Gulf Coast Half Marathon Race Recap


Good morning! Catching up from the weekend?

My Thyroid Story

Disney Day 4 September 2011

When Your Body Says Stop

Disney Day 5 September 2011

On October 9, Bobby and I finished what we started when we signed up in May to train and run a half marathon with Team in Training. We chose this race because it was in my hometown and we could stay with my parents before and after our one night already paid for in a hotel by TNT, and because (being honest) it had the lowest fundraising minimum. I was nervous about raising money, and with both of us running we were really raising $2,000. (We are JUST shy of our goal, you can still donate on our team page.)

I already shared with you about the inspiration dinner we attended the night before the race. We then met up with Karen and some of her running friends for frozen yogurt at Menchies! Then we hit the hay for a 4:00 am wake up call!


my stuff ready to go!

I had a hard time sleeping, I felt very restless from running around at the expo for two days, it’s like I couldn’t turn my mind off. The alarm went off all too soon, and we got dressed and ready for the race.



All the TNTers took two busses to the start line. We were picked up at 5, so we ended up at the start line around 5:30 and the race didn’t start until seven. It was quite chilly, and I didn’t bring a bag to check so I had no jacket.



Church friends! Me, Alana, and Nicole

In a pathetic attempt to stay warm, Bobby and I stood near a generator….until we realized there was a big warning sign on it talking about the fumes…we then slowly backed away…


Check out my temporary TNT tattoo! Also, Alana braided some ribbon in my hair to complete my outfit.

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Gulf Coast TNT group!


It was finally time to head to the start line. There were no corrals, just big signs with suggested pace times, and you know people lined up at the wrong ones…we ended up getting into the corral area late because we were in line for the potty, so as close as we could get was the 12:00 mile marker. great.


Karen ended up finding us, and before we knew it, the gun went off and it was go time.


It was pretty congested getting out of the park, and my legs felt like lead. This was NOT a good sign a half mile into the race. Having run a half marathon seven days prior and working two expos (4 days of expos = hard work!) I am not all that surprised at how tired my body felt. I tried not to think about it, because I still had a LONG way to go, and that thinking wasn’t going to do me any favors except kill my motivation.


we ran through several neighborhoods in old Mandeville. I grew up here, so this area was nothing new to me. I honestly didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to my surroundings, and did a crappy job of remembering to take pictures. oops. I ran strong for the first half of the race, only walking through water stops and to take GU. It was nice having the TNT coaches along the way yelling out my name and encouraging me. I saw one of my coaches about mile 5 or 6 and he ran with me for a minute and told me I was doing a good job, and Bobby had made it by a few minutes earlier. WE went through a few more neighborhoods, and passed Varsity Sports (where the expo was and one of my Running Skirts accounts.) I stopped and yelled for several of the employees that I knew, waved, and then continued on. I hit the turn by the lakefront, and then cursed myself for not wearing sunglasses. We had to run the entire length of the lakefront ( a couple miles) in the DIRECT sun with no trees. I LOVE the lakefront, I have run many, many miles along this baby, but the rising temps and the sun started to drain me.


turning onto the lakefront


The lakefront run REALLY zapped me, and I was struggling to make my legs keep going. I decided to adopt a run/walk method about mile 8 or 9. I ran for five minutes and walked for 30 seconds. I felt that having that designated walk time gave me something to look forward to and made me run faster during my running portion.


If you can’t tell, the sun is burning into my eyeballs in these pictures…

After awhile, we turned onto the trace. The trace is a ridiculously long running/biking route that goes for many many miles. This is where Bobby and I ran our disastrous 16 miler last fall. The path is pretty narrow for a race, but parts of it were shaded which was nice because it was getting into the upper 70’s low 80’s. (obviously, not the part in the picture below!) I passed a fellow TNTer from my crew on the trace and tried to encourage him but then kept moving and passed him up. At this point, I tried to keep up with the people I was running around. Even with my running/walking. I was starting to get that miserable “this sucks” feeling about this point, so I tried to think about why I was running, and I pictured all the cancer patients I was running for. If they can go through chemotherapy, I can run 3 more measly miles. It gave me the little boost I needed, having some motivation and a reason to run.


Then, I hit mile 10 and a TNT coach was so sweet and ran with me for a minute and told me all I had was a 5k, and that I could do that in my sleep, that was just a warm up. It is what I needed, a 5k is easy peasy, and it was exciting to know that’s all that was left, and I knew I would make it! At this time I also started looking at my watch trying to make calculations for a predicted finish time. I also texted my mom and told her when to expect me, her and my dad were at the finish line waiting for us to cross.

I made it back into the park and knew I had just over a mile left. at mile 12.5 or so, I  hit a water stop with some VERY enthusiastic volunteers that gave me a little boost. I took one last walk break and said I wasn’t going to walk anymore. I could hear cheering up ahead, so I knew I was close. I hit mile 13 and my watch beeped and I was at 2:16. I rounded the final corner and could see the finish line wwaayy up in the distance.

