The past several days have been a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions. I had trained for three long months for the physical, running portion but there was so much more ahead I was unprepared for. I will have to split this recap up into two parts so please bear with me.
A few days leading up to Sundays Rock’n’Roll New Orleans Marathon I had the nerves BAD. 60-70% chance of storms on the forecast. The planner in me needed to prepare for the worst case scenario. I had never done a training run in the rain much less do a race in it. (I know I am a wimp, even my coach warned me about this) I started requesting last minute tips such as Body Glide and Aquaphor on your skin as a water repellent plus to prevent chaffing/blistering, wear as little of clothing as possible, wear a visor and sunglasses to protect your eyes, wrap your iPhone up in a Ziploc then put it in your arm band if you’re going to carry it etc. Friday morning I even looked into a plan B race. Something close and soon in case it fell apart on Sunday. I found the ‘Mississippi River Marathon’ in Greensville, MS scheduled for 2/8/14. A much smaller race but time wise was soon enough to work with my taper. That night I mentioned it to my daughter that I had a Plan B just in case for the weather and she tells me “Mom, you planned for Plan A stick with Plan A there is no Plan B!” She is such a smart girl. I hugged her and said ok. She says “Everything is going to be fine and I am proud of you.” I told her to wait and say that when I am back home with my Finisher medal.
The next morning my friend Francine picked me up so we could head to the Expo. (She had graciously signed up for the Half so she could be my Race Support before and after the race.) We took our time that Saturday morning since it was announced that Deena Kastor wasn’t going to make it due to her getting the flu at the last minute so she wouldn’t be speaking at the Expo for 11am or be able to run the race. I was disappointed but as we all know things happen. You can’t plan for everything which my type A personality struggles with constantly. We get down to the Convention Center and easily go through the packet pickup area. (I was extremely excited to get my first “Marathon” bib, too bad it didn’t have our names on them) After talking to a couple people I decided to move up my Coral from 12 to 10 (there was 18 corals and an estimated 15,000 runners expected). Corals are based on the estimated time you finish. My running had improved during my training since I first signed up. My initial goal was to run a sub 5 for my first Full. Later as my training progressed I started to want to do around 4:40 based on my average long run pace of 10:35. I found my friend Karen who said she would run with me for the Full. (This would be her 5th Full plus she was a legacy runner for #RNRNOLA so I would be in good hands) We started talking strategy and checked in with the LRC pace group booth to see what their plans were. The times for the Louisiana Running Company pacers were 4:30 and 4:45 so we decided to fall in behind the 4:30 group. (You will learn how that worked later on) The Expo was as great as I remembered. Since I have ran the RNRNOLA Half twice I was familiar with the layout. I had bought all my last minute stuff ahead of time so I would keep my spending at a minimum. As my friend Ken mentioned the Expo was like a “Runners Carnival” anything you can imagine was there and then some. I got to say Hello to several people and got my Good Luck hug from Jenni Peters of Varsity Sports. She told me I have trained for this and to “Enjoy the Experience”. I picked up my 26.2 decal and a new “addaday” stick roller for my IT band issues. I tried not to be on my feet too long but still managed to be there about 3 hours and skipped lunch. Fortunately I packed a couple protein bars.
Francine and I headed to our hotel ‘Crowne Plaza‘ and traffic on Canal was a nightmare. When I got to the room I immediately unpacked and got an ice bath since my legs were already tired. Around 5pm we started searching for food and got into Acme Oyster House only to find they didn’t serve pasta so a ½ pound burger would have to do. I ate every bite and drank tons of water (ok and yes one beer). We met up Karen and her husband for dessert at Hard Rock then called it a night due to our early 4am wake up.
A few pics from the day….
Then the Good Lucks messages started to pour in before bed.
As I went to bed I rechecked the weather forecast and just hoped for the best.
Part Two: “The day of and personal reflections after becoming a Marathoner https://ndeckerrunner.wordpress.com/2014/02/05/part-two-26-2-claimed-the-day-of-personal-reflections/