Rock-n-Roll Marathon: Part 2

Last week I mentioned that I wasn’t feeling well, thanks to the hubster, leading up to the race.  Saturday and Sunday I felt pretty good, not quite 100% but I’ve definitely felt worse.  Monday I woke up feeling like I had been hit by a Mack truck and then got progressively worse throughout the week.  I finally drug myself to the doctor yesterday when I started coughing up green stuff and it hurt to breathe.  Turns out that if you run a marathon while you’re sick, you can {and will} develop bronchitis and sinusitis.   Who knew?  My parting gift from the doc was a nice IM (intramuscular) shot of antibiotics in my rear (ugh!!), two prescriptions and a stern warning not to do anything physical. *facepalm*

I deserved a treat after that shot to the derriere.

I deserved a treat after that shot to the derriere.

Now, as promised, Part 2 of Rock-n-Roll NOLA.  The Finale:

Yesterday I left you hanging with part one of the recap right at the split between the marathoner and half marathoners.  It was so nice to go from being squished in like sardines to having room to move around without stepping on someone.  It was also at this point that the pavement leveled out; my feet and ankles couldn’t take the potholes and broken street much longer.

At mile 13 there were two guys running next to me and I told them, “Alright boys, this is where the race really starts.” They chuckled and told me not to beat them too badly with which I responded “You’ve got nothing to worry about.”  That statement was a bit of foreshadowing for what lied ahead.  Little did I know how much effort I was about to put forth to finish the next 13+ miles.

The second ½ of the race was an out and back.  Anybody who knows me know that I absolutely loathe courses like that.  Not only are they boring, but out and back courses are so psychologically damaging to me.   From the very first step I start looking for the turnaround point.

The purple at the bottom is where the 1/2 marathoners split; the red is the remaining full course.

The purple at the bottom is where the 1/2 marathoners split; the red is the remaining full course.

Mile 15 I started seeing the elites on their way back to finish the marathon; I cheered for the first few then realized they were all in the zone and I was probably annoying them.  The top male ran it in 2:28:23 and the top female 2:52:21.  I can’t even run a 5k at that fast of a pace!  I took another Huma Chia Energy Gel around this point to top off my glycogen levels.  {That stuff is the bomb, by the way.}

Mile 16 was where I first noticed the race really starting to wear on me.  It didn’t help that Mother Nature decided to play dirty and had us run straight into a horrible head wind which would last the next 6-7 miles.  I just kept thinking to myself, ‘you can’t be tired! You still have 10+ miles to go.’ I wasn’t expecting to have such negative thoughts so early in the race; when I ran the Marine Corps Marathon I didn’t experience any negative self-talk.

In the zone.{Side note: When I first saw this picture I freaked a bit because it looked like I had an extra finger}

In the zone.
{Side note: When I first saw this picture I freaked a bit because it looked like I had an extra finger.  I assure you, I only have 5.}

Then, as if the wind and negative self-talk weren’t bad enough, the “fast, flat course” that RnR had bragged became hilly.  The course took us over 4 overpasses (8 total since it was a bloody out and back) and while they weren’t super big hills they were still large hills that my already fatigued body had to over come.  On one of the bigger overpasses, I joked to a lady that ‘we had just made that hill our b*tch’; she wasn’t amused.

The next few miles all blur together.  I got a really awesome pick-me-up when I saw my friend Mel pass me on the back part of the course. I screamed and smiled like a crazy person.  FINALLY at mile 20 I made it to the turnaround. Yes!! Only a 10k left! My body was hurting pretty badly at this point but I was excited to know that I made it into the 20s.  I got another burst of energy from seeing my friends Stacey and then Lorena on their way to the turnaround.

After that I remembered passing the 35k mark (which would be mile 21.8ish) and I was crushed to know that I still had 15k left to go.  I couldn’t figure out how I was going to make it another 9.3 miles.  Apparently I had gone somewhat delirious with my math skills and thinking that a marathon was 50k (31 miles).  Thankfully it took me all of 30 seconds to figure out that I had just passed mile 22 which meant 4.2 miles NOT 9.3.  WHEW!  {Side note, this race really made me question my desire to run a 50k…..and my mathematical skills}

Taken after mile 22 right after I figured out that I only had 4ish miles left to run, not 9.3.

Taken after mile 22 right after I figured out that I only had 4ish miles left to run, not 9.3.  That’s the look of pure joy.

