Every time my alarm goes off at an unseemly hour so I can get up and go run a race in the cold, I ask myself why the HECK am I doing this? And I paid for this??
I always already know the answer, and I already know how good I will feel when the race is over. Which keeps me from turning off the alarm and staying under the warm covers.
So at 5 a.m. Sunday morning,I pushed away the negative feelings waking up too early for my tastes can bring, and got everything together. My husband got up a few minutes later, and after some haggling over who would drive, we left around 5:35. The race was set for 7,and we purchased a premium parking pass to park near the finish line and take a shuttle to the start.
It was nice how it worked out – we got to the parking lot around 6:10, then walked to the shuttle and arrived to the Start Village not too much later. It was chilly but not unbearably cold – we each wore an extra throwaway layer, and it was enough.
I didn’t bring my phone or camera to run with, so I have no pictures of my own
We were in Corral 13 and it took about 15 minutes to get up to the start after the gun went off. For those who don’t know, RnR does the start by waves and it’s for the best considering how many people are running. Keeps it from getting too congested.
As I said in an earlier post, we ran 11 miles at a 10:33 pace last weekend, so I wasn’t sure how fast or slow we’d do this run – just that we were going to START slow and take it from there.
The course was pretty boring for 8 miles – 4 miles down St. Charles Avenue, turn around, and 4 miles back up St. Charles Avenue.
The last 6 miles took us down Magazine and through the French Quarter, then up to City Park where the finish line was.
Throughout the race I just felt uncomfortable, like I had to go to the bathroom, but there were no Porta Potties until mile 4 and by then the lines for all Porta Potties I saw were at least 6 people deep. The thought of losing 5-10 minutes waiting in a line was more disturbing than the thought of running through my discomfort, so we pressed on. Luckily the feeling came and went, and sweating helped 😉
Big UPGRADE for RnR – no more Cytomax on the course! I couldn’t stand the taste of it, and it looks like RnR scored big and got Gatorade to be their official drink. Much much better.
Our first mile was around 10:04, but after that we kept each mile under 10 minutes. My husband really kept the pace up and since it was him that hadn’t run much in the past few months (and him who forgot his running shoes and was racing in sneakers that are NOT really meant for running), I figured that as long as he felt OK enough to go that pace, that’s what we’d do!
The spectators were great, as per usual, the course support and volunteers were great, the congestion was a bit much in the beginning but thinned out, and I wish that people who stop to walk would do so on the side and not smack in the middle of the road, but not everyone is going to know course etiquette, especially with that size of a crowd.
All in all, it was a great race for us! I love the song “Shake It Out” by Florence + the Machine and that came on my iPod as we were running the last mile, which gave me a boost.
We finished with a chip time of 2:09:46 for an overall pace of 9:54/mile. Props to my husband for pulling that out on so little training! It was not a PR for either of us but it felt hard-earned and I am proud of it! Especially considering how tempted I was to stop and wait in line at a Porta Potty.
I knew several people who were doing the race, but we only saw one on while on the course. There were SO many people milling around after finishing, and we felt pretty worn out, so we sat on the grass stretching and eating some of our finish line freebies before hobbling to the car.
Lots of finish line stuff, more than I remember there being last year – chocolate milk cartons, Gatorade, water, bananas, mini bagels, fruit cups, Snickers marathon bars, etc. I grabbed as much as I could! I also appreciate the space blankets, after a few minutes I was cold!
We had fun, and I am always glad to share these special running experiences with my husband, who isn’t as into it as I am 🙂