We arrived in New Orleans late Friday night after a long day of work in Houston. The Hubby and I hit up a few bars for some well deserved drinks and fun. We had a pretty late night, but I managed to have not too bad of a headache the next morning. We woke up to a beautiful Saturday in NOLA and headed for some yummy beignets.
Who says fried dough covered in powdered sugar isn't good carb-loading? I love me some Cafe du Monde!
After breakfast/lunch, we headed over to the Expo to pick up my packet. That convention center must be a mile long and they had the RnR Expo all the way at the end! We walked forever! But the Expo was very well organized, although not as many booths to explore as Houston. I loved that Brooks was the sponser of the event and really wanted to hang around and shop, but Hubby was tired and ready to get back to the hotel. I picked up some Gus and we were off. I was a little surprised that we got our finishers shirts at the Expo and that they were only Men's sizes. Very disappointing.
Clothes laid out the night before! (I LOVE my marathon shirt)
I walked to the start the next morning and it was cold! 45 degrees, but I knew it would warm up. I checked my bag and left my long sleeves behind. At least there were enough people in the corrals to keep each other warm.
I started in Corral 5 next to Captain America. Pretty sure he beat me!
I loved that there were over 20 corrals to really space the runners out. Houston should really take a note from RnR here and have more than 2 corrals. The start was easy and I was never crowded by people. AND the people starting with me weren't walking into the first mile.
The course started out next to the river and it was cold! My hands and toes were freezing for the first two miles. I was really wishing I had atleast worn gloves. By mile 2 my stomach was killing me. All I could focus on was finding the next porto-cans. I've never had to stop in a race and I was really mad that I was going to have to. I was running this for a PR and I knew stopping would kill my time. Oh well, I had to do it.
The course was flat and fast. There wasn't a hill in sight - which was good because I never once even looked at the course map. The whole thing was a total surprise.
It was also mostly shaded. We ran a lot through old neighborhoods with gorgeous houses. The bands were nice, but they were a little spread out. I couldn't tell you want any of them were playing except for one on the last stretch. The male lead singer was belting out The Climb by Miley Cyrus. I laughed, but I'm not sure any one around me even noticed.
Most of the run actually sucked for me. After the bathroom break, I thought I'd be fine and able to really pick up the pace. Wrong. I had side stiches throughout the entire race. As soon as I worked one side out, the other side would start hurting. And trying to go faster only made it worse. By mile 9 I wanted to quit. I started to walk, but this guy on the street started yelling at me to keep going and just eat a Gu. So I did. I wasn't planning on taking one so early, but I used it as an excuse to keep walking.
Once I started running again we were in downtown and passing my hotel. There were only 4 miles left and I figured I had to give it all I had. I looked at my watch and knew that if I didn't, I had no chance of trying for a PR (it was already a slim chance).
At the 10 mile marker, these 2 guys started trying to pep up the other runners by telling them there was only a 5k left. I joined in with them and kicked my legs into high gear. I started picking people off and told myself I could puke when it was over.
I crossed the finish line in 1:59:02. A 13 second PR!
I had given it everything I had. My last 3 miles were 8:30s! I know if I hadn't had the bathroom break or the side stiches, I could have crushed my time. But oh well, not every race can be a good race. Although, I'd much rather prefer weather to slow me down than what I had!
Love the medal!
After a shower and a humongous poboy, we hit up Pat O'Brian's for hurricanes.
(I know, I was eating/drinking some horrible food for someone who considers themselves a serious runner!)
And then we got to watch some street performers. I got to be the assistant during the magic show. I love New Orleans and can't believe it's been 6 years since I've been there. I may or may not do the race again, but I'll definately be back for some Hurricanes and Hand Grenades! :)