Yesterday was the Mississippi Blues Marathon & Half Marathon. If you’ve been following my blog, I was a little apprehensive about running it.
I went to bed at a reasonable time Friday night, but woke up at 2am with a low blood sugar of 52. I had a GU gel next to my bed and ate that to raise it. It quickly rose 72 about 10-15 minutes later and thought I would eat something to keep my sugar up and to get some carbs in my body for the run. I ate 1 Eggo waffle with a little peanut butter and bolused for the carbs. I went back to sleep around 3 and woke up for the race at 5:30. I checked my sugar again and it was 161. I got dressed and drove down to the race. I checked my sugar again when I got there and it had risen to 218. I ate one of those Lance Armstrong waffle things and bolused only for the carbs.
It was a cold morning and the weather report had a chance of rain around 8. With a 7am start time, there would be a chance of running in the rain. I was hoping it would hold off at least until I finished. It did hold off, but came down hard around 1pm. We had about a 5 minute delay with the start, but had a pretty smooth start once the gun went off. With a sold out race of 3,000 runners and no corrals, it was slightly congested, but opened up after the first half mile.
I was wearing my Nike running jacket with my phone in an arm strap under my sleeve. I started my Nike+ once I crossed the starting gate. I realized it never told me “Begining workout”. I unzipped my jacket and pulled it half off my shoulder to make sure it was working. It was not. I started it again about a quarter mile into the race. I did hear the “Begining workout” sound and I locked my screen and zipped my jacket up.
I had a friend that was watching the race about 3 miles into it. As I began to get close, I realized my Nike+ wasn’t updating me on my mileage. The music was playing, but the GPS part was not. It was too much trouble to restart it again, so I just left it alone. I was pretty frustrated, since the run wouldn’t be documented, but oh well. The one thing I was really worried about was my time and pace. I didn’t have a way on tracking it now. I just decided to run.
I was feeling pretty good through the first few miles. I came up on a 2 hour pacer and his group and ended up passing them. I thought to myself, if I could stay ahead of them or around them, I could finish pretty good and hit my goal of finishing a half in under 2 hours.
I stayed ahead of the passer for about a mile. The entire race was through rolling hills. Nothing steep, but constant, long ups and downs. After the 4 mile marker, I started the trek up a long hill. I decided it was a good time to check my sugar. As I checked my sugar going up the hill, I slowed down and the pacer’s group passed me. My sugar had risen to 319. I guess the Lance Armstrong waffle and the adrenaline had kicked in and raised my sugar. I was afraid of it getting higher and me becoming lethargic and getting slower that I bolused for the high while running.
I started to get inside my head at this point as the pacer group was getting further ahead of me. With a high blood sugar and no way of tracking my pace or time, I started telling myself it was okay to slow down or walk if I felt like it. I fought with myself through the next mile or so. I could still see the pacer group as we hit the halfway point, but I wasn’t catching up to them. I then saw a shirt in front of me that read “It’s you vs. you”. That’s when I realized I was doing okay and I was going to finish strong. I asked a spectator what time it was, and it was 8:08. I had only been a hour since the start and that perked me up too. I was slightly behind a 2 hour finish.
As I passed the mile 9 marker, I was excited I only had basically 4 miles left. Unfortunately, those were the longest 4 miles I had ever run. If there weren’t other people around me, I would have thought I made a wrong turn. I could tell my pace was getting slower, but still felt like I was doing okay. I started having runners pass me and the pacer group was now out of site. I got back into my head with doubts. That didn’t last too long though.
As I got closer to the end, I could feel the excitement inside me and felt like I would be able to pick it up and finish stronger. I started seeing more spectators and knew I was close. As I heard cheers in the distance, I started picking up the pace. I made a couple turns through the downtown streets and saw the finish line.
About a block from the finish line I saw Karebear and Baby J. They were with my boss and his wife waiting to cheer me on to the finish. It really excited me to see them and I really picked it up.
My half PR I set in November was 2:02:32. As I was coming into the finisher lanes, the time clock had 2:03. I knew my chip time would be faster, but I didn’t think it was 3 minutes faster. If 2:03 was my chip time, I would have been very happy considering the set backs and hills.
I ended up running a new PR by 8 seconds at 2:02:24! So close to breaking 2 hours, but I am really happy with my time. I didn’t think I was going to do that well, so it was a nice surprise. It gives me hope for the next one. A sub-2 hour half is very near!
My post run sugar had come down a little too low to 67, but I ate a banana and piece of cheese pizza in the finisher’s plaza. My sugars came up and leveled out by the end of the day.
It was a challenging race with lots of rolling hills, but if you’re looking for a good race, this is nice sized and has a very friendly atmosphere. I recommend it!