Thayne and I flew to Baton Rouge Friday evening and left the airport to absolutely beautiful weather! We headed to a restaurant that had some local bands playing and enjoyed our evening. Saturday we headed to the expo and went on a really neat tour of the USS Kidd. The weather was seriously gorgeous and was looking to be perfect racing weather Sunday morning.
I was right! Sunday morning brought bright skies, no wind and hovering around 42-45 degrees. Perfect conditions!
Before the race started I was a bit more nervous than usual. My last few half marathons hadn't been my best feeling, regardless of my times. I had now had about two months since my last race to regroup and focus on training vs racing. I wanted to push and see what I could do, but that always brings about the possibility of failure.
I knew this course was fairly flat, but it was also one that I wouldn't see Thayne during at all. It's nice to know WHEN I'm going to see him to know I'll get an extra boost if I really need it.
The race started and I ended up surrounding myself with people who seemed to be about the same speed as my current PR (last March in Arkansas, 1:35:56). We headed out of downtown Baton Rouge and found ourselves by a very nice park and lake. The breezes off the lake felt amazing, even though the temperature was cool that morning.
We passed through the LSU campus, and at this point I was so focused that I didn't even realize we were there! Around half way we found ourselves back at the lake and rounding the other side. There were a lot of spectators around this side who came out of their homes (beautiful!) to cheer. There were a few small hills around here, but nothing serious.
Around 10 miles I knew that the rest of the course was how we started. I could tell I was running pretty close to a PR, but wasn't quite sure what I'd end up with. Having a 5k left can mean just about anything, really. It's still plenty of time to "blow up."
I was still feeling pretty good at this point! Usually somewhere between 9 and 11 miles I have a really tough mile or so, then seem to gather myself up and have a second wind coming into the finish.
There were a lot of spectators the last few miles which really helped keep me going strong. I remember a few girls telling me they loved my skirt! (Thanks, Sparkle Athletic for keeping us looking fashionable while staying sporty!!)
Coming into the finish I knew I'd get a PR... I just wasn't sure what I'd hit. I sprinted as hard as I could towards the finish line and wound up with a new PR of 1:34:58! Almost a full minute off my time from last March! My overall pace was 7:15, and I was 15th woman to finish overall. Wow! I also took 2nd in my age group, but ended up being bumped up to 1st because she ended up being 3rd female overall.
After the race Thayne and I went back to the hotel to get warm and clean up before we headed back to the post race party. Now I thought the race was amazing, but they know how to party in Louisiana! Each runner received tickets for 8 food samples and 2 beers. Thayne and I split the food samples and were actually full! The sizes were definitely bigger than just samples.
Louisiana ended up being a huge success of a race, and a really fun weekend. I'd highly suggest adding this one to your list if you're able to travel and run. I definitely started out 2016 with a bang!
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