Piney Hills Half Marathon and weekend recap

I had a busy weekend planned in Louisiana with, spending time with family, the race and a Mardi Gras parade

Saturday I did an early RealRyder/TRX workout and ran a quick mile for my streak. It was a good total body workout to get me loosened up for the race on Sunday. I felt pretty good, but had some highs throughout the day with my blood sugar.

We spent Saturday evening with my parents, my brother and sister and their families. We had a great dinner and spent the evening talking and watching all the kids play together. We called it an early night so I could get some rest before the race in the morning.

Rain was forecasted for Sunday with a 80% of precipitation and possible severe storms early. There was talk about the rain possibly letting up for a couple of hours during the race time. Did that happen? Stay tuned…

My alarm went off at 6:15 Sunday morning. I looked outside the window and the ground was wet, but it was just misting. It was also in the mid 60’s for the temperature, so I opted for just running in a tech tee, shorts and hat. I also brought an older pair of shoes to run in since it was raining.

After getting dressed, I checked my blood sugar and it was high at 193. I was okay with that since I was racing. I wasn’t very hungry, but ate a package of peanut butter crackers to get something in me. I also drank a few glasses of water. JJ, my father-in-law, dropped me off a little after 7 at the race’s starting point. He was a little concerned about me getting too cold and the weather looked to be getting worse. I checked my sugar again around 7:15 and it had risen to 211.

The race start time was 8:00. The next 45 minutes were long. Rain started to come down in spurts and people were getting anxious about the weather. At 7:50 the race director made an¬†announcement that the start time would be delayed 15 minutes to 8:15. The rain had slowed to a mist again and everyone headed over to the starting line. As we were getting ready to start, the director made the usual race announcements thanking everyone for coming out and letting us know about the road and mile markings, but ended with this, “There is a line of red and yellow heading this way. It could go north and miss us, but it could come straight to us. If anyone doesn’t want to run, now is the time step back. If you choose to run, let it be known that you know what could be coming. Oh, and if you hear sirens, that’s a tornado.” Every kind of chuckled and gave a “Let’s do this” shrug.

The horn went off and we started running.

This was the local radar at 8 am Sunday morning. The race was right in the center of north LA where the large red/orange area is.

This was the radar at 8 am Sunday morning from the local NBC affiliate . The race was right in the center of north LA just to the right of where the large red/orange area is.

This is the radar at start time.

This is the radar at start time. Again, courtesy of the local NBC affiliate.

It wasn’t raining to bad for the first 2.5 miles or so, but around the 3rd mile marker the bottom fell out and it was a down pour for the next 8-9 miles.

Ruston, LA is called piney hill country because of its rolling hills and pine trees. The hills aren’t mountainous, but they are continuously rolling. The course reminded me a lot of the Mississippi Blues course I ran just a month prior to this one.

Here is the elevation chart from the race's website.

Here is the elevation chart from the race’s website.

I was thinking to myself, “What am I doing?”. I was also concerned about my insulin pump getting wet and not working. I had this happen to me last year during a training run for the Madrid full. I was prepared this time, but I was still concerned in the back of my mind. I put my pump in a Ziploc bag to protect it from the rain.

Good thinking!

Good thinking!

During the last couple of miles, the rain slowed down and the sun started to peek out. I could tell I was getting tired, but I was still going pretty strong. My legs were getting tired, but my body was doing good. Since it was raining so hard, I didn’t check my sugar during the race. I didn’t want to risk ruining my meter by getting it too wet. I’ve gone through enough highs and lows with my blood sugar that I could tell I was okay to continue without checking.

As I was getting close to mile 10 around a water stop, I saw Karebear and my sister huddled under an umbrella cheering me on. They really surprised me being out there in the rain. It got me excited and I continued on. I knew I was getting close to the finish and I also new my time was pretty good. Could I PR in the rain and on a hilly course? Maybe so…

As I was going into the final turn to where the finish line was, I could see my Mom and Dad waving and trying to get an iPhone pic. I knew the finish was around the corner and I picked up my pace and sped through the finish line. There wasn’t a time clock running were I could see, so I wasn’t sure if I had beaten my previous time. I thought there was a good chance. Karebear and the fam gave me a towel and congratulated me on a job well done. I took my Ziploc’d phone out of my pocket and Nike+ told me I had ran 13 miles in 1:54:36. Was it close to the official time? I’d have to wait until Sunday night to find out. I also checked my sugar for my post race result. It was 102. Perfect!

Here's my Dad's iPhone pic of me coming into the final turn.

Here’s my Dad’s iPhone pic of me coming into the final turn.

The finisher's medal!

The finisher’s medal!

I had to leave pretty quickly after the race because we had plans to travel to Shreveport to see an afternoon Mardi Gras parade with some friends of ours. I ran into my cousin, who also ran the race, and he asked me what happens after the race. He hasn’t ran a race since college. He did very well and finished 9th overall. I told him they usually give out prizes to the overall winners and age group winners. I’m never in that group, so I don’t usually stick around. We chuckled about that and I left.

We had lunch at Karebear’s parent’s and quickly headed to Shreveport for the parade. We had a great time at the parade and Little J was excited at all the beads he caught. We enjoyed spending time with our friends that we hadn’t seen in a while.

His face doesn't show it, but he was super excited about his beads!

His face doesn’t show it, but he was super excited about his beads!

It was a VERY busy and tiring day. My sugars were very good throughout the rest of the day as well.

I also found the race results were posted and I finished at 1:53:58! I finished in under 2 hours and shaved almost 10 minutes off my previous PR! I was so excited. I couldn’t believe that I did that well during the rain.

We left Shreveport and headed back to Mississippi Monday morning. I sent the race director a message telling him that even with the rain, it was a great race. He responded thanking me and that I had placed in my age group and won a Pilsner glass as an award and I could pick it up when ever. Wow, I placed in my age group! Guess I should’ve stuck around after the race for the awards. I’m never in the winner’s group remember. Well, not anymore!

I ran my streak miles Monday night and this morning. My legs are sore. My hamstrings are tight. I spend about 30 minutes last night with the foam roller. Ughhh! Pleasure pains!

It was a great weekend and a great race. It’s definitely one I’ll always remember!

This was on Rock N Roll Nola's facebook page today. Thought it was fitting.

This was on Rock N Roll Nola’s facebook page today. Thought it was fitting.

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14 Responses to Piney Hills Half Marathon and weekend recap

  1. bke161 says:

    Congrats on the PR!

  2. steveygaddis says:

    Sounds like quite a weekend Curt! congrats on a PR…that’s exciting…you put in the work for that to happen. Is the new orleans whole next in April?

  3. graceMark says:

    Sounds like you have a different type of Diabetes situation than I do with type 2. But, regardless. You are fast! Congrats on the PR. I’m in the midst of trying to lose some weight and training for my first Half in April. If all goes perfectly, I might be capable of finishing better than 2:30, but, that would require a lot going well. Nice job!

    • Thanks! I’m an insulin dependent, Type 1 diabetic. Insulin is my only medication and I get it through my pump. You can finish in under 2:30. Make sure you are doing some sort of cross training along with your running. I take spin classes and do TRX workouts. Since I started those, My times have gotten much better. Good Luck!

  4. Wow, you are fast, and in cruddy conditions! Congrats!!

  5. 68bearcat says:

    Great post and info. So excited about your time and award! You deserve all the accolades!

  6. spinrunsew says:

    Congrats on your pr and award–what an amazing accomplishment in crappy weather!

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