Finally we pulled into our hotel around 2. Stress reducer! We would make it to the Expo before 5pm. A nice bellman informed us no rooms were ready but we could put everything in storage and go out. So we did. He seemed a little confused that our 3 days stay had 8 pieces of luggage including a foam roller. But eh.
We pre-checked in, and then walked over to the Convention Center. On the way over, I kind of looked for restaurants, but it seemed we walked past every chain restaurant that I don't particularly care for and no pizza places. We got to the Expo and looked up our numbers. There were 2 Als and 2 D's. So we just went to the Corral Number Pick up with no one in it. That guy wanted to know where our release forms were. So back to the beginning and we filled those out. Back to the guy. "Why don't you have a number?"
Because I don't know which one it is. "Over there," he said, pointing to a wall. "Over where?" D asked. On another wall was the information booth, so we got in that line. We got our numbers and then got in the correct lines to get the physical numbers. After that, shirts and bag. No one could tell us where to get our parking pass. We went into the RnR section and the was just a Cluster. Still no Parking Pass. A random Security Guy helped us out with that, since no one with RnR knew about it. We left that part of the Expo and got to a new Information Booth, and as we walked up, the Info Lady and Man looked at us, grabbed a book, stepped back and starting gabbing. Both D and I in unison said, "Really?" The other Info Lady helped us to where the Parking Passes were. We stood in that line, when a random volunteer saw I had a receipt, grabbed it and returned with our pass. Score! We looked at the 100 people or so in the line to get wrist bands for beer, said F it and left. Both of us thought the Expo was way too big. And of course we weren't going to buy anything BEFORE finishing a race. I guess we are weird.
After a few tries we found a bar in the Warehouse District, aptly named the District. The bartender was nice, it was empty and they had an Abita Oyster Stout. We had a couple of those. Then he told us where to get pizza. That didn't work out (the place was not open yet), so we found another place using our phones (or maybe a cab). That place was odd. It was takeout, but they had tables. We ate there (Magazine Pizza). The pizza was pretty decent. Then we cabbed it back to the hotel, checked in and got all of our gear. We watched a lot of TV. We discussed how we were getting to the race (parking pass, anyone?) and decided that D would finish the race, take a shuttle back to the hotel and then drive back to the end. So I packed the camera bag with the parking pass, and we went to bed.
For the next 7 hours, both of us just layed there. Went to the bathroom a few times, tossed and turned, but sleep was not to be had. I think we each got about 2 hours. My alarm went off at 5. I got up and figured out what to wear, and peed about 20 times (nervous). I had a Clif Bar. D got up at 530 and we both got ready, packing our food and Camelbak (me) and Fuel Belt (him). His nutrition looks way different than mine.
|D's Nutrition for 26.2 Miles|
|Al's Nutrition for 26.2 Miles|
We got everything packed. I used the bathroom about 80 more times, and finally we were ready.
|Hotel Room Shot|
|Pre-Race Photo by RnR|
We turned and soon were by the Exxon and my watch dinged. I did my 9/1 thing. Most of the people around me had on fluorescent green numbers (half). I tried to look for the purple numbers (full). I think we got to a water/Gatorade stop at Mile 2.5. I was seriously shocked at how poorly run it was. There was no water out. You had to wait as they poured each person a cup. Seriously? I did get one. This was because my friend Elizabeth had told me to take everything they give you. Then I got a Gatorade. I drank everything and then went about my way. (D said they had people handing out water with no waiting issues for him). They had bands playing but I really couldn't hear. A lot of MS and HS cheerleaders were out. That was nice. My distances weren't matching the race distances (I was .1 miles ahead).
Mile 1: 12:04 (SLOW DOWN!!!!)
Mile 2: 13:39
Mile 3: 13:43
5K Total: 42:01
I had 2 Bloks here although I didn't think I needed them. Mile 4 and 5 were a repeat of 2 and 3 but the other way (out and back to Loyola University). The water station at Mile 5 was the same issue. This really surprised me being how big a race series this was. It wasn't worrisome though, because I was drinking from my Camelbak. I hit mile 6. I wondered what my PR was on a 10K. I was pretty sure I wasn't going to hit it. Especially with the .1 mile thing. That kept me busy until Mile 7.
Mile 4: 14:12
Mile 5: 13:58
Mile 6: 14:16
10K Total: 86:25
Mile 7: 14:28
At Mile 7 we finally turned. There was a relay transistion there. I almost went down that chute. I was now running with a fireman in full gear and with an American Flag. Mile 8 seemed to pop up out of nowhere. We ran past the pizza place D and had dinner at the day before. A couple of little turns. They were passing out GU's. I took one of my Hammer Gels here. Since I had never had a GU, I wasn't going to start today. They were also passing out salt packets. I didn't take those either. I wondered what my 15K time was. I think it was about the same that it had been for the Hot Chocolate 15K. Around Mile 9, we ran under a Balloon Man. I was hoping there was no "rain spray" from him. I think I have a sick mind. I mentioned it to D later. He said, "You ran under someone's crotch? Do you mean the Rocking Guy playing guitar?" Yes, that would be him. We were now in the French Quarter. We ran by 2 Brew pubs, and Cafe Du Monde (which is how I knew where we were). At Mile 10 we turned.
|Me in the French Quarter...Photo by RnR people|
Mile 9: 14:33
Mile 10: 14:16
10 Miles Total: 2:21:39
This new road left something to be desired. The pavement/asphalt was uneven, patched and pot-holed. D said later he was not a fan. I was only not a fan because I had to watch for people. A lot of people started speeding up, but a lot were walking. I was a bit jealous that they were almost done. I still felt pretty strong. Here I noticed a lot of sunburned people. I wondered where they got sun from. It wasn't all that hot (65ish) and I had been running under a lot of trees. We got to Mile 12.8 and the Marathon split. Would I make it? The guy told me to go left. He didn't say, "NO MORE!" So I did. I was the only one. Oh my! Another guy came up and I ran with him until the 13.1. We didn't talk, just ran together. Then he pulled away (or I slowed down).
Mile 11: 15:00
Mile 12: 14:32
Mile 13: 14:55
1/2 Marathon Total: 3:07:14
I was very happy with the half-marathon time since none of my runs had produced anything less than 3:25 for 13 miles. So we (I) ran through this little section of park onto a road that headed out to Lake Pontchartrain. It was an out and back section. So I got to see a lot of people try to qualify for Boston. You could tell in a lot of people's faces when I got to Mile 14, that they weren't going to make it. It was kind of sad really. And scary. Some of these people looked like they were going to drop dead. This may be why there seemed to be a lot of medic tents right there. On my side of the road, it was rather boring. Periodically someone would pass me. After about 3:30 a lot of the people on the other side, kept telling me to keep at it. I wondered if I looked liked I was going to die. I had been keeping up with my nutrition, but it really felt that the Bloks (margarita flavor) were getting stuck in my throat. Mile 16 ticked with over 3 hours left and right at a walk break up the first hill of the race (Marconi RD to Lakeshore DR). I freaked out here, because the band was playing Florence+the Machine as was my iPod. Weirdness. I was wