Ah, the race that I almost didn’t run, the Woman’s half marathon. I was an ambassador for this race, but with all the health issues I have had lately, I kept going back and forth on this one. I have been feeling terrible, and not getting in quality training. I would try to get in the miles, but not at a fast pace. I finally decided to run at the last minute, and Saturday morning we made the drive to Baton Rouge.
I picked up my bib and swag, and Bobby and I checked into our hotel and got some food. I had been trying to eat a gluten free diet for the two days prior to the race, and I still wasn’t getting enough calories due to my symptoms. Still, I didn’t want to risk stomach issues on race day, so I stuck with it not realizing I would miss my carb loading and pre race pizza tremendously the next day.
We decided to just chill in the hotel room and go to bed early, hoping the extra rest would help me. I laid out all my clothes and went to sleep.
5:00 came, and I found myself saying what I say before every early morning race…WHY am I doing this again?!? I have learned the faster I can jump out of bed and get “awake” the quicker this feeling goes away, so forced myself up and got dressed.
We jumped in the car and drove a quick few minutes to downtown Baton Rouge and met up with some of the other #RunPink ambassadors for a photo before the race.
It was great seeing some familiar faces again like Rachel, Jennifer and Mindy, and also awesome to meet some new people I have been chatting with for a long time on social media like Larissa and Nicole!
You may recognize Rachel…she won a little race called the Disney Princess half marathon last year. Love her, she’s so tiny! She was the “head” Run Pink ambassador who helped organize a lot of things with the race and the other ambassadors!
I realize I look like a giant. But really, trust me, she is teeny. I want to put her in my pocket! We walked down to the start together, and yes, we even had PINK port-o-potties!
People were lining up to start, so I told Bobby bye and was texting some people trying to meet up with friends. While I was standing there, I heard my name, it was Jen! a fellow Rouge Orleans teammate!
We were only chatting for a minute and then Kristyn walked up, ANOTHER Rouge Orleans teammate!
We talked for a minute and then a fellow coworker Laure found me. I was loving seeing all these girls!
It was time to start, so we moved up into the shoot.
aaaannnddd go! I’m totally oblivious.
When the race started it was in the upper 60’s and very, very humid. I was worried about not feeling well and the heat, but decided to try for my target PR pace and see if I could hold it.
The first three miles were pretty uneventful. The roads were very cambered so I found myself looking down a lot, and it was a bit crowded because the half runners and 10k runners ran together for the first 3 miles.
We ran onto the LSU campus, and past Tiger Stadium. Geaux Tigers!
At mile 3, the 10k runners turned off to the left, and we kept on going straight. No turning back now. My 5k time was 30:00, and even at that I was having a hard time keeping pace in the weather. I just wasn’t “feeling” it. At the Jazz half, miles 1-6 felt great, I was smiling, running under 10:00 pace the whole time, but this race was a struggle from the start.
We ran by some lakes, through campus, and past some beautiful homes near campus.
There was a girl I had been running next to/near the whole time (it was about mile 5 by now) and I asked her what her goal was and she said she didn’t have one. I told her I was trying to keep 10:00 miles, and she said that sounded good to her, so we ran along “together” but in silence.
At 6.2 I was at 1:03:29, and really struggling with my pace slowing each mile. I took a GU at mile 3 and 6, but wasn’t feeling much energy. I was actually getting very sleepy, and I realized my lack of carbs and calories the past few days were taking a toll on me.
I kept chugging along, after texting Bobby telling him I was struggling and my left calf (the one that gave me trouble at the Jazz half) was very tight and I was worried about it cramping. Miles 7-9 were long and hot, but I kept going. We hit an overpass and it deflated my spirit. It was long and very tall, and my pace seriously suffered. I made it almost to mile ten, when my calf started cramping. it didn’t full on cramp like at Jazz, but it tried to, and I freaked out, stopped, and stretched. I started going again and this happened 3 more times, each time having to stop and stretch. There was a certain pace I could go and if I tried to push harder and go faster, it would seize up.
I was crushed, continually checking my pace. it was going to be SO close. The last mile was ugly. I was fighting back tears, wondering WHY I put myself through this torture 17 times, dying to see the finish line. I hit mile 12 and had one more bad cramp. I did the math and realized I would have to run a fast mile to PR. Under normal conditions I may have been able to pull it off, but not like this. I kept pushing as hard as my body would allow—without cramping allow, and gave a final push around the last corner when I saw the finish line.
Right as I turned the corner, I looked at my Garmin, just in time to watch my watch click past my PR time. I wanted to cry. I kept going knowing Bobby would be taking pictures, and tried to look “ok”. I had been texting him so he knew my calf was cramping and that I probably wouldn’t make my PR, again.
Can’t miss my bright pink shirt
Trying to smile and half-wave
Crazy hair is still kicking
Willing the finish to be closer. I ended up crossing and missing my PR by about 45 seconds. So sad.
Friends at the finish who cheered me on
Number 17 is in the books. Now we know the leg cramping is not a “fluke” but a problem. But what? No idea.
My supportive hubby and personal photographer.
We headed over to the VIP tent to get something to eat and drink and sit down. My stomach wasn’t feeling so good and I was pretty upset. After a few minutes I got over the fact I didn’t PR and was just SO happy to be done. It was 71 degrees when I crossed the finish!
Check out my cute Run Pink glasses.
Shot of the finish from the VIP area
The stage area
We hung out with friends for a bit and watched the awards (Rachel won in 1:20!) before heading back to the hotel and then back home.
This race was an inaugural event, and it was very well put on. I’m sure there were a couple of minor issues here and there, but I had a great time, the course was very pretty, and the finishers party was great. I would run this again, and would highly recommend it to friends. There was a half, 10k, and 5k option, so fun for everyone!
Everything was PINK and everyone was wearing pink. It was just a really fun atmosphere and reminded me a lot of the atmosphere of the Disney Princess half. There were a handful of men running, but it was mainly pretty in pink ladies!
So, what are we going to do about my leg? I don’t know. We may try going to a chiropractor next week, to see if that helps. It only happens when I am trying to run super hard and both times happened between mile 9 and 10. (I ran a 15 mile training run and ran a “fun” half in Disney where this did not happen.) The calf is tight from the start, I can tell it just feels different, and sometimes my knee or arch will *slightly* hurt or feel pressure. Any ideas? Open to suggestions, once again!
*Edited to add I did some things differently this time from the last race where I cramped hoping it would help. I wore more supportive shoes, compression socks, had 1.5 bananas as opposed to one, took GU that did NOT contain caffeine, and stretched really well all week.
I will post some professional photos when I get them!
QOTD: Have you ever run a women’s only race? Any idea what’s wrong with my leg?!?
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