Monday, December 9, 2013

2013 Woman’s Half Marathon Recap

Yesterday, I ran and completed my 16th Half Marathon, the Woman’s Hospital Half Marathon in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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Race-day weather forecasts left doubts in my mind as conditions were not favorable for outdoor actives. Thankfully, I had my two best running buds along and we decided to tough it out together (although we didn’t really want to).

Our weekend began at packet pickup.

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We weren’t incredibly impressed with the “Expo” and we only stayed a few minutes. We all had the impression that our shirts were women specific, so we registered a size up. As it turned out, the shirts were actually long sleeve cotton and were not women specific. Thankfully, the ladies behind the table allowed me to change out my shirt for my correct size.

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We found our names on the board, snapped a quick picture, then headed out again.

As our alarms rang on race morning, a collective groan made it’s way through the room. Knowing the weather was cold and rainy, we all had a hard time getting out of bed.

Let me start off by saying, if I ever made anyone think that running races is like a frolic through the flower fields, I’m sorry. Racing is HARD. It’s tough – it requires persistence, dedication, and an ability to push through no matter the conditions. Did I want to go outside and run 13.1 miles for 2 hours in the chilly rain? Definitely not. However, I’m stubborn. I registered for this race and I decided I was going to finish it no matter what. Was it worth it? Completely, 100% yes.

It’s on days like yesterday that I’m reminded how much I love to run. It’s my passion. I feel privileged and oh so blessed that I’m able to something I truly love, as often as I want! My coach always says, “Running is a gift” and she’s right.

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So, despite the nasty weather conditions, I put on my racing outfit and headed out the door with 15 minutes to start time. (My good-sported friends not far behind.)

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A secret I learned from the Dallas Turkey Trot – toe warmers. I wore these guys most of the race and my feet never became cold!  Warm feet = better running form = no knee pain. Works for me! My Zensah compression socks also helped keep my legs nice and warm.

This race had a temp of 35 degrees at the start with a 30% chance of rain. You northerners are probably laughing at me, but trust me…that’s COLD for us.

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I love these ladies!

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Port-A-Potties with NO lines (and it was only 15 minutes before race start). A sight not often seen!

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A very sparse pre-race party. I wonder how many people registered for this race and didn’t run?

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We lined up in our corral, the 5K runners ahead of us. (The 5K began about 5 minutes before the 10K/Half.)

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It wasn’t long before our turn came about! While waiting to start, the race announcer had everyone do the wave to keep warm. :0)

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The first few miles of our race were actually quite warm because we ran mostly by the levy. Heather and I shed our sweatshirts early on.

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Not gonna lie, this bridge creeps me out.

After leaving the levy, the course took us to the LSU campus and near Tiger Stadium!

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Hello Death Valley!

Mile three was the point where the Half Marathoners and 10K-ers split. Heather’s foot was bothering her, so she decided to cut off for the 10K.

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I waved goodbye to my friend and continued the remainder of the race solo.

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Similar to the Louisiana Half Marathon, this race course led us around the LSU lakes. The roads around the lakes are beautiful and if I lived in BR, I would run this course often.

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When we reached the lakes, the rain began….thirty percent chance my foot. Thankfully, it was a drizzle, not a pour. I also realized how chilly I was and I regretted my decision to toss my sweatshirt.

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Rain rain go away!

At this point, I became so bored with myself that I started counting my steps. I didn’t have music because my phone was in the room, so I counted 800 steps in half a mile. I don’t think I’ve ever been that bored during a run before and I hope to never be again!

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This bridge is a beast. This flat terrain girl doesn’t like inclines and this bridge gets me every time!

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Once we reached downtown, we lopped around the capitol, then back towards the finish line.

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Around Mile 11.5, it began to pour. I’m glad it waited until the end of the race, but the water was dripping into my eyes and I found myself wishing I had worn a hat. Ah well. At least I didn’t lose a contact!

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Traditional Mile 12 photo

I made it to the finish line and crossed in 2 hours and 11 minutes. Definitely not a PR (I wasn’t pushing for one), but still proud of my accomplishment for the weather conditions. I did NOT have any IT Band pain during the race, just achy knees. It was nice to experience “normal” running pain again.

