Monday, March 31, 2014

Zydeco Half Marathon: A New PR

Where has the weekend gone? They just fly by. Especially these run weekends, and there's no way to adequately explain how much I look forward to them. Well I probably could but that would need it's own post. Marathon race weekends are all around incredible, and oh so fleeting. As much as I was screaming, I need a break from all this running, today right now, all I can think is When do I get to do that again?

March 30, 2014 marked the Zydeco Marathon's first inaugural run. Lafayette has never had a half marathon or marathon, so no one really knew what to expect. What would the expo be like? How many participants would there be? Will race day organization run smoothly? Will the spectators come out and cheer, or will people sleep in and complain about road closures? 

I have nothing but wonderful things to say about this event. You'd never know it was the first race, and I'm told this was the first race the organizer had ever attempted. No 5k or 10k- straight to the marathon. What an undertaking! Go big or go home bay bay!

Saturday was expo and packet pick up day. The expo's turn out exceeded expectations, parking was easy coming and going, lots of great booths, packet pick up was a little complicated but overall, easy breasy. I had hoped to get to sync up with Anna from Running on Plenty  (She's getting her own post on the many reasons why shes so amazing. You need to be reading her blog) at the expo, but we missed each other as she was walking in as I was hoping in the photo booth and heading out. Why are photo booths always ridiculously fun?

Next, it was off to the Sole Sista pre race lunch! We had a great time together, nothing new there, and everyone was feeling amped up about the race! Everyone knew the weather could go either way, miserable or absolute perfection, and thankfully the latter won out. Everyone is discussing pace goals and planning out next year's race season, and I'm thinking I hope I can finish this one race strong.

Sole Sista Pre Race Lunch
The weekend prior to the race, I had set out on my scheduled 12 miler and it just didn't feel right, so I quit at 7.5 miles. I had had great runs during the week with treadmill speed training, but I knew I hadn't been able to train for this race the way that I should. I felt under prepared to say the least. Still quietly I knew I want to PR. I vowed not to put too much pace pressure on myself, remember this is supposed to be fun!

Before I can blink five times fast, it's race morning. Oddly, I wasn't at all nervous about this race. I didn't' have high expectations, I wanted to do well, but I wasn't going to beat myself up if I missed the PR. In all honesty, after that knee bomb at Louisiana, I'm just thankful to be running. Still I can't help thinking How awesome would it be to come back strong and end the season on a high note? You know that's what you want to do crazy girl.

I ate a Quest Bar and drank two scoops of Optimum's Platinum Nutrition Pre Work Out (stuff is preworkout crack.  I'm hard core addicted), and headed to the race. The Sole Sister group met up for pictures and stretching with a last minute pep talk and we're off to the start. I ran into so many people running their first half, people I didn't even know were running, people I hadn't seen in a long time, and honestly social hour was fantastic. I love the talking. There was no time to get nervous, as 7am approached quickly, and we're off. I didn't plan out my start position well and started towards the back of the pack, which would turn out in my favor.

As I'm crossing the start line and pressing start on my run AP, I see my Mom shaking a sign and cheering for me. I don't know if I've ever felt so special as I did this day. I can feel it in my bones, it's going to be a great day for running!

The first mile was crowded. I had started far back, and there's no way I can start the race too quickly. I'm blocked in by people. Just chill Leigh Ann. It's a long race. I'm not too worried about trying to pass people until five minutes in. My AP tells me I've run X distance at an 11 (which is very slow for me). I pick it up and actively start passing people.

Mile One: 10:23

I start running into a lot of people I know, insert the talking. How's your race going, what's your pace plan? I need a buddy. In between mile one and two I run into Anna and Tiffany, perfect! Anna and I start catching up since we weren't able to chat at the expo, and time starts ticking by faster and faster. Anna and Tiffany are clearly out to have FUN at this race. They're stopping for pictures, and waving to specatators. I'm sticking with these chicks! Since have fun and finish strong where my two goals going into the race, I decide that's exactly what I'm going to do.

Mile Two: 9:51

I'm having a hard time letting go of my pace obsession. I need to run X pace to beat my previous time. Gotta move faster, but I held back. Anna and I are talking, Tiffany's taking phone calls, we're laughing at all the funny signs all of us amazed at the great turn out. I made a friend for the next Crescent City Classic, and I don't even have my ear buds in. What the?

Mile Three: 10:01 *Water and Shot Block Stop*

In between miles three and four I have to switch to battery back up on my phone. Yes, already. I have to put the phone up and stop pace obsessing. It's killing me. Let it go, have fun!

Mile Four: 9:39

I have no idea what my pace is. I'm not listening to my music. When it feels good we run faster, when we feel like slowing down, we slow down.

Running and talking- these girls made the race a million times more fun. I owe you one Triathlon Anna :)
Mile Five: 9:54

The super athletes are making the loop back. They always inspire me to the fullest extent. How do they do it? 

Mile Six: 10:14 *Water & Shot Block*

We're approaching Bendel, which is a favorite for Lafayette runners who want to do hill work, as it's literally our only neighborhood with hills. Everyone is dreading the hills, but I know, when we come out of Bendel, it's time to bring it on home. We'll be more than half way done!

Mile Seven: 9:48

I'm getting antsy. The hills really aren't affecting me. She's so bougie! I do make a point to do hill work regularly, making myself run down to the river and back out again. I suppose it's paying off!

