Another year, another longish run.
A few months ago we signed up for the New Orleans Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon. It was Ryan’s first half marathon, my first Rock ‘n Roll run, and our first time in New Orleans. My training was pitiful at best: I’ve been in a bit of a rut lately, some weeks I ran only twice, others up to 4 times. And while I thought my goal of running a sub 2 hour race was a stretch (one nay-sayer agreed), Ryan and other members of the running club thought it was a sure bet.
With full, happy bellies, we headed downtown to our hotel and successfully managed to not hit any men on bicycles crossing roads where/when they shouldn’t have been crossing roads.
For early March, it was pretty humid. and WINDY. We walked to the expo, walked through the expo, got our gear and I got the most ridiculously sized small shirt known to man. Or maybe I just need to realize that in the running world (and European countries) I’m a medium, not women’s small…
We walked, walked, walked. After resting up at the hotel, one of us (ahem) changed clothes, and we walked up Bourbon Street to go for ‘cocktails.’ It felt like a mash of college fraternity days, mixed with tailgating: drunks, beer, music. The strippers standing in the store doorways, some wearing nothing but glow tape. Ryan said it was preparation for Vegas, but I still imagine Vegas to be classier (feathers and sequins, no?).
We turned off Bourbon and as we walked into Arnaud’s French 75, we stepped back in time to a dark mahogany bar, mirrored walls, cigars, mosaic floor tiles, and waiters in white tuxedos. Our bartender, Chris Hannah served a French 75, which Ryan will have to learn to make….
Due to the race being on Sunday, Friday night was going to be an all nighter, we went way out-of-the-way and took the trolley through the garden district to Dante’s Kitchen. Service was eh but at least the food was decent (chicken under a brick and mashed potatoes served with a fried egg on top). Then back on the trolley to downtown, to a pick up a cab that took us to the other side of the French Quarter, the Fabourg Marigny, and we walked along Frenchmen Street. First we heard salsa. then jazz. then some young musicians playing jazz in the street on string instruments that looked so old and ratty I wondered how the strings didn’t pop. Finally we headed in The Spotted Cat Music Club, a tiny bar, with a tiny ‘stage’ that was little more than a one step-up area in front of the storefront window. The music was phenomenal. People were dancing, clapping, having a great time. At one point, a lady with a tambourine walked in and started playing with the band. I have a video on my phone, but haven’t up-
The next morning we lolled around; met with friends for a pasta dinner. Funny how difficult it was to find an Italian restaurant in New Orleans. We found one, got there around 5:30, and probably weren’t seated until 7:00pm. On the way out, we saw some local runners and the owners of the local running store at the restaurant next door! Small world….
Sunday: Race day…..the weather was PERFECT. Not a cloud in the sky, maybe in the high 40s, light breeze. We got there super early (it was just a 10 minute walk from the hotel). After checking our bags, we separated to our corrals. I had put myself in the 2 hour corral, and within one mile of running I realized it was the wrong place to be. I wish runners were more serious about their placements. The first 6-8 miles I was zig zagging all over the course. At mile 4 I literally ran into the owners of the local running shop and ran with them for a bit (they were doing the full). At mile 10 I felt pretty strong but was getting worried about my time thinking I was going to be cutting it close so I started to pick up the pace a bit. Mile 11 and 12 my stride really began to lengthen, and the next thing I knew, I was crossing the finish line, just under 2 hours: 1:57:46
per Garmin, my split times were pretty decent towards the end. I think my first 8 miles show how much zig zagging I had to do
- Mile 1: 9:20
- Mile 2: 9:04
- Mile 3: 9:35
- Mile 4: 9:11
- Mile 5: 9:23
- Mile 6: 9:11
- Mile 7: 8:57
- Mile 8: 8:54
- Mile 9: 9:00
- Mile 10: 8:39
- Mile 11: 8:34
- Mile 12: 8:26
- Mile 13: 8:12
- Mile .1 (ha!):M 7:30
At mile 12, I really began to appreciate speed workouts. At mile 12.6 I began to truly appreciate that I was running straight ahead, and not veering off to the left for the marathon course.
We met up with our friends after the run, took the bus back to the hotel. We had a noon check out and it was 12:40. A marathon shower, stretch, pack session before meeting up again with the same friends to get some food and beer and Acme Oyster House. The oysters and laughs were the best part of the post race festivities before the drive home. Oh, and Ryan’s finish time? 1:33:46.