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, 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? 

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Rock-n-Roll Marathon: Part 1

First things first…. I have the best husband ever! Even if he did share his cold before the marathon and then got me massively sick after, he’s still the best.  I’ll explain why in a minute.  Now that I’ve left you all hanging almost the entire week for this recap, here is the first 1/2 of the race for your viewing pleasure… {Apologies for breaking it up; it would have been death by words if I hadn’t.}

Sunday started off with a leisurely wake-up call of 5:46 am.  Waaahoooo, I got to sleep in!!

Alarm

I’m used to being up around 4am on race day but we were only two blocks from the starting line so why not sleep in, right? {I realize that 5:46 is a random time to wake up; I don’t like getting up on even numbers. Weird, I know.}  I fully expected to experience some sort of nerves when I got up but I was remarkably jitter free.

My running girls and I got ready, stretched, and attempted to eat some breakfast but wasn’t really feeling it. The pizza from the night before left my tummy slightly unsettled (I totally went against everything I talked about with how to properly carbo-load); luckily Lorena had some Pepto. Problem solved.

Since we were running the full marathon we went ahead and checked out of the hotel that way we wouldn’t feel rushed after the race.  Then we headed to the starting line.  It was about 6:45 by the time we got there; the race started at 7. Whoops, maybe I shouldn’t have slept in after all.

Hooray for a gorgeous sunrise!

Hooray for a gorgeous sunrise!

I saw this guy before the race and chatted with him for a minute. He was doing the ½ marathon in full gear; about 150 extra pounds. I actually remembered him from last year’s ½ marathon; although, last year he had two other guys with him.

FirefighterI shook his hand, thanked him for his service and wished him luck.  Then I was off to scope out the portopottie situation. The lines were extra long and decided that I wouldn’t make it to the start on time if I waited.  So I skipped it. Bad idea! When you start a race with the urge to pee it only gets worse once you start running. My running girls had VIP potty passes from Brooks (yes, I was jealous) so while they used the nice, heated potties with running water, I spent a few minutes jogging to loosen up the muscles.

My lovely running girls.

My lovely running girls.

My time goals for this race were kind of three-fold.  My gimme goal was to beat 4:30 (I had zero doubt I could do that), my ‘I’ll be happy with’ goal was 4:22, but my ultimate goal was to get into the 4:teens.  However, with being sick the week prior, I wasn’t sure I could break into the teens.  I wrote several of the splits for a 4:17 finish on my arm just to give me an idea of how I was doing during the race.

As we were walking to the corral, we heard the National Anthem being sung.  This meant the elites were a few minutes from taking off.  I was supposed to be in corral 9 but ended up squishing (like a sardine) into corral 10.

I dug the guy's superhero cape.

I dug the guy’s superhero cape.

Before I knew it we had moved up to the starting line.  I really love the way that Rock-n-Roll starts their races in waves verses everyone starting all at once.  And then we were off!

It's hard to see but that's the starting line.

It’s hard to see but that’s the starting line.

Or so I thought.  At .36 miles into the race I almost plowed over a person walking. WTH?!? I was so irritated.  I don’t have a problem with people walking races but be polite – don’t get into a corral where people are trying to run.

Things went swimmingly well after that little hiccup and a little bit after mile 2 I noticed the race motorcyclists on the other side of the road.  This meant that the elites had made the first out and back turn.  Talk about starstruck! I got to see Olympian Mo Farrah tearing up the pavement; he would later win the race and set a new course record of 60:59.  Maybe 5 or so minutes after watching Mo run by, Shalane Flanagan appeared followed by Kara Goucher. I (along with lots of others) was cheering like crazy for them! I heard a girl behind me ask why everyone was yelling and I thought to myself ‘because we just saw three Olympians!’

Right before mile 4 I decided it was time for a potty break.  My logic that I could quickly get in and out of the potty failed me and I got stuck waiting for 4 minutes.  That may not seem like much but, trust me, it was an eternity! I watched the time on my Garmin creep up  and I was so upset knowing that it’s almost impossible to ‘make-up’ lost time in a marathon.

Miles 4-9 were uneventful except for rolling my ankle twice (and I would do it one more time later on in the race) on the uneven pavement. I fueled up with some awesome Huma Chia Energy Gel and I felt amazing; I had set my cruise control at a comfortable 9:35 pace.  The bands had been entertaining and the cheer squads were great.

Mile 10 took us through the French Quarter and had us pass by Café Du Monde home of ahhhhmazing beignets.  I joked to someone about stopping and getting one to go.

For those of you not familiar with beignets, feast your eyes on these babies.  This picture was from a different trip to NOLA but you get the idea.

For those of you not familiar with beignets, feast your eyes on these babies. This picture was from a different trip to NOLA but you get the idea.