I feel great, and I know I want to go for the PR. I have to try, as those two little letters keep flashing across my brain every minute now. The PR idea has all of my spastic ADD attention. The girls want to make a pit stop. It's a tough call for me to leave Anna and Tiffany, I knew we'd have a great time finishing the race together, and honestly I could have used a pit stop at that stage myself, but I had to try for the PR. I needed it for more reasons than one. I had to prove to myself that I could come back from LouisianaSee ya'll at the finish line! At 7.5 miles my average pace is 10:01. I know if I'm going to PR I have to come in under a 9:55 average so I have time to make it up but I will have to focus, and pace this out.

Mile Eight: 9:50 *Water & Shot Block*

I'm out of Bendel and the hills are behind me. Time to bring this bad boy back on home! Five miles to go Leigh Ann don't start getting crazy now! Pace. it. out.

Mile Nine: 9:25

I'm fighting the urge to light it up and really hammer out the pace, but I know four miles is a long way to go if I run out of gas. I'm not hurting, I feel pretty fantastic all things considered.

Mile Ten: 9:39 *Last Water Stop*

I hit mile ten and see two of my best friends cheering for me. They've both been there for all of my big races, I don't know why it surprised me so much to see them there, but I was so touched and tickled. Plus they gave me the giggles.

The first is funny as I have one really nasty and unlady like toe. I don't know what I'll do come pedicure time. The second is funny, because well you know.
I'm rolling into my last 5k, I've just received this biggest support from my friends, and it feels incredible to be passing people at the end. It's literally never happened to me at a race before. I start fishing. Picking a person out in front of me, passing them, picking another, passing them, etc. I can hear my feet falling harder and I know I'm getting tired, but I keep fishing.

Mile Eleven: 9:36

Every five minutes my ap tells me my average pace is dropping. I know if I keep this up I'm going to get it. I'm going to PR. Geez Louise I am getting tired. My left foot is hurting in my arch and right quad is screaming at me to let up. My head says You can do this. You are one bad ass bitch. Pep talks for the win. My heart says I want to PR. Come on legs you can handle a little more.

Mile Twelve: 9:30

I'm getting tired, my form is total shit, but I want this PR like I want to breathe. The last mile and half was a real mind game. My body wants to slow down, my head says you're good where you're at, and my heart can't run fast enough.

I thought about those three miles at Louisiana when I had to drag my leg to the half finish on what was supposed to be my first Marathon. I thought about how bad that day was for me. Then I got mad. I got mad at my body for stealing my Marathon that day, and I know I have to have this. I need this. I need to end this run season with a bang. I need to prove to myself that I am stronger than that day. That that day doesn't define me. I am booking it. I'm passing people. No one has passed me since before mile seven and It feels INCREDIBLE.

Mile Thirteen: 9:25

I am huffing and puffing. My feet are slapping the ground. I'm sure I look utterly ridiculous and I do not care. I am completely winded and this last tenth of a mile feels like it will break me. There's a hill right at the end. Cruel and unusual punishment anyone? I know it's going to be there but it doesn't make actually running it any easier. Right on the other side, there's the finish. Come on Leigh Ann you got this. My right Quad is screaming at me to let up. I'll tata you later cher, we have a race to finish!  I'm over the hill. I'm scanning the crowd for my people. There they are! What an incredible feeling. My heart is in my throat, and the high is setting in. I did it. Take that ya stupid knee, Winning!

I stop my ap after crossing the finish line: 13.12 miles: 2:08:22 Average 9:47 pace.

Sometimes you're the windshield and sometimes you're the bug. Finally, it was my turn to be the windshield.

Winded, sweaty, and cold. Where's my jacket? About that bathroom break....

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  1. Amazing. Seriously. You make me want to run another half, like tomorrow. Congrats on the PR girl, you deserved it!!

  2. YAYYYY!!!! Look at your PR gal pal!

  3. Love love love!! I feel like I had chills reading this, because your internal monologue is so similar to how mine was during my (measly 5-mile) race this weekend. So proud of you girl--- you earned every painful mile of this PR and you deserve it!!

  4. My first half marathon is April 12th and this post just got me completely pumped for it!! CONGRATS on the PR. By the way you were hauling Aces out there!! Can't wait to see what else you achieve this year!! :)

  5. I think your Sole Sisters running group sounds like the absolute coolest thing, I would love to find a group similar to me. You guys seem to have such a great time, keep each other motivated and a great support group!

  6. Such a fun recap! And CONGRATULATIONS on the PR -- so exciting!

  7. Your race posts always bring me to tears...I'm so happy that you were able to complete this and your knee cooperated <3

  8. Such a great recap! I am glad you did so awesome. And it cracks me up that your race season is ending and ours is just really starting up here in Michigan.

  9. This was amazing, it gave me chills! I cant wait for my race day! So excited for you!

  10. I was so happy I got to see you before the race. You were my inspiration to begin this journey and it meant so much to see you before we started! Congrats on the PR!!! I know it meant the world to you. I hope one day I can run the half again and kill it like you did. So excited for you ma'am!

  11. So excited for you girl - you did AMAZING!

  12. Way to go girl! Great PR. Who is your top by? I love the color and it is super flattering :)

  13. Awesome job girl! I'm always amazed at your speed! You did amazing!!

  14. Jessica McLaughlinApril 1, 2014 at 5:25 AM

    Simply Amazing! Your super inspiring and I couldn't be happier for your PR! You did good girl, you rocked it hard!!

  15. I teared up reading this! I am so happy for you! I knew you would do great and of course you did... but how amazing to PR and by that much!!! You rock!!!