5am wake-up call. Seemed late after the 2am-4am wake-ups for Dopey Challenge. Yes it may be three weeks post Disney, but I still put race starts in relation to Disney time. ;)
Flat Dani was ready to go!
Real Dani was slightly dragging, but ready to give it my all.
Thankfully Kenlie of All The Weigh lived just a 5-minute walk away from the Start area.
I headed to the VIP tent to meet my Team Chocolate Milk running mates for a group photo at 6am. It was drizzling. I just didn't want it to start downpouring. I hoped the real bad weather held off until at least 10am.
I love meeting the other folks from Team Chocolate Milk since we are spread out all over the world. There are a few folks that I have seen at multiple races including the inspiring Angela from We Beat Fat. She and her husband have combined to shed over 500 lbs!!
After grabbing half of a free bagel, chomping on my KIND bar and taking my ENERGYBits, it was time to hit up the special VIP port-o-potties and gear check before heading to the Start.
The race was set to start at 7am so I tried to hustle into Corral 2 with time to spare. Especially since Dacia from My Roots To Grow was going to meet me at the Start.
But as I walked to the Start Line, I tried turning my Garmin, it would spit out "low battery," and shut off.
No No No!
It had been charged. What was going on? I tried about 6 times. Nothing.
Well, it looked like I would be running the race "naked" as runners call it - IE sans watch. You dirty minds you! ;)
Of course I had to grab a selfie.
In case you didn't believe I was at the Start.
I made it to Corral 2 and Dacia was there waiting for me. :) We chatted about her game plan for spectating the race. We were hoping she would see me at least one time out on the course before heading to the Finish.
As we were chatting and taking in the scene, Michael of Point One Miles came over to say hi! He had been at the #RnRTweetup, but we didn't have a chance to chat there.
I was sort of freaking out about not having the Garmin, but talking to Michael and Dacia was distracting. Since Michael and I were in the same Corral, we were going to start the race together.
The National Anthem played and it was time to big farewell to Dacia.
As we approached the Start (both the marathoners and half marathoners were all starting together), I tried to get my Runkeeper app to load. I never keep my location services on so trying to figure out what I needed to change on the phone to get Runkeeper to start was just not working. So I said F-it. I would be running without any sort of tracking.
What was the worst that could happen?
Dacia hustled herself just past the Start to catch this gem!
My goal was to use the run as a training run for Boston since I had missed the 16-miler with Tedy's Team the previous day.
The humidity was thick. The rain was drizzling. The ground was sort of slippery. So I wasn't trying to PR out there.
Michael and I got in a great rhythm. I let him know he could easily leave me at any point if he wanted to try for a PR, but he also felt like taking it easy with the weather conditions.
It was great chatting with someone during the run.
There was what I could call a decent crowd size as we ran through the city.
The bands were great. We were able to enjoy some multiple times as we had a down and back situation at the beginning of the race.
After the band we spotted the two wheelchair racers and the elite runners. I cannot explain how far ahead the first half marathon and full marathon guys were from the rest of the pack. They were running together and neither looked like they were breaking a sweat.
We ran the first 4.5 or so (again no specifics since I didn't have my watch) before we turned around. The weather was overcast and foggy so I couldn't totally see the historic sites.
Thankfully a gentlemen rolled up next to be during Mile 4 to point out Loyola University and Tulane, etc. Thank you again Sir.
We also discussed the Rock 'n' Roll shirts for this race and our disappointment in the color choices. I love making friends on the course. The shirt was grey with dull green/purple coloring. I was just expecting something more vibrant.
Eh! We know I pay more attention to the medals anyway. ;)
While Michael and I chatted away we talked about his running dreams, his desire to want to complete a full marathon and our thoughts on some of the other races we have both done.
I love the down and back because after we took the turn before Mile 5 we could see our fellow runners coming toward us.
I heard someone randomly yell out "Go Irish Eyes!" which made me so freakin' excited. I am glad a photographer didn't catch what I looked like.
As we headed towards Mile 8, the crowds started to get more animated and that's where we spotted it ... a table of donuts!
So of course we stopped. I freaked the poor girl out as I took this little shot.
Then someone else at the table shouted "We have a keg," which is why this diddy was born.
We both passed on doing a mid-race kegstand, but we each took a donut ... or two!
Holy dry mouth. There unfortunately wasn't a water stop after the donuts, but we did see the Mile 8 marker.