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I received my medal, then walked back to the hotel. Kelli and Heather were waiting for me in the room – we decided earlier that morning to meet back up in our room, no sense in getting wet/cold again after warming up after the race!

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The Old State Capitol

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These ladies and their crew were by far the best cheerleaders on the course. They were at a water stop around mile 5 and I could hear them for at least half a mile away. They were also at mile 10 and again near the finish line. I talked to them several times and had to stop for a  picture on my way back to the room. Thanks for helping make this race an enjoyable experience, ladies!

Final race thoughts:

  • This race course is beautiful, I just wish the weather would have cooperated.
  • The “Women” theme of this race was fun, although I did spy a few men out on the course!
  • This race Expo needed more to it.
  • Loved the host hotel being so close to the start line! It was nice to leave our hotel 15 minutes before the start of the race.
  • Despite the tough conditions, many people finished this race. It’s proof that you can do anything you put your mind to.

How was your weekend? Did you run a race? Any fun Christmas/Holiday parties?


  1. Wow girl! Huge Congrats! Chris and I were out in the rain that morning waiting in line outside of Best Buy. I mentioned to Chris that there was a Half that a few of my online friends were running and we both thought that surely they would have postponed it or something! I'm seriously proud that you did this race! What a yucky day!

    1. Thanks so much, Desiree!
      Jason wanted me to go to Best Buy after the race but the item I wanted was already sold out. Just curious, how crazy was the line?

    2. It was at least 130 people deep I'd say. We were #93 and 94.

  2. Congrats on pushing through despite really bad weather. I finished my 18 mile training run this weekend with mist/rain and it was no fun. I did attend a fun Christmas party on Saturday night and I have another one tonight for my golf group. Yay for holiday parties!

    1. Awesome job on your 18 mile run! You are going to do great at are rocking this training! Fun Christmas parties! Hope you enjoyed tonight's party!

  3. Congrats Karen! I did this one last year and loved it! Hopefully the expo will grow in the next few years. I was supposed to run the St. Jude Memphis Half but it got canceled due to an ice storm. But me and my friends came home and ran our race here at home for those St. Jude Kids! It was an unforgettable experience!

    1. Thanks, Mindy! So sorry again about St. Jude. I was incredibly bummed for you but I think you have an awesome running group - they are so supportive! Loved your pictures!

  4. Toe warmers...interesting! When it's cold, I'll wear my Thorlo ankle socks and then wear knee socks over them. Way to go on finishing! Cold is bad enough, but when cold water starts falling from the sky....ugh! Nice job toughing it out.

    1. Great idea...I never thought of wearing two pair of socks! Thank you! :0)

  5. Toe warmers - damn, I really could have used those yesterday!! Great job gutting that race out - we had below-freezing temps yesterday but at least it didn't rain during our race. Small favors, right?

    1. Next time! :0) Below freezing...brrrr....congrats to YOU for running in freezing temps!

  6. Great recap and way to finish in spite of the weather! 35 degrees is almost officially freezing. Anyways, this South(ern) Califronain agrees with your assessment of the weather. Totally cold. I had to laugh when you mentioned being so bored you counted steps. That is bored. And you remembered how many? Too funny!

    I overscheduled this weekend and was horrible and didn't run at all. However, I did have a lot of fun singing at the Disneyland Candlelight Processional on Saturday and playing trumpet in the orchestra at the church I grew up attending for 2 concerts Sunday night. I LOVE Disneyland at Christmastime!

    1. Thank you so much! Oooh the Candlelight Processional...I haven't seen it in years. Last time we saw it was with Stephen Curtis Chapman in WDW and it was amazing. One of my fav parts of Christmas at Disney! Did I ever tell you my husband is a trumpet player, too? Glad you had a great weekend!!

  7. Great job! I ran a 5K this weekend and it was FREEZING but thankfully, no rain.

    1. Great job to you, too! This freezing weather snap seems to have hit the entire country...crazy!

  8. Congrats on completing another race! Those lakes look like it would be a lovely route to run around! I didn't race this weekend but my sister did the Surf n Santa and she said it was cold and rained during her run too.

    1. Thanks so much! Surf n Santa...what a cute race!! Love it!

  9. Congrats on the race Karen! Well deserved medal after the cold and rain!


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