Sunday, December 12, 2010

I CAN do ALL things! Swamp Stomp Half Marathon Recap

To start off, I registered for this Half Marathon as a last minute impulse.  It is a part of our training schedule and we weren’t going to have a group run that morning because of the race.  I didn’t do this race last year because I wanted Disney World to be my very first Half Marathon (silly, I know) and instead, I chose to get up on my own and run 12 miles in  my neighborhood.  Stupid.  I was so bored and I hated it. 

So far this year, I’ve run 2 Half Marathons…neither of which I’ve actually been able to just let myself run and see how (or if) my speed has improved…so I decided to run this race. It’s in my own hometown and it was only $15 to register (no medal or anything which is ok).  I did get a long sleeve tech shirt out of the deal!  Woohoo!

I talked myself into running this race and I put a lot of pressure on myself.  I was running it alone (I’ve run 5 Half Marathons to date and this is the only one I’ve ever run alone!) and I wanted to keep 9:30 miles and see if I could get 2hours and 10minutes. I knew knew knew that was a LONG shot but I wanted to put it as my goal anyway.  My previous PR before this race was 2hours and 28 minutes from the New Orleans Half Marathon in February.  Big jump, right?  Well, in all of my Saturday long runs, I kept about a 9:30-10:00 pace so I was hoping I could do that for this race.

I didn’t sleep well AT ALL on Thursday night. I was tired but tossed and turned until after midnight (cause I was so nervous).  I knew that was supposed to be the most important night of sleep before the race so I was upset with me for my lack of sleep.

The day before the race (Friday) I did SO WELL with my “right foods” goal!  I consumed very very little sugar and I ate good fuel-type foods!  Woohoo!

Race morning came and I received an email from the race director saying that this race had a record number of participants - 225+!!!  That’s great and all, but they weren’t sure how the parking situation would be at the park….they were also worried about people getting into the park!   That put me into super overdrive of getting ready. Thankfully, everything was set out the night before, ready to go!

The only thing I was missing was my good pair of iPhone ear phones.  I found out later that Jason used them at work and they are broken now.  :0(  I was almost in a panic because they only earphones  that I have fall out of my ears constantly. 

Sooooo, “Santa” went into the other room and came back out with an “early” Christmas Present!  OMG He got me Yurbuds!!!!! I guess he heard me talking about them so much he bought me a pair! I was worried about how they would fit but they are great and I love love love my husband!!!!

Problem: solved!



It was a short drive to the park but as we arrived, we were stuck in a line of cars trying to enter the park.  I was worried that we wouldn’t make it to the table in time to get my number!! (This race does morning only packet pickup).  Panic moment #2….this was solved when we finally entered the park 20 minutes before race time.  Whew.


The line of cars stuck behind me waiting to get in!!!  Yikes!

Later on, they announced that they were starting the race late because of the traffic congestion trying to get in the park!


Our running group!!! I almost missed this picture because my husband parked and I ran to get my packet. I went back to the truck  to put my packet away and his truck was GONE!  He had moved it and didn’t text me to tell me!  So I walked all over the dang place trying to find him. I barely got into this picture…barely.  The only reason I did is because I ran up to them screaming “WAAAAIIIIIT!”  Phahahah!  I’m sure that was a sight to see!!! lol

The weather predictions for this race changed constantly last week. I didn't know if it would be hot or cold or rainy or sunny….so I grabbed a few different types of outfits to wear for the race!  I ended up running in a sleeveless shirt and shorts….MID DECEMBER!  Insane.  Now it’s freezing outside today. Go figure! I didn’t wear my running skirt cause I don’t have one to match my GoRun shirt from this season.  I’ll wear skirts in all the rest of my races, I just wanted to wear this GoRun shirt one time!  I love the running skirts because they have pockets for your GU.  In these shorts, I had to pin my Gu to the inside of the waistband.  Hah!

As I was getting ready to line up, I turned on my phone to my music and you know what? Every single song had been WIPED off my phone.  I never updated my iPhone when they came out with the updates but I did sync it a few weeks ago to add a few ringtones to it.  I didn’t even think to look at my music to see if the songs were still there!  I’ve synced my phone many times before and it’s never wiped out all of my music!  Onto panic moment #3 of the morning!

Problem solved?  Pandora Radio App!!!!


Everyone lined up ready to run!


Off we go!  You see the girl in the white hat and navy blue shirt in front of me?  My 2 goals for this race were to either:  #1 Stay up with Rebecca or #2 Get a time of 2:10.  I ran with Rebecca last week in training and she ran about a 9:30 or so pace so I knew if I could keep her in my sight, I was doing ok!


This run was a little boring – nothing but LONG roads and trees.  Every once in a while, a family was standing at the end of their driveway cheering us on.  It really felt like we ran for forever!!!!


This would be the reason this race is called the “SWAMP STOMP”!  Thankfully, we didn’t have to run through the swamp, just along side it!  :0)

They had 3 water stops during this race and you passed each one twice.  Very similar to how many water stations were in the Jazz Half. I took my first GU at mile 6 and my second one at mile 10.  One was a Roctane and the other had caffeine in it for an extra boost!!!

