Saturday, March 2, 2013

That day I ran a Marathon...

I know it has taken me almost a week to write this post. I have been trying to wrap my thoughts around the race and also have been sick. Now that I am feeling better here goes nothing.
I have been running for 2 years. I am not a fast funner, nor am I a competitive runner. I am not one of those people who get up in the morning and absolutely cant wait to get out and run. I enjoy running but it is not on my mind all the time. That being said, I LOVE racing! I know that probably doesn't make since, but stay with me!
Last year when I ran the New Orleans Rock n Roll half marathon with my best friend Jennifer, we had a blast. It was her first half and I was so excited to share that with her...
When the time came around for signing up for RNR Nola 2013. We decided that we would run the full marathon.
I have had a quite a rough past couple of months with my hips and IT band. After running the Hat Trick at Runners World in October, I had to take off running for a while, I was worried that I would not be ready for the marathon. Then I decided to start doing CrossFit at Christmas time at Crossfit Coastline. Jennifer was teaching an on ramp style class there and I had heard that it would help my stretching and IT Band. So I joined and loved it. From the week I started my hip problems started to go away. Something was working. I did some research about Crossfitters running marathons with no LSD training, so I focused on CrossFit and and knew this marathon was going to happen.
Sunday February 24th, 2013
I knew being sick all weekend would not be the ideal running scenario, but I didn't care. I was going to run this race, even if I had to crawl across the finish line.
Jennifer and I had stayed at The Blake hotel which was literally at the start line. SO we did not have to get up until like 6am for the 7am start.
We lined up in corral 15 and did our stretching and pre race pictures...
I don't look that sick, do I?
As I had mentioned Jennifers BFF Melissa had come in town to be our support person. She got some great start line photos of us.
Around 7:20, we were off and running...
For the first 5 miles, Jennifer and I stayed together. Jennifer stopped at the bathroom and I kept going. At that point I realized for the next 21 miles I was going to be running alone. I haven't ran a long race alone in a long time. It was not as bad as I thought it would be. We ran down St.Charles for the longest time. The first 7 miles is an out and back so I was able to see the elite runners including Meb, Kara Groucher, and Shalane Flanagan, whom I met back in October run past.
 They were at mile 7 while we were at 2. I guess that why they are olympians and I'm not. HeeHee!
Once we got to about mile 7 it was some of my favorite parts of the race, you run through the French Quarters past Cafe Du Monde. This is where there are a ton of people out on the streets cheering for you. Its great. Once we got to about mile 10, you run towards City Park. When I got to about 12.6 miles you get to a split in the course. The half marathoners go to the right and the full to the left. This is when you make that big decision to carry on or to stop. It is very mental. I was happy that I actually was feeling good about this point in the race and knew that I would be able to keep going.
I will say that the fact that the last half was a complete out and back is very mental. When you are at mile 15 you see the mile 24 sign across the road. All of those people almost finished and you have 11 miles left is very mentally draining. I looked to it as a challenge!
I wasn't starting to hurt till about mile 20. This is really where I had to dig deep. They had changed the course because of the rain so instead of 1 overpass hill, we had 4, which made it a not so flat course anymore. There were no spectators out on Lakeside Dr. so it made for quite a boring mind talking time. I kept having to tell myself that I only had a 10k left, 5mile, 4mile, 5k... About mile 24 is when things got real. I had so many emotions going through my head. I was hurting, I knew I was about to be a marathoner, I was hungry, I was tired, it was about to rain, I wondered how Jennifer was doing, I though I had lost my mind, I was never doing this again, that house is pretty, why are there cars driving by me, the cheerleaders on the other side of the road are getting on my nerves, NO, I dont want a mini martini, or a beer, or m&m's, or your high fives, and so on. All I knew was that the last 2 miles were ahead of me and I could hear the finish line. I just was ready to be done!
I think that was the longest 2 miles of my life. Then I saw the glorious park entrance and the barricades, You know when you see the barricades and get in them your almost done...
 When I rounded the corner I heard a familiar voice, Mike who runs the Gulf Coast half was announcing people in, it was nice to hear someone you know. Then I saw Jennifer there waiting and she was tearing up. Its was an experience I have never felt before. I had just finished 26.2 miles in 6:05 and didn't die!
To Jennifer: I will never be able to express my gratefulness to have you by my side on February 24th, your strength and friendship has made me such a better person. You will always be my best friend and sister. I love you!
Some of you might be wondering what my thoughts were on running a marathon as a Paleo eating CrossFitter and not a carb loading long distance runner. I will be writing about these things next week, stay tuned!


  1. Awwwweeee, I am so flipping proud of you, Larisa!! You rocked this marathon like it was nobody's business. And yes, the second 1/2 of the course sucked big ones but you did a great job soldiering through. I saw the mini-martinis on the course, too, and thought they were adorable but 'please get them the heck out of my face!' I wonder if anybody stopped to drink one? Great job again and I super excited to see you next month!

  2. HUGE congrats to you Larisa!! I love that CrossFit not only helped you train for this but also overcome past injuries! Proud of you!

  3. Congrats!! I loved this post, I could totally relate on first time marathon experience...especially about being proud you did not die!

  4. Way to go Larisa! And congrats to Jennifer as well!

  5. CONGRATS TO YOU!! I love your recap on what you were thinking in the last few miles. I imagine I'll have the same thoughts when I tackle a marathon someday.

    Can't wait to read your post on your fuel - I am not paleo, but have dietary needs that fall into paleo realms (paleo being "safe" for me to eat). So curious to hear what worked and what didn't for you!

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