This past weekend was filled with running, which is always a good thing 🙂 The Louisiana Marathon was held in downtown Baton Rouge, and I ran the 5K Saturday with my mom and the half-marathon Sunday. My dad’s company offered to sponsor registration for family members, and the money went to benefit research for Rett’s Syndrome. So I was able to run for a cause, but not have to pay the $150. How awesome is that?!
There were challenges this weekend that I hadn’t faced in past races. A week ago during one of my training runs, I felt a sudden sharp pain on the side of my knee. For the rest of the week, I was unable to run any distance without experiencing pain. So going into this weekend, I wasn’t well-trained or sure if I could even run at all. Which made me very nervous when I lined up for the 5K.
I started off at the slowest jog possible, and the pain was bearable. Except when we ran downhill on a bridge (ouch!). I ended up walking for a bit. My time for the 5K was 34 minutes, which isn’t bad. But if it wasn’t for my knee, I might have placed in my age group. That part was a little disappointing.
Another challenge was the below-freezing temperatures Saturday morning. Us Louisianans aren’t used to that.
After the 5K, there was a lot going on in downtown BR. Food vendors, live music, the farmer’s market, and a huge pro-life rally. Me and my mom joined in all of it, so by that night I was exhausted. And very nervous about the next day’s half marathon, considering my knee would barely let me run a 5K.
The next morning I joined over 5,000 runners lined up behind the start line for the half and full marathon. One of the neat things about this race is that there were trainers running with signs that showed their pace times. When I saw a guy running at a pace of 10:18 min/mile, my goal became keeping up with him. That wasn’t easy. My knee hurt like crazy for the first few miles, but then it sort of went numb and I was able to catch up with my pacer.
From downtown BR, the route went past city park, around the lakes, through LSU’s campus, and back. Which is a lot. There’s nothing easy about running a half-marathon, injured or not. I admire the people who kept going for another 13 miles after I was relaxing at the finish. One day I’ll join those crazy marathoners.
Anyway, I finished my half in 2:18, which is faster than my previous half marathon. Yay! After the run we headed to the “Finish Festival”, which featured free food from the best local restaurants. This included alligator stew (a first for me… alligator is very chewy, by the way), crawfish ettoufee, jambalaya, meat pies, and other cajun favorites. I also stopped in at the physical therapy tent and got my knee checked out; just as I had suspected, the culprit was a strained IT band. Thank goodness this isn’t a serious injury and only requires ice and rest for a full recovery.
The Louisiana Marathon is a great race for any runner. The course was beautiful, it was well-organized, and it did a good job of showing out-of-towners a taste of Louisiana culture. I look forward to running it next year, sans injury. 🙂