The Baton Rouge Beach Marathon and Half Marathon has been, I believe, the only marathon held in Baton Rouge each year. I could be wrong, but I haven’t seen advertisements for any other marathons in Baton Rouge, but that will change on Jan. 15 with the inaugural Louisiana Marathon, the one I am running.
I read a few reviews of this marathon/half and they were overwhelmingly positive, so I decided to do it. I didn’t sign up in time for the early registration, so for the half I paid $75 for race registration.
On Friday, I went to packet pick-up which was at a local hotel. At the pick-up/expo there were a handful of vendors and a free dinner, which I had never seen before at an expo! Unfortunately I didn’t have time to partake because my husband was waiting for me outside in the car. The race packet included a nice cinch bag, a technical race T-shirt by Brooks, some gloves, several handouts, samples of several topical ointments for pain, dry skin, etc. It was really nice! I believe the marathoners got a duffle bag instead of a cinch bag.
After the pick-up my husband and I went to eat pasta so I could carbo-load! I got spaghetti with one big meatball and a side Caesar salad. We headed home and I was in bed by like 8:30.
Parking near the race start was going to be a nightmare, so the race offered shuttle pickups at the host hotel and a shopping center parking lot. I woke up at 4:30 a.m., ate a bagel thin with peanut butter, and headed to the shopping center a little after 5 a.m. The race started at 7 and the race website said shuttles would run from 5:15-6:15, so I wanted to make sure there was plenty of time. Well, there was definitely PLENTY of time! There weren’t too many people there when I got there, so the bus waited a little longer and we pulled out about 5:30. We got the race start in a matter of minutes, and so I ended up waiting a little over an hour in the cold until the race started.
It was fine though, besides the cold – there were several people there a part of the “50 States Marathon Club” who were running marathons in every state. I listened to them chatter about the races they had done and how many they had left to do. But then most of them left because they had asked special permission to start the race an hour early, since it was going to take them about 6 hours. I tried to keep warm and played on my phone for the rest of the waiting time.
As race time approached, I tried to turn on my Garmin, and it wouldn’t turn on. Oh no, not again, I said! After it did that to me before Goldenfliers, I’d learned how to reset the Garmin, so I did so. It powered on, but then gave me a horrible message! BATTERY LOW. What?!?! I’d charged this stupid thing the night before until it had said “Charging Complete.” What was wrong with this thing??
I angrily got to the start area and turned on the running app on my phone, and figured I’d use the Garmin to help me pace myself during the first mile until it died. Normally when it tells me Battery Low, it only lasts for a few minutes. I took a Chocolate Outrage Gu before the start.
The race started, and I made sure to take the first mile very slow. Without my Garmin at Goldenfliers, I think I’d gone out way too fast which meant the second half of my race, I had little energy. The first mile went by quick and I did it in 10:13. As the miles started to pass, I was perplexed that my Garmin was still working! I tried not to stake any hopes on it lasting the whole way, but I was sure to take advantage of it while I had it. I wanted to finish the half in under a 10-minute pace. PRing was not a goal.
The miles really went by quickly in the majority of this race, something aided by nice weather, and fun water stops – every water stop was hosted by a local running store or physical therapy company or something like that, and they each had a different theme with costumes! One had 70s wear, one was Hawaiian, one was Santa Claus hats, one was Prom wear, etc. It was really fun!
A lot of the race was done in the area where I do my long runs, so I was pretty familiar with most of the course. I realized about 10 miles in that I could PR – and with my Garmin still working and helping me keep pace, I was able to figure out how fast I needed to run to accomplish that.
My PR is 2:07:38 and I really wanted to get a sub-2:07, but that didn’t happen. As I ran toward the finish line, the clock was ticking from 2:07. I knew I had passed the finish line at 2:07:14 or 2:07:15, but my Garmin, which I started as I crossed the start, said 2:07:02. I figured my chip time would be something like that.
I got my medal, drank one of those tiny bottles of Powerade in like 5 seconds, ate some orange slices, looked around for a minute, then headed for the shuttles to get back to my car at the shopping center. I am not one that hangs around for too long after a race, I pick up some free stuff like water or Powerade bottles or whatnot, but I’m a get in, run, get out type of person. The post-race stuff looks fun but after an exhausting and sweaty race, I just want to take a shower and lay down!
The race results have my gun time as 2:07:35 and my chip time as 2:07:14. Like I said in my last post, I am confused how my chip time matches the clock time, if it took me an extra 21 seconds to cross the start according to the gun time. But regardless, with that chip time, I got a PR of 24 seconds! Was not expected or planned or hoped for until there were about three miles remaining in the race!
Thoughts about this race:
1) Packet Pickup was great, having a dinner there (That you didn’t have to pay extra for) was a really nice touch. Race shirts and other stuff were all really nice quality.
2) Having shuttles to the race was really convenient and easy, such a nice addition!
3) Loved the course for the most part, and from what I could see, even though I didn’t stay long, the post-race food and all looked great.
4) Having the water stop hosts dress up was a fantastic idea.
5) Plentiful water stops and Porta-Potties.
6) Really nothing negative to say at all except my confusion about my chip time. Everything was done really nicely.