“Melanie, you’re insane.”
That was the first response I got when I suggested to Emily that we train the 2012 Rock’n’Roll New Orleans half marathon. It was March of 2011, and some friends of mine had just run the RnR half in February. I thought it looked like fun, and figured with a whole year to train and prepare, we could do it, right? Long story short, I talked her and Stew into training to run the 2012 race. By the end of summer, our group had grown to about ten people that would train and run. Thanks to the Saints, we got an awesome discount, paying only $35 for the race. Lots of my previous posts are about training, so this will be my recap of the whole weekend! Due to injury, and inability to adequately train, our group was down to four for the race. We were the troopers – at this point, I was determined to finish no matter what!
The Expo! We left Baton Rouge about 1:30 on Saturday afternoon, and got to New Orleans a little after 3. It took forever to park! We drove circles around downtown, until we finally found a lot a few blocks from the expo. ($13 to park for 3 hours? Really Nola??). We followed the hoards of people, and finally found the right hall. Check in was really simple – you found the table according to your last name, then showed your confirmation paper and ID. After that, you went to the t-shirt area, which was divided by shirt size. They were out of some of the women’s tech sizes, so I ended up with a unisex tech teen, which was fine with me. Once we had our shirts, we got our swag bags, which were full of all sorts of goodies. We were officially checked in at that point, so we browsed the expo some. There were lots and lots of people there, so we made a lab to look at as many booths as we can, but didn’t really linger too long. I did get to slip into the Claim Your Journey booth and pick up one of the new pink Run Louisiana shirts. It’s my new fave!
The night before the race! I was super nervous Saturday morning, but by the time we were there and checked in, the nerves had somewhat passed and I realized that I was famished. We realized that no one really knew what the appropriate night-before meal was, so we settled on yummy food – Mother’s! I had a huge plate of crawfish etouffee with a side of greens and grits. It hit the spot! At this point, it was 6pm, and we were ready for bed. Ha! We had some connections, and ended up staying at a friend of a friend’s apartment at the seminary. We only got lost 3 times trying to find it, but we finally made it. We went through our goody bags and got our timing chips on our shoes. We fought to keep our eyes open and crashed about 9:30pm. I was grateful that I was able to sleep, because I often can’t the night before a big event.
Race morning! The alarm went off at the dark hour of 5am. It took a few minutes for us to all get moving, and we weren’t entirely sure of how to dress. We settled with our normal 60-70 degree weather running gear, with jackets over. We figured we could drop them into our bags right before we checked them at the gear check if it looked like it was going to be too warm for them. I woke up with some butterflies in my tummy, but was very hungry since I had eaten so little the day before. I had a Clif bar and a bottle of water. We left from the seminary about 5:45, not knowing what traffic would look like downtown. The roads were closed off various places, and there were lots of people being dropped off blocks away, but since we were all running, we had to find a parking spot. We finally found one just two blocks away from the race start – and only $5 to park all day! It was still a little chilly outside, so we stayed in the warm car until almost 7am, because we weren’t supposed to start until after 8. As soon as we got onto Poydras Street, the gun went off for the elites to start. It was exciting to see them take off!
We made a potty stop (so gross!!) and checked our gear at the UPS trucks. We got there at just the right time, because there was no wait at either. The gear check was seamless. We could tell the corrals were starting way less than 2 minutes apart, so we followed the lines around the block to find where we were supposed to be. I left Madeline at Corral 13, and then waited on the sidewalk for Corral 21 to come by so I could jump in. One thing I noticed – the higher the corral number, the more power-walking party people!
To keep this from getting too long, I’ll pick up at the race start tomorrow!