Thursday, December 22, 2011
Ole Man River Half Marathon Race Report
As I've said numerous times, I truly do prefer smaller races. This race was just awesome in every way. I'll make the race report short, but the race was big on fun and a good overall race experience.
First, and most importantly, ALL body parts worked! Since Vegas, I had not completed a single run - nope, nada, not a single mile. I was jonesing for a run like a crack addict needing a fix. But I held off because my right hamstring was sending me daily nastigrams that first week after the Las Vegas Rock n Roll half marathon. But more on this later.
Race morning, we had a taxi pick us up at the hotel. The trolley wasn't running at 7am on a Sunday morning - go figure, right?! When we got into the taxi, we ended up having a seriously sketchy experience, but comical in the end. I am so grateful that I have a bright, plan-ahead kind of husband. The cab driver asks us where we want to go. We tell him Tad Gormley Stadium at City Park. He asks US how WE would like to get there. Wtf? He's the cab driver living in New Orleans and he asks two Clevelanders how to get to a park we've never been to. We tell him to go whichever way is fastest. He says, "No, you tell me. I drive where you want me to take you." Dude, we want to go to the f-ing park and we'd like to get there BEFORE the race begins. Greg pulls out his iPhone and google mapped us there. Talk about a little stress. Then he goes all Evangelical on us and talks about religion. I actually pondered jumping out of the car and tried to remember if I'm supposed to land on my arm, tucking in the shoulder and just keep rolling or was there another way to bail! Too damn funny.
We made it with a little time to spare for a quick potty trip. Phew!
The start was outside the stadium and the first three miles was outlined by someone who obviously was a fan of etch-a-sketches. Oddly enough, it was so much fun weaving in and out of the park for the first three miles. We passed the art museum, wove around little ponds, over bridges...just a nice view overall. The spanish moss dripping from the trees really made you feel like you were in the south.
I felt good for the first 5 miles and kept my effort pretty consistent knocking out the miles at 10:44, 10:28, 10:43, 11:03 (water stop walk), 10:45. I continued on clocking in the next 4 miles at 10:49, 10:53, 10:38, and 10:56. I started to get tired as I was heading toward mile 10. I stopped to liberally apply some Biofreeze and, would you believe, my right side was fine - my left side was angry this time. The problem with taking 2 weeks off and no running is that you start to lose a little endurance. I had been running fairly conservatively for the first 9 miles trying to keep the pace even. Mile 10 came in at 11:49 - yikes. I manage to pick it up a bit to 11:03 for mile 11, but mile 12 barked at me and brough 11:46 thanks to run/walk breaks. I scooted in mile 13 at 11:19 and finished overall in 2:24:07 - just 37 seconds slower than Vegas two weeks earlier. My Garmin measured the course at 13.21 miles.
The finish line was on the track/football field of the stadium, which was pretty cool. A kids football game was being played at the same time as the race finish. I have no idea how those kids managed to concentrate on a football game when hundreds of people are dragging in at various times!
Afterwards, we got to hand out around the edge of the field and watch the game while hydrating. Kind of cool, if you ask me.
The weather was great. It was low 50s with sunshine and an occasional wind. Couldn't have asked for better weather - and seriously, how better to spend a weekend in December?!
Greg had an even better story. He was sitting in the stands for the last hour before I finished sitting near some parents watching the game. This larger than life mother stood up and started complaining that she couldn't see her son playing because something was blocking her view. She yelled back to her husband to pull his gun out and take care of the obstacle. Now, don't get me wrong. The park is in a pretty nice neighborhood in New Orleans, yet I'm pretty sure Greg was ready to run far away from those parents after hearing that comment!
We then hopped on to the trolley and rode it the length of Canal Street. Got off, headed straight to Cafe DuMonde and enjoyed ourselves with some amazing beignets and cafe au lait.
And the 40th state was knocked out just like that :)