed to accomplish it. It wasn’t quite the bomb that was the 2012 BR Beach Marathon, but it was disappointing.

Garmin

Chip time = 4:47:36 – my third best time out of 5 marathons. I will get that sub 4:40 one day, but I will need to train better and hope for cooler weather. So far I just cannot sneak out of the 4:40-4:50 zone.

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My husband had to park super far away and didn’t get to the finish in time to see me cross, but that was OK by me. I sat down on a curb and waited for him to reach me. When I saw him I actually did tear up a bit, but I got over it quickly.

post race medal

He took a picture of me with my medal (and had to tell me to look happy because I had a fake smile on), then we walked to the finish festival nearby. I got a smoothie from Smoothie King and a frozen custard in a waffle cone with smashed Butterfinger topping. I couldn’t stomach anything else, so we headed back home and an hour later I was able to eat lunch in Lake Charles.

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Once we got home, I fell asleep and took a 2-hour nap. DST gets me every time! Looking back on the race, even though I was disappointed in my performance, it was a really great race with wonderful volunteers, plentiful water stops, a nice medal and T-shirt, some cool race merchandise that I actually wanted to buy and a great finish festival with lots of food. The course could have been pretty boring because Lafayette doesn’t have a lot of unique-looking areas, but they changed it up enough that it wasn’t monotonous.

NYC Marathon – I’m in!

When the lottery sign-up for the New York City Marathon opened on January 15, I basically entered as soon as I got to a computer that morning. I knew my chances were REALLY slim – ultimately only 18% of the 80,000+ entrants would be accepted via the lottery. But it was an $11 fee to enter and I figured it was worth a shot.

Fast forward to today, lottery day, and I was excited to find out if I got in but not *really* expecting to be one of the lucky few. I was initially checking my email throughout the morning, which is how I thought I’d be notified, but then I saw on the Marathon Maniacs group that people were finding out via a $255 charge from the New York Road Runners in their bank account. I went to my bank account information online with a fast beating heart, and there it was – a $255 pending charge!

I was hesitant to really grasp or believe that I had actually been accepted into the marathon without official confirmation via their website or an email, but after seeing the official NYC Marathon Twitter and Facebook basically say, “You won’t get an email or website confirmation until later, but if we took a bunch of money out of your bank account you’re in” — I started to get really excited!

My husband and I went out to eat for dinner to celebrate, and while we were out I got the official word via email!

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It is still very surreal, and thankfully we have 8 months to prepare for this epic adventure. We visited NYC strictly as a fun tourist trip last May, and it was such a fast trip that I was left wanting to return and do some things we had missed out on because of the lack of time. Now, we have a legit reason to go back and we can skip the touristy things we did last year (Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Brooklyn Bridge) and do some of the more unique things we didn’t do before. Plus, I get to run one of the most famous marathons in the world through all five boroughs of New York City! I can’t wait!!! It will be torture waiting 8 months to go!

Stride Box Subscriber

I signed up to receive the monthly StrideBox on Thursday, and my first box came in the mail today! Monday had not been going so swell for me, so this was a really nice surprise during my lunch break when I went home and checked the mail.

I have been tempted to sign up for similar monthly boxes like this, some that send beauty product samples or healthy snack samples each month. But I was definitely sold when I first read about this running sample box, and I see myself enjoying this for a long time to come.

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In the box

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A busy weekend + 8 days to Marathon #5

Part of the reason my marathon training has been so hit-or-miss all fall and winter long is the busy-ness that is the rest of my life. I know there are people out there who are way busier than me who make it happen (especially those with small children), so it’s no excuse. I just like my sleep, so it’s hard to find running motivation during those busy weeks when work and church obligations keep me out at night during times I’d rather be resting.

This weekend was an example of that – Friday night was a ministry event I had to attend and take part in, so that was pretty much directly after work until about 9:30 p.m. because I stayed after to help clean up. I got up this morning to get in my last long run before the Zydeco Marathon, 13 miles in about 2:20. I got home, made mac and cheese for a quick lunch, showered, then headed into work to get stuff done for my Saturday afternoon deadline.

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Me speaking briefly at the ministry event Friday night.

Then I went and took some photos at an event, also for work. Once done with work for the day, my husband and I headed in to Lake Charles to run some errands and pick up some things we can’t get at home – for me, this included stops at Dick’s, the local running store AND Academy to try and find the flavor of PowerBar Energy Gel I like so I can have it for the marathon next weekend. Academy for the win. I also picked up some more sunscreen and a white Under Armour running hat. We had dinner at a Greek/Lebanese place, and on the way back home got some Dairy Queen!

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Lunch! Truffle Mac and Cheese

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Dinner – Chicken Kebob Platter

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Dessert!

Tomorrow morning is church, then we’re taking the youth group to an afternoon play, then after that we have a staff meeting back at church! So weekends like this are rough because I don’t get much rest. Still, I got my long run in and enjoyed it, so that’s what counts.

Speaking of my run today, I fueled with a Salted Caramel Gu beforehand, no breakfast. I haven’t used Gu in years, and I remembered why today – too thick! I almost gagged. I switched to PowerBar brand energy gel in 2011 because it is thinner and so much easier to swallow down. I will use the rest of the Gu I have for long runs, but no way will I be able to use it during a marathon.

