Monday, March 4, 2013

Where are y'all going?

My man and I ventured to the South on February 22nd.  Neither one of us had been in Louisiana before.  People there are nice and their food is amazing.  We had signed up for the New Orleans marathon a few months ago and sometime around Thanksgiving, it's like I closed my eyes and when I opened them again, it was the time to head South and run.

Sometime between Thanksgiving in Albuquerque, Christmas in Jackson Hole, New Year's in Vail and President's Day in Park City, I got sick.  Very sick.  And it was hard to train.  My coach said I wouldn't be running the full marathon- and while I was pissed and sad about it, I knew deep down that it was the right thing to do.  "Think about your long-term goals", he said.  And he was right.  In the month of January I was only able to log 50 miles while I should've logged at least twice that to run a respectable marathon without injury.  I gave in.  I knew I could only run a half.

I arrived in NoLa on Friday the 22nd well past midnight after a horrific flight.  I was ready to go to bed.  Saturday was a mellow day.  We left the hotel early to pick up our race packets.  We then toured St. Charles St. aboard the street cars of NoLa.  Quite the touristy scene.

Cute NoLa post-Mardi Gras
We hit the French Quarter and had amazing food followed by delicious beignets.  Later that night, Chuck and I had delicious dinner at an Italian restaurant and despite my ginormous desire of going out and having some:

Yes, this is the name of an actual bar on Bourbon St. 
.... I went back to the hotel, got ready for my race and went to bed early.

Race morning was perfect.  Our hotel was only 2 short blocks away from the start line, so we woke up at 6am, had breakfast, changed and headed to the start line.  We were ready to go at 6:45am, the streets were packed and the weather was PERFECT.

I started in corral 11 since I had originally estimated a marathon time of 4:30.  While I was planning on running the half, I didn't want to rush into an earlier corral since well, I hadn't trained as hard.  Off I go... and well, running below sea level is nice.  All was running smoothly.  Miles 1, 2 and 3 flew by.  By mile 4 I felt like I could run forever.  "What if I run the full?", "Should I slow down?".  No, just keep going.  I was in my happy place.  By mile 9 I was making up my mind (I think).  Given the fact that I had been running pretty steady, I want to say that my heart got in the way of my brain's thinking because if I had been going for a half, I should've gone faster... But by mile 9, I slowed down (or kept it steadier).  I was going to go for the full.  I crossed the half marathon mark at 2:04.  My PR for the half is officially 2:02 so I was not too far off.  If I had actually gone for the half by mile 9, I'm sure I would've PR'ed as well.

Off I go, the course continued to be flat.  Flat, flat, flat... but to make it interesting, once we got to the lake, we got hit with a nice head wind.  All the way from mile 15 through 20 there was a nice steady head wind.  BLEH.  "Just focus", I continued to tell myself. "Think about how awesome it'll be when you get to the turn around point.".  Yeah, the turn around point was glorious.  I was right on track to PR with only 6 miles to go and feeling great. Oh, and with a tail wind.

The last mile was brutal.  Just as you get to the 25 mile marker, you enter the park.  You start seeing more spectators and you sorta, kinda want to pick up the pace, but gotta keep in mind you still have 1.2 miles to go.  A quarter of a mile past the 25 mile marker, you actually see the 26 mile marker, but you make a sharp turn to the right. Ugh, bummer... but I KNOW it's there.  It ciiiirrrrcleeess around and then, there it is... and my man.  It was nice to see him and learn  that he PR'd and finished under 4 hours.  WOW!  I was impressed.

My goal time was 4:18, but I finished in 4:15:09.  I must confess I attempted to break 4:15 for the last minute.  I barely missed the mark, but my real goal had been 4:18 all along, so I'm happy. Yes, I've updated my PR on the right side of my page.  Yaay!

I earned my beads in NoLa!!!!!

The rest of the day continued to be mellow.  More delicious food.  Some alcohol and some live music.  Last but not least, we had dinner at Chophouse New Orleans and walked back to our hotel after a very successful trip.  The flight back at 6am on Monday was brutal.  But it was perfect.  The weekend was nothing short of perfect.

Live music at the Spotted Cat.  My favorite NoLa spot.

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