Happy Wednesday! We’ve made it halfway through another week and I’m really looking forward to the weekend. I’m hoping to catch up on a lot of necessary things around my house and I’m especially looking forward to relaxing!
Here’s the link to a few Rock n Roll New Orleans recaps I’ve written so far:
I slept extremely well the night before the race – an amazing feat because our hotel was right on the corner of Canal and Bourbon Street! Yes, Bourbon Street! I do remember waking up at 4 a.m. to noise outside, but it didn’t keep me awake for long.
My alarm rang at 4:45 a.m. and as I was getting ready, I realized I did not prepare for this race as I should have. I text Heather and she admitted that she felt the same way. I think we both had our focus on other races this season (mine was Goofy and hers was Houston) and somehow, we let a lot of essential things slip from our mind for Rock n Roll NOLA. We kept saying “Oh I meant to bring this but I forgot it at home” or “I thought to pack that but then didn’t”. It was crazy. As I dressed for the race, the nerves began to set in. What on earth was I thinking? Not planning out each and every essential detail of the race? I must have lost my mind!
I calmed myself down, then met my dad in the lobby. He offered to walk with me to the start line which was super nice of him!
(Whoa! I’m glowing!!)
Our running group met in Corral 16 prior to the race. I found my long lost Goofy pal and had to take a picture, just for old time sake! :0) I also found my race buddy! Yay!
After a group picture…
…and a little pep talk from our running coach, we said our goodbyes and good lucks, then made our way to our individual corrals.
All week long, the forecast for the race called for rain. We woke up on race morning to a clear blue sunny sky! Yay!
Heather and I started out in Corral 11. Our plan was to find the 4:30/4:45 pace team and follow them as long as possible.
We got in our corral and waited….and waited….
One problem. We did not see pace teams ANYWHERE. Not a single one.
OK…new game plan. Let’s pace ourselves, we can do this….right?
Remember that whole “I thought to bring it but left it at home” problem? Guess where the pace band was. Yep, at home.
Ah well no problem. Plan C? Keep a 10ish pace for as long as possible……got it.
We neared the start line and before I knew it, we were off and running!
That whole “Keep a 10ish minute pace” strategy was a little rough the first few miles. Even though we spent most of our time bobbing and weaving through the crowd, we still maintained a fairly decent pace.
As we reached Mile 2, we began the lookout for Mo, Shalane, and Kara.
Before long, we were granted with a glimpse!
Heather asked if we could stop and cheer for them as they ran by and of course I said yes!!
These athletes are incredibly talented and inspiring!
We were on a “we just cheered for Shalane and Kara” high for several miles and it definitely helped the time pass by!
Around Mile 10, I knew I would have to work a little bit harder to attain the goal I desired to achieve at the end of the race. The roads were uneven which caused some discomfort in my feet. I asked Heather if she noticed it as well and she agreed.
Despite the bumpy roads, we continued to press on, keeping a decent pace. I kept trying to calculate the pace/finishing time in my head but finally gave up – my brain couldn’t think that far in advance!
I loved all of the crowd support and the awesome cheerleaders along the sidelines! They really helped keep us going!
We passed Jackson Square…
…and Café DuMonde – both New Orleans landmarks. The sweet smell of fried dough covered in powdered sugar lingered in the air as we ran past. Right outside of the Café were several members of our running group. It was great to see them and they cheered for us as we passed!
Mile 11 took us past a graveyard. This sign read “Cemetery Ahead. Look Alive!” I smiled and had to take a picture because the poster reminded me of the Haunted Mansion in Disney! Yes, everything relates back to Disney in my mind!
We reached Mile 12 and I stopped for my usual picture! :0) Yes, even during a Full!
The half and the full marathoners stayed together most of the race. As the course reached the entrance of City Park, the two split apart - the half marathoners ran into City Park to cross the finish line and the full marathoners continued their course to the lake.
