*Note: I’m going back in time to recap races I completed before starting this blog because I wanted to tell race stories.
Race: Mardi Gras Mambo 10k
Date: February 25, 2012
Place: Baton Rouge, LA
Total Time: 1:06:46 (PR!)
Nobody tell the race organizers, but the Mardi Gras Mambo 10k took place nearly a week into Lent. I decided to overlook this because I love this race. This was my second year to complete the Mambo, which last year was my first 10k and the farthest distance I had ever run at that point. Actually, that record stood until New Years Eve, 2011, when I took on a 7-miler as part of my half marathon training.
The best parts of the 2012 Mardi Gras Mambo? It didn’t start until 9:00 a.m. and we had a warm, indoor space to gather prior to and after the race, the Belle of Baton Rouge Atrium. I slept in until 7:30, crazy for a race day! And made it to the Belle by 8:15. As I checked in at the casino on FourSquare that morning, my comment was that I only come to the casino for running stuff (my previous visits were for Rouge Orleans orientation and the Louisiana Marathon Expo).
Josh’s mom and dad were walking the race together and I found them as soon as I walked in the door. We chatted a bit, then I left to use the restroom and found a few more friends. With a record crowd of 1,700 runners, it was easy to spot familiar faces.
As we headed out the doors to the race start, I found a place to stash my long sleeve t-shirt I wore over my running gear. I hoped it would be there when I got back, but if it wasn’t, it was a shirt from my donate pile anyway.
Unlike last year when the race took place entirely on LSU’s campus, this year, the race sent us down Nicholson drive to LSU, down the street next to Tiger Stadium, between the Quad and Parade Grounds, around the other side of the stadium and up onto the levee along the Mississippi River for the final miles. The course is advertised as flat, but I knew from experience that Victory Hill on South Stadium is nearly as mean as the hill to get on the levee and another up and down that takes you around some water pipes on the levee.
During the race, I pushed myself a bit. At the end of the first mile, my Nike +GPS told me I was averaging somewhere around 10:00/mile, a great time for me. Last year, I completed this race in 1:17:15 and I knew I was capable of bettering that time. In fact, I expected to, so I probably pushed it more than I would otherwise. I only walked twice, at the 2 mile mark and at the four mile mark.
I felt tired heading up the levee, but I refused to slow down. I knew I would PR and I wanted to make it worth it. Probably not the best approach a week before my first half marathon, but oh well. I really put on the speed as we came of the levee and knew I the finish was just around the corner, nearly slipping on some gravel and seeing my running career flash before my eyes! My GPS tells me my fastest pace was 7:58/mile (crazy!). I crossed the finish line in 1:06:46 (avg. 10:57/mile), besting my previous 10k PR by 11 minutes!
I got my medal and called Josh, who was meeting me and his parents at the finish line. He was parking when I finished and we quickly met. I retrieved my shirt (which was thankfully still there since it was cold once I was not moving), and we waited for his parents to cross the finish line. After a snack at the finish party (wings from Buffalo Wild Wings — not bad), Josh and I headed off to Louie’s Cafe for a club sandwich for me and Big Cheesy Lou for him. Delicious.
Other: Along with being a perfect taper length, I used the Mambo to test my gear for RnRNOLA, including a new water bottle with easy hand grip. I quickly determined that a full Nuun tablet in that water bottle caused way too much carbonation. It kept spurting out the top of the bottle, getting me wet and sticky! (I used just half a Nuun for the half marathon, which worked much better).