Right after Café Du Monde I heard a guy yell my name; I looked and it was my husband!! He had been terribly sick all week so when I left Saturday I left knowing that he wasn’t going to be there.  Talk about surprised! (This is why he’s the best husband ever.) I gave him a quick kiss and kept running {and smiling}.

race pic #1
At mile 11.5 some well meaning volunteer shouted what he thought was an encouraging ‘you’re almost there’ only to be dumbstruck when I yelled back ‘Nice try. I still have 15 miles left.’  I’m hoping that he didn’t try to encourage anybody else with ‘you’re almost there’.  There’s nothing worse, IMO, than hearing that during a race.

Before I knew it, it was mile 12.5(ish) and it was time for the marathoners to break away while the ½ marathoners went in for their finish.  Last year, this race was my very first ½ marathon and I remember watching the marathoners split, I had such envy watching them that I swore that I would come back next year and do the marathon. Mission accomplished!

And this is where I leave you hanging until tomorrow… I didn’t want to overwhelm y’all with such a lengthy recap so I figured I’d break it into two parts.

Question: Don’t you hate it when bloggers break their recaps into part 1 and part 2?  Forgive me??

Rock-n-Roll NOLA Expo

After writing about how disappointed I was with the Rock-n-Roll series being all about the money on Friday, my running girls and I headed over to the expo to pick up our bibs and shirts.  After driving around in circles for a bit (navigating New Orleans isn’t the easiest) we finally found a place to park and headed into the convention center.

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We snaked our way through the convention center, admist a muck (ok, maybe that word is a bit harsh) of pre-teen cheerleaders in WAY too heavy makeup; apparently there was a cheer competition or something going on, too.

The first stop at the expo was picking up the bibs and doing a last minute corral change.  When I had registered for this back in May I put 4:30 as my estimated finish time; however, my goal was to break 4:30 so I moved up two corrals.

Marathon #2 in less then 18 hours! EEEEP

Marathon #2 in less then 18 hours! EEEEP

After the last minute corral change, it was we headed to pick up our shirts.  I have to give RnR props because their expo is expertly executed.  Before you can enter the vendor booths you have to pick up your bib, swag bag and tee’s.

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Awesome participant tee. I looooove it!!

Then it was time for the FREEEEEBIES!! And the expo did not disappoint with the freebies.  We stopped at the Brooks store first where I won a free cotton tee and my friend Stacey won a pair of free shoes. HECK YES!!

We stopped at different booths and sample various products.  I headed to the Perform Pain Relief booth and was incredibly surprised to find that they were handing out full size products…Um, yes please!

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After taking some silly pictures, we headed over the the KT Tape booth.  My friend Lorena has been having some horrible IT band issues and her massage therapist recommended she get taped before the race.  I had decided to get taped too to see if it would help with my foot issues.  I was somewhat skeptical but knew I’d find out soon enough.  I figured that even if it failed, the KT Tape still looked cool.

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I have to admit, I felt slightly like a legit athlete with this stuff on…

Then it was time to take all of our freebies and bid adieu to the expo.  My running girls and I were starving and we still had to check into the hotel.

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Scccchhhhwaaaag!

After navigating the parking garage from hell we finally arrived at our hotel.  We ditched our race gear and headed to find some grub.  We had decided ahead of time to eat at Chef John Besh’s restaurant, Domenica.

Outside of Domenca.  It was gorgeous.

Outside of Domenica. It was gorgeous.

And like the true non-city dwellers we are, none of us thought to call ahead for reservations.  We got there just before 7 and they said they wouldn’t have a table until 10. Whaaaaaaaaat? My tummy needed food ASAP.  So we ended up ordering at the bar and then heading back to the hotel.  I ordered the Calabrese pizza which was thin crust topped with spicy salami, fresh mozzarella, capers & olives.  Maybe not the smartest pre-race meal (sodium wise) but it ’twas yummy.

mmmmmmmmmmm Get in mah bellay

mmmmmmmmmmm
Get in mah bellay

And then it was time for bed.  I knew those 26.2 miles weren’t going to run themselves in the morning.  After all was said and done, I had finally started to get excited about running my 2nd marathon.

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Ready to Rock-n-Roll!

Question:  What do you do at expos? Do you take advantage of the freebies or just get your race stuff and go?

It’s Marathon Time?

Happy Friday y’all! You’ve made it through another work week and now have the entire weekend to do something epic.  Spring is completely on its way so hopefully your something epic will involve lots of sunshine.

In less then 48 hours, my something epic for this weekend is running my 2nd marathon; Rock-n-Roll New Orleans.

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I managed to catch the crud that my hubby had so the past few days I’ve been in ‘get this crap out of my system mode’ so I’m acutally less than thrilled about this weekend.  Although, to be perfectly honest, I was less then thrilled about this weekend before I ended up sick. For some reason I just can’t wrap my head around this race.  I wish I could blame it on nerves but I don’t even have those right now.  I have total 100% apathy towards this event.

I know that a lot of it has to do with the fact that my first marathon was so emotionally charged with running it in memory of my brother.  The Marine Corps Marathon was just so special that really nothing will ever be able to top it.

Jody and I

Me and the best hubby ever….AKA the culprit who got me sick.

