I was the first runner in our rotation so I got to start the race–woohoo! (Last year I was fifth which was difficult because the race started and I still had several hours before I ran.) It was quite cold and cloudy at the start so I had several layers on plus our gnome hat and tutu–too many layers which is a reoccurring theme on this adventure! And at the sound of the cannon from the USS Kidd we were off!
Lucky me, leg 1 was fully paved 🙂 and I got to test out my new fast (to me) pace for four plus miles. This leg runs along the levee from downtown Baton Rouge to Farr Park. I remember passing LSU and thinking it was going to be a great day. I ran 4.13 miles in 46:32 which is a 11:15 min pace.
My second leg started a little further down River Road than the turn you would take to Alligator Bayou. It is also where the site of the first aid station and I was looking forward to finding a port-a-potty. Unfortunately, it was MIA so other measures had to be taken. Had my own cheering section at this aid station with Susan, Christine, Nancy, Greg and Kevin being there in addition to my teammates. It was after noon when I started so I ran in shorts, a technical t-shirt and a wind jacket–should have taken the sleeves off the jacket but I kept thinking it was windy and cold.
This was my shortest leg of the race and my first on the rocks. I ran the 2.2 miles in 24:19 which is an 11:03 min pace. This leg passes by the legendary site of the country store where you may or may not be offered moonshine when you make friends with the owner.
My third leg was going to be my last in the daylight. Earlier in the week I rode my bike on River Road late in the day and had a frame of reference for what the sun would be doing around sunset–playing a game of hide and go seek before going to bed for the night. I had thought it was windy on my previous legs, but while waiting for this leg at the third aid station (shout out to aid station two crew of Llew and friends and Colette and Vanessa) the winds kicked up and showed us a whole new kind of windy! In the Race Bible the distance of this leg was just under four miles, so I was conservative on this leg, especially since my hip flexors started making their anger known in the time since the last leg. It was a pleasant surprise when I got to the next exchange 2.72 miles later in 33:44 which is a 12:23 mile pace.
At this point it was dark and we had been in the car for more than 12 hours and I still had my two longest legs to go. I was battling the thought of having to get out to run my longest legs in the dark and it kept getting colder and windier!!! Leg 4 was supposed to be 5.2 miles and leg 5 was supposed to be 4.2 miles. Warm food, rest, visitors with goodies, and some good old van sing-a-longs helped to keep my spirits high–in the dark of night the strangest things can happen.
I started my fourth leg around 11pm. It was supposed to be 5.2 miles long but again this one was shorted a little and again my hip flexors were very happy to get to the next exchange sooner than expected. Gotta admit that I walked a good bit of this leg. It was dark and cold–the wind was blowing into my face from an angle that made the space behind my eyeball hurt it was so cold. I “ran” 4.39 miles in 59:17 for a 13:31 min pace.
The handoff for my last leg was a bit hurried as the map and the exchange number did not sync, so I was pushed out of the van while it was still rolling somewhere close to where the navigator hypothesized for the start to be. I knew it would be a little longer than I expected because of the confusion on where the exchange was but I wasn’t sure how long so I was a bit conservative in my initial pace. Again it was cold and dark but it was also my LAST leg to run so I was excited!!! The levee went thru a very industrial area at the beginning but I knew at some point during my leg the levee would become paved again–woohoo! I ran the first 40 minutes with one walk break at 20 and another at 40 minutes and then for the rest of the time I ran 4 minutes and walked for one. When I got to the exchange it was such a great feeling. I ended up running 4.51 miles in 1:00:09 which is a 13:20 min mile.
Overall, I felt good about my running. Ran almost 18 miles with a total time of 3:44:01 which is a 12:28 min pace.