Monday, March 5, 2012

Rock 'n' Roll New Orleans (Race Recap)

New Orleans, LA
Sunday, March 4
Half Marathon #56
State #44
Weather - Chilly at the start, SUNNY and ROASTING by 7:30 am

I registered for RnR NoLA as a pre-registration last April. So I had been planning this for a while. What I did NOT count on was airfare being so ridiculously expensive. I had been watching fares for 10 months, and they never went under $300. I waited so long to book that by a month out they were pushing $400. When I was on the fence about whether I could go or not, a schedule that would work for me was over $500. Luckily, I was able to fly into Baton Rouge for about half that cost, and had friends that drove me to and from the airport... for only $25!!! I also needed a place to stay near them since they were driving me around, and I pricelined a super ghetto place to stay (more on this later). So... the journey begins.

In order to get to the expo on time (thanks, RnR for your incredibly stupid and rigid policies on packet pick up), I had to take a 6 am flight out of Denver. That meant waking up at 3:45 am. I hadn't gone to bed until midnight, so I was TIRED. Everything went smoothly at the airport. The flight was delayed about 25 minutes, and it was super bouncy. But, I made it to Houston in enough time to make my connection so it wasn't a big deal. The flight from Houston to Baton Rouge? Even MORE bouncy. I have never felt so panicky on a flight in my life. At least it was only about 25-30 minutes in the air.

Only in Texas

My friends, Daniel and Ruth, picked me up about 20 minutes after I landed (THANK YOU!). We drove right to the expo, where we wandered around, and I again stocked up on awesome headbands from Razzy Roo (link at top of my blog). We managed to run into Kim and S. We chatted for a few minutes, but they wanted to walk the rest of the expo, and we were heading out. My friends had dinner plans, so they needed to drop me off. So no bloggy dinner :(

Best headbands EVER!
We did, however, make a quick stop to wander around at the Riverwalk. There were tons of restaurants, but all that did was make me super duper hungry. Walked into a few shops, and I did pick up an awesome pair of tights to race in.

I went to check in at the hotel... and when I went to the room it wasn't ready yet. This should have been a sign. They luckily had a little time and we all went to Target. Just as I was stocking up on bread and frozen dinners, they found out their plans had been cancelled and asked if I wanted to go to Applebee's. DUH!!! OF COURSE I DO. I ate even more than usual, and it was great. I had been pretty hungry all day.

We stopped at Walgreen's on the way back. Did you know that in Louisiana you can buy hard liquor at the drug store? True story.

By the time I got back to my room, it was 7:00. I was so tired I debating going to bed then. So. About the room. Floors not vacuumed. Cigarette burns all over the comforter. Cockroaches. Yep. All that. I was too tired to really care. Sorta laid out my stuff, watched some tv, and headed to bed around 9:15.

Race Day

I slept exceptionally well, especially considering the state of my room. I woke up at 4:45, got ready, and Daniel picked me up at 5:15. We drove (literally right across the street) to pick up Ruth, then headed into New Orleans - about a 15 minute drive. After parking in a lot and discovering it was $30, we looked across the street and found a FREE metered spot. Score. We walked to the start line (only a few blocks away. I was wearing a throw away AND a jacket. Since Ruth was checking her bag, I was just going to throw my jacket in her bag at the last minute. We were waiting around an hour and before the sun came up it was chilly and I was glad to have had that extra layer.

We were trying to meet up with L, Kim and Elizabeth before the race, but I just could not find their hotel. Ruth checked her bag with about 8 minutes to the start. Kim called me and we were pretty much in the same place, but she was on one side of the corral fencing and I was on the other. Looks like we weren't going to start together after all. (Spoiler: We wouldn't have run together for too long anyway. Chick was a speedster!)

Starting Area
We think we started somewhere between corral 6 and 7, about 9 minutes after the gun. Within 2 minutes, I saw Kim ahead of us! So glad she is so tall! I sprinted to catch up, and we ran together for oh, 4 minutes before they sped off. My dumb calves got tight again and it was all I could do to not walk. Luckily, they loosened up about a mile and half in. Right before the first aid station (just before mile 2), I noticed the numbing in my feet again. Luckily walking while drinking my water it went away and never came back. About mile 2.5 and I saw the leader already running past...

