Walking up to the start line was a bit different for me this race morning. You line up by your corral color which was dictated by your estimated time to finish. I was in the Green corral which was four corrals from the start and my daughter Alaina was in the Purple corral which was just one corral before the walkers in Yellow since I expected her to just walk/jog it. This would be her farthest and largest race to date at 17,546 runners. I gave her some last minute tips (watch your step, drink water when you need too, text me at mile 5, have fun, enjoy the scenery!!) She saw her purple corral and all I heard was “Bye, Mom” and with that she disappeared into the crowd. Nerves sat in for me as I walked to my corral with Stephen and Francine. We started to warm up for the race and in no time we were off.
The first mile was a bit slow due to the large amount of runners and narrow start plus I admit my mind was still on my daughter at the start line. ‘Would she trip & fall? “ .. “Oh no, I forgot to tell her to ONLY drink out of the Kentwood water cups as I see beer stands and Jell-O shots on the race course”.. (it is New Orleans!). In no time I am running past Jackson square, French market, up to mile 3. The temperature is getting warm quick. I slowed down my pace a bit as I look for a runner nearby who has a steady pace to time with, since I do have a Half Marathon the very next weekend. Up ahead were the mossy, covered oak trees of City Park for miles 5 and 6. I looked at my time on my Garmin and I see a small PR in sight and think to myself “I got this”. Finally up ahead I see the Finish line, I turned down my music and do my best for a final push which seemed to take forever as I made my unexpected PR of 57:58!!
I got my water and medal then quickly checked my phone. No text from Alaina until a short while later I get “Be at the finish, I’m going past the volleyball nets”. I quickly went back to the Finish hoping to spot her in time and get a quick picture. SUCCESS!!!!!!
Beaming with pride we hug each other as she looks to collect her medal. She finds it and says “That was fun!!” I asked how she feels and she says “accomplished” with a big smile!!
Time to go celebrate with friends at the race festival while we wait for her race time.
Unfortunately they were having Wi-Fi issues so it took longer than expected to get the final race times. Later that evening I got word she finished in 1hr: 21min: 28seconds which I sent to her via text and I got this reply back.
By the way my plan to stalk Bart Yasso at the Expo was a complete success!! I got my picture with him and he was so nice!! A very entertaining, informative speaker whom I sincerely hope comes back in the fall for our Louisiana Marathon kickoff this Fall. I can’t wait to read his book “My Life On The Run”. If it is half as entertaining as his session at the expo I am in for a real treat!
The Hyatt Regency was a great choice for the venue for the Expo, good variety in booths, easy packet pickup, soft- true to size race shirts, parking for the race was no problem at the Superdome however getting back was a chore (long lines at the finish to catch a bus back so we walked back until we could get a taxi which was 2.7 miles later), A thought for future races would be to send out a quick email blurb on runner etiquette for the newbies but this is a race for anyone to participate in so you have to keep that in mind and last but not least an entertaining Finish Festival that only New Orleans could pull off.
My next adventure is Gulf Coast Pensacola Half Marathon next Sunday.
Time to go foam roll my legs!!!