I hope your week is off to a good start! If you’ve been following along for a little bit, you know that I ran the Rock N Roll half marathon in New Orleans this past weekend. The race didn’t go exactly as I hoped that it would, but we had a great trip regardless!
After dropping Brooks off at the Dog Ranch mid-morning on Saturday, we met up with Jessica and Wes and headed to NOLA. Lower Alabama was VERY well represented in New Orleans this weekend! Everywhere we went (i.e., the expo and the race), we ran into so many people that we knew.
We stayed at the InterContinental on St. Charles. We were less than a mile from the expo and just a few blocks from the race start. The location couldn’t have been much better. Once we got to town, we decided to go ahead and hit the expo to get our bibs.
We walked around the expo for a little bit, but I didn’t really see anything that I had to have. I usually LOVE expos, but this one was just really crowded and not as exciting as usual. I also managed to sign up for a women’s XL tee-shirt somehow. They told me I could exchange it, but the line was really long, so I decided to just roll with it. As the lady handed me the shirt, she said, “they run small …” (the ellipsis here represents an actual trail off of her words and isn’t just my typical overuse of this grammatical punctuation) and I was kind of like, “well cool, thanks (I think).” I do love a big shirt to sleep in.
We walked around a little bit more and stopped at a CVS to get some water and snacks for the room. At this point everyone was really hungry, so we decided to do an early dinner at Trenasse, which was the restaurant in our hotel. It was very good and so convenient (insert K Mart “ship my pants” joke here). After dinner I was so tired! Saturday started off fairly early with my half marathon training group and I missed my usual Saturday afternoon nap (yes, I am 31, going on 80!). We ended up walking over 5 miles around NOLA over the course of the afternoon too (which made for some tired legs and feet). Jessica and I decided to call it a night and the rest of the crew headed down to the French Quarter for beignets.
I got a pretty good night’s sleep. I woke up a few more times than I typically do at home though. One time I woke up and realized I was sleeping on my stomach with my arms above my head (which is not a normal sleep position for me). I tried to push up and roll over and my shoulder came out of socket! Argh. That hasn’t happened in so long. Have I told y’all that story? I don’t think I have because I don’t think it has dislocated at any point in the last few years.
I’ll try to keep this part brief … about 10 years ago, someone dared me to do a flip on my cousin’s trampoline (my cousin was about 3 or 4 years old at the time and I was 21 or 22). It was one of those really small, kid-sized trampolines with a net around it. I spent A LOT of time on the trampoline growing up (we never had one with a net though) and I thought for sure I would be able to do a flip on the little one too and so, of course, I took the dare. I flipped, got tangled in the netting and landed on my shoulder, causing it to dislocate. I thought my arm was broken for a hot minute, but luckily it popped back into place on its own. It hurt like the dickens though.
After that “incident” my shoulder would come out of place off an on randomly (think opening the refrigerator, trying to get something in the backseat of the car, drying off with a towel, wrapping Christmas presents (so very random), etc.). It happened so many times that I started to not even think anything about it. It would usually go back into place without much problem (except one time when my friend’s uncle who was a veterinarian had to pop it back in for me … that also hurt like the dickens).
That “usually” ended one fateful day in the middle of Mobile Bay as Daniel and I were sailing (which is also a funny story, but I’m already chasing tangents here). I was crawling to the front of the boat to let the jib out and my shoulder came out. This time it was serious and we were pretty much stuck in the middle of the bay. It was out of place for HOURS that day and by the time we made it to land I had to go to the ER to get it put back in place. I was given the option of surgery or physical therapy and I chose to do the PT and hope for the best. I rarely have issues with it now, but apparently it does still happen.
Whew. Keeping things brief is not my forte. Back to the race …
We woke up at 6 for a 7:30 race start and made some coffee in the room. I brought some UCAN to drink before the race. I don’t always take something before a half, but I thought this was going to be a good decision. I took a few sips of it and thought that it really didn’t taste very good, but it was a flavor that I don’t typically drink, so I didn’t think much about it. I choked down a few more sips and decided I was good to go. We left our hotel at about 7:15 and got in a quick one mile warm up before the race started.
My plan for this race was very similar to First Light. In case you don’t have my race plans memorized (sarcasm), it was to start at 6:30 – 6:35, hold 6:23 – 6:28 for miles 2 through 10 and then under 6:25 for miles 11 – 13.1.
I felt really good about the plan going into the race. I was confident in my fitness and I wasn’t nervous or anxious or anything like that about the race.
The first 5 miles went beautifully. I ran 6:30, 6:27, 6:26, 6:25, 6:24. All of those were exactly within the planned range. I felt good … until all of a sudden, I didn’t. I started to struggle during the sixth mile and from there it just got progressively worse. Miles 8 through 13 felt like the last six miles of a marathon after you have hit the wall. I just tried my best to do some damage control and not let it get too ugly out there. I was riding the struggle bus and I was just praying that the bus would make it to the finish line without breaking down!
I finished in 1:31 and haven’t been that happy to see a finish line in quite some time. This was a goal race for me and I’ve been pretty open about sharing my goal of 1:23 – 1:24. While the race didn’t go exactly as planned time-wise, I am still thankful that I was able to run and enjoy a weekend with friends. I don’t ever want the number on the clock to dictate my feelings.
I’m not going to lie and say that I wasn’t disappointed for a little bit, because I was. I have worked hard and put a lot of energy (mental and physical) into my training and I don’t feel like my race reflected this. I gave myself a little bit time to feel frustrated about it and then it was time to move on.
During my “frustration time,” I came up with a host of excuses or reasons that I don’t think this one went as well as I wanted it to. Just to name a few: I’m tired (the further into tax season I get, the more run down my body gets), I was out of my regular routine and likely didn’t get enough carbs in the day before the race, I ran 8 miles with my training group and then we walked all over NOLA the day before the race (which is NOT recommended … do as I say, not as I do), my UCAN was expired (kind of foreshadowing that I wrote about not thinking twice about food being passed its expiration date in my last post (ha)) and the list goes on …
None of that really matters though. It was not my day, but it was a good day to run! Any day that we are healthy enough to be able to run is a good day and I don’t want to ever lose sight of that fact.
My devotion is morning was just what I needed to hear, so I want to share it here in case it speaks to you too:
Offer God your willingness. Even if you feel small … even if you feel unlikely … even if everything in you is screaming you’re not someone who can be used by God … simply offer Him your willingness.
Use what God has given you. What’s in your hand, sweet friend? What gift, what talent, what ability? Whatever it is, take time to sharpen it. And choose to believe that God can use it when you humbly offer it up to Him.
Stay true to who you are. God isn’t asking you to be anyone other than you either. You do you, and then watch with humble amazement as God uses your willing, obedient, ordinary life to accomplish extraordinary things in His name.
Running in New Orleans this weekend was kind of bittersweet because I will always have the memory of winning that race. As cliché as it may sound, I truly feel like that was a life changing moment and now sometimes I feel like I will never be able to recreate that moment. This devotion reminds me that it is in the midst of the ordinary (i.e., non-life changing moments) that God can use us the most. Running is a truly gift and I always want to be ready and willing to run whatever (figurative) race that God is calling me to run.
Have a great week! See ya soon!