“Your not running tomorrow right?” this was the question friends and race directors from other races that were at the Expo asked me as I was stopping in to get my packet and to say Hello. I showed them my race bib in my hand and sheepishly said “well, I don’t know if you call what I will be doing tomorrow ‘running’ but my plan is to jog, walk or dance my way to that finish line tomorrow morning” <For a little back story:> Just a couple weeks prior I got the green light from my doctor that I could start training again, I was excited because this was a full month early. This would help me be in better shape for the St. Jude race in December. I began running three times a week. The weekend before Jazz Half I had gotten to a whopping 6 miles. (in which I was exhausted afterwards) I know what your thinking, to go from 6 miles to 13.1 in a week is not recommended. I know, but I needed something to boost my endurance and potentially my turtle like pace. I emailed the race contact to remove my name from the deferral list and it was done. Whew! This is crazy, I would tell anyone NOT to do what I was doing but a race on Halloween morning in New Orleans, Oh Wow!! just think of the costumes and sights to see!!! My running buddy Francine had been training hard the past three months and was in good shape to “run” Jazz so I was going to need someone to join me on this fun adventure and it hit me “Amazing Amanda”. I messaged her and she quickly accepted without hesitation. We chatted back and forth about various race outfits and kept an eye on the weather since storms were on the weekend forecast. <Now that your caught up lets get back > After the expo Francine and I decided to go to Bourbon Street for dinner since our hotel was only a few blocks away. Due to the storms coming New Orleans and other local areas moved up trick or treating to that night so there was extra excitement in the air. We grabbed a table near the window at Olde Nola Cookery to watch the revelers go by and catch some music in the streets. You could not ask for better entertainment the night before Jazz Half.
Music blaring, smell of Biofreeze in the air, applying ChafX, bread with honey for breakfast, It’s Race Morning!!!!
One last weather check on our phones and we decided to put umbrellas and ponchos in our gear check bag. It looked like it was going to be very muggy but the rain should hold out until we crossed the finish line. Not PR weather conditions but it should be fun regardless. As we walked to Lafayette Square I was a little nervous that I would not find Amanda to pal around with me during the race but she found me easily. (she had already ran 2 miles that morning and planned to run 4 after the race since she is Dopey training, she really is “Amazing Amanda”) We took a pre-race picture, saw some awesome costumes and checked out the race bling that would be waiting for us. Soon it was time to go line up.
We lined up towards the back behind the competitive and 5k runners whom had a slightly different route. I told Francine to have a strong race. For me today would just be about finishing. I was thankful to even be able to participate. The first few miles went smoothly, seeing familiar sights and friends along the way. I was soaking up the experience with every mile along with the humidity. Yes, it was going to be challenging. I fortunately remembered to take my salt that morning and knew I would have to take in water/Gatorade along the way. I could see the runners around me looking a little drained and I hoped it wasn’t affecting Francine too bad for her run. Then I felt a tap and lookie-lou! Mama Z had found me!!! Jen looked AMAZING in her Day of the Dead getup! I took a quick photo of her, hugged and she was on her way.
After mile 7 I could start to feel my energy slowly zapping away and told Amanda I was looking forward to getting back on St. Charles after the Audubon Park loop so we could see the spooktacular skeleton house. This home was perfection along the race route on Halloween morning.
Spotting this race sign I had to stop since I definitely needed some ENERGY to get me til the end!
Just a couple more miles left and I was definitely taking additional walk breaks but Amanda cheered me on and said I was doing great. I was especially thankful in that moment to have my own race course cheerleader by my side! With the finish line in sight I knew I was close to completing my goal for the day and Amanda never left my side. Crossing the finish line i let out the biggest breath and knew I would now be ready for St. Jude.
We spotted Francine and she had a challenging run as well. We went to scope out the post race food choices: Jambalaya, Red Beans and Rice, Hot Dogs and Chili, Sno-balls on a Stick.(Soft sno-ball outer shell covering a creamy ice cream center) We had to try one! There was plenty of choices of food and drinks but we were soaked to the bone in sweat and ready for a shower after a couple of samples. The rain started, we quickly said our goodbyes and left with the satisfaction of a great race morning. Later in the day I was looking at social media and saw something that truly warmed my heart.
Races are about supporting each other and enjoying the experience which Amanda perfectly captured.
Sweet Victory! #JazzHalf2015