I was glad Michael was in for taking ridiculous in-race photos like me. :)
Mile 8 was going to fly. Why? Because I had been texting with Dacia so I knew she and her boyfriend would be there waiting for us at Mile 9.
And they were!!! I came in for a HUGE hug from Dacia. It was a great pick-me-up.
As were these awesome bagpipers.
After seeing familiar faces, it was time to look out for Michael's Lululemon cheering squad. :P I think he thought they were out there just for him. Should I break his bubble? Nah.
They were totally there just for him.
While we headed to Mile 10, we ran DIRECTLY into the fog. We really noticed the blanket of fog as we passed the Crescent City Brewery (which I had visited the day before).
I wondered if we were just going to fall off the end of the world. It was a sight similar to Rock 'n' Roll Los Angeles Half back in October 2013.
But we went into the fog and thankfully came out alive. :) We even got a little clearer shot to see the RnR Dude.
I love seeing that guy at every race because it usually means you are inching closer to the Finish.
I tweeted out to the masses that we had hit the Mile 10 mark. It was at that time that I actually started feeling the humidity. You could cut it with a knife.
All race long I made sure to grab water and gatorade at each water stop to make sure I was keeping myself hydrated. It may have looked overcast, but the humidity was there.
We hit Mile 11 and the clock was off. Dammit. I was hoping to try and do a little math in my head to see how we were doing.
Michael had stuck with me, took goofy pictures and had a donut (or two), but I was still hoping we would finish sub-2.
Mile 11 actually flew by as we were busy talking to the folks around us. Oh and I was trying to ignore the humidity.
By Mile 12, I was ready to be done. Hey, there are just some races that you feel like that.
But when we hit Mile 12, the clock said 1:45 and change. Michael turns to me and says: "I don't know if we are going to make it." I reassured him that I am from Boston and no matter what I would walk a mile faster than 15 minutes so we would be golden.
At Mile 12.5, we saw the signs ... JELLO SHOTS!
Oh hell yeah we would be stopping for one of those and we did. It was a little difficult to eat while running, but this race was all about fun so we made it work. ;) Plus how often do you say I had a jello shot during a race.
At that point the Full Marathon runners headed to the left, while we continued straight ahead to the Finish. I felt like I was on a treadmill. I was moving, but didn't feel like I was moving forward. It made me feel like I was back in the last 0.2 miles of the Rock 'n' Roll Savannah Full in November 2012.
But Michael was being a great cheerleader and we were pushing each other along.
Apparently Dacia and Erick were just after the Mile 13 marker, but I was oblivious. I saw the Finish Line and was gunning for it.
Michael and I went Start to Finish together and rocked and rolled to a 1:55:43. It turned out to be Michael's second-fasted half marathon. Woo!
Don't we look great for having OWNED 13.1 miles.
I had a blast. It was a great flat course. The crowd wasn't as full as I would've expected. I was also surprised to see the Finish Line over a mile from the Start. I hadn't experienced this at a Rock 'n' Roll event before. I think some spectators had difficulty getting around the course in a timely manner.
My spectators Dacia and Erick were ON it. I need to thank them again for jetting around New Orleans to see me.
After snapping a couple of pics at the Finish Line,
I headed over to the Got Chocolate Milk tent to #FinishStrong. But, we needed to move from one tent (Half Marathon) to the other tent (Marathon) so I could see some of the other folks that manage the team.
Can you tell I am in a "Take me wherever you need to" mode? :P
And it was worth it. Oh delicious low-fat chocolate milk. The best way to refuel post-race (before the beer of course).
I met back up with Dacia and Erick and we headed to the second VIP tent so I could grab a quick snack and a much-needed mimosa.
Oh and a mini beignet of course. Deeellliisshhh!!!
I did pay the $20 to have my medal engraved. It is $20 at Rock 'n' Roll races, but I do it at every one. Mainly because if they mess up they have a whole stack of medals to replace it with. I don't have that luxury if I do it at home.
My amazing cheerleader and I snapped a couple photos before heading to breakfast.
I was REALLY into whatever Dacia was saying. :P
It was great walking back down the street, while others finished both the Half and the Full Marathon. Some of those Full Marathoners were finishing sub-3 hours and looking strong and fierce.
So running without my Garmin or Runkeeper was slightly unnerving, but it was also freeing to just run and truly live in the moment. How about not having any sort of splits in a race recap? :P
I want to thank Got Chocolate Milk for sponsoring me to run the RnR New Orleans Half Marathon.
Did you run? Did you have a blast?