2015 Jazz Half Marathon race report

Remember the last time I did one of these? I said it was the last time ever? Well, I mean, somehow I signed up for this one and it was all my fault (I can’t even say anyone else twisted my arm into signing up) but for real this time. This was my twelfth half marathon and I think that’s a nice roundish number. (Except I can totally see myself saying one day, “but 13 is even more perfect since that’s how many miles are in a half.”) Fortunately, my brain won’t be able to let go of the .1 so I’m hopeful I’ll be able to ignore that argument. From myself.

Anyway, this one was kinda spooky. And I don’t mean because it was on Halloween.

It all started when I went to put on my number. Heather had grabbed my number and t-shirt for me from the expo, and I hadn’t even looked at them before this morning. As I went to put them on, the thought, “it would be cool if the race number had ’42’ in it.”

I picked up the shirt and saw the number.

IMG_5971

So close!

As it turns out, they were giving out the numbers in order of picking up race packets, so Heather got number 42! I mean, it’s still kinda weird, you have to admit.

Anyway. Drove over to the race, and spent a lot of time trying to find the parking space I’d reserved. Finally found the lot, and pulled into a spot on the third level. Went to the race and ran into some of my NOMB friends.

IMG_9284

The weather was a lot warmer than I was hoping – in the low 70s, but at least it was cloudy, unlike in 2013.

Anyway, off we went. I kept to a 1 minute run, 1 minute walk. It’s amazing how later in the race that first minute lasted an eternity, and the second minute went by in a flash.

Some pics along the way:

I honestly had no expectations for my time, which in the past have ranged between 2:33 and over 3 hours. Even though I’d done some decent training, I am still dealing with Achilles tendinitis. So I just wanted to finish.

First, I just wanted to finish in under 3 hours. And then I thought, maybe I can finish under 2:50 with a stretch goal of 2:45. If I kept to a 13 minute/mile pace, that would put me in right around 2:50ish.

And I did it! Finished in 2:48:39. Woot!

Screenshot 2015-10-31 14.01.45.png

And, I mean, you know, not last. (Though now I’m in the “Masters” division. That means old.)

Got a decent medal:

IMG_6062

then found some of the NOMB ladies again.

IMG_6064

So, remember my scintillating story about parking from earlier? Well, I got in my car and was sitting there for a few minutes when Ashley (the one on the left there) knocked on my window. Randomly, she was parked in the space next to mine! Okay, maybe you had to be there. It’s a big parking garage, okay?!?

I went to get something yummy for lunch, but Taco Bell wasn’t serving Cantina Bowls yet (I’m fancy) so I decided to try to catch the end of the boys’ soccer game, which I did. They were pretty excited to see me. I was wishing I’d brought a jacket. I felt faintly ridiculous in my green sparkly skirt. Oh well.

We all hit Waffle House for brunch and I basically used up all the calories I burned during the race. Worth it!

IMG_6572
Low blood sugar strikes

Now. If someone sees me mention signing up for another half marathon, please just stop me.

Advertisements

Triathlon #3 recap: Rocketchix

This morning, Heather and I got up in the middle of the night to drive to Baton Rouge for our second Rocketchix triathlon. Honestly, neither of us had done much training so we were kind of not sure how we’d end up doing.

I hadn’t given a ton of thought to my preparation for this race, either, and kind of threw everything I’d need into a bag last night. (Spoiler alert: I didn’t forget anything.)

We arrive at the LSU Natatorium and go to pick up our packets. While Heather is applying the sticker to her bike, I notice it’s a different color than mine. And it says “Rocketchix Duathlon.”

Uh oh.

Turns out Heather accidentally registered for the duathlon instead of the triathlon. I was actually kind of jealous of her, because the swim for this triathlon was going to be the longest so far, and like I said, I hadn’t done much training for it. (A few weeks ago I did 350 yards in the pool with long breaks between each length, but that’s about it.)

There were a lot fewer participants this year than last year, so it didn’t take nearly as long to get in the pool. And I’m happy to say that while I wasn’t swimming particularly fast, I also didn’t panic and flail around like I had in the past. I even passed a few people!

While we were lined up, I just willed myself to stay calm and channel Dori. “Just keep swimming.” So that’s what I did, and it worked out fairly well. (I didn’t drown.)

