Baton Rouge Beach Marathon…first of all, I wasn’t about to miss my step-son’s football game the night before the marathon, so I cancelled my room and decided to drive to BR the next morning, about an hour’s trip. Sadly, they lost to Acadiana. They’ll get there next year, no doubt. Anywho, my drive over on Saturday morning was great. Quiet, peaceful, I even said a Rosary. Racing conditions could not have been better. I planned on running this as a training run in anticipation of Houston, so I was counting on 10 minute miles for the first half. Being that I hadn’t run in almost 2 weeks I wondered how it would all play out. But, as before, my favorite moment of the marathon is as I cross the starting line, knowing I have hours to run. I love it. I ran strong and exceeded my goals. I still finished in 4:17, which is not terrible. I wasn’t busting it trying to get a PR, I just wanted to get my legs used to turning over repeatedly for four + hours!
I really didn’t hurt much, either. I was achy on Sunday, mostly calves…forgot to stretch them…dumb, I know. I was in the pee line when the mass of people made their way to the starting corrals, so I totally forgot about that stretch…
A couple of days later, I decided I felt good enough to run the Cajun Country Half Marathon, which I did yesterday. Talk about nice! I love that course. Anytime I am dreading a particular part of a run, I also love it at the same time because I know I’ll feel stronger afterwards. Such was the case on the cross-country part of the course. It’s over a mile cross country, twice, due to the double loop course. Stopping is not an option in my book. I finished in 2:04. I was really happy with that. I don’t think I have ever considered running two major races that close together ever before. It was great. I could tell I wasn’t totally back to normal after BR, because my quads felt a little heavy on the second loop. But that was okay. It was something I could manage.
Now, I am looking forward with great anticipation to Houston. However, between now and then is a family trip to Belize and Christmas. So, how training will be affected is pretty clear. I won’t get to do as much as I would like, but these past two weekends have proven to me that I am stronger than I realize and will do fine. I always hope to qualify for Boston, but know realistically that is not about to happen without putting in the work. So, I don’t think Houston will be the race for that. But there’s time. And other qualifying races. I would rather run the New York marathon through winning a spot in the lottery. First. Then, maybe try to qualify for Boston after. I just think it would be a kick in the pants to run through all 5 burroughs of that beautiful city. I was so entertained in Baton Rouge with the landscape – houses, wildlife, landscape – time flew.
I ended up finishing 3rd in my age group for Baton Rouge and 2nd yesterday (in my age group). That part doesn’t matter to me, really. I am most grateful for the ability to finish the race after recognizing the courage to sign up in the first place. I am grateful for the example I inadvertantly set for my daughters, who tell me how proud they are that I am a runner. My sweet daughter whispered to me in Mass this morning, “Mom, I saw your race picture and you looked so happy! You were smiling so big!” And she was right. Running makes me so very happy on so many levels. I am blessed to be able to lace up my Mizunos and get out there every chance I get.