Race morning! The alarm on my Droid went off at 5:00am, but I was waking up all night (thinking I overslept), per my usual big race routine. Ah well. I tried to boil some water in the in-room coffee pot for my instant oatmeal, but the coffee pot didn’t work at all. Luckily the water from the tap got really hot. That must be an old timey pick up line: “You’re hot enough to boil my oats, baby!”
We all hopped in a mini van cab outside that we shared with another fellow runner to the start. We found out there that James had missed the shuttle to the half-marathon relay point (he is doing the second leg; Brett is doing the first), and he will have to walk. But it isn’t too far away. We stayed in line for the porta-potties forever – Bobby didn’t think he’d make it time (being in corral 1 and all). Side note I forgot to mention: I must have been out of it when I registered back in January because I put my expected half-marathon finishing time as 1:15:00. Didn’t realize this until I got my confirmation letter a week before the race, where they placed me in corral 1. Yeah – that’s not happening.
Keshia and I went back to corral 13 while the fasties went to corral 1. It was cold! I wore my favorite black shorts and blue St. Jude tank top. I was glad I did because it did get warm later, but waiting in the starting line was colder than expected. Should have brought a throw away sweatshirt.
The first few miles were chilly, but I warmed up. Great crowd support the whole way. The blisters on my pinkie toes were wrapped up in band-aides, but still hurt some and that made me run a little funny (#1 stupid preventable mistake = Toe blisters). First few miles were zero pain. But already at mile 3 I started to get some left knee pain again that stayed with me off and on throughout the race (#2 stupid preventable mistake = Tapering too much; Not running at all the week of the race). I loved the KISS singers around mile 3.
The race was going by fast! I was feeling good (blisters and knee pain aside) and Keshia was feeling great! Roads started to get pretty bumpy and rough at mile 6 – I felt like I was trail running I was looking down so much. By mile 10 my knee was giving some sharp pains that were slowing me down more, and I lost sight of Keshia. Even though, thought I would be okay until (and this pissed me off most of all) I kid you not, right at mile 13 – right when I was coming into the park for the finish – I got an insane stabbing stomach cramp exactly like I got at St. Jude around mile 13/14 (#3 stupid preventable mistake = Use the bathroom the morning of the race, or at least the night before; yes, you know what I’m talking about, that has to be what it was). I wanted to sprint it in so bad, but all I could do to hold my stomach and do a slow jog while everyone around me was cheering and sprinting to the finish. So frustrating. It kinda went away a few yards before the finish line, but in my finish line video I am sort of hobbling (probably the blisters helped with that too; it was heaven to get those shoes off).
But still, new half marathon PR! 2:11:37. Old time was 2:13. My overall pace was 10:03. Keshia PRed too with 2:09. Pam also PRed with an amazing 1:44 with Patrick right with her. And James and Brett got 3rd overall in the relay – Wow!
We waited for Bobby and Nathan to finish the marathon. After accidentally waiting at the half marathon finish for awhile, not realizing there were 2 finish lines, we raced over to the marathon finish. There I finally bumped into Michelle! She had PRed with 2:27. Bobby finished the full marathon with 3:27:44 with a 7:56 pace and he felt great! Nathan was not far behind him at 3:34.
We regrouped, relaxed in the sun and drank our 2 free Miller 64 beers (AKA water). The weather was great. I inspected my blisters and found that my left one had turned into a blood blister. Bobby saw it and said, “Is that a red jelly bean on your foot?” When I told him what it was he was horrified and promptly named me “Skittle Foot”.
For lunch we ate po-boys at a small place that featured several Ziploc bags with pennies in them, hung up to keep the flies away (seemed to work). Bobby and I had the Alligator po-boy and I had my first ever Bloody Mary (verdit: too salty for me).
For dinner that night we ate at the Acme Oyster House at 724 Iberville Street and had the most amazing oysters. Bobby and I had eaten there on a previous trip, and it is well worth the wait in line. I saw a 15-dozen oyster challenge featured on the wall and believe me, I think I could have done it (though I don’t think I want to know the stomach ailments that result from too many oysters – yerg). Again we wandered down Bourbon, this time venturing into the many souvenir shops. We even bought a bag of beads and threw a few out from the balcony of a bar (not a lot of takers on a Sunday night though). We got revenge on Patrick by being “so kind” and buying him a shot of absinthe. Then we ended the night at the piano at LaFitte’s.
Monday morning we were on our way back home to Memphis. What a great trip, and if we do the race next year I know I’ll do better from my lessons learned!