Once out of the pool, I got through transition pretty quickly, and I was on my bike (with the seat set at the proper height) before too long. I get so focused on the swim for these races that I forget that being on a bike for 12 miles is…kind of boring. I am using George’s bike, which is not exactly meant for speed.

But the bike portion also went better than last year. I got into a groove, and it went by pretty swiftly. (Well, swiftly for me.) I even passed a few people! That’s a first for me.

The next transition was easy – just throw off the helmet, really, and I was off and running quickly. Well. “Running.” Only two miles. That’s nothing. But it seemed to last forever. I ran when I could (not much) and walked a lot.

Selfie during the run! Mike the Tiger is somewhere back there.

IMG_6841

I was looking at my watch a lot, hoping I could beat my time from last year, even taking into account that the swim was nearly twice as far this time. I wasn’t even daring to hope that I could beat my run time, since my legs were just worn out and it was pretty hot.

Finally, the finish line was in sight, and I was done, with Heather and Tee and her sister and my friend Jane cheering me on. Woot!

IMG_6844

IMG_6852

When I picked up Heather this morning, we realized we bought matching shirts at Academy yesterday. Aren’t we adorbs?

Now, the important part. How did I do?

Screenshot 2015-07-25 12.07.02

 

Swim: My pace was 3:23/100m…slower than last year, but faster than the 3:27/100m I swam at Girl Power in September. I’ll take it! (Also, it’s so much harder to swim a 50m pool than a 25 yard one.)

Transition 1: Last year was 5:12, this year was 3:15. Nearly two minutes shaved off!

Bike: Remember last year, I neglected to raise my seat to the proper height, so I had a hard time. I’m happy to say with a higher seat, I finished 12 miles in 57:01, compared with 1:01:08 last year. (Still slow as molasses. Oh well.)

Transition 2: 1:40 last year, 1:29 this year.

Run: I was positive this was going to be at least a couple of minutes slower. I was stunned to see I finished the run faster! 23:44, compared to 24:06 last year. Woot!

Finish time…10 seconds faster than last year!

So overall, a pretty good race. But you know, I think I’m done with triathlons. It’s not triathlon’s fault. I am never going to improve a ton at swimming, and I’m not willing to invest in a faster bike for that portion. I could probably get faster at running, but I already run races, so I think I’ll just stick to that.

I may have committed to running a half marathon in October, even though I’d sworn them off. Ha! We’ll see.

Race Report: Shamrockin’ Run 8k

The traditional pre-race selfie.
The traditional pre-race selfie.

This is the third year of this race, and my third year doing it. I guess I’ll have to do it every year, from now on, til the end of time. Because, as you may have guessed, when I start a streak, I have a hard time stopping.

I only signed up for the race on Monday, though. I wasn’t planning on running it, but Heather asked, and I relented. I haven’t been running a ton lately, so I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to run the whole thing. I ran the whole thing (8k is a hair shy of 5 miles – and I mean really, it’s 4.97 miles) for the past two years, and I didn’t think this year it would be possible.

But I looked at the weather forecast, and it looked fine – overcast and coolish.

So, you know, I did it. I mean, not much to say. I started running (at what I judged, very nicely, to be a 12 minute mile) and just didn’t stop. I mean, that’s how you do it, right? I had Runkeeper on to tell me every 3 minutes how my pace was, so that helped, though I think the GPS must’ve gotten wonky during mile 2, because suddenly it wasn’t exactly the same as the race course. (There were timing mats at every mile, which was nice.

Anyhoo, that’s about it. I wanted to finish in under and hour, and voila:

IMG_9306

I mean, talk about just coming in under the wire! 59:59!

A few notes about the race:

I find the classification as anyone slower than 11 minute miles as a walker pretty insulting. I didn’t walk a step.

IMG_9303

I drank a Guinness at the end. I don’t really like Guinness, but it wasn’t the worst thing in the world at 10am today.

IMG_9304

Now I suppose I may as well sign up for next year now, when it’s super cheap.

Race report: Big Easy Running Festival Mini Marathon

Yesterday (November 23, 2014) was the inaugural Big Easy Running Festival. I signed up for it months ago, and I only had to pay a few dollars for the entry, so when the weather looked like it was going to scupper the whole shebang, I wasn’t too upset. I had signed up for the mini marathon (which sounds way more impressive than the actual race distance of four miles.)

