Mardi Gras half-marathon

For now, I’m just going to put down the basics of today’s race, and tomorrow I’ll fill in all the details. I’m much too tired to write everything now!

Mardi Gras Half Marathon – New Orleans, Louisiana

Got up at 5:00 a.m., after sleeping somewhat restlessly. I dreamed that I ran the half, and had the energy to run several more miles. Ha! That didn’t happen! So I got up, made coffee, showered, ate a bagel with peanut butter, woke up Chris, and we left the house around 6:45. Chris and I put on sparkly Mardi Gras tattoos Kristina got last weekend (see below). Found a pretty close (and free) parking spot, and walked to the Superdome, where the race started.

We had about 45 minutes, by the time we got there, before the race started. We used the port-a-potties a few times (and not enough times, as it turned out) and drank water, stretched, etc. There were a *lot* of Team in Training (TNT) people there. They all seemed nice, but boy, was I envious of their supporters! They had the most supporters by far, though to be fair, they’d (occasionally) cheer for Chris and I as well.

So we ran down Poydras St to Decatur, past the French Quarter and the French Market, and at around mile 2, there were the port-a-potties and the first water stop. Chris and I had stopped by the toilets at the French Market, but they were locked. Ooops! When we finally got to pee again, we lost 5 minutes. But it was worth it. Anyway, we weren’t going for time.

We ran up Esplanade and to City Park, down a street that runs next to the park. A few minutes after we turned onto this road, we looked ahead and saw….a HUGE HILL!!! Oh my god! No one said anything! It turned out to be an interstate overpass and it was on the out-and-back portion, so we had to run it TWICE! Ack! It really wasn’t so bad, but it was such a surprise!

So we ran down this road for what felt like *forever* but was probably 3 miles each way (I could look, but my feet hurt) and completely unshaded. This was definitely the hardest part of the race. There were very few supporters, and not enough water stops. I was hot and starting to feel dehydrated. Chills and dizziness. Not bad, but just unpleasantness. I had part of a ClifShot that I brought, but without water, I didn’t want to choke down any more of it.

Finally we get past City Park and onto Canal Street. The home stretch! We got our picture taken by Marathon Foto right before Canal Street. I was feeling really crappy at that point, but we ran and smiled for the camera, so we’ll see how that comes out! For parts of miles 7-11, I had to walk. Not a lot, just 2 minutes or so at a time. I wish I hadn’t had to, and I don’t think I would have had to, if I had been properly hydrated. Hmmm. Don’t know if it’s my fault for not drinking enough earlier or the organizer’s faults for not having enough water stations. At one point, near mile 12, the water station ran out of cups! Somehow I got a hold of one (used??) but otherwise, it was “cup your hands” if you wanted water. Hmmm. We were at the back, it’s true.

Finally, we’re in the home stretch! I had eaten the rest of my gel, and as Canal Street is pretty shady, I was feeling better. We walked a little more, and then ran the rest of the way. The final stretch is up to the Superdome, and then a U-turn to get to the finish line. I was so happy to see it! We put on a good finishing kick when we saw the clock time was 2:58. I wanted to finish in under 3 hours by our watches, but to also finish in that by the clock was great too.

It took us 3 minutes to cross the start line, and we lost 5 minutes at the bathroom. I didn’t hit my stop button (oops) until after I had removed my chip and gotten some water, so I’m not sure of my time as I took it, but it was about 2:55, I’d guess, taking into account the 3 minutes we lost at the beginning.

Here are my splits:
1-13:14 (a tiny bit faster than the pace I wanted to keep)
2-12:55 (oops. but felt great, so why not?)
3-18:55 (bathroom break)
4-11:25 (oops!!! i’ll pay for this later!)
5-13:10 (still a little fast, but better than mile 4!)
6-12:12 (ah well, my pace is not going to be what i wanted it to be)
9-13:14 (slooooowing down!)
10-13:21 (yup)
11-13:22 (uh huh)
12-13:08 (ooh, feeling stronger!)
13.1- can’t be sure, think around 13:30 or so, with our finishing kick.

Now, looking at my splits, I can see what went wrong. For my LSD runs, I really should be running at 13:30-14:00 pace. My pace was just too fast, *especially* at the beginning.

Lessons learned:
1. Don’t go out too fast! (of course! of course! duh!)
2. Liquid carbohydrate (I liked the Ultima stuff they had on the course) is better for Pam than gel. (gag)
3. Drink lots before you go to bed and the race!
4. Don’t run a marathon in New Orleans! (too hot! too sunny! ack!)

Overall, a pretty good run. My arches are in hell right now, I’ve soaked my feet and iced the arches, and taken a Vioxx and finally the pain has abated a tad. Wonder if it’s the shoes?

Oh yeah, and I wore the new British flag socks I got at the expo. Only fitting, I guess, since I’m wearing American flag socks to London. I got a compliment on my socks, too. 🙂

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