I’m also a bit disgruntled with the event organization.  I went to register for runner tracking so my hubby could keep up with me only to find out that they are charging people to track runners.  I guess they don’t get enough money with the already high registration fees.  So I did what any 21st century person does and vented on social media.  Apparently a LOT of folks are disgruntled with the Rock-n-Roll series.

meI will give RnR credit though, they responded right away to the cascading flood of negativity my one {very mild} tweet caused.

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Also, I found out that they DO offer free runner tracking on race day (of course it was after a family member had already paid to track me).

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However, when you click their track a runner link it automatically takes you to the pay site.  So basically they’re directing people to pay to track runners without telling them about the free option.  That doesn’t sit well with me.

I could go on about this topic but I’ll save my ranting.  *You’re welcome* I’m already registered for one more RnR marathon in November and unless something changes, it will be my last one.

So tomorrow I will head to the expo with my running girls and I’m hoping to catch the excitement bug there.  Maybe it will bring back fond memories of last year’s race which I adored.  Rock-n-Roll New Orleans 2012 was my very first ½ marathon so I kind of feel like I’ve gone full circle, toeing up to the line as a marathoner.

I’m also really looking forward to the fact that Kara Goucher & Shalane Flanagan are going to be running.  Talk about star struck.  These two women are absolutely inspiring and I hope to at least catch a glimpse of them sometime this weekend.

Question: Have you ever been apathetic towards an event? What did you do to pull yourself out of it?

The Color Run Recap

Did y’all have a great weekend? I was so sad to see it end.  Any weekend that’s filled with extra days off, food, family & friends, and running is alright in my opinion!  Friday I went to the gym (which was  ghost town thanks to everyone shopping) and got in 4 miles of Yassos at a 7:45 pace, 5 miles cycling to work the kinks out of my legs after the Yassos, and then I hit the upper body weight machines.  My arms and legs were spongy like jello.

Saturday, I met my running girls and we knocked out 10 miles.  Our training plan called for 9 but we have a 1/2 marathon in two weeks and I wanted to get at least one double digit run in.  Adding an extra mile may not have been the best idea.  I was having some knee pain pretty early into the run and then by the time we finished the 10 miles my foot was on fire.  For the remainder of the day I had a shooting pain in my foot any time I put pressure on it.  I’m hoping it’s not a precursor of things to come.

Ignore my jacked up toes…Have any of you had pain where I’m pointing?

Last weekend I had the pleasure of running The Color Run in New Orleans.  I registered for this ‘run’ (there really wasn’t much running going on) back in February and had been anxiously patiently biding my time for it to happen.  And happen, it did!  With this being such a fun run, I really wanted to embrace the spirit so I tutu’d it up with along with some funky glasses and one fishnet glove; my inner 80s diva had arrived.

To make it even better, Larissa from Zero to Twenty Six Point Two contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in running for Swiftwick socks.  Um, that decision took all of 3.5 seconds to make.  I have a pair of Swiftwick Vibe Ones that I use for running so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on their Performance 12s (compression socks) and tech shirt.  I loved the compression socks and the shirt was seriously buttery soft.  The Swiftwick gear was the perfect compliment to my outrageous outfit.

I ❤ tutus…..and Swiftwick….and paint!!

Before the run we (my two running girls and I) met up with Larissa to get some pictures for Swiftwick.  Mindy from Road Runner Girl was there; it’s so nice meeting other bloggers IRL!

Swiftwick girls. HOLLA!!!

After the pictures, we went ahead and got in line for the run to start.  In order to avoid congestion in the paint areas, they let the runners go in different waves.  I was in the 3rd wave and it took about 20 minutes before we crossed the starting line.

My running girls {before}

My favorite picture!
I have no idea who this guy is but he was awesome!

Only in NOLA would this not seem strange.

Waiting to start. Soooooo many people!

Finally, we were off to Oompa Loompa town! I had fully intended on running this event but it was so congested that I was only able to run it for a little bit before slowing to a jog and then finally to a walk.  But it was totally fine.  It was so much fun seeing people of all ages, shapes and sizes coming together to get their paint on!  One of the reasons I love events like this is because it’s a catalyst for many people to start their fitness journey.

There were 4 different color stations: orange, blue, yellow, pink and then one big finisher paint party at the end.  There was even a couple that got married on stage before the run and then went through The Color Run in their wedding attire.  So cute!

My color progression.

BLUE! My favorite color!!

After making our way through the 3.1 miles of color explosions, we crossed the finish line and followed the sound of LMFAO to the finisher’s party and joined the shindig.

After!!!

cheeeeeeeze

My fantastic package of biodegradable paint.
Is it just me or do I have a slight hint of smurf showing through?

Totally awesome finisher’s paint fest! I have a video on Youtube if you want to see it live.

I think my Swiftwick socks look even better with a bit of color, don’t you?

Question:  Have you ever done a fun run like this? I’ve heard of Ugly Sweater runs, Underwear Dashes, and Glow Runs. They all sound fun to me!