The Fireman's gear weighs 65 pounds! The flag another 15!
The buildings were so "historic" and pretty!

By about mile 3 I was sweating. Who knew it was going to feel SO. DAMN. HOT. I was mildly regretting the leggings that were making me feel even HOTTER. At least they LOOKED awesome? Course was partly shaded, but it still seemed hot. The road was torn up and hurt my ankles to run on. Second aid station about mile 4. I saw L on the out and back, it seemed she was about .35 miles in front of me. Not too bad!

The turnaround was somewhere around mile 4.5, and then the course ran directly on into the sun. I was ON FIRE. Not fast on fire, just FREAKING hot. Did I mention that starting at the second aid station, I was dumping a cup of water over my head? I have never done that in ANY race, and I did it at every aid station this one after the first one. It was HOT. I was feeling a little better, but sorta like I needed to stop and use the bathroom. The lines were so long though, so I didn't stop.

According to my splits, I was running right around a 10 minute pace, which, considering my mileage over the past few weeks, was fine with me. I ran into my buddy Chuck, and we chatted for a minute, then I headed off. The course ran through some pretty neat areas of the city, but having never been to New Orleans, I didn't know what any of them were. I will say, for a rock and roll race, there was virtually NO bands on the course. I think I saw 5 or 6 MAX. And also, crowd support was not that big.

It's Chuck!
The end of the out and back - Brooks arch
Anyway, I finally stopped around mile 9.5 to use the bathroom since there was no wait, and then I felt a lot better for the rest of the race, although my ankle was hurting pretty bad the last 2 miles from how bad the roads were. Pretty much right after I started running again, I saw arm sleeves in the middle of the road that looked like Ruth's. I couldn't get over to them in time though (turns out they WERE hers).

Not sure where this was, but I liked the buildings
It. Was. Hot. I kept on going, hoping I could finish around a 10 minute pace. The last two miles were brutal. The roads were so torn up that it hurt my feet/ankles. Knowing that the chutes at RnR races are always long, I saved my kick for the 13 mile sign and sprinted to the finish. Pleased with myself for keeping a pretty steady pace most of the race.

Just before mile 13
Almost immediately after crossing the line, I see L. She had to get another medal because hers "fell off." WTH? Anyway, we reconciled with Ruth and Daniel, and after getting some beers, we managed to run into Kim and S. We only had time to chat a few minutes and take a picture, then we had to be on our way to collect bags and find the shuttle. FYI, RnR, your signage SUCKS. We wandered around for a good 10-15 minutes trying to find the shuttles. Their signs seriously pointed in different directions. The line was long, but it didn't take us an unreasonable amount of time to get through it. I had to call the hotel and ask for a late checkout - which, they thankfully gave me.

Colorado Finishers - L, Daniel, Ruth, Me
Apparently it is never too early for beer!
L, Ruth, Me, Kim
Bib #6829
Official Time - 2:11:38
Official Pace - 10:03
Official 5K - 30:31
Official 10K - 1:02:08
Official 10 Mile - 1:40:56
Overall Place - 5116/13066
Gender Place - 2424/8326
Division Place - 542/1611
Garmin Time - 2:11:42
Garmin Distance - 13.24 miles
Garmin Pace - 9:57
Mile 1 - 9:15
Mile 2 - 10:03
Mile 3 - 9:40
Mile 4 - 10:17
Mile 5 - 9:51
Mile 6 - 10:03
Mile 7 - 10:00
Mile 8 - 9:50
Mile 9 - 9:52
Mile 10 - 10:56 (bathroom)
Mile 11 - 9:40
Mile 12 - 10:22
Mile 13 - 9:45
Mile 13.1ish - 8:10

I coordinated PERFECTLY

Quick stop at Dunkin Donuts on the way to the hotel, and they I thankfully got to take a hot shower and packed. Even though I'd been given the late checkout, I got walked in on TWICE by employees. My room did not have a functioning deadbolt, so a key was all they needed. NICE.

