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?!?
Don’t forget to enter my Oakley Sunglasses giveaway!
Julie M says
How do you take such good pictures when you run? Sorry about your calf. Hopefully you figure out what is wrong. Nice job on the half though 🙂
Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn says
Woooo get it girl!!! I remember back at HLS when you were on a running injury break and just testing the waters again…. 🙂 miss you lady, so glad you are back to KILLIN it!!
Jill @ Fitness, Health and Happiness says
I love all of the pink! I’m hoping a WHM will be on my race calendar for next year.
love you and all the runpink! women.
some day for me.
till then I shall just read recaps and live vicariously 🙂
Angela @ happy fit mama says
Ouch! Leg/calf cramps are the worst. Hope you find the solution.
I’ve only done Lozilu Women’s Mud Run. I’d love to do a 1/2 or more that’s women only. Sounds like fun!
Fancy Nancy says
I’m loving all the pink!!! I’ve run and worked an all women’s race. When they are done right they are just perfect…lots of attention to details!
Fancy Nancy says
I’m loving all the pink!!! I’ve run and worked an all women’s race. When they are done right they are just perfect…lots of attention to details! No idea about the leg but I do hope it gets better for you soon!
I love all the pink! You ladies look awesome!
Sorry to hear about the leg!
As a runner who has been on a gluten free diet for years, it really bothers me that you state you have gone gluten free for two days, and you aren’t getting many calories because of it. Clearly you haven’t done any research, because otherwise you would know that there are ways to keep your calorie intake up for running while being gluten free. You have a fairly large blog and you are giving incorrect information, very frustrating to those of us with a true gluten allergy.
It also appears that your calf cramps are due to a faster pace, as you stated above. Your body is trying to tell you it isn’t ready for a faster pace, and this is the second (if not third) time you haven’t listened. I realize that as a runner it is hard when our body doesn’t cooperate, but since you haven’t been training for a faster pace, it makes sense why it is rebelling. I will be honest, I’m very worried about what running Goofy will do to you, when you haven’t listened to your body the past few half marathons.
I am sorry that you feel that way but you are basing your assumptions on just some of the facts. I have done research, and I don’t think it’s very fair to assume I haven’t. If you had been reading my blog, you would see that some of my other symptoms are that I get full very quickly when I eat, after only a couple of bites, and very nauseated. So I have been losing weight for several weeks not meaning to do so. Also, this was a destination race, so we were out of town, in a hotel room, and the usual things I bring to eat I could not bring. I did eat 3 meals the day leading up to the race, they were just very small.
Your second assumption is also incorrect. I have had training runs at a faster pace than I actually ran the entire half on Sunday. Which is what makes it even worse, because I know I can run faster than the time of my race. If people got cramps every time they pushed too hard and ran to fast, wouldn’t half the field be on the ground suffering with cramps?
For goofy we are taking it slow and having fun taking pictures, no time goals. I don’t cramp when I run slower, I ran 15 miles at a slower (not much slower, just a tiny bit slower) pace and was fine. It’s the same leg every time, and also I posted that it stays tight from the get go, no mater what pace I am running.
I can see your point, however your words were what put gluten free and not enough calories together. I hope you do research a gluten free lifestyle because it takes a lot of commitment. Also, if you have been feeling so terrible, again, you should not have run this race.
I also did not say that everyone gets cramps when they push too hard. I just stated that sometimes that is a way of your body saying to slow down. Some discomfort will come as you push yourself, but it should not cause a large concern. Perhaps you do have a faster half marathon in you, but in the midst of the health issues you’ve been stating you have, now was not the time to test your limits.
I wish you the best for your race schedule and hope that you DO listen to your body.
Heather, I have been reading your blog, although not every post, for awhile. I see a lot more posts about your vacations than about training. So you can’t get defensive about our assumptions. You said earlier in THIS POST you haven’t trained as well as you would have liked. So I would also ASSUME that your leg cramps are at least in part due to the stress of the race. I would look into getting a running evaluation from a sports physical therapist (look for SCS = Sports Certified Specialist credentials). You may not have the right shoes, need custom orthotics, have muscle imbalances, achilles issues, need to change your running form, etc. A physical therapist is a much better bet than a chiropractor.
On another note, I’ve got some serious concerns about Goofy, which is only 4 weeks away! You don’t run a half and a full marathon back to back “for fun”… I think you’re gonna get hurt.
One last question, why do you not post your race time?
