It finally happened! I ran my first race after injury recovery. This was also the first race I’ve ever traveled to via plane. Here’s a breakdown of the weekend’s events and the race itself.
I took Friday off of work. I woke up and ran, dropped my husband Luan off at work, came back home, ran again (had to catch up on the Fitbit challenge!) to total 4 miles. Showered and finished packing. I’d had a sore throat for the past couple days and continued chugging airborne every chance I got. Tara got to my place right on time. We loaded her stuff into my car and went to pick up Luan so he could take us to the airport. Check in was a breeze (we used the super secret extra checkpoint with virtually no line for security clearance) and had a leisurely lunch before boarding our direct flight to New Orleans. Once there we checked in at our gorgeously historic hotel (so pretty, we lucked out!) and had lunch with some friends from one of our running groups online.
On Saturday we slept in a bit and had lunch at the Ruby Slipper.
The food was amazing! After breakfast we picked up tickets to the city bus tour and rode that to the race expo. After picking up our packets, gels, and a few other unnecessary items we got back on the bus. We were especially excited to visit one of New Orleans creepy cemeteries. At least I think they’re extra creepy since the dead are kept in tombs instead of underground. On our way we went to stop at a restaurant for lunch. Turns out it was only the 4th day this place was open and the service was extra slow. We wound up waiting an hour for salads before leaving with only mimosas in our tummies.
After touring the graveyard we got back on the tour bus and enjoyed a tour of the rest of the city before returning to our hotel. We had Mexican food for dinner at Juan’s Flying Burrito – yum!
I didn’t sleep well the night before the race. Big mistake but what can you do? I was a giant bundle of nerves and just extremely excited for the race the next day. I was still nerves and anxious energy in the morning and didn’t have an appetite so breakfast was not what I was used to. My usual giant bowl of oatmeal or bagel was substituted by a cereal bar. We then went down to the start which was only a couple of blocks from our hotel. So completely convenient! I’m used to spending 30-45 minutes driving around trying to find parking and walking to the start so this was really amazing.
I’m not sure how many people ran but it was a very popular race. We were back in Corral 22 and waited maybe 45 minutes to an hour after the gun to start. As I was waiting it hit me. I was starving. Bummer. With only 3 gels I knew this was going to be a challenge.
Mile 1-3: I was just so happy to be racing! I kept an eye on my Garmin to make sure I wasn’t going out too fast. I new I wanted my pace those first few miles to be at about an 11:30 minute mile. By mile 3 my stomach couldn’t take it anymore and I popped the first gel which I wouldn’t usually use until mile 4.
Mile 4-8: The next few miles I just really did my best to keep my pace and not slow down too much. At this point I knew the lack of fuel was going to turn into a real problem sooner than later. My left foot also started to get numb around 5, which I was actually really freaked out about. Usually when that starts I can’t get it to go away but it was gone by mile 8 (small victories!). Wound up using the second gel at mile 7 (again, ahead of schedule).
Mile 9-11: Used the 3rd gel and just tried to hack it as best I could. They had a different kind of nutrition I’d never heard of before but I didn’t know if something new would be better or worse than nothing. The heat started to mess with me at this point a bit too.
Mile 11-13: I had been looking forward to these last few miles of the race and had hoped I’d be able to pick up the pace. I was just completely exhausted. Started taking a couple really short walk breaks here and there but just slowed overall.
Mile 13-13.1: I finished! I can’t explain how happy I was. I was tired, spent, starving, nauseous but no joints or ligaments or tendons were hurt and I was done. 🙂
Moments after finishing I started feeling really ill. All the cold/flu symptoms I had been fighting just hit me all at once like a ton of bricks. I took a few minutes to just sit and waited for Tara to finish. After the race we were both ready to call it a day and head back to the hotel for some serious R & R after the Rock ‘n Roll. A few hours of sleeping and cheesy movies later and we were ready to check out Bourbon Street.
Bourbon Street was (I think?) relatively peaceful on the evening we were there. It was Sunday night and there were people milling around with a party atmosphere but nothing ridiculous. This was my first time to New Orleans but my assumption is also that most of the crazy was probably going on a few weeks earlier during Mardi Gras.
And just as we were settling in for a quiet balcony dinner, there was a parade! A parade! On Sunday night! Totally random but we really enjoyed it. It almost felt like celebration for finishing the race. 🙂 And maybe it was.