To say I didn’t want to go to work today is an understatement. When I showed up we had 8 patients total, 2 of which us students couldn’t see because they were either employees or other students and, initially, there were no patients in the afternoon (but that changed)- but that’s beside the point. I spent this weekend in New Orleans. You know, the Big Easy. I was suppose to fly out at like 6 pm (from BWI no less), but changed it to earlier in the day (say, 1 pm). I took the day of from work and drove into Baltimore after a quick run, because 3 hour flights do wonders to your legs. I met up with my sister for a quick brunch and then bolted across town to the airport. I parked my car at 12:08 pm. I was in through security and had enough time to take a bathroom break by 12:36 PM. I boarded my flight around 12:45. Talk about timing! I had a direct flight (so about 3 hrs of airtime on Southwest) and, even though we got in 10 minutes late or so, it worked out well for me. A friend of mine from college came out from Shreveport, LA and picked me up, getting to the airport as I was deplaning. We headed over to our hotel and checked in and made our way over to the Convention center (a 10 minute walk) so I could get my bib. There was a cheerleading convention thing going on, so needless to say, I saw more than enough cheerleaders with way too much make up walking around town. There was no one at the expo, so we were able to get my stuff pretty quickly. After the bib picking up, I headed to get my shirt. Now, they give you the option of getting a unisex cut or a women’s cut. I hate women’s cut running gear with a passion. Some of us, like me, have to worry about what’s going on in the chest area, so the women’s cut shirts never fit right. When I told the volunteers I wanted a men’s shirt, they looked at me like I was crazy, even though it was on my shirt tag that it was what I ordered. You’d think after close to 15 1/2 marathons and 3 marathons, I’d know what I want. Miranda (my college friend) and I made a quick run through the expo to see if there was anything I couldn’t live without and headed back to the hotel for a bag drop off and a shoe change.
We headed off to Drago’s (a seafood restaurant), where we split some shrimp pasta and catfish. A little bit of everything never hurt. Miranda, being a native Louisianian, took me through the French Quarter, around Jackson Square, down Bourbon Street and to a few other areas of NOLA at night. We headed back to the hotel to figure out what to do Saturday. We had on some TLC and were making fun of people on Four Weddings while coming up with a game plan. Saturday morning, we headed to Cafe du Monde for beignets. This is the place to go if you want them, and of course, you have to go to the original. This is what these yummy looking things look like:
Thankfully, there was a race to be run to work off some of these calories. We also went to the Hard Rock so I could get some pins and then to the River Walk for some shopping. The Aquarium is right next door to the River walk so we headed there for a bit. After some RnR, me checking into my flight, dinner and some more walking, we called it a night.
Sunday morning, I was up bright and early at 6 am or so for the race. Luckily, the start was right around the corner (literally) from the hotel. I changed, did the obligatory bathroom duty, grabbed a gatorade and headed to the start. I snuck forward 2 corrals and waited for the start. we started moving a little after 7 and the closer I got to starting, I bailed on my long sleeved throw away shirt. I had a long sleeved under armour shirt on under a short sleeved shirt, which I thought would be alright. We crossed the start about 12 minutes into the race and headed towards Loyola New Orleans and Tulane for the first 4.5 miles or so. At mile 3, there was a lady standing on one of the street corners holding a sign that read “I’m a 6 1/2 year ovarian cancer survivor”- if you didn’t give her a high 5 or at least a cheer, you were crazy (because that’s just straight up awesome). Around mile 3.5, we saw the leader for the men’s half marathon on his way back with no one around him. Bands were playing and people were out in full force. Some of the signs included “Crap, I tripped over your awesomeness” and “Worse Mardi Gras Parade Ever”. After I figured out how fast I was going, I was able to have some sort of idea what my time was and I thought I was doing alright (it’s hard to do math in your head while running). One of my favorite aid stations (or right before/after it) had a group of people lined up in matching outfits. It was a group of girls and one of their guy friends dressed in drag (wig, glasses and heels to boot)- it’s the little things that matter really). At mile 8, I decided I wanted to lose the long sleeved Under Armour shirt. Usually, I don’t over dress, but that happened today because it warmed up. Of course, I had to stop, walk and get the long sleeve shirt out from under the short sleeved shirt. After that was successful and we passed the next H2O station, we came up on to mile 9 and, hark, my hotel!!! Needless to say, I hopped into the hotel and asked if I could leave my shirt and come back for it. The clerk was a saint for even coming near it. We kept running and hit some more water stations, ran through the French Quarters and eventually headed toward the main City Park. At mile 12.5, we split from the marathoners and headed out on the last .6 miles. It’s always refreshing to see the 13 mile mark because you’re pretty much done. As I crossed the finish, I knew I had PR’d, but wasn’t sure by how much. Turns out, it was close to 6 minutes off my previous best. Officially, I ran at 2:03:01. If only I hadn’t stopped for the shirt issue, I could have gotten under 2 hours!!! I took a shuttle back to the Business District and showered
Miranda and I headed out to brunch and then to the Nation WWII museum on Magazine street. That took us till 1:30 or so and by the time we got back to the hotel for our stuff, it was nearly 2 and I had a major caffeine headache.
Overall, a good, FLAT race. The weather cooperated and it wasn’t pouring down rain, snowing, mansooning or flooding. Definitely worth the $35 I paid for it (not the $90+ others paid for it) and definitely a good time. Can officially cross Louisiana off the Half Marathon states list!