Friday, March 9, 2012

C'est la vie: RnR New Orleans Recap

The short of it: It didn't go as planned, but 2:29:44 we were it done.

The long of it:

The flight there was easy. In and out of Milwaukee to save some $$. Manageable layover in ATL, which I am happy to say we made (#FTW) and Delta was even sweet enough to upgrade us for our final leg. Weeee. Complimentary cocktail? Yes, please. Anything I want from the snack basket? I should probably take a look. Another cocktail? Don't mind if I do.

And just like that, we were there.

We arrived in the Big Easy around midnight Thursday night, Friday morning (whatever). We checked into our hotel, which was in the hear of the French Quarter just 2 blocks off of Bourbon St. The last time I was down here I stayed near the Riverwalk, which was quieter and cheaper, but not as close to the fun. We were suppose to share the room with a friend of ours...but that fell through (on Friday) and stuck us with a hefty hotel bill. Really nothing we could do at that point. But I digress. After checking into the hotel we decided to stretch our legs on Bourbon Street.
I was mesmerized by the neon.

Are people actually bribed by beads to show their goodies? Does that work?

One of the few places twinkle lights are appropriate year-round.

Friday brought daylight, which meant a short shake-out run and some site-seeing. We headed out for an easy 3-miler around the french quarter around noon. It was a swamp 70-some degrees. To go from running in the dry 40's and 50's to the humid mid-70's was a shocker, not that I'm complaining. Just sweating. A lot. And I was pleasantly surprised by how good I felt despite flying the night before and the humidity. We showered and headed out to check out the French Quarter, find some lunch and pick up our packets.

Local music on Royal Street.

The rest of the gang, that made it to race day, arrived Friday evening. Renee, Maureen, and Kelsey, 3 of the fabulous ladies I met running Ragnar Chicago last summer. A flurry of text messages later, we were all at the same place, at the same time. Dinnah! We enjoyed an assortment of New Orleans classics, including hurricanes, before hitting the street.

Maureen, Kelsey, and Renee

Saturday we slept in before seeking out beignets at the word-famous Cafe Du Monde.

One word: YUM!

After shaking off the powdered shugar we headed back to the expo to take advantage of the registration discounts. Yes, I was seduced by a $15 discount and a t-shirt into registering for not one, but two more Rock n'Roll races: RnR Half Chicago (July) and RnR St. Louis Half (October). Let's not talk about it.

Saturday ended with a small tweet-up of ladies at a downtown restaurant. One of the N'awlins locals organized a little face-to-face time for us to meet and carbo-load. The service was terrible, but the company was good. Unfortunately something I ate did not sit well with me. At all. Wyatt ate the same thing so I don't think it was the food poisoning, but I do know that whatever I ate gave me the worst gut-rut I've had in a looooong time. We walked back from the restaurant and were in bed by 9pm.
The culprit...

Despite being in bad at 9pm, sleep evading me until well after midnight. And then I was up again around 2:30, asleep sometime after 3:30, alarm went off at 5:15. Major sleep fail. I woke up feeling crampy and bloated from the night before, but thought I'd be ok if I ate something.

Breakfast in bed.

After a quick breakfast we were dressed and off to the start line. I had had a bit of a meltdown the night before about what to wear and the weather, but walking the half mile to start was a great warm up and the weather was turning out to be perfect. We navigated the bag-drop, snagged some water and found our coral. About 20-after-7 our wave was finally up and we were off!

The first few miles were crowded, but I was running 10min/miles and feeling pretty good. I couldn't shake the bloated, gut rot, grossness from the night before, but my legs felt ok. We ran the first 5k in 31mins and change and I knew I was on pace for my goal time of 2:15.

Around mile 3 1/2 we decided to stop at the porta-potties. The way my stomach felt it was an inevitable stop as some point so we decided early was as good as ever. We waited in line for what felt like forever, duked into our respective pots and (tried to) take care of business. All in all this detour cost us just over 7 minutes, which I quickly realized I was not going to be able to make up...

After the 7min break we were off and running at a 10min/mile pace again. I was feeling myself become more and more bloated and uncomfortable as I ran, but my legs and cardio felt good so I kept pushing. Around mile 6 or so I untied my pants which were suddenly feeling too tight, despite being a size too big. Another mile of so later I loosened my fuel belt. And by mile 8 I was starting to feel really gross. I drank water when it was available, took in a little gatorade, and took one of my Hammer Gels. Despite my best efforts I knew my pace was slowing dramatically. At that point I knew if we kept the pace in the low to mid 10's we would still come in under 2:20. Around mile 10 I started to realize that the pace had slowed even more and 2:20 was going to be close, but still doable.

And then things got really uncomfortable.

What had been bloated discomfort became searing pains in my lower stomach. Walking didn't help. Stopping didn't help. Nothing seemed to make the stomach pains go away. Ugh. The last few miles were awful. Mentally I was down on myself because I had trained for a much better race. Physically my stomach was protesting and my right foot was starting to get sore. My bad attitude was getting worse by the second and I was ready to be done.
Before, after and the bling.

We finished in 2:29:44 ad were glad to be done. Water, gatorade, a banana, finisher pics and off to the shuttle.

Back to the hotel for showers and naps. A few hours later, feeling marginally better, we headed out to find po'boys and take in a little culture.

Rumored to be the best po'boys in the French Quarter.

Apparently weddings in N'awlins come with a parade!
Definitely one of the highlights if the trip. <3

After an afternoon of walking and taking in the sights we headed back to the hotel to pack and relax before our last dinner in New Orleans.

Farewell cocktails.

All in all, a great time was had in New Orleans. I saw friend, ate some po'boys (yum), drank some huricanes (double yum), ran a little and relaxed a little. The sunshine and weather were perfect and a much needed break from the dreary WI weather. Rumor has it we have to go back next year to vindicate ourselves, but we'll see...

RnR NOLA, The Good:
-Efficient, organized packet pick up (go early!!)
-Organized start and bag drop
-Well planned, fun course
-Plenty of water, etc. spaced out on the course
-Great entertainment
-Perfect weather
-Post-race shuttles were AWESOME!

RnR NOLA, The Bad:
-Corals not well enforced
-Course was incredibly crowded
-Not enough porta-potties on the course
-Bottleneck at the finishline
-Michelobe Ultra, really? Ick.

Overall I would definitely recommend the race and am glad we went. Now if only I could have used all of the pro's the race had to offer to my advantage...

1 comment:

Ara said...

So sorry about your stomach issues during the race. That's gotta make it rough. Considering the stomach issues though, that's an awesome time! I'd really like to try and do this race. It sounds like a ton of fun.