Mile 24 I opted for a potty stop.  I knew I was close to finishing but it was either stop or risk losing bladder control.  Let’s just say quickest potty break ever!  Right before mile 25 I passed my husband again; I managed to yell to him that I was really struggling.  He lied and told me I was looking good. ❤  Seeing him was really what I needed to finish.

After seeing my husband I knew that I had roughly 15 minutes left to run.  I tried to find any spare gas in my tank and crank out a strong finish.  And at exactly 4 hours, 18 minutes, and 50 seconds (a 9:50 overall pace) I hit 26.3 miles (yep, an extra tenth) and crossed that damn finish line!

Coming in for the finish.  Yeah, that's a forced smile...

Coming in for the finish. Yeah, that’s a forced smile…

I have never been so exhausted and happy to be done in my entire life.  I found my husband and promptly sat down.  Ouch.

Love this guy so much!{best husband ever}

Love this guy so much!
{best husband ever}

I can honestly say that this race took everything I had both physically and mentally.  It was a totally different experience from the Marine Corps Marathon where the race didn’t feel challenging at all.  I immediately found my husband and gave him the biggest hug and kiss.  Then we waited for my two running girls to finish.  Stacey rocked a 27 minute PR and Lorena can now call herself a marathoner.  So proud of these girls!

Finally, it was time for my favorite part of the race….leaving!  We waited in line to get bused back the to starting line.  I had to chuckle because you could totally tell the marathoners from the 1/2 marathoners by the length of time it took them to get up and off the bus.


Buses, buses and more buses.
You can tell from the picture that the weather had turned nasty, too.

And then it was time to get our grub on!  All that running left me with a huge appetite.  We ended up eating at Hard Rock Café and it was delicious. The food was delicious, not Hard Rock.  Although I was hungry enough I threatened to eat part of Hard Rock while waiting for my food.

Vest worn by Mick Jagger.

Vest worn by Mick Jagger.

Pulled pork, cole slaw and baked bean (I didn't eat much of the fries) made this girl very happy!

Pulled pork, cole slaw & baked bean (I was too full for the fries) made my tummy verrrrrrrry happy!

As far as races or race courses go, this wasn’t my favorite.  The ½ marathon course was amazing but the full course left a lot to be desired.  The bands were far and few between as were the spectators; it got pretty lonely out there.  Although, the first half of the course was amazing.  While the streets in New Orleans are incredibly hard on feet and ankles (as evidenced by rolling my left ankle three times) they do provide beautiful, historic sights.  I wouldn’t discourage anyone from doing this race.  New Orleans is a great racation city; so much to do…..and eat!  Just be prepared to be incredibly bored on the second half of the race, that is, if you’re doing the full.

I’ve had plenty of time over the past few days to look back and reflect on this race.  The positives and negatives, what I could have done differently, what I will do differently next time.  I can honestly say, with the exception of the pre-race potty fail adding 4 minutes, that I couldn’t have done anything differently during this run.

Usually when I finish a race I feel like I could have given more, pushed further, but I can say with complete confidence that I gave those 26.2 miles everything I had; I left it all on the course.  I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing that ‘all I had’ resulted in a 4:18:50 finish but I’m certainly not losing any sleep over it.  There will be other marathons in my future, ones that I will train harder for and run faster at but for this particular race, I’m happy with the result and proud of myself.  And I think that’s a lesson that I needed to learn; to respect and appreciate each race as it is.

My pretty new bling that will get put with the others behind my husbands ties.  I should really fix that.

My pretty new bling that will get put with the others on my hubby’s tie rack behind his ties. I should really fix that.

Question:  What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned during an endurance Furevent? 

43 thoughts on “Rock-n-Roll Marathon: Part 2

  1. Great recap, great race. The changing of the course was not friendly to us, lol! I feel the same way about leaving it all out there, lord knows I did. Hate we didn’t meet up, but being sick is not how I planned the weekend either;( thanks for representing the Swiftwick! I need to do a side by side pic of us for them. May be stealing a pic, lol! See ya at Zombie!!!!

    • Steal away, Larisa! That shirt was so comfy, I just love it. I hate that you got sick, too. 😦 Super big congrats to you on finishing your first marathon – I’m dying for your recap!! I’m so proud of you and know that you will have a blast at the MCM this year. (Just a heads up…that course is slightly hilly, too.) Can’t wait to get all zombiefied with you next month!

  2. You had a huge PR and did a second marathon merely MONTHS after your first….I bow to yu sister! I can’t wait for MCM this year….I mean I can….lol

    • Thanks, sistah from another mistah! I am super excited about your MCM race; I just wish I could be there to run it with you. I know that you are going to have an amazing first marathon experience.