Actually…I post my entire weeks worth of workouts every Sunday, so I always post my training. I just think it would be a total bore to do an entire post on a workout so I save them all until Sundays. I have had some weeks where I didn’t get in as many miles as I would like, but when I talk about not having my training as I would like I mean 1) speed work and 2) pace of my runs. I typically have been getting a decent amount of miles in. I ran a 15 miler two weeks ago, am running 18 this weekend followed by a 21 next weekend then taper… so I am right on my schedule for long runs for goofy. I was running 4 days a week but have as of late found I do better running 3 and cross training more.
Why may I ask that I can’t do goofy for fun? I have been planning this race literally since 2009 and always planned it to be a fun race not a “race hard for time” race.
As far as race time goes I didn’t not post it on purpose, I did post I missed my PR by 45 seconds, so I ran a 2:16. Why does it matter?
Carrie Costantini says
First of all I love reading your blog! I myself am running my first half next year with the Disney Princess 🙂 Your leg problem sounds similar to one I was having. My calf would tighten up and since I didnt stop and stretch, my foot would go numb. It’s really annoying and doesn’t happen on every run (like you noticed too). It might have something to do with the sciatic nerve. I used a foam roller after any workout and have tried to limit overworking my calves on non-run workout days. This has seemed to help and my calf seems to have stopped freaking out for now. Good luck and it’s so inspiring that you finished the race despite not feeling well!
Must’ve been something about this past weekend in the southern middle portion of the country. It was mid-60s and 90% humidity at my race in Dallas, and I missed beating my time by less than a minute 🙁
Love love love all the pink! I did the Princess this past year, and I couldn’t help but compare some aspects of this race to Disney. I think Disney spoiled me.
Heather (Where's the Beach) says
So sorry about your leg. I sure hope you figure out what the problem is soon. But kuddos to you for racing!! That’s awesome.
I’m loving all the pink around you. So fun! I did an all women’s sprint triathlon, and really enjoyed that! I’ve gotten one really bad calf cramp, and my leg ached all day after it. THey’re painful!! Are you getting enough sodium and potassium? I know I get more crampy if I don’t have enough of either of them. I hope you’re able to figure out what’s going on soon!
Mindy @Road Runner Girl says
I am so glad I got to hang out with you a little before the race and after! I look forward to many more races together! I hope you figure out all the health issues girl! I would definitely recommend going to a chiropractor for the half. I have been going to one for my knee and in two weeks time I have gone from high pain to almost none at all. He has worked wonders for me! I wish you lived closer so you could see him…he’s awesome! Good luck girl!
Mindy @Road Runner Girl says
Ok I meant to say go to a chiropractor for the “calf” not half! Lol! Running is on the brain apparently! 🙂
going to see a chiropractor friday! made an appt this morning!
So sorry to hear your calf cramped again, it must have been frustrating to be so close to a PR when it happened. : (
I LOVE your compression socks with the heart on them though, do you mind me asking where you got them??
Have you looked into the ART treatments? I am going to see Dr. Jernigan (DeBuys Rd @ Gpt/Blx line) on Monday for a consult for treatment/working with my IT Band stuff. He is the only one on the Coast that is certified in ART. I think it stands for Active Release Treatment
Active release technique. Ya I have an appt Friday lol. We have been meaning to go to him for months but never hot around to it but now it’s become a necessity with goofy coming up. I used to go to an awesome chiropractor when we lived in Madison, I never had these issues when I was going to him! Lol!
I would see a physical therapist before a chiropractor. It sounds like you might have a muscle imbalance and some easy strengthening exercises might help. I go through the same sort of issues!
I went to a chiropractor before I moved down here and it really helped. I have scoliosis and tilted hips which cause very tight muscles and he helped with that and this new guy does active release so hoping it helps! PT is not out of question though!
That’s a bummer about all your health issues lately. You should be proud of yourself for foraging ahead in spite of not feeling well.
Carissa @ Fit2Flex says
Oh man – it’s so hard to be that close to a PR but you’ll get there. That’s the great/bad thing about running. You get a chance to do it all again. As for the cramps how’s your potassium? You could try a sweet potato before race day.
Sitting in the dr.’s office so I figured I catch up on my blog reading. Loved your recap Heather but I hate to hear about the muscle cramps and missed PR. You were looking good when I saw you. 🙂 If it makes you feel better, I actually ended up getting sick and puking during the race….Never had that happen before. It was just the flu, I feel 100% again. I hope the chiropractor works for you!