Up until the time I woke up Sunday morning, I wasn’t sure if it was going to happen. The time had been pushed back to a 10:15 start, so it was nice not to have to rush out the door at the crack of dawn. On the other hand, I was worried about it being warmer than I’d like.

I got down to the race site and there weren’t a ton of people. As I was walking up, the national anthem was being sung, and I recognized the voice as that of my friend Robin. She really does have the most exquisite voice.

I got my race packet and debated putting on the race shirt because it was rather chilly, and I’d only worn a short-sleeved tee. The race shirt was short sleeved too, but hey, layers. In the end (even though yellow is not my color) I decided to wear it.

Photo Nov 23, 9 47 09 AM

I huddled under a building overhang while waiting for our race to start, because it was lightly raining. Mostly I was just trying to avoid getting my shoes wet. It cleared up in time to get lined up for the race, and we could see the sun coming out in the distance.

The race started not long after the finishers from the 10K (it was supposed to be a half-marathon, but it was cut short) started coming in. Man, they were fast! Pretty awesome.

And then the race started. It was fine. I had been training at a pretty slow pace (basic advice from a coworker who runs really long distances) to go farther distances, so my splits of just under 12 minutes were just what I was aiming for. I mean, not to sound too defensive, but I’ve run a 31 minute 5k, so I definitely can run faster. I just chose not to this time. NO REALLY.

{Let me ask myself, since I gave up doing half marathons, why am I working on running longer distances instead of working on going faster? I must ponder this.}

{Maybe one day I want to try to actually run an entire half-marathon?}

Anyway, there was a nasty headwind from mile 2-3, and the sun came out blazing. I started to regret the extra layer, but oh well.

I ended up finishing right in 46:22, a pace of 11:36 per mile. I’m totally fine with that. In fact, I’m rather proud that I didn’t go out too fast. I don’t know my mile splits (I think the GPS was just bad downtown because Runkeeper had my first mile at 8:50 or something absurd) but I suspect they were negative. (In a good way.)

Screenshot 2014-11-24 08.43.59

I’m also possibly unreasonably proud for finishing 16th in my age group. And not 16th out of 18, but 16th out of 40. And the 73rd female out of 175! That’s the top half! At least next year, I’ll be the youngest in my age group instead of the oldest. Heh.

Anyway, I was kind of bummed that we didn’t get 610 Stompers cheering us on at the finish like the 10k finishers did, and we got plastic cups instead of medals, but oh well.

Ran into my friends Robin (the angelic-voiced one) and her husband Bryan at the finish and forced them to take a triplet parent selfie with me.

522068_10152623143801725_936787733259878629_n

Not sure what’s next. Am I going to cave and do another half? Or some 5ks? Another sprint triathlon? No idea.

Race Report: 2013 Jazz Half Marathon

My eleventh half-marathon. Why do I continue to do these? I don’t even really like them. I probably say this after every race, but I’m sticking to 5ks from now on.

Anyway, for the week prior to the race, I knew the weather was not going to be ideal for a half-marathon. Ideal for a picnic or a birthday party at the park, but not for running. Not for me. I need cool, cloudy weather. Which is the opposite of what we got.

image
Before the race started

 

My plan was to run with my friend Heather, who is ten years younger and probably fifty pounds lighter than me. You see where this is going? We did a 2:1 run:walk and in spite of the weather (I mean, it wasn’t that bad, it was in the 70s) I felt pretty good. We were averaging about 12 minute miles, which was fine, whatever.

image
Still alive

 

About a mile after this picture, when we were in the Audubon Park portion of the race, the timer beeped to run again, and I just told Heather to go on without me. She said later I looked very pale. I didn’t even feel all that bad, but I just knew I wasn’t going to be able to keep going at that pace for another five miles. So she went on ahead (and ran the rest of the way, so I’m glad I didn’t hold her back) and I contemplated having George come get me. But then I decided I would just keep going, and see how it went.

So that’s basically it. I just kept going. I ran some, I walked some. I ate some jelly beans, which I guess helped. I mean, I didn’t die or anything. Ha.

