Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Rock and Roll New Orleans Marathon with ACS DetermiNation (Part 3)

Just incase you missed it, here’s Part 1 and Part 2 of my RnR NOLA weekend recap:
Race morning came bright and early as always. I went through the motions of stretching, foam rolling, getting dressed, etc. The entire time, I kept thinking, “I want to go back to bed!” To be honest, I was scared to death of running – unaware of  how my knee would hold up – 26.2 miles is a LONG way to run. I was scared that what happened in Houston would happen to me again during New Orleans.

This day however, was a NEW day. Even though I felt a lot of anxiety and fear as I attempted to put on my race gear, I tried to tell myself that everything was going to be ok. My mind could not fully comprehend the fact that I was about to run 26.2 miles. I could think about the first half, just not the 2nd. Every time I thought about Mile 20, it made me sick. I tried not to think about the race, but I knew I HAD to mentally prepare myself.  I decided it was best not to make myself sick so I put the race out of my mind completely. Also, the last time I ran over 13.1 miles was December 3 – THREE months plus one day to the Rock n Roll NOLA Marathon. Could I still run it? Would I make it? I couldn’t think about it.


Race gear set out ready to go!

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I decided that my Sparkle Hearts skirt needed a 2nd chance (it’s last chance was in Houston…not a good one….). I also pinned a sign on my back that said “Injured but DetermiNed to finish”…get it? :0) Also, I can’t forget my 26.2 tat that my awesome running friend Heather gave me!! :0)

We met as a team in the hotel lobby and walked over to the start line. When I say it was early, I mean we were some of the first runners out there! Rock N Roll moved their start line this year so I was very turned around and didn’t know where we were for a few minutes!

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An empty start line….


My hometown race team!


Rock N Roll DetermiNation Louisiana!


Southwest ACS

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Jason even walked over to the start line with me! He’s such a good sport! (Once the race started, he walked back to the hotel and went back to sleep….Lucky!!)


Runners milling around the courtyard waiting for the race to begin.


I found two of my friends who were running the half! We just so happened to be in the same corral! Yay!


Meet Andrea and Kelli! Now, they are two of my favorite running buddies!! :0)


We are crazy! Hah!


Ready or not, here we go!


The race led us through downtown New Orleans I’ve run this course several times so I was very familiar with the area. I never get tired of seeing it! :0)

Another change this year - the Full Marathon/Half Marathon didn’t split until Mile 12. In the past, the runners split around mile 4…or was it 6? I can’t remember.

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These guys were a huge motivational boost! As they passed the crowds cheered them on! These guys were wearing Full Marathon bibs, too!


My buddy Kelli stayed with me for most of the race and surprise surprise, we made awesome time considering my knee issues! I was having so much fun, I forgot that I was NOT in excruciating pain!!! Yay!


A little after Mile 12 is when the Half/Full Marathoners split off. I said goodbye to Kelli and set out for the rest of my journey.


As you can see, THOUSANDS of runners flooded into the park. I was told that a very large number of people were running the Half when compared to the Full Marathon.


After the split from the Half Marathoners, I suddenly felt very desolate and sort of alone. The number of people around me was a lot less and I noticed how quiet the world seemed at that moment.

My knee ached but not at ALL like Houston. I ran this race in pain, but the pain was tolerable if that makes sense. It’s funny to see the above picture because little did I know, the girl behind me became friends with me somewhere around mile 20, and eventually crossed the finish line together!


A part of this race that I had not run before (this was my first RnR NOLA Full) was the lake front. What a GORGEOUS day for a run!  I loved all of the “Wrong Way” signs too!

My #1 downfall…I forgot to wear sunscreen. Oncology Nurse FAIL. Sad times.


