Yesterday Tim and I ran in the 2nd annual Louisiana Half Marathon. This was one of my absolute favorite races last year, which is quite a compliment for an inaugural race. I knew this year was bound to be even better!
It did not disappoint.
Last year we made this a family trip to visit some of Tim’s relatives in Baton Rouge. We brought Lincoln and Tim’s mom along. This year we did things differently and left the family at home and had a weekend to ourselves.
It’s about a 6 hour drive from Montgomery to Baton Rouge, but I found ways to entertain myself.
We stopped in Mandeville, Louisiana to eat lunch at our favorite breakfast place, the original Broken Egg Cafe. I’ve been to several Another Broken Egg locations, but none of them are as good as the original.
I had the Chicken Cobb Salad.
In the words of my friend Barb, call this “Paleo-light” because of the inclusion of the bleu cheese, but my god I just couldn’t bring myself to utter the words “no bleu cheese”. I just couldn’t.
After lunch we got back on the road and headed straight to the Expo at the Belle of Baton Rouge Casino & Hotel.
If I could improve upon one thing about this race it would be the expo. It has tons of vendors, but they are packed into a small space which makes things very crowded. Unfortunately … I had to pee, and even more unfortunately the bathrooms were on the exact opposite side of the expo and no one was moving!
We checked into our hotel room and decided to go out and walk around downtown before our dinner reservations, but somehow we found ourselves in the hotel bar instead. Gah! I know, I know.
We did eventually make it to our dinner reservation at Sullivan’s Steakhouse. I don’t typically like chain restaurants, but because this one had such amazing reviews I decided it was worth a try.
I’m not kidding when I say that this may have very well been the best meal of my entire life, or atleast in the top 3.
14 oz NY strip (aged for 27 days, apparently this matters), brussel sprouts and mushrooms. Sounds simple, but it was magical .. I swear.
Fast forward >>> Race morning.
Because of all the special perks Half Fanatics and Marathon Maniacs received at this race I thought I might wear my HF tank top. My bib number was also my Half Fanatic member number.
I found the Maniacs and Fanatics at the gear check just in time to jump into the group picture.
I decided a couple of days in advance that I was definitely going to race this one to the best of my ability. The weather forecast and the mostly flat course were just too perfect not to see what I could do.
Whenever I need extra motivation I draw things on my hands and arms to look at during long runs or races to keep me inspired. This day I kept it very simple …
I felt like it would be damn near impossible, but I figured if it was ever going to happen it was going to be on this course with sunny beautiful 40 degree weather.
I knew from last year that my Garmin read about 13.22 miles at the finish line so that meant I’d have to maintain a 7:34 overall pace.
The first mile was really really crowded so I was surprised to see a 7:36 split when my Garmin chirped. The crowd thinned out quickly after that intial mile though and it was smooth sailing the rest of the way.
7:36, 7:36, 7:31, 7:36 …
The first several miles I really didn’t feel so great. My back was hurting, my toes were numb, my shorts kept slipping down and I just felt generally heavy. My pace stayed consistent though, so I pressed on.
7:32, 7:33, 7:30, 7:33 …
I got lost in thought for these middle miles. I thought about everything from stuff I had looked at on Pinterest to Jenn Shelton running marathons in funny swimsuits. Just in case you were wondering …
7:30, 7:29, 7:42 …
At mile 10.5 I checked my overall pace for the first time remembering that I had to be at or below 7:34 … it said 7:33. At first I was ecstatic, and then I realized that was a little too close for comfort.
I ran the last 2 miles as fast as my legs would carry me.
When I came around the final turn I saw the clock and knew that I would make it, barely.
After I crossed the finish line and figured out my sense of direction I booked it back to the hotel room as quickly as I could to change shoes and grab my phone so that I could take pictures of Tim as he finished.
He also PR-ed!
The after race party at Louisiana is like no other!
King cake, wine and mimosa (plus beer), local gourmet food, live jazz bands.
This race goes on the permanent “to do” list!