Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Gulf Coast Half Marathon 2015

If you read yesterday's recap, you know that my friend Heather and I spent our weekend in Mandeville, Louisiana for the Gulf Coast Half Marathon! We had an amazing time and the weather couldn't have been more prefect!

Today, I'm bringing you the recap of the race itself! By the way, this just so happened to be Baby Seal's first race! :)

My outfit for race day was created several weeks ago in my head - although the arm warmers didn't last! I'm so thankful for the sweatshirts we found at Academy the evening before the race!

I also created the little yellow sign, simply so people would be cautious when running up behind me. I know that my child might not like running and that's a-ok with me...

On race morning, Heather and I both slept WAY later than we intended...by like an hour...seriously. I slept well the night before, I just didn't want to get out of bed! Whoops!

However, we got up anyway and were dressed as fast as possible - hence the reason I still look half asleep in the above picture!

We stayed at the host hotel, the Courtyard Marriott. Since we weren't able to partake in their continental breakfast, they created breakfast bags for the runners! Mine included a granola bar, a giant orange, and a bottle of water. So nice of them!

After a little bit of traffic coming into the park, we made it in plenty of time for the start! The race began at 7 a.m. out of Fontainebleau State Park in Mandeville.

Thankfully this year, workers were directing traffic and that made a WORLD of difference! I liked that addition! :) (I haven't run this race in several years, by the way!)

We found a few of our runner friends to say hello, then made our way to the start line. Y'all, it was COLD out there. Seriously. I think my app said it "felt like" 49 degrees! I'm definitely not complaining but I'm just not used to running in that! 

I also bumped into Mindy at the start line! It was so nice to see her before the race - she even PR'd! It was a gorgeous day and the perfect course for doing so! Congrats, Mindy!

Heather and I decided to join the back of the pack runners in the very last section of the corral. It seems that a 4:1 run/walk has been working for me since I've become pregnant, so that's what we decided to stick with. I've never run/walk intervals in a race before, so this was a new experience for me for sure!

Off we go! This course led us through the park, then out to downtown Mandeville.

We blinked and before we knew it, mile 3 was upon us! Yay! 

The water stops were hilarious! Various clubs/departments throughout the city work the water stops and really keep the runners pumped up. At the end of the race, runners were able to vote on their favorite water stop and the water stop that won received money towards their club/department. It was awesome!

Running along the waterfront was one of the best parts of this race!

It was nice to run and feel great...unlike the last time we ran this race where the weather was so hot and we tortured ourselves and I almost ended up in the ER. No, this race experience was COMPLETELY different!

The waterfront was also lined with gorgeous homes!

Heather's favorite water stop was the ballet girls! They were preparing for the Nutcracker and several "characters" were there handing out water...even the rat!

This race had two options, a 10 miler or a half marathon, and they split along the waterfront. 

Another gorgeous home...this one was decked out for halloween!

The next section of this race took us through another neighborhood of gorgeous homes!

Over halfway there!  I finally made a potty stop at mile 8 and I'm so glad I did! I didn't see another porta potty for a while after that!

It was also around mile 8 that my IT band started to act up (right side). It still hurt even after the race, so I'm going to take it easy this week/weekend to baby it and see if that helps. 

Last but not least, the final several miles of this race were in the park.

So glad I remembered my sunglasses! This part of the course is gorgeous but can seem rather long. I pointed out the back of a runDisney shirt to Heather (it was from Wine & Dine last year). After catching up to the girl, I asked if she was running Wine & Dine again and she said yes...then she said, "KAREN?" Hahah it was Wendy, a long time social media friend I've never actually met in person! It was so nice to finally meet her!!

Speaking of social media friends, I've been running a BUNCH of the same races as this chick and we never ran into each other until this race!! It was so nice to bump into Ernise and say hello! 

Before long, we were back in the park and I just had to take my traditional mile 12 picture!

As we approached our vehicle, Heather took our sweatshirts and put them on the car so we would have a decent finish line picture! (Always thinking ahead!)

All done! Baby's first 13.1 in the books! I honestly thought we would finish around 2:45, so I was pleased with our results!

The finish line party was fun with lots of food and a fun band! 

We did it! I'm so thankful for this girl who stuck with me the entire race!

Number 23 for me!

I seriously couldn't have asked for a better race! This course is gorgeous and the weather was ideal!! This is one of my favorite Louisiana races! My OB told me to watch out for any signs of pain/cramping, etc and I didn't have any other than my right IT Band which is an old injury that comes back to haunt me sometimes. I also made sure to stay well hydrated as this race had plenty of water stations! Overall, I have no complaints about this experience and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat!

Running while pregnant is definitely a different experience but I want to continue as long as it's safe to do so and as long as I'm able! I'm just taking it one day at a time....

Just cause I still think it's hilarious...I gotta share this one again! Heather's going to disown me as her running buddy...

Have a wonderful day everyone!


  1. I'm sooo glad I got to see you Karen!!!! Congrats on a great race! And congrats to Baby Seal too! ;-) I hope the IT Band is just sore and nothing more.

    1. Thanks, Mindy! Same here!! I think it will be alright with a little pampering!

  2. Great job! I know that IT band quite well. I'd love to do a race in Louisiana at some point but I'll wait until I can do it pain free.

  3. Congrats on a great race, Karen, and yay for baby completing his/her first race! It looks like it was an absolutely gorgeous day for a half marathon!

    1. Thanks Kathryn! It really was a perfect day weather wise!!

  4. So glad things went well for you. Looks like it was a great day! So fun that you got to meet people you've known through social media!

  5. It looks like you had a great time! The weather looked beautiful! I can't believe you were wearing a tank and a skirt. It snowed on my half- marathon Sunday! Oh, my goodness, please let me move to the SOUTH!! So glad that you and baby had an awesome first race! Can't wait to watch you complete more together!

    1. The weather differences are so crazy to me!! Thanks, Sarah!

  6. Last year it was freezing too but I love running in cold weather. The waterfront is my favorite part of this race. I love looking at the gorgeous homes. My brother & sis in law ran Sunday & my brother PR'd. We all love this race!

    1. I love running in cold weather, too! Perfect race conditions! :)

  7. I ran this race on Sunday, too. It was absolutely gorgeous! You captured some great pictures! Congrats on a great race with Baby on board!

  8. Hi! I loved this article. Currently in my first trimester and I am actually doing my pregnancy reveal at the Disney Princess Half Marathon in February! Quick question...where did you get your "Baby Runner on Board" sticker? Disney races have thousands of runners so I like your idea of having it on my back, just in case. My main fear is falling just because of the number of people! Thank you and congrats on the finish. :-)

    1. Hi! Oh my goodness I love this so much!! I actually made the graphic and would be happy to email it to you if you'd like! I printed it on card stock, laminated it at home, then pinned it to my shirt. Drop me a line! :) kren2700@gmail.com

    2. Awesome! I emailed you and have been looking through your blog all morning. Love it! Congratulations. :-)


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