Tuesday, February 3, 2015

2015 Rock n Roll New Orleans Half Marathon Recap

A few weekends ago, several girlfriends and I travelled to New Orleans to run the Rock n Roll New Orleans Half Marathon/10K!

If you missed my previous NOLA recaps, here they are:

Prior to race morning, I obsessively checked the weather…like over and over again. We had awesome weather for the Louisiana Half Marathon the weekend before, I just knew something crazy was going to happen with the weather for New Orleans (in its typical Southern Louisiana style). Surprise surprise…the weather was perfect for New Orleans…TWO weekends in a row?! Y’all, we were lucky…especially considering how nasty the weather was for this race weekend in 2014!

Anyway, back to race morning – so, we woke up around 5:30 a.m. to get ready for our big events! Our hotel was strategically located at Lafayette Square (near the start line), which meant we didn’t have to rush to get ready and out the door the morning of the race. I would stay here again (The Blake Hotel) IF they would offer a late checkout (which they wouldn’t give us). I’m going to call ahead next time to check - if they tell me no, then I’ll just stay somewhere else. (Their checkout is at 11 a.m. which will come back to haunt me later…)

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I was so excited for Mackenzie as she was running her first 10K!

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We met up with our crew – Kayla and Mary in the lobby of our hotel and decided that we had enough time to watch Kenzie start the 10K!

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My friend Melissa graciously took these photos, as my hands were full!

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Start of the 10K

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There she goes! Teehee!

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After watching the 10K start, we walked over to the half/full marathon start line for a few photos. This was Mary’s first half marathon as well, and I was super excited for her! (I think she’s hooked now!)

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The crowd in front…and behind! This is a huge race!

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I decided to jump into corral 13 with Kayla and Mary (although I should have started in corral 7). As the race began, I realized my mistake. Our hotel checkout was set for 11 a.m. The race began at 7:30 a.m., but because I started in a later corral, I didn’t make it to the start line until 8 a.m. The problem I had was with the finish line – which was located across town. Runners/spectators were to take a bus from the finish line back to downtown (which could take up to 30, even 45 minutes depending on the crowd).

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My original plan was to have fun with this race since I went all out on the Louisiana Half the weekend before, but I panicked.

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Start line…and GO!

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Run…….for………your…..…life….

Ok maybe it wasn’t that dramatic, but I was kind of freaking out inside and the thought of our hotel checkout time stayed in the back of my mind the entire race. Sadly, it made for a less enjoyable race experience in New Orleans. My fault…lesson learned. Sorry to be Debbie Downer…whomp whomp.

The Rock n Roll New Orleans course keept the full and half marathoners together until mile 12, then they split. One portion of the race took runners down St. Charles Avenue for a loooooong time before returning them back to the French Quarter area.

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I was SO happy I remembered sunglasses as the sun was in our faces for several miles.

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I was in love with the bands that played at each mile this year…especially this one! They were awesome, in true New Orleans southern style!

Around mile 2, my calves began to bother me. Apparently I have a super tight muscle in both calves that only my massage therapist can aggravate (he’s the one that initially found them). They’ve never bothered me during a race…but they did this time! Ever run on a tight muscle for a few hours because you had a deadline to reach? Yeah…that’s what I did. Also, my hips and thighs were bothering me. My body seriously felt like I ran a full marathon the weekend before (which I did not). I couldn’t understand it!

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Around mile 9.5, we reached the French Quarter and Café Du Monde!

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Beignets, anyone? :)

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After missing my traditional mile 12 sign picture the weekend before, I stopped this time around!

I also stopped here to attempt to stretch my calves out a bit.

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As we reached City Park, we split from the full marathoners and continued on to the finish line.

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Again, my friend Melissa captured this picture of me crossing the finish line! Whew…I was so glad to be done with the race. It was around 10:15 a.m. when I crossed with a time of 2:11.

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As soon as I crossed the finish line, I grabbed a medal, water, chocolate milk (YUM), powerade, a banana…you know, the usual…and continued on to the tent area for my Double Down medal!

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Also, they were giving out the bead lanyard again this year because  runners complained that it’s what made these medals unique (at least that’s what I heard). I think it’s neat that Rock n Roll listens to runners opinions and thoughts and does something about it!

