“When it rains it pours…but soon, the sun shines again”
Wow, unsure where to begin on this one, it’s not a good report that’s for sure so if you’re looking for something that’s going to give you some motivation – I’d search elsewhere. This was one of those trips where what could go wrong, will go wrong.
Leading up to the race, I had been running faster than ever since I started the triathlon journey. I knew I was fit, had been taking care of the small things and I was getting ready to run fast. Life is stressful, but that’s always. Some big changes! I guess first and foremost – We’re ENGAGED! So that’s really exciting. Work life has shifted again but so it goes – it’s all for the best – so sorry there hasn’t been too many updates on the blog.
We’ll fast forward to race week and start with even getting out of town. If you haven’t heard the NE has been getting hammered with some crazy weather, including a giant snow storm and then 70s the next day (happened again last night, I’m typing this from my apt which has no power). This weekend was like no other, there was another storm with hurricane force winds that were expected to wreak havoc. This trip was supposed to be a girl’s weekend, fortunately one had to work (lawyer) and the other two were snowed in. So even if I DID get out, I was going to be solo in NO. Well, I went to work like usual – although I did call southwest before 6AM to see if they knew anything and asked if they had suggestions. At work I just kept monitoring, my mood went from assuming I wouldn’t get out, to getting mad that I wasn’t going to get out, and, as I had just dealt with some kick a** workouts, I really wanted to get out and give it a go.
Well, wouldn’t you believe, I got out of work, and flight was still on. D took me to the airport, I was as anxious as ever, because I still wasn’t sure. Wouldn’t you know that my southwest flight was going to take off.. We boarded and I let everyone know. Our Pilot came out and gave us some funny jokes and told us he was going to get us to Nashville. Needless to say, the flight wasn’t bad, in fact it was probably one of the best flights I have ever been on.
In Nashville, I arrive to CNN showing the coast of MA and how hard it was getting hit. It made me really sad, but I took it as a good omen that I had been able to get out. The next flight was smooth sailing and I landed in Nola without an issue. This is where I wondered about that good omen…
I picked up the rental car around 9:30PM, then struggled to find parking that wasn’t an insane amount but just prayed nothing would happen to it and dealt with the $$. I started walking to the Airbnb, which was only two blocks away. In those two blocks, I could smell beer already and there was a wonderful gentleman who was peeing on the sidewalk 3 ft from me as I walked by. HOLY CRAP I thought.
The Airbnb was in a building with a locked entrance and the security guard was kind enough to help me get into the apt. Once in the apt, I unpacked and tried to get my anxious self to bed. As I crawled into bed, I was surprised the bed was still standing. Every time I moved, the bed shook and felt like it would fall apart. As a laid there, I had the soothing sounds of police sirens and ambulances to help me fall asleep. After an hour, I switched to a sturdier bed and was finally able to fall asleep.
After a solid 6 hours of sleep . . . I started to move, check email, check in with family & friends, and prayed that maybe I’d have some silent quiet miles to myself this AM. With one look out the window, I not only saw a second man peeing against a building in the dawn of the AM but realized I would be taking my phone with me, just in case. On my shakeout I felt pretty good, looser than expected which was nice. I ran in the French quarter, near Louie Armstrong park and was able to take some of the architecture in, with a side of stale beer and urine, sweet.
Once back, I showered, had a nice breakfast at IHOP, ran some errands and then headed to the expo. The expo was relatively easy to get to ($$$$ for parking was crazy) and you had to walk a mile to the room where the expo was but it wasn’t terrible. Post expo, I hit up whole foods for some staples and headed back to get off my feet. As I snuggled in bed to continue my binge of Parks & Rec, I noticed an awesome stain in the bed I SLEPT IN. I was giving my gf a play by play of my experiences and we quickly tried to convince me that it was BLEACH, bleach I said.. but I highly doubted it.
