I know none of you would believe me when I talk about cold days in New Orleans unless a) you were here or b) you also live in the south and understand that we do actually get cold weather down here, even if the chilly winds are blowing through palm trees and tropical flowers.
While the temperature the morning of my race was not enough to ruin the experience all together, it did try to mess with my game. That was the first time our temperature had dropped so low this year, and it had done so by 25 degrees overnight. I love running in cold weather but was not prepared for the high winds that left me with immobile hands the entire 13 miles.
C'est la vie. On to the good stuff.
It had been so long since my last race that all my old rituals felt brand new again!
-Preparing the outfit
-Preparing the pre-race meal
-The tapering of miles
-The adjusting of diet and sleep patterns the week of the race
...all of it had me on a high all week. I did make a few changes along the way, before, during and after the race, so we'll see how they pan out for the next two halves.
This was the earliest race I'd been in. Gun went off at 7:00 am. That, coupled with my excitement to run half marathon #4, pulled me right out of bed well before the sun. I may have been pumped, but that didn't stop fatigue from trying to weigh me down. I always worry about having to "go" during the race, so I limit the amount of joe I gulp pre-race. But cold weather and droopy eyes won out. I'll happily give those 40 seconds to the port-a-potty to get my caffine buzz on.
radition: Drink one small mug of coffee
Change #1: Allow yourself 2 regular-sized mugs of coffee and don't beat yourself up when you--inevitably--stop to pee.
Block all outside communication until you cross the finish line.
Change #2: Realize that your ass is going to be out there alone for awhile, and unless you're planning to sprint all 13 miles, a little texting w/ mom isn't going to kill ya. Plus, you've got a blog that's not going to illustrate itself.
So I decided to whip out my phone and start snapping pictures.
While I was running.
[Approaching Mile #3. Feeling good.]
[Mile 7. Sure, I can do 6 more...]
[Miles 8 & 9 took us through Audubon Park. The sun coming through the Spanish moss really woke me up.]
Ahhh..mile 9. This was the point I decided I should probably start inserting those walk breaks I studied in my book. Written about a professional runner and coach. Those breaks that you use immediately, at the beginning of the race. Not after you realize you're tired or sore.
Change #3: Wait until you're tired and sore.
(I should really count my blessings that I didn't mess up my knee. Was just achy for a day. That will not happen again.)
The answer is yes. To both.
I didn't spend hours arranging my most favorite songs into a playlist that so perfectly matched the pace I wanted to run just to listen quietly. They're my favorite songs! They get me pumped! I'm going to sing my favorite songs, y'all! Besides. I was running a half marathon, not working. Let a girl enjoy herself on her special day.
Change #4: Um, you can put slower songs on your playlist. Listen to music, you fool.
Proofs of the candid shots that I'm definitely not planning to purchase. Maybe something cuter will show up once I sift through the 17,000 they sent us of the entire race.
[I'm standing!! And not crying!!]
[Are those all for me???]
Change #5: Find the food tent with the shortest line.
(You're supposed to eat a protein-packed meal w/in 30 minutes of such a strenuous workout. Plus, mama could smell those wieners.)
I have to say it: my actual chip time was 2:06. Not 2:07. This is a new PR for me, not by much, but I'm going to take it.
I'm pretty impressed with my average pace as well. My long training runs are usually at or above 10:00. Who knew.
Maybe it was that extra swig of joe on my way out the door.
I would really like to break 2 hours in December.
[That's just disgusting.]