This race kind of came in under the radar due to Willie being sick! To be honest, I felt really horrible for even still wanting to go after Willie had his surgery but he encouraged me to go. I originally signed up for the race to do the half because I just ran a marathon, but I caved to running peer pressure and ran the marathon! Two marathons, two weeks means I can now be a marathon maniac. Please forgive me because this post might be long because I have a lot of things to share!
First off, it was so great to be able to spend the weekend with my best friends! I love these women so much! We’ve been through a lot together and we may not always like each other BUT we always LOVE each other! They are my family! I had the time of my life strolling the city, introducing them to my friends, eating beignets, shopping and just laughing with my girls. I wouldn’t be the person I am without them! I love you all…and your kids!
Secondly, it started out at joke to her husband with the half marathon bib, but it soon became a reality! Missy ran her first half marathon in New Orleans this weekend. There was a mix up with some bibs but somehow it ended up in her hands. She says I pushed her to do it but I really didn’t. She planted the idea with the photo and at that point I think she never let the idea go. The only thing I told her was if she thought she was going to regret not doing it, then she should do it! YOLO! She took the steps and committed to it. I just prepped her with the tools to make it to the finish line! She was worried about being slow but that doesn’t matter. It’s about finishing the race! I AM WICKED PROUD OF HER JUST FOR MAKING THE DECISION TO DO IT! I am happy because she proved to herself that she could do it! Remember, small steps take you big places!
Thirdly, thanks to Got Chocolate Milk for providing me with the bib to run my first RnR marathon! Being a part of this team has changed my world. I’ve met some really great people! This was just another weekend to enjoy with my teammates. Plus, this was the first time all of the Strutters were together at an event. This made me very happy! I finally got a minute to talk with Geo and I got to hug Dani! I have a soft spot in my heart for Dani! I’ve read her blog for awhile and she motivates me to try new things and push past my “limits.” I am happy to call her a friend!
And then there were the runners from home! I think southeast Texas showed NOLA how we do it! It’s so great to have everyone run these races. It’s just a great feeling!
Ok, now on to the race! It was humid, foggy and misty. It’s funny how weather is a crazy thing. Last week, iced in. This week 70 degrees with 97% humidity! I knew I was going to be running for a long time so I changed my corral to 5 so I could get a head start on the crowd. The streets of NOLA are not wide and not well paved. That coupled with the mist on my glasses, the first half was a little rocky for me. The streets were slippery and I was afraid of losing my footing in a pothole or something. I literally couldn’t see anything for the first 10 miles. But I ran along. My timing chip didn’t pick up all my points along the way but it got the first few. I was running on pace and target. 5K in 32:19, 10K 1:05:32, 10 miles 1:47:26 and 13.1 2:19:43. I was only off my Louisiana Marathon time by a minute and some change at the half way mark. I had already said that if it was raining too hard by the time marathoners and half marathoners split I was just going to with the halfs to finish. But I felt good and I was running at a comfortable pace.
In Louisiana, I think I was running too hard in the beginning which caused me to bonk in mile 23. I didn’t want that to happen to me this race so I was just taking it easy. I didn’t want to have to look at my splits and know that I walked a mile like I did before. Also, before the race I took immodium and got a new race belt that held bottles. I figured out the source of my stomach problems was probably me taking the GU and/or shot bloks with no water. You know how I figured that out? I read those words on the back of the package that said eat with water! So I filled up my hydration bottles with NUUN and carried a tube of it in my hand to help with my hand circulation problems.
At mile 15 or so I had to stop at medical. I liberally applied vaseline to my feet before the race but I could feel my shoes rubbing my toe which has been rubbed raw in Louisiana. This time I wasn’t going to let it go on so I stopped to get more vaseline! I’m glad I did because it immediately stopped hurting after a couple of steps and I knew that would have slowed me down in the end. At mile 17, I stopped to pep a guy up on the course. He was struggling, it was his first marathon and he said he wasn’t ready for the race like he wanted. He asked what the course time limit was and I told him he had awhile. I also told him he could walk the rest of the race and still finish. BUT I also told him he was out there and doing so much more than most people that day. He was feeling really down on himself but after our chat he seemed to perk up. It was an out and back course and he flagged me down when we saw me! He looked positive and was jogging a little. I think I may have made a difference!
Around mile 21, I saw the Sykes! Jes was the one who pushed me to run the marathon in New Orleans and apparently she pushed her husband to run his first marathon too! I am so freakin’ proud of Damien for completing his first marathon. And he shared that moment with his wife. I know those are moments they will never forget!
Around that time on the course people had pretty much resigned to walking but not me. I was running and that made me happy because I knew I had achieved the only goal I set for this race! Marathon running has changed me because I’m not hard on myself. I also take the time to look around more! It’s a very zen experience for me. Again, there was no negative talk in my mind. My body felt good for the most part and I was just having a great time. I got a little lonely but I think that was due to thinking about Willie not being there. There were times when I was just lost in my world and I noticed I had stopped running and I literally told myself to pick up those feet and move! I just forgot what I was doing which is a really good thing! The marathon has made me mentally stronger and this race proved that to me!
Getting to the finish line was frustrating to me. First off, we ran by the finish line at mile 11-12 which was hard because you could hear the celebration going on for the half marathoners…and probably some marathoners! This finish line was on a winding road and I didn’t like that. There’s something about seeing the finish line that makes you want to push, but it took a long while to even see it! But when I did, it was all over. I was slapping hands, pumping up the crowd…it was amazing! People were yelling go Refuel in the last stretch and it made me feel good.
What really made me feel great was going to the Team Chocolate Milk tent and seeing Cherry! I would have cried if I wasn’t so happy! Cherry, Jes and I all qualified to be maniacs with this race so it was just great to see her smiling face at the end. I don’t think Cherry knows how much I admire her but I really do. I’ve really gotten to know her this past year and I am proud to call her my friend! Cherry will run a race with a broken leg AND finish that race before you! LOL. I know we joke about it all the time, but Cherry can push through any situation and finish strong. So it was only fitting that I shared my finish strong moment with her at the finish line!
Oh, that lowfat chocolate milk was soo good at the finish! Lowfat chocolate milk, a foam roller and a good stretch are a necessity after these races! I am proud to say I’m built with chocolate milk because it really does work after a long hard workout! Without it, recovery may not come so easy!
And then there were my friends. I was too tired to be emotional but it set in on the ride back to the hotel. I was so happy to share this moment with them! There faces were the things I pictured as I counted down the miles because I knew they would be so proud of me! I wanted to make them proud and I hope that I did! Please remember you can do anything you set your mind to and do it looking fabulous!
I finished in 4:59:38 which was two minutes slower than Louisiana BUT I did stop at medical, to inspriational talk, and slap everyone hand as I crossed the finish line. I am positive I would have finished sooner! I am very happy with my performance at the race. I learn something new with every race!
My only regret was not being there when Jes and Damien crossed the finish line. And I didn’t bet to see everyone from home after the race because they were long gone after I finished. But I guess that’s what happens when you run a marathon and most everyone else runs a half! It made me sad a little! It was a great race and I didn’t mind the weather at all. It could have been a lot worse! I definitely will run this race again next year!