Checked out right at 12, hung out in the lobby for about 15 minutes until they were ready. Ruth was studying and not hungry, so Daniel and I went for lunch. Drove around for about 30 minutes until we found a place to get pizza. Who knew it was so hard to find?? After a delicious lunch, we hung out for about a half hour, then it was time to head back to Baton Rouge. So soon.

Baton Rouge airport is teeny tiny, and the hour I was there was plenty. My plane was NOT as small and the ride was not as bumpy. Arrived in Houston for a 2.5 hour layover.

Again... only in Texas
Sigh. I should have eaten at Chili's but decided to get closer to my gate. Only burger option was Wendy's. So I had a burger, fries, and then a gigantic banana chocolate chip muffin from Einstein Bros. Then came the headache. All sorts of little things annoy me, and they were ALL ON MY FLIGHT. From the woman who walked into me and hit me with her bag about a dozen times, then ended up sitting behind me and kicked my seat about a BILLION times, the woman across the aisle that sang and hummed under her breath the whole flight. The people boarding 2 minutes before we are supposed to take off and each have huge suitcases and big backpacks and open all the overhead bins looking for places to put it. The woman who threw a fit because her armrest didn't move and the flight was delayed so a tech could fix it. Headache did NOT go away throughout the flight. We landed late, but at least the shuttle came fast and I got home right before midnight. LONG. DAY.


  1. Way to go! Another great race & love the race tights.

  2. yup, exactly how I remember Nola from last year--- HOT and horrible terrain. Glad everything worked out for you in getting this state off your list.

  3. Oh gosh, I should have warned you, YES our roads are atrocious. Some runners wear trail shoes, I kid you not. This is a byproduct of our city slowly sinking into the swamp...
    The only RnR race I've ever run is NOLA (3 times) and I always commented that there are very few bands and almost none playing. I just thought all RNR races were like that!
    And I commiserate with the sun and heat. At least you weren't doing the full: the last 13 miles were a loop on Marconi and Lakeshore Dr, which are full sun and no shade at all with a wind off the water. Decidedly uncomfortable ;-)
    Maybe I'll catch you next visit!

  4. Great outfit! Glad you made it in time to get your packet. WAY TO GO on the race!

  5. Love the tights! I so need to colorize my running wardrobe. Way too much black :)

    I grew up in NO and while I would not want to live there again I would love to go back for a race.

    Congrats on another state! Airfare...ugh! I just bought my ticket to Florida. Really?!?! I'm pretty sure I'll be staying close to home for most if not all of my 12 in 2012.

  6. I heard this race has terrible terrain. You did great though! Love your outfit!!

  7. I wish I read this before Sunday! I ran in the RNR NOLA half also - I am pretty sure I saw you and your tights!

    Its funny how you were so hott b/c I was FREEZING (I am from here). I was kinda freaking out about the weather. I had on a long sleeved shirt that I took off around mile 3 but wished I didn't everytime I was in the shade.

    I want to do 50 halfs in 50 states also - thanks for the inspiration.

  8. The roads were totally torn up - I did lots of hopping around to get good foot placement. Luckily, it was better once we headed to the park. That would have sucked to be exhausted at mile 24 trying to figure out how best not to sprain your ankle on the course.

    The heat didn't get to me until we got out to the lake. No shade at all. It was like running that stretch of the French Quarter with no shade, except later in the morning.

  9. Congrats! I'm so glad everything worked out!

    Love the tights, but yes, it was HOT!

    Those streets nearly killed my feet, too! Now that I've run this, I don't know if I'm going to go home for more races.

  10. Great recap! The road description kind of reminded me of some of them in Detroit - nothing like running on cobblestones from the early 1900s, lol

  11. so bummed i only saw you for all of 5 seconds. :( yep-the roads are terrible! and you were in the french quarter i think from what i can tell in that picture. you crack me up about your flights-i’m the same way about annoying people...

  12. Congrats on another race conquered!


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