#RnRNOLA 2015 New Orleans Marathon Recap

I am so grateful for mother-in-law for accompanying me on this trip, for taking great care of me and my girls and making wonderful memories. It would not have been possible without her.

I am so, so, so very glad I decided to a Rock ‘n’ Roll event and it only took me two years of talking about it before I actually did one.

I picked the Rock ‘n’ New Orleans Marathon (#RnRNOLA) for a few reasons. It was close to home (5 hrs driving distance), it was in January, the city is amazing, flat, and full of history, and most importantly it was the week before my birthday. Yes, it is one of my birthday presents to myself.

The trip ended up being a girls trip: my mother-in-law, two munchkins, and me! The Thursday before the trip I had all the symptoms of catching the cold that was making it’s way through my house; no wonder my taper week felt terrible.

We headed to New Orleans on Friday to hit the Expo early and to enjoy the city before the marathon on Sunday. Even though #RnRNOLA draws a smaller crowd (less than 15k), it still appealed to plenty of awesome vendors. From gear, shoes, stickers, foam rollers, insurance, nutrition, and gadgets… there was plenty of stuff every runner doesn’t need to spend even more money on! I was disappointed to not see FlipBelt or replacement bottles for my Nathan Hydration belt.

Check-In

Picking up race packet. No lines!

IMG_3649Run Happy

Future CEP model and runner!

Future CEP model and runner!

After the Expo we decided to pass on a healthy dinner and visit the world famous Cafe Du Monde for beignets and coffee. My oldest munchkin fell asleep in the cafe from the long day of traveling but the powdered sugar donuts shifted my four-year-old into a whole new gear. She was dancing out of the cafe.

Cafe Du Monde beignets

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Saturday I woke up with a full blown icky cold, but still got out to enjoy the city. We visited the French Market, rode a trolley, visited a candy shop for salt water taffy and pralines. As we walked through Jackson Square, there was a band playing music and my girls couldn’t resist the urge to dance.  We even managed to find my favorite store – Target, to load up on some snacks, cold medicine and juice to get me through the night. My amazing little munchkins had a blast playing in the hotel room, which also allowed me to call it an early night and get much needed rest.

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RACE DAY – 40º F (feels a lot colder when you are sick)

4:15 – Get up, get ready! The cold medicine in my system had me feeling miserable. My mother-in-law and girls drove me to the closest point to the race start possible (around the block). I hung out in the car with them until 45 minutes before the start of the race. As we sat in the car we watched the shuttle drop off dozens of runners. I love to check out runner get-ups and to see so many ladies wearing skirts and tutu’s made me smile and inspires my girls to want to run.

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START

The race started about 30 minutes later than expected. Due to construction on on the course, we were released in smaller waves. I stood in the crowd for almost an hour and was shaking from being so cold by the time I started, which of course led to a faster pace in the beginning. Running through the heart of downtown New Orleans was beautiful, I just had to pay attention to my footing as old roads often had potholes and such. Luckily, no rolled ankles.

Courtesy of MarathonFoto

Courtesy of MarathonFoto

I had been training using a 3:1 ratio – run three minutes, walk one minute. This proved to be really tough to stick to in the beginning as I just wanted to run fast and had to force myself to stick to my training plan. There were nearly 13,000 runners out there, by far the biggest race I had ever run in and it felt like I could see runners for miles. Around mile 3, two young girls were handing out mardi gras beads and the mom in me could not resist but grab a few beads from them.

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As the half marathon came to a finish, the full marathoners were directed to the left of the course and things got lonely. I couldn’t help but think, here’s where we separate the big dogs from the little dogs…  I have never had that kind of thought before – what is wrong with me???? After all, 13.1 miles has been my favorite race distance for a few years.  I read later that there were only 2,300 full marathoners and after mile 13, we got pretty sporadic.

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I started to see carnage around mile 16 as a few young gals tapped out due to what can be assumed as nausea getting the best of them. At mile 17, another runner was claimed by the course after he tripped and took a fall. At mile 18, I hit the wall, or was it the tiny hill shaped like a bridge overpass?  At mile 20, I got over the wall… something about getting into the 20’s makes it feel like you are almost there, even though that last 10k is brutal. From here on out, I saw lots of grimacing, people compensating for being in pain, people stopping to stretch out their legs from cramps, and very few supporters or cheerleaders on the side of the course, they seemed to have faded away hours ago. My 3:1 ratio had turned into 6:1 ratio from here on out.

As I hit mile 25, I thought euphoria would get me through the last 1.2 miles. No.. not this time. The last 1.2 miles was tough… just plain hard until I saw the white fence finish chute. Coming into the home stretch always feels so, so good. Instead of sprinting through the finish, I took the time to come in easy and enjoy it, to see the smiling faces of the supporters on the sidelines and just to take it all in. After all, you don’t work so hard to not enjoy the finish!

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After the race, I stopped my Garmin and saved my stats (I have forgot to do this many times before), loaded up on free nutritional goodies, and busted out my cell phone to find my peeps. After finding my girls, we headed to the car where I did the infamous change in the car routine and we headed home.

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NOTES & PACE

I sipped water at every aid station, but due to my cold, it was very tough to drink or eat. I took in the least amount of nutrition at this marathon than in any other previous event. I drank one bottle of Herbalife H30 throughout the course, ate 2 bags of Mott’s gummies, and had one serving of EnergyBits (protein). After the race, I drank two small bottles of chocolate milk and ate a banana. About an hour later, I ate chicken sandwich, salad and french fries (yum!)

Mile Pace Notes
1 10:03
2 9:51
3 9:29
4 9:59 Mott’s gummies (3)
5 9:41
6 10:00
7 9:33
8 9:46 Mott’s gummies (3)
9 10:37
10 10:01 Nutrition: .5 serving EnergyBits.
11 10:44
12 10:09
13 10:42
14 10:25
15 10:41 Mott’s gummies (3)
16 11:08
17 10:47
18 11:54 Hit the wall.
19 11:25 Nutrition: .5 serving EnergyBits.
20 11:47
21 11:51
22 11:48 Mott’s gummies (3)
23 11:42 Potty Break!
24 12:18
25 12:25
26 12:15
0.2 10:53

 

New Orleans marathon run half marathon finish strong runner

I will absolutely sign up for another Rock ‘n’ Roll event. While the event is not quite as family friendly as I had hoped, they are well organized, take good care of their runners, and they seem to appeal to lots of happy, friendly runners and other veterans like myself.

Huge props to MarathonFoto! This is the first time I have bought pictures from an event and I bought all of them. I only recalled seeing one photographer out there and somehow I ended up with more than 40 great pictures of me during the race.

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