Sooo…after taking a few pictures, we hauled it to the busses. I was really sore after running this event so I couldn’t walk very fast, but we made it!

The bus dropped us off downtown (a few blocks from our hotel) at exactly 10:50 a.m. We got into our room about a minute before 11 a.m. Melissa graciously called the front desk to ask for just a few extra minutes and they were granted to us (thank goodness)! I jumped in the shower and finished packing up my things – we were out of there in no time! Again, this is something I will check on next year before making my reservations anywhere!

After checking out, we had the bellhop hold our luggage and we walked over to Kayla and Mary’s hotel (they had a noon check out time).

On the elevator at Kayla and Mary’s hotel, I began speaking to a couple – one ran the full and had his Marathon finishers jacket on and the other ran the half but was holding onto a wrapped jacket.

I told them (as a joke) that I ran the Full Marathon in New Orleans the past three years and the year I decided to run the half, they gave out finishers jackets…not fair, right? Everyone on the elevator kind of laughed and then the lady did something that made my jaw literally drop – she GAVE me her finishers jacket. She said she ran the half and apparently there were extra jackets at the finish line, so she was given one! OMG. I told her thank you but I couldn’t possibly take her jacket and she insisted! She told me that she hadn’t yet run a full so she would feel silly wearing the jacket! OMG.

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Oh…my…gosh. I was literally on cloud 9 the rest of the day! I couldn’t believe that she was so generous! Aren’t runners the best?!

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After lunch, king cake, and coffee, we said goodbye to Rock n Roll New Orleans for another year! It was a fun race as always….but again, I learned my lesson with the hotel checkout time. I won’t make that mistake again!

Do you usually stay an extra night for out of town races? How do you handle the hotel checkout time if not?

20 comments:

  1. That was so very generous of that runner to give you her jacket! I would love to run RnR Nola but that time of year it never fits in our schedule. Was it cold out? It looked chilly.
    We usually never depart the same day as the race so check out is never a problem. Actually, we've only ever did same day check out when we ran in NJ and the entire race was on the boardwalk and so was our hotel so it was convenient.

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    1. SO generous! I was so excited when she gave it to me! It was a little chilly but actually it was perfect running weather to me! :) Yeah, staying an extra night would be a great idea - I usually have to go back to work on Monday though.

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  2. that is cool that you got a jacket. yes runners are the best.

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  3. Sounds like a super fun weekend despite the few hiccups. Congrats on your finish!

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    1. Thanks so much, Rachel! I did have a lot of fun! :)

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  4. Girl I was upset I didn't get a jacket too when I race the full! How awesome that lady gave you hers! I can't believe your hotel wouldn't give you a later checkout time! Luckily I've always been granted that later check out time. I've had one as late as 2:00 before! These hotels should definitely grant late checkouts to runners...especially those running the full that there's no way they can be back at 11:00! Congrats on another great race girl!

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    1. Girl I couldn't agree with you more! 2 pm! I need to find that hotel!

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  5. That was very kind of the lady to give you the jacket! I hate dealing with checkout time at hotels. I've been kind of lucky (knock on wood) and gotten a late check-out) but I usually book the hotels through the race website, so they're kind of in the loop about people needing the later checkouts. Also, how many people check in to hotels on Sunday afternoon? Business travelers wouldn't arrive until Monday, I'd think.

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    1. You're right...they probably don't check in until Monday. Oh well...I'll just have to be more careful next time!

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  6. Runners are awesome! Love that you got a jacket! So great, despite the fact that you were worryng about checking out of your hotel and trying to stretch out your leg.. It all worked out. Love that :)

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    1. Yes, it all worked out in the end...perfect timing! :)

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  7. I did like the beads last year too, I thought it made it different than all my other medals.

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    1. I agree, that's my favorite part of the medals! :)

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  8. Runners are truly amazing and that was a very generous gift. I usually stay a day after a race, but actually, after Marine Corps, I was done in time for us to check out and then we ended up driving home.....actually, we ate lunch first of course!

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  9. That was incredibly generous of that other runner to offer up the jacket to you. What an amazing gesture of kindness!

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    1. I know, right? I was so much in shock, I couldn't comprehend what she was telling me! Haha!

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  10. How incredibly nice of the woman on the elevator! And boo on the hotel for not giving you late check out. Not cool!

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    Replies
    1. I know, right?! (To all of the above!)

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