Then, I saw my mom and dad and Bobby up ahead! My mom had made a sign, and she was jumping up and down and Bobby was sitting on the ground.


wweeee I am about to ddiiieee! Thanks mom!

I heard my mom yell “kick it in” and I started laughing because this WAS kicking it in, I had no gas left, my legs just wouldn’t move and I was regretting my back to back halfs and expos decision. I finally hit the finish line and could have kissed the ground I was so glad to be done!


don’t I look thrilled? I was happy though because I did PR! 2:17:12, over a 4 minute PR. I was so happy to see that on my Garmin! Considering the past 7-8 days, I was happy with it. My training runs had me between a 2:10 and 2:15, but a PR is a PR and I will have plenty of other chances!

I got my medal, and made it over to the TNT tent to check in, then started looking for my family. Apparently, Bobby had a bad race and got really sick and could barely stand up. He didn’t really train for this race…his last long run was over a month ago and he maybe ran a total of 3 times since then, about 2-3 miles each time. He tried to push too hard and got really nauseated and had to go lay down after the race and ended up throwing up twice. I told the boy you can’t NOT TRAIN and expect to run a PR!


My cheerleaders


me with my mom, the cancer survivor!


We did it!

We then headed over to the TNT area for FOOD! They also had a masseuse just for TNT participants, and you bet we took advantage! We also had our own port a potty which was nice, no lines!


They had gumbo, jambalaya, burritos, sandwiches, chips, drinks, and bread pudding among other things. It was a BEAUTIFUL day, and we sat and enjoyed the weather, although I did feel bad enjoying myself while Bobby was laying down over on the side all sick. Poor baby.

Then Karen texted me and we met up for a quick picture


There was a band playing during the after party, and everyone seemed to be having a good time


Here are a couple pictures of Bobby during the race



My parents brought us back to the hotel so we wouldn’t have to ride the bus. Half number eight was done!


Bobby got a little picture happy…

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We showered, checked out, and drove to my parents house for the Saints game. It was a GREAT weekend! LSU won, the Saints won, and a successful half marathon was completed. I was a happy girl! My experience with TNT was a good one overall. They give you a lot of support during your training and fundraising, and the race is a lot of fun.

*If you are interested in learning more about TNT please e mail me! You can also still donate to the cause!

QOTD: Have you ever run for a charity? Which one? Do you want to? for who?

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21 Responses to Gulf Coast Half Marathon Race Recap

  1. 1
    Karolina says:

    Congrats on a great run, even if your legs are heavy. It looks like it was a hot day for you all to run!

  2. 2
    KristynKG says:

    Congrats on the PR!

    My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer last week so I would run for her in a race that supports breast cancer research.

  3. 3
    Jen says:

    Great job! You’re right- a PR is a PR! Once things calm down for you, I’m sure you’ll have another PR in the books. A huge congrats :)

  4. 4
    Crystal says:

    AWESOME job!!! A PR is DEFINITELY a PR! You can’t be disappointed with that, especially with your circumstances! WTG!!!

    The only things I have done for charity were some 5k’s when I worked at the Disney Store. I wasn’t a runner at that time, so I just walked them. I’ve never had to raise thousands of dollars, though. My sister did the Nike Women’s Marathon for TNT though.

  5. 5

    Congrats on your PR! You did great, especially when you felt like you were struggling. I been tinkering with the idea of running a half with Team Challenge but the financial commitment can be pretty scary!

  6. 6
    Megan says:

    Yippee for a PR! Especially under the conditions of 2 expos and a half the week before! Sorry to hear Bobby didn’t do so hot – those boys just never learn 😉 I saw some Team in Training shirts during my race yesterday too – such a great cause!

  7. 7
    Emily says:

    Yay for a PR!! I’ve used that “only a 5K left” motivation before! It just seems to make it feel do-able. Congrats!!

  8. 8
    Greenie says:

    Congrats my friend! Gld to see you many times over that weekend, meet your parents, and see you along the way of your successful weekend – half marathon completed, Saints, won, Tigers won…yep, I’d say it was a good weekend.

    • 8.1
      Heather says:

      Thanks Ryan! :) It wasn’t exactly what I wanted time-wise but still a fun weekend. Now if the Saints would just stop acting stupid and win their next few games….ug!

  9. 9
    Caroline says:

    Congratulations on your PR! I can’t imagine doing so many races and expos in such a short amount of time- yikes! I ran my first race this past weekend- a short & sweet 5k that I also PR’d on!

  10. 10
    Karen says:

    Great job on the race, my friend!! :0) Way to PR!!! It was fun seeing you for a little while! We definitely need to hang out before Princess!

  11. 11

    […] the Gulf Coast half marathon in Pensacola, FL. It is part of the gulf coast series (remember the one I ran in October for TNT?) Same […]

  12. 12

    […] year I had a blast running this race with Team in Training, and this year I had a sssllliiggghhttlllyyy different experience. In order to really get the […]

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