After tossing and turning all night, the alarm finally went off at 5am. We all got dressed, pinned on our numbers, ate some breakfast, used the bathroom 142451 times each to avoid the port-a-potties, and then met Madeline and her family downstairs at 6am. Her mom was able to drop us off at the race start, meaning we didn’t have to search for parking. That made things so much easier! We got to the start village about 6:30, with just enough time to stretch, take pictures, and drop off our bags. Just like last year, bag drop off was a breeze!
We checked our bags in time to watch the elite start. Some of my Olympic favorites, Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan, were racing, and I needed to have a complete runnerd moment watching them start.
After they took off, we worked our way back to our corrals. Madeline was in 12 and the rest of us were in 16. Kayla somehow ended up assigned to 11, but she fell back with us. We danced and cheered and made our way towards the start – next thing we knew, it was time to go!
Our goal for the start was slow and steady. We just took in the sites and sounds as we wound our way to St. Charles, the out-and-back portion of the race. As we turned onto St. Charles, we spotted the elites!! They were at past Mile 7, about 39 minutes into the race. I yelled and cheered and Kayla laughed at me. She and I ran together, and Victoria and Em stayed together. We went back and forth with each other for most of the race. Kayla and I were feeling good and strong, so we decided not to stop at the first few water breaks.
Since I was running with my Garmin, Kayla asked me to keep an eye on when we got to the halfway point. Why? So we could sing “Living on a Prayer” of course! I kept an eye out, and sing we did! Very loud, and very off key, but that’s really the only way I know how. We got some chuckles from the people around us. (Related note: Maybe I should take the energy I use to sing, cheer, and dance during races to run a little faster…)
After the halfway point, we decided to stop at the next water stop to take some sport beans and water. We walked through the water stop, then kept on going. We held pretty strong after that, but then towards the end of mile 11, Kayla told me she was feeling nauseated and needed to walk. We walk/ran until we reached 12.1 and ran the last bit. Overall, my body felt pretty good at this point, other than my right foot. I felt two large blisters form, one on my instep and one on the ball of my foot. The one on my instep finally broke about mile 9, and I knew I would have to get it treated after we finished.
We crossed the finish line together! That certainly didn’t happen in the Woman’s half, and I wasn’t too sure it would happen for this race either, but I’m so glad it did! We got our medals, then got water, chocolate milk, and some snacks. Kayla was getting a little quiet and pale, so we sat down before even leaving the finisher’s area. While she got some calories in her system, I got my foot taken care of. The medic that wrapped me up was a Tulane medical student, so we had a nice conversation.
After the medic tent, we got space blankets to wrap ourselves in and went to bag check so we could get our phones and find everyone. We took pictures and headed home!
The race was so much fun! The bands along the course were great, there were lots of spectators and crowd support, bag pick-up and drop-off was easy, there was plenty of food at the finish, every water stop had water, and the course was beautiful. We were blessed with a morning of great weather, which was a relief, because the forecast predicted rain all weekend. I will certainly be running this race again!