And then I finished. In, shockingly, not my worst time ever. 2:53. And in looking at my history, it’s faster than my first, eleven years ago, that I did when I was training for the London Marathon. So that makes me feel a tiny bit better.

image

George and the boys watched me finish, which was great, and I got a rare photo with my boys. And Millie. And Heather’s boyfriend.

image

One positive note was that I was not really sore Sunday or today. I am guessing that means I was pretty well trained, legs-wise, just not heat-wise. Although my legs felt really really tired at about mile 12, I definitely still had some life in them. I was just overheated. But still. No more half-marathons. Unless they’re in Alaska or somewhere that’s guaranteed to be cold. Hmmph.

As for the race itself, I was disappointed in a few things. Well, kinda. I was disappointed there were no timing mats on the course. That just seems weird. I really would like to know what my time at the halfway point was, before I lost my shit. And There were no photographers out on the course, but that was more of a relief than anything. Just an observation. But at least there were plenty of water stations, and whatever they were giving out as a sports drink was totally delicious. Yum.

One funny thing happened at the end, a woman came up to me who recognized my sparkly skirt and the boys, because she had read my review of last year’s race the day before. Love that!

You know I love a busy weekend.

And this was a doozy. But a good doozy.

Saturday was the baby shower for my friend Mary Catherine’s third baby, their first boy. (Yeah, yeah, say what you will about third babies and showers, but when it’s a good friend, why shouldn’t you celebrate every baby?) I was one of the hostesses, so I spent the first part of the morning making three dips. I’ll share the recipes because they were all delish.

Admittedly, the third dip (the white bean one) was the least exciting, so I don’t know if I’ll be making it again (even though I did put a sage sprig in the dip just like in the picture.) Maybe I’ll use a different recipe. But the artichokes with goat cheese? A definite winner. I don’t even need to tell you how good the Nutella dip was.

But before the shower, the boys had a playdate. Their first playdate! And with their best friends at school, Anders and Lewis. They’re twins. (Poor Miles doesn’t have an Anders or a Lewis in his class. But he does have a Millie.) We went to their {very very cool} house and the moms hung out while the kids played. It was great, and hopefully just the first of many.

Untitled
Little boys wreaking havoc

After we left the playdate, I dropped the boys off at Granny and Grandpa’s, and raced across town to get to the shower in time. Just made it! Whew.

And since Mary Catherine is so very Southern, the shower was adorable and full of cute little touches, mostly thanks to her sister, who is also, of course, very Southern.

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

And I’m happy to say that baby Hank made his arrival this morning, safe and sound. I’ll be doing his newborn photos this weekend. Can’t wait!

Untitled
Ann Frances is now a big sister!

After the shower, I was pretty wiped out, so I relaxed (child-free!) for the rest of the evening.

Sunday morning, I ran an 8k race. Yes, and I mean, I ran the entire race. I haven’t run more than maybe 4 miles in a row in forever. Maybe less than that! But my friend Heather, who I ran it with, said she wanted to try running the whole way, and I thought, “why not?” The weather was almost perfect for it (cool and cloudy) and it wasn’t THAT far – 4.8 miles. And we did it! I did have to stop for a potty break (darn tiny bladder) but the energy I expended catching back up to Heather was probably more than if I’d just kept running.

Untitled

We finished in 58 minutes, woo hoo! I think it’s kind of funny that if I do run/walk, I can go faster (11 minute pace instead of just under 12) but I wasn’t worried about time for this race, just running.

After the race, we went to our friends’ Irish restaurant (where else) for brunch. And then I raced across town (in a car this time) to get the boys for a birthday party. Miles had a cough, so he came home with me while Oliver and Linus partied. (Their first drop-off party!)

I went to take photos of a very pretty triplet family, and then went to the grocery store, blah blah blah who wants to hear about my trip to Sam’s?

And that was our weekend, in a nutshell.

Mardi Gras half-marathon

For now, I’m just going to put down the basics of today’s race, and tomorrow I’ll fill in all the details. I’m much too tired to write everything now!

Mardi Gras Half Marathon – New Orleans, Louisiana

Got up at 5:00 a.m., after sleeping somewhat restlessly. I dreamed that I ran the half, and had the energy to run several more miles. Ha! That didn’t happen! So I got up, made coffee, showered, ate a bagel with peanut butter, woke up Chris, and we left the house around 6:45. Chris and I put on sparkly Mardi Gras tattoos Kristina got last weekend (see below). Found a pretty close (and free) parking spot, and walked to the Superdome, where the race started.