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I also tried a Pocket Fuel Nut Butter Blend for the first time. This is basically a packet of almond butter for you to take in during a long run, and for me, it was too messy to be convenient. I carried it with me in my handheld water bottle’s pouch and stopped at mile 8 to eat it. It was cold out, so no matter how much I squeezed the packet, it still wasn’t going to be easy to get the almond butter softened. The butter that did come out was messy and while it went down OK with water, I feel this whole exercise would be too time-consuming during a marathon. An ultramarathon, sure – it is an easy way to take in some more calories outside of an aid station. And my stomach had started to feel hungry around mile 5-6, so this did the trick and helped me get through the rest of the run.

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I spent most of the run listening to old Jillian Michaels Show podcasts. I was way behind on these, so I was shocked to get to the show from late last month or early this month that revealed her producer/sidekick Janice had left the show! And no explanation is to be found by Googling as to why?!? This almost made me stop in my tracks. Sad :(

I honestly don’t know if I will PR next week, but more than anything I want to have a good experience and have fun. I officially registered earlier this week as well as booked a hotel for super cheap.

I plan to pick up one of these special 26.2 stickers at the expo, for the uniqueness of having the distance spelled out in French!

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From the Zydeco Marathon Facebook page

Marathon Maniac #10782

When I ran two marathons in 8 days, I officially qualified to be a Marathon Maniac. I don’t think I will ever get up to higher than the Bronze level, and I certainly am going to remain a “Maniac” with some of the fewest marathons, but I love the community and being able to read others’ advice, encouragement and getting information about upcoming races along with some discounts.

To celebrate my new MM status, I bought a Sweaty Band with the logo. It’s so cute! Will wait a little while to get a shirt – I am not crazy about the pink or yellow shirts because I look dumb in both colors, but I will probably go with the yellow short-sleeved shirt. Maybe when next winter rolls around I will invest in a jacket too.

FullSizeRenderIn correlation with that, there was a discussion on the MM Facebook group about how runners deal with dogs chasing them on their runs. I have been chased by dogs countless times even though my current town has a leash law, and have been lucky enough not to be bitten even though every time I do exactly what you’re not supposed to do, which is keep running. The advice given most often was to run with pepper spray and dog treats (the pepper spray to fend off aggressive dogs, the treats to distract those who persist in a less antagonistic manner). The Sabre pepper spray I ordered has a little handheld part and I figure I can run with some dog treats in my Spibelt.

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As I told my husband, the pepper spray is good to have for use on humans too, if needed (God forbid). The one I bought has a hand strap, and I ran with it on an 11-mile run today. It is light and easy to carry. It did make me feel safer too.

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Running beginnings

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My first race actually took place in 1993, a year before this article, and it was for the same run – the St. Charles Parish Reading Council Fun Run.

My older sister ran track in high school and I had attended many of her track meets and seen her win awards, so apparently I decided I wanted to win awards for running too.

At age 7 I ran the 2-mile race and won 2nd place in my age group! I got a trophy which was of a girl running. I was thrilled! So the next year at age 8 I ran the 1-mile. The only thing I remember is that I got a bad cramp during this one. I really wish they had printed the finishing times because I have no idea how long it took! Again I got 2nd place and another trophy! (Whether or not there were only 2 people in my age group running, I’ll never know…)

I still have the T-shirt from the 1994 race as well – it’s cute! Just a little raggedy.

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Now I need to find these trophies, if they still exist! After this race, I took a little break from racing… for about 16 years.

Zydeco Marathon Training, Weeks 1-2

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With five weeks in between marathons, I am hesitant to do too much or too little. I am trying to maintain my endurance while also working on speeding up just a bit, but I may be in need of some extended rest or therapy judging on how badly my 20-miler went on Saturday.

I hadn’t run for speed in a long time, so my two runs of 2 and 3 miles where I kept under a 9:10 pace for both was somewhat of a challenge to myself and really wore me out. I thought since they were shorter runs that the quicker speed wouldn’t do any harm, but when I set out for my 20-miler on Saturday, my legs were just tired and sluggish, making completing the distance really difficult.

I expected it to be warm and expected to be tired, but I was just surprised at how slow I was going at times. It didn’t feel that slow and yet I’d look down at my pace and be shocked to be running slower than 11-minute miles. I thought about quitting at 16 and 18 miles, but I couldn’t bear the thought of not finishing what I started. I knew I’d be disappointed in myself and feel like the whole run was a waste, so I pushed through, even though the last five miles included several walking breaks and really slow hobbling.

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Maybe it also didn’t help that I did the 3-miler the very day before the 20-miler. I don’t know. I am also dealing with morning congestion and have a sore throat as I type, so maybe rest is best right now. Nonetheless, while I was sore the rest of Saturday, I woke up Sunday with absolutely no soreness.

With three weeks until the Zydeco Marathon, I am planning to do a 15-miler this Saturday and a 10-miler next Saturday. I am very relieved to have that 20-miler done. I just hope I can still incorporate some speed work without making my long runs miserable and killing my legs.