I was SUPER excited at mile 6!! I beat my 10K PR by 7 minutes!!!!  I kept thinking “I got this race!  I got this!!”


Me at mile 7!  I was feeling ok….not great….I was definitely starting to feel my body.  It wanted me to stop.  I had done SO well though during the first half of the race that I couldn’t stop now!  My music stopped a few times so I had to get out my phone and resume it.  That was a pain.  Next time I’m definitely checking my music first!


Made it to mile 7!!!


This is an out and back course so on the way back, we passed a few of our running group friends!  They had the cutest tutus ever!!!!


A HUGE pick me up at mile 7 was a few of my favorite people from church!!!!  They were handing out water for their school (and picking up trash! lol)  I LOVED seeing them!  They cheered me on and it really gave me a boost!!!

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After mile 9, I lost Rebecca.  My lower body hurt.  I was having trouble breathing (this comes and goes as it pleases) and my legs were hurting.  I walked a few times to stretch them out and also to catch my breath. Not to mention the WIND!  The wind was awful!  It hit us about mile 8 and didn’t stop until the end!!! After about mile 10, I had to walk a little, then run as far as I could, then walk some more. I have no idea what ratio I was doing…I just ran until I couldn’t run any more.  Time felt like it was standing still. I thought multiple times that I had walked so much that there was no way I would get my goal time and then I would look down at my watch and do the math…still on track!!

I had to do a LOT of self coaching….”You can do this!”  “You got this!”  “You CAN do ALL things!”  I did a lot of praying, too.  I prayed for strength, I prayed for energy, I prayed for courage to make it through. 


I finally made it to mile 12.  I have no idea how I did that because at that point, I felt like I had so little energy that the wind could blow me over in a second! I tried to run the entire last mile….I couldn’t.  No way.  I kept on with my “run as far as I can then walk” strategy.  When I saw the line of cars, I knew I was getting close.  I prayed for an adrenaline boost and I got one!!! 

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Here I come!!!!!


Trying not to show a look of pain…I was definitely feeling it though!

As I rounded the corner, I picked up my pace and sprinted in home!!!! It felt amazing!  I saw the time clock…….



….and I knew that even though I didn’t get my goal time of 2hours and 10minutes, I still kicked butt!!!!!  (sorry about my legs in the above picture….my thigh looks really gross! lol)

My official time:

2 Hours, 12 Minutes, and 47Seconds!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That’s SIXTEEN minutes faster than my previous PR from February of this year!!!!!!!!! I did it!!!!!!!


SO excited to be FINISHED!!!!!!!

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My three favorite guys!  My husband, my dad, and my father in law!  I love them all!!!! :0)  They were there to cheer me on!


Another photo of the swamp! lol


After I finished running, the only thing that bothered me was my left calf.  It was cramping.  I got some electrolytes and then got in line for a massage.  The massage hurt but it was a feel good kind of pain know what I mean?  I also came home and wore my compression socks all afternoon and they helped TREMENDOUSLY!!!!


Some of my GoRun friends after the race!


We tossed up ideas of what to eat after the race.  They had Gumbo out there but I wasn’t feeling that at all.  So I decided to come home and make this really good pasta dish recipe I had!

We both took naps then went to eat dinner and watch Narnia 3 with my parents!  LOVED the movie!!!! 

Overall, I would say that I had a fabulous day!


  1. great job girl! Love the swamp pics haha!
    I LOVE my yurbuds, they never fall out! Only thing is I can't hear a THING with them in and am always afraid I am going to get hit by a bus or something haha. WTG!

  2. Great race recap and congrats again on blowing away your PR! You'll get to 2:10 soon enough!

  3. WOW! Great job on your new PR! It's funny how when you're in a race and you stop paying attention to your pace you actually kick butt ;)

  4. Congrats on the PR. Looks like a fun race. I don't know about that morning pick up only though. Looks like it would have been easier with early pick up.

  5. Way to go girl! Congratulations on the new PR! It sounds like the course was tough with the wind and not many spectators to cheer you to the finish line. It's awesome that you kept such a good pace! Woot! Woot!

  6. Congrats Karen! That's amazing you smashed your PR by so much, and in the middle of marathon training no less. My slowest half was during marathon training b/c my legs were so tired. Just think of how fast you can run a 1/2 when the marathon is over ;) GREAT job!

  7. Wow, you did so well!!! Congrats!

  8. Congrats on a good race and PR, Karen! I thought that was a nice event, and I'll probably run it again next year! Can't beat the price at $15!

    That's a beautiful park. I also ran a 25K Trail Run over there October 2. The review is buried a little deeper in my blog.

    I went through a lot of the same things. Got caught in that long line getting in, thought I was going to be late, and ran back to the truck with my packet. And we both posted pics of that same 12-mile sign!

    Here's something you can check out if you want. I like to tell runners that I meet about Dailymile ( It's a cool networking site where you can log and track your miles, and also meet a lot of great runners, both local and from around the world.

    Cheers, and Happy Running!


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