I have to say, it was really nice not having the half marathoners/relay-ers around after the split. The course was somewhat congested until that point and I kept getting poked or hit with relay drumsticks.
Awesome course support from onlookers! I loved these signs! One said “Just Do It….In Your Pants!” and the other read “That GU looks delicious…said no runner ever!” :0)
My favorite water stop of the entire race was the Mickey Mouse Club! The volunteers were dressed either as members of the Mickey Mouse Club or as Mickey/Minnie themselves. Adorable!
We made it to the lake and by that point, the sun began to disappear. (I did remember my sunscreen this year! Yay!)
We reached Mile 18 at 3 hours and 8 minutes. I could not believe how good I felt (the un-comfortableness in my feet started to fade as we ran on smoother ground). I kept thinking back to the previous year and how far I had come since my injury. Amazing difference!
The course continued on through several neighborhoods and over several hills, bridges, and inclines. Did I mention several? Cause it was a lot. I train on FLAT ground and I’m not a fan of inclines. Even the turn around point was in the middle of an incline. Ugh.
The course route was changed at the last minute due to the fear of flooding in certain areas so I got to see parts of NOLA I’d never seen before! As we passed a college campus building, I asked Heather if that was LSU. Really, LSU?? Obviously delirium was setting in. Must have been all of those hills we had to run over. We found out later that the campus was a part of UNO. Yes, the University of NEW ORLEANS…since we obviously were NOT in Baton Rouge. Still SMH’ing on that one.
No lie, this dude dribbled a basketball the entire race.
By the time we reached Mile 23, we were both hurting, tired, and ready to be finished. My knee only bothered me when we ran on odd roads with an incline. Other than that, I had no pain in my knee and I only had to apply BioFreeze once! I’ll be honest, it was nice to feel pain in other areas for once…and by pain, I mean the typical I’m almost finished with a marathon kind of pain – like hip soreness, feet achiness, leg fatigue, etc.
There were several times when I wanted to stop and walk or take it easy but I wouldn’t let myself. I ran hard for a really long time and I determined that I was going to continue to run as hard as possible to the end.
Around Mile 24, I passed a spectator holding a sign that read, “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. It’s the hard that makes it great.” –Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) A League of Their Own ….. which just so happens to be my all time favorite movie!
That phrase continued to roll over in my mind during the last two miles of the race. The race was hard and I was hurting. Like the sign read, I reminded myself that it wasn’t supposed to be easy. Nothing in life worth having comes easy. I’m not sure where I got it from, but those last two miles were some of the fastest I ran the entire race.
As I passed through one of the last turns in City Park, a song by Need to Breathe began to play on my iPod. The lyric that caught my attention said, “Show me your fire, show me your heart. You know I’d never let you fall apart, just keep your eyes open…”
I knew that’s what I had to do. Keep pressing on, keep pushing forward, keep my eyes open and before long, I’d cross that glorious finish line!
I saw my family and raised my hands in the air in triumph. After two years of training for a 5 hour marathon, my dream became a reality…finally!
That’s a look of sheer determination right there!
I crossed the finish line with a time of 4 hours and 44 minutes, well before my goal of 5 hours!
I met up with Heather’s husband after I crossed the finish line and we cheered Heather on as she crossed just moments later! We finally completed a marathon, together!
I walked on cloud 9 the rest of the day. Well, let me rephrase that…I hobbled on cloud 9 the rest of the day but it was an awesome feeling!
I realized something as we were leaving the park – this was my 4th Marathon, I finished with a time of 4 hours and 44 minutes, and I PR’d right at 40 minutes. I decided it must have been something in the water…and maybe training for Goofy’s Challenge came with added perks! Who knew?! :0)
After the race, I treated myself to a chocolate milk and a Mickey rice crispy treat. Best rice crispy treat, EVER.
Thank you so much for following along with my journey! I appreciate everyone’s support! You guys are awesome! :0)