This past Saturday I participated in a 10 mile race about an hour SE of Baton Rouge.
The draw to this race is the major sponsor, Middendorf’s Restaurant. Middendorf’s is located off of Bayou Manchac and they are known for their thin-fried catfish. You actually have to want to go this restaurant as it is off the beaten path. Let me say, the fish is worth it (if you like fried fish). The race, however, leaves a little to be desired. It is an out and back route with the bayou on both sides along with the elevated interstate on one side as well.
It was a quick drive and we arrived about 6:40 that morning. It was cool, brisk, and windy. The registration area was set-up so we quickly retrieved our bib and race shirt. We high-tailed it back to the car to get out of the cool air as the race didn’t start until 8 am. We chilled in the car as more and more people arrived. We finally emerged to take some pictures and use the facilities. They promptly started at 8:00 am.
This race consisted of 608 people doing 3 distances, 5K, 10k, and 10 miler. The race started on a road at the base of an overpass, I mean you immediately started going up the over pass about 20 yards after crossing the starting line.
This is the overpass view from the dock at the restaurant. It was tough on the way back!
I took the bridge easy by running it as if I was on my regular training run. Each Tuesday I run an overpass so I took it like that and I continued to run for the first mile. I finished that mile in 11:10. Whoa! Impressive. I actually didn’t look at my watch to see that time I learned that when I was done. Once I got to the 1 mile point, I decided to start my run/walk interval of 60 second run/30 second walk. About a 1/2 mile later there was a water station so I grabbed a cup, walked while I drank and got back to my interval.
As stated it was pretty cool and windy at the start so I had on a pull-over and gloves. I quickly lost the gloves once we came off the overpass. Just shy of 2 miles I pulled off the pull-over. My bib was on the pullover so it took me a few run/walk cycles to get the bib pinned on my shirt, but I was impressed with being able to do so and stick to the interval.
I kept up with my interval and I’d get some water at each water station. I checked my time when I got to mile 4 and I was doing good. My goal for this race was to come in under 2 hours. I was on pace to do so as I made it to 5 miles in 56 minutes. But, here comes mile 6 and, it seems, the wheels fell off.
As stated earlier, this was an out and back route and BORING! Five miles out with nothing to see ahead of you and waterways/greenery on your left and right. The only thing to see, at points, were the upcoming water stations and runners in front of you. Sigh. It was quite defeating, at times.
I completed mile 6 in 12:13, a bit off my pace. Would I make my goal? Would going over the overpass during mile 9 slow me down? I needed to make a change if I was going to reach my goal. Fortunately, there was another lady close to me doing intervals as well. I learned she was doing 90 second run/30 second walk so we kept passing each other. She was really consistent so I decided to pace with her. She was about 15 yards ahead of me, but when she ran I ran, when she walked I walked. I turned off my timer and merely followed her lead. Eventually, I would catch up to her and I told her she was my rabbit. I needed her to keep me going.
When we get to water station I would get some water, but she would keep going (she had her own hydration). Although I would walk to drink the water, I would always catch back up to her. All in all, I can tell my training is working. I looked at my watch a few times and I was running less than 11:30 per mile. Good deal!
We finally made it to the 8 mile point and I was at 1:31. Two miles left and I had 30 minutes. My goal was within reach! Mile 9 done by 1:43. Can I take the overpass in 17 minutes after running for 9 miles. Surely, I can do so right? I decided to run the overpass like my training run, but I quickly realize this is futile. The wind! Oh the wind is high and we are running directly into it. Yes, we had been running into from the turnaround point, but it didn’t bother me much until I started going uphill on the overpass. I felt like it was taking forever to get to the crest. Must. Push. Harder. I started my mantra of “push. push. push.” Yes, I say that out loud when needed and it was needed. Finally, the crest. I could see the finish on the downhill slope. I ran down and crossed the finish at 1:55:06. Made it!
Look at my splits! I was really happy with my effort and the knowledge that my average pace for the entire race was 11:28. That’s where I need to be to reach my goal of a 1/2 under 2:30. So I’m making progress! All of my efforts are paying off.
Would I do this race again? I can’t say that I would. It was so not interesting. If I were to do so, I’d probably do the 5K or the 10K. That 10-miler was too much. There is potential though. Since this is an out & back route the race directors could have bands, dancers, or cheerleaders along the route. That would definitely help with the boredom. The post-race food was excellent though! So that’s a good thing.