February is my most favorite month to travel for races … Ohio weather is unpredictable at best and it’s the perfect time to escape to warmer climates. My sister lives in New Orleans, which seemed like a great reason to take a long weekend trip for another half marathon! A flat course, and getting to hang out with my sister for a few days??? I’ll call that a win! So, here’s race recap #12 … I’m certain I’ll get sick of writing these before I hit 30.
Allegiant has a direct flight from Cincinnati to New Orleans on Thursday evening – so my friend Kelsey and I booked a cheap flight down. And let me tell you – I will never choose a cheap flight on a budget airline ever again. Our 6:30 flight was delayed for the first time around 10am. We got to the airport on time, just in case. But 5 minutes before our newly scheduled departure time of 7:06, we still had no plane, no gate agent, and no word on how much longer our flight was going to actually be. Finally, we boarded a little after 8, and arrived in NOLA two hours late.
Thinking back to Friday – the only thing I really remember was eating. We went to District Donuts for breakfast to begin our carboload (4 donuts between 3 people). Seriously the best donuts ever. We went to Rum House in the Garden District for lunch and more carbs. I indulged in a few margaritas because, why not?! It’s vacation! Jen dropped Kelsey and I off at the expo and we wandered around for an hour or two. I may or may not have fallen in love with an electric foam roller. We walked back to my sister’s place and then relaxed until going to Dat Dog for dinner! I had an alligator hot dog and OH MY GAWD – so good.
Saturday was mostly spent relaxing around my sister’s place. We went to a crepes place for lunch over by Tulane & Loyola, and then I went back to the expo to buy that electric foam roller (they were sold out, but it’s being shipped to my house!). When we got back from the expo (round 2), we took my sister’s dog on a walk to a little park. Dinner was pasta and chicken followed by a popsicle. We were all in bed really early, even though my alarm was set for 5:50 – which seems relatively late for a race day.
I felt great on race morning, albeit a little nervous. But I was super hydrated, and excited to get going! Jen dropped us off near the start line and I left Kelsey in her corral and headed a little farther back. I met a nice girl and chatted with her while waiting for the race to start. I followed her pace for the first 3 miles or so, then lost her when I had to make a potty stop. My first three miles were really fast, but felt really good. I thought for sure I was heading for a big PR.
But then I hit mile 4. I started feeling a blister on my toes. It’s important to note that I purchased my shoes exactly one week before the race. Definitely not advisable to run on barely broken in shoes. I stopped at a medical station around mile 5 and put some more vaseline on my toes and armpits. My sister and her boyfriend live a few blocks off the course, so they walked Hannie up around mile 8. She even made me a cute sign, too!
(If you don’t already, you should follow Hannie on instagram)
I had a solo cup of champagne around mile 9.5 while running through the French Quarter. And I found probably my favorite race sign ever (except for the kayne one from the Enchanted 10k last year)
I was fading quickly in the last 3.1 miles. My feet hurt, but I wanted to be finished SO SO badly. I pushed the last mile super hard and around 12.8, I couldn’t breathe. I crossed the finish line mid-asthma attack with tears streaming out of my eyeballs – because not being able to breathe is scary (my official finish line pictures are truly dreadful). I met up with Kelsey right before my phone died and we had our one free can of beer and a few of the unlimited draft beers before Jen picked us up.
We went back to Jen’s to pick up Eric before heading to Bourbon Street for some celebratory hurricanes and Fat Tuesday Slushies! P.S. How cool is that medal?! I love the beads instead of a ribbon!
We got some pizza and ice cream before heading to the airport to head home. I’d love to run this race again next year, but with my full marathon being a few weeks before, I may have to sit it out. It was a really fun, high energy race, and my sister and her boyfriend (and hannie) were such gracious hosts!
I felt great about my race. Twelve half marathons in three years is no easy feat. And I truly believe that no time is a “bad” time. Finishing a half marathon in under two hours is impressive, yes. But finishing a half marathon is impressive, if it takes you 2 hours and 51 minutes or even longer. I ran into a woman at the airport in the bathroom who, upon hearing my time, told me “OH, I’m so sorry! What happened?” What happened is I worked my ass off and I ran 13 miles. I’m not going to blame my time on the fact that I’m “slow” or my shoes or the course or anything else, because I’m proud as shit of my time. I earned that medal just as much as everyone else that crossed that finish line.
Oh, and I had the pleasure of sitting next to that woman on the plane on the way home. Thanks for that, Jesus.
12 “slow” races down, 18 probably “faster” (but maybe not) races left! Next up is Star Wars Half Marathon in Orlando in April! :)