  3. I can’t imagine doing an out and back AFTER finishing a half marathon first. That just seems like cruel and unusual punishment. It really messes with your head seeing the elites on their way back in. Even still, you had an incredible marathon and you should be so proud of yourself. Here’s to another one!

    • Thanks chica! It was crazy watching the elites come in to finish with me just being a few miles into the second half. I was awed and deflated all at once. But with everything said and done, I really can’t complain about anything at all. I’m just glad I don’t have to start training for the next one until July!

  4. Girl you totally ROCKED that race! Way to go!!! Congrats on a great race and a strong finish! (Btw, tose 8 hills really ticked me off. What happened to flat again?!)

  5. GIRL – you just rocked your second marathon! I would say rocking a 4:18 is incredible, considering that’s nearly half an hour off your first full! That is an AMAZING feat and something you need to be proud of. You ROCK!

    I’m eye-balling RNR NOLA as a half next year. We’ll see. 🙂

    • Thanks so much, Megan!! I’m looking forward to taking even more time off the next one (hopefully). YES, put this on your list for 1/2s next year; I promise you will have an amazing time PLUS I’ll run it with you (I think, there might possibly be a race conflict).

  6. Wow, it is so hard for me to believe this is only your second marathon. You seem like such a pro (even if you didn’t feel the best). I said before, but I absolutely love the medel. Sorry to hear you weren’t the feeling the best previously (I thought I was the only one who used the phrase getting hit by a Mac truck LOL) but glad to hear you finished it. Such an inspirational race really and your race photos came out super well!

    • Thanks, Hollie. Hopefully the 2nd of many. 🙂 I think I’m hooked on the challenge; especially to keep improving. My race pictures were definitely a surprise to me; I figured I’d come out looking like the Grim Reaper…

  7. Gina:

    As usual, your storytelling skills are the best. I have always enjoyed your drive and ambition since we met on dailymile, but the blog is really something special – all on its own. Congrats on the outcome at the marathon!

    • Thanks so much Whit!! I really have let dailymile slack lately but I at least try to input my miles just so I can track them monthly. Thank you for all of the encouragement during my running journey!

  8. Ughhhh out and back. Yuck! But I’m so impressed with your finish and your time! You sound like someone who’s been running marathons for years, and I am so impressed with you. I hope you feel better soon! Bronchitis is the pits.

    • I wish I had been running them for years; my first one was only 4 months ago. 🙂 I know marathon running isn’t for everyone but if you have ever had an inkling to do one, I highly encourage it! As for feeling bad, I’ve never had bronchitis or sinusitis in my life but yeah, you’re right, it’s the pits.

  9. Well you know I just ran the half…but ST. CHARLES AVENUE was AWFUL! The potholes are ridiculous. Sure, there are cones for the big ones, but not the thousands of small ones. And I too hated to loop back. I will never drive down St. Charles again and not remember the drudgery I experienced! I agree about the bands too. I thought overall it was a well-organized race, but I’m a newbie.

    • St. Charles Ave really was the worst part of the street. I remembered from last year that it was bad so I was kind of prepared for it. You are no longer a newbie, Wendy! Last year RnR NOLA was my first ever 1/2 marathon and here I am a year later having run two full marathons. You never know what kind of Pandora’s box you open with your first {real} race. 🙂

  10. Girl you are such an inspiration! A 4:18 marathon??? WOW!!! This was my first full last year…like you said…the last half is boring and the bands are almost non-existent. And I was so mad last year at those dang hilly bridges!!! But I LOVE the half course. 🙂 And this year I was soooo happy to be turning right with the half marathoners lol!

    • I totally wasn’t expecting the bridges. I had been warned about one overpass but not 4; I would have done some more hill repeats to get ready for it. If I do this race again it will definitely be the 1/2 and I’ll be happy to watch the marathoners go by. 🙂

  11. Sorry to hear you developed bronchitis!!! For me just having asthma, a cold or flu can turn into pneumonia or bronchitis even if I don’t exercise… so I’m always first in line to get the flu shot to help prevent me from getting sick! Though it seems about half of my colds turn into sinus infections….which if viral, I just have to tough it out. boo! Hopefully those butt antibiotics help you feel better soon!!!

    Congrats on accomplishing your marathon time goal!