We had about 45 minutes, by the time we got there, before the race started. We used the port-a-potties a few times (and not enough times, as it turned out) and drank water, stretched, etc. There were a *lot* of Team in Training (TNT) people there. They all seemed nice, but boy, was I envious of their supporters! They had the most supporters by far, though to be fair, they’d (occasionally) cheer for Chris and I as well.

So we ran down Poydras St to Decatur, past the French Quarter and the French Market, and at around mile 2, there were the port-a-potties and the first water stop. Chris and I had stopped by the toilets at the French Market, but they were locked. Ooops! When we finally got to pee again, we lost 5 minutes. But it was worth it. Anyway, we weren’t going for time.

We ran up Esplanade and to City Park, down a street that runs next to the park. A few minutes after we turned onto this road, we looked ahead and saw….a HUGE HILL!!! Oh my god! No one said anything! It turned out to be an interstate overpass and it was on the out-and-back portion, so we had to run it TWICE! Ack! It really wasn’t so bad, but it was such a surprise!

So we ran down this road for what felt like *forever* but was probably 3 miles each way (I could look, but my feet hurt) and completely unshaded. This was definitely the hardest part of the race. There were very few supporters, and not enough water stops. I was hot and starting to feel dehydrated. Chills and dizziness. Not bad, but just unpleasantness. I had part of a ClifShot that I brought, but without water, I didn’t want to choke down any more of it.

Finally we get past City Park and onto Canal Street. The home stretch! We got our picture taken by Marathon Foto right before Canal Street. I was feeling really crappy at that point, but we ran and smiled for the camera, so we’ll see how that comes out! For parts of miles 7-11, I had to walk. Not a lot, just 2 minutes or so at a time. I wish I hadn’t had to, and I don’t think I would have had to, if I had been properly hydrated. Hmmm. Don’t know if it’s my fault for not drinking enough earlier or the organizer’s faults for not having enough water stations. At one point, near mile 12, the water station ran out of cups! Somehow I got a hold of one (used??) but otherwise, it was “cup your hands” if you wanted water. Hmmm. We were at the back, it’s true.

Finally, we’re in the home stretch! I had eaten the rest of my gel, and as Canal Street is pretty shady, I was feeling better. We walked a little more, and then ran the rest of the way. The final stretch is up to the Superdome, and then a U-turn to get to the finish line. I was so happy to see it! We put on a good finishing kick when we saw the clock time was 2:58. I wanted to finish in under 3 hours by our watches, but to also finish in that by the clock was great too.

It took us 3 minutes to cross the start line, and we lost 5 minutes at the bathroom. I didn’t hit my stop button (oops) until after I had removed my chip and gotten some water, so I’m not sure of my time as I took it, but it was about 2:55, I’d guess, taking into account the 3 minutes we lost at the beginning.

Here are my splits:
1-13:14 (a tiny bit faster than the pace I wanted to keep)
2-12:55 (oops. but felt great, so why not?)
3-18:55 (bathroom break)
4-11:25 (oops!!! i’ll pay for this later!)
5-13:10 (still a little fast, but better than mile 4!)
6-12:12 (ah well, my pace is not going to be what i wanted it to be)
7-12:50
8-12:56
9-13:14 (slooooowing down!)
10-13:21 (yup)
11-13:22 (uh huh)
12-13:08 (ooh, feeling stronger!)
13.1- can’t be sure, think around 13:30 or so, with our finishing kick.

Now, looking at my splits, I can see what went wrong. For my LSD runs, I really should be running at 13:30-14:00 pace. My pace was just too fast, *especially* at the beginning.

Lessons learned:
1. Don’t go out too fast! (of course! of course! duh!)
2. Liquid carbohydrate (I liked the Ultima stuff they had on the course) is better for Pam than gel. (gag)
3. Drink lots before you go to bed and the race!
4. Don’t run a marathon in New Orleans! (too hot! too sunny! ack!)

Overall, a pretty good run. My arches are in hell right now, I’ve soaked my feet and iced the arches, and taken a Vioxx and finally the pain has abated a tad. Wonder if it’s the shoes?

Oh yeah, and I wore the new British flag socks I got at the expo. Only fitting, I guess, since I’m wearing American flag socks to London. I got a compliment on my socks, too. 🙂