Saturday, December 15, 2012

Ole Man River Half Marathon!

I can't believe the long-awaited event has come and gone. 
The months & months of training almost paid off, as I finished in a respectable amount of time, and 95% of me felt great the entire time. 

 I was totally stoked about the route the 13.1 mile course would take me. My husband took me out last weekend so I could drive the whole thing and get a sense of what was ahead of me. I saw the turns, learned how to anticipate the mile markers and previewed the scenery I'd have for a few hours of running. 

The start (and finish) line was in City Park, and quickly dumped us on to Wisner, a very long, straight and flat road that borders beautiful Bayou St. John. It's a peaceful stretch of road to jog along. 


I'd like to canoe or kayak along the bayou some time like this dude. 

Around the 4 mile marker, we turned onto Lakeshore Drive, which traces Lake Pontchartrain.  I particularly love being on the shore of this lake because it's so big, I can pretend I'm on Lake Michigan, back home. This was the longest stretch of the half marathon.  The weather was about 60 degrees, overcast and slightly damp...especially from the lake. Perfect conditions for running. 

If you look at the size of the lake in relation to the city of New Orleans, you'll see just how big it is. 

After the Lakeshore Drive portion was covered, we just had to circle back to City Park--a reverse of how we came out. It was helpful to know exactly how much further I had until the finish line. 

Unfortunately though, at this point, my knee (which had been bothering me last spring) began to stiffen and throb and burn--to an almost intolerable degree.  I had to slow my pace and start to put in more walk breaks. This really ticked me off because I was making such great time, but it wasn't worth crippling myself and preventing a lifelong running career.
The worst part was that the rest of me--lungs, muscles, heart and mind--were strong as ever. I felt euphoric! But my knee has always been a variable, and I guess this distance just put it over the edge. 

Lesson learned. 

But I refused to let the excruciating knee pain deter me from my goal. 

I was going to finish, damnit! 

Today's race organizers hosted both a 5K (which I completed last year) and a half marathon. Something I found cool was that the bibs for "halfers" had our first name printed on them!

The announcer at the finish line cheered my name as I crossed! 
Such a cool feeling. 

We also got this super cool dry-fit long sleeved t-shirt in 
our packet of goodies. 

Everyone who crossed the finish line got this medal.  I completed the race in 2 hours and 27 minutes.
For this weekend, at least, this is my new favorite piece of jewelry. 

I grabbed my well-deserved beer and asked the closest 
fellow runner to snap my picture. 
Medal, sweat, beer....luckily the throbbing knee doesn't, my smile covers any disappointment I was feeling about that. 
I was so full of pride, I forgot about it for just that moment. 

Unlike the orange, water and Gatorade of my last race, I treated myself to a real recovery meal: New Orleans red beans and rice, cold beer, and my new favorite supplement, 4D Supplements.  

This stuff tastes fantastic (not too sweet) and includes all the vitamin supplements you could need after a long, hard run.  One such ingredient is glucosamine, vital to joint health. I discovered this product at a race last winter. 

So, I may be a bit wobbly on my feet tonight, making multiple trips to the kitchen for fresh ice packs, but no one can wipe the smile off of my face...

13.1---I did it!!! 

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