Later, I met up for a coffee with my friend, Stevie, and her friend from DC. I was so excited to learn earlier in the week that Stevie would be in NOLA. At least I would know someone, and someone who gets me haha. Besides getting home, this would be the highlight of the trip ha. After, I headed back, packed up and hit the hay (yes in the same bed BECAUSE IT’S BLEACH) where I slept solid.
Race AM: I woke up, ate breakfast and laid back in bed binge watching a few episodes of P & R. At 6:50, I headed to the car, dropped off my bags and ran a half mile to the start line. I was really excited to start the race, I was still riding the high of getting to Nola and ready to put my fitness to the test. As I stood in my coral, all I could see was half marathoners. I didn’t realize that both the half marathon and the marathon had the same coral assignments. That was kind of weird to me, and if I’m being honest – I didn’t really like it.
It wasn’t too long before we were off. The first mile went pretty fast, as did mile 2. I settled into a nice rhythm for my legs and my HR. I kept reminding myself I was running 26.2 miles. I tried to get some water in at the first aid station – knowing it would be hot and sunny and that Gatorade was another 2 miles up the road. I reminded myself to run the tangents and to just stay relaxed. The first turn around came relatively fast and I was still feeling good. As the race progressed my main focus was to keep getting as much fluid down as possible – which is tricky with water every 2 miles and Gatorade every 4. Up to mile 10, the race went along, just getting to the next mile. Around 10 is when we turned to the straightway for the half marathon finishers and all I could think about was the sun and how there was no wind, it was hot. At mile 12, we split off from the half marathoners into a head wind for the next 6 miles. It was lonely.
At mile 14, I headed into the john for a quick bathroom break, and then at mile 15, my legs started aching. I was trying to stay positive but at mile 16 I knew I was in trouble. I tried to keep moving, which was equally hard as now there were some hills on the course, there was no shade and not too many runners around. Everyone was doing their own thing, in their own battle.
At mile 17, I stopped at the medic as I was chilled, nauseous and knew that the fluid was just sitting in my gut. I asked them for anything to help and received some super concentrated Gatorade. It was supposed to help me vomit, but it didn’t. At that point, I kept going until the turn around at mile 18. At mile 19 I ran back by the medic and decided this was probably the best way to get back to the finish. Also, there were NO bands out here. It was just speakers and music.
When I hit mile 20, I started begging the opposite aid station for Gatorade to try to clear the fluid from my gut and was cursing myself for not bringing salt. Mile 21 started the walk, jog, which continued until the finish of the race. I stopped at another medic tent at mile 23 and asked for more Gatorade but they didn’t have any, so I continued on my way.
During this shuffle, I thought about my girlfriends, this was supposed to be a fun girls weekend away, but one had work obligations and the other two got snowed in and I was the only one who made it. They’re the big reason I finished. I didn’t go to run another subpar marathon and I’m really disappointed that I botched another opportunity, but so it goes.
I’m really thankful Stevie was there, with her and her friends cheering along as I finished then sat by me as I continued to chug Gatorade, chocolate milk, water and then found me a coke. I’m forever grateful for our trip to Louisville and you staying with the rest of us crazies despite not knowing us!
Not too long after finishing did I have to scoot out and make it back to the start. I chatted with a lovely woman on the shuttle who was doing a race in all 50 states. She ran a 50k trail ultra the day before and said she had a great day in NOLA. I was super impressed.
Once back the real issues happened, I rushed to the rental car, dropped it off, ran through the airport, in all my race gear, straight to the bathroom to try to change and clean up, grabbed a beer, and boarded the plane home. Only the engine started smoking on the plane while we were taxing, thus, we pulled back to the gate. 90 minutes later, after some drama with the police being called (NO, not me), we were boarding the plane to INDY where I was praying for something on my side. Landed in Indy, missed the connection to Boston by 50 minutes, begged southwest to let me fly to Newark where I then rented a car and DROVE home. Arrived at 1:30AM, slept for 5 hours and off to work I went. Needless to say, this was quite an adventure and I have no desire to go back to NOLA. NOLA got the best of this girl, without heading to bourbon st.