Along the race course, I met several people – some from the Lafayette area, others from various outlying states. I received several comments, well wishes, and pick me ups from the sign on my back! Everyone was absolutely wonderful! Around mile 18, someone asked if I knew the time. We hit mile 18 around 4 hours! Not only were they shocked, but so was I! Prior to my knee injury, my goal was to finish the race in less than 5 hours. I knew I couldn’t make that, but I’d take what I could get! :0)

I also met a girl who used to live in NOLA but now lives in St. Louis. Her and I ended up running the rest of the race together!  You’ll see my explanation later, but this race severely lacked in the amount of supplements along the race course. I finally came across bananas around mile 23 (I could have used that banana at mile 18). I felt MUCH better after eating the banana and before I knew it, we were in City Park! I honestly do not remember a Marathon being THAT hard to run. The bottom of my feet were killing me, both knees hurt, and I wanted to lie down on the side of the road and sleep. I never hit the”wall” that I hear people talk about, but the race itself was still hard.


Mile 26 was located inside of City Park. We tried to run as much as possible but it was really hard. We ran until we couldn’t feel our legs anymore, then we’d walk. The hardest part of walking was  running again. Ugh.

We hit mile 26 and before I knew it, there was the finish line!

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All of the tears, the pain, and the sorrow related to my injury came back to me in that moment – the hours spent with my Physical Therapist building strength in my legs and overcoming my injury. I was reminded of the hours I spent fundraising and the long miles I ran on those early cold Saturday mornings. I could feel it – this dream – this intangible dream I held on to for SO long was so close I could taste it.


There’s my running coach and Melissa! :0)


I started crying the moment I visualized the finish line. I found my husband waiting for me right before I crossed and I threw my hands in the air and cheered. This was IT. I had done it.


As soon as we crossed the finish line, Stacy and I hugged and cried together. This was her first time to run a marathon and my first since being injured. We both overcame great obstacles that got us to that very moment.  I was given a medal and I saw my husband just a few seconds later. I hugged him and cried some more. I was still in shock – I still couldn’t comprehend the fact that I ran 26.2 miles that day.


I took a picture with my new friend then we parted ways. I am grateful for her – I’m not sure I would have made it through those last few miles (alive) if not for her pushing me!


After leaving the finish line, I made a bee-line for the DetermiNation tent where I knew FOOD would be waiting!!


Glorious food! That was by far the BEST Turkey po-boy I’ve ever eaten…yes, that’s how hungry I was! :0)


We took a few pictures at the DetermiNation tent, then we met up with Kelli at her hotel room. Kelli let me borrow her shower since we were leaving that day and didn’t have a place to clean up!


My ever loving supporter! :0)

Overall, I had a great race – I loved the course, the feeling of accomplishment, and my new medal however, I felt as if this race was lacking in a few areas:

#1 – FOOD! Hello! If I’m running 26.2 miles, I need refuel! I’m sorry but a PB&J sandwich at mile 13 is not what I need – I need at least a 1/2 of a banana at mile 18, not mile 23 when I’m about to die. I felt as if the Disney Marathon knew what they were doing – they knew exactly what to have every few miles. Take notes from Disney, Rock N Roll – they’ve got it going on!

#2 – A lack of BioFreeze at the medic tents shocked me. I’m glad that I ran into a BioFreeze rep at the Expo because she gave me a handful of samples to carry with me during the race. Those BioFreeze packets came in handy with my knee and I’m very grateful for the rep who helped me out!!

#3 – This one is not RnR’s fault, but it still bothers me. In 2011, ACS had a TON of cheerleaders through the ENTIRE race course – it was SEVERELY lacking this year. SEVERELY. Needless to say, cheerleaders along the course line was not the only thing this race was lacking on their part and my ACS post-race survey was not the most positive one.  I still plan on running the race in 2013, but I want to volunteer with ACS for other weekend festivities instead of running with DetermiNation again.

So, there you have it! Four months overdue, but better late than never, right?! :0)

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on finishing! I was wondering about the New Orleans RnR, suit was nice to see your race recap.


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