    • Ugh, I’ve never had this crud before in my life. I didn’t get a flu shot this year but I definitely will next year. I hate that you have asthma and get sinus infections; no bueno my friend. As whiny as I’m being over this crud, honestly, I would still run the marathon again in a heartbeat. I just don’t think I could throw 16 weeks of training down the drain (even if it’s totally for my benefit). I had to bare my behiney for a stranger so I’m hoping it kicks in soon!

      • Yea I would hate to forego something if sick…I think I would just have to make my own judgement call depending on how I feel, but it would be such a hard decision!

      • On a random note, my wordpress isn’t notifying me of new reply comments I make on other people’s blogs in my little dialog cloud. Only turns orange and notifies me if someone comments on my blog…trying to see if I disabled that somehow? Only been like this for a day or so….

  12. I am the EXACT same way with out & back courses. Not only do I find them mind-numbing, but I’m like you where I’m looking for the mid-way point the whole time and it totally distracts me from minding my pace etc.

    I’m working towards a half for the fall and I’ve got my eye on some of the Rock ‘n Roll ones, they look like so much fun!

    • I’m so glad to hear that I’m not the only one who starts looking for the turnaround the entire time; it’s terrible. Good luck with your 1/2 training! I’m not the biggest fan of RnR right now but for a first big race it will be tons of fun for you. They have amazing expos and the race atmosphere is a blast! 🙂

  13. Leaving it all on the course is a very satisfying feeling! And remember–this is your *second* marathon. You’re just scratching the surface of your potential; just think about how much you can improve by this time next year. Positive thinking. 🙂 I’m so proud of you, by the way!

    • Thanks, Carrie, I hope I’m just scratching the surface! I would really like my next marathon to break 4 hours but I know that will take a ton of training. I’m totally up for the challenge!

  14. You did SO great!! I can only dream of getting a 4:18! Sorry you’re sick now though. 😦 I love the bling! Sounds like you need a medal hangar as much as I do. I just have mine hanging on a nail in my closet. Congrats again, girlie!

    • Thank you Katie! Don’t doubt your abilities. My first marathon in October was 4:55 (I had some major snafus occur) and if you would have told me then that I’d be running a 4:18 marathon just 16 weeks later I would have thought you were crazy. It’s all about the training. But the best thing to remember with your marathon is that this is your first so it’s an automatic PR no matter what! 🙂 It’s going to be challenging (physically and mentally) but you will have fun and it’s going to be so worth it!

  15. WAHOOO I loved this recap!! I felt like I was experiencing your pain and joy with you..haha I’m so weird. I seriously am so proud of you, you kicked some serious ass. That meal looks PERFECT for a post marathon refuel!

    • Gah, you’re not weird! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recap; I didn’t want to sugar coat it at all with the difficulty involved. It was totally different from my first marathon where it basically felt effortless; kind of surprised me to be honest with you. And yes, that meal ’twas tasty!

  16. Congratulations! Again. This recap is so honest. But I love the end, where you say you gave it your all. You clearly did. I think my learning curves happen on my long runs. But I also know I have a LOT to learn. In a couple of months I start marathon training again, and I’m now acutely aware that it’s a very humbling experience.

    • I totally agree with you, Kate, we all have a ton to learn. If we stop learning, we stop improving and then become stagnant. And I don’t want to stagnate; I want to thrive! 🙂 I’m excited for your next marathon!! Are you going to try to break 4 hours? You’re totally capable of it.

  17. Yay! I don’t know what changed, but I can comment on my work pc again! I love your recap and that you were honest about it being tough and leaving it all out there! I still even now have tummy troubles with eating right after hard effort, so the thuoght of a bbq sandwich is questionable! 🙂 Congrats!!! And look forward to me asking you questions along my training journey 🙂 ❤

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  19. Gina, I cannot believe you were not feeling well and still ran a marathon!!! You are so inspiring!!

    Even though this wasn’t your favorite race, you should be extremely proud!! Can’t imagine what is next for you, but keep it up, girl!!!

    (PS. the parts about your hubby are soooo sweet!!) 🙂

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  21. Congratulations on rocking the Big Easy! I completely agree with your summary though. The first half was pretty fantastic and the second half couldn’t live up to it. Those rolling hills were a sinister surprise that I hadn’t counted on. You say “headwind” and I say “cool breeze” because I had also not counted on the sun being out when the forecast had been calling for rain all week.

    Oh well. I still had fun, and despite the out-and-back second half, at least it was green and next to a large, picturesque body of water, right? We could have been running through strip malls or industrial zones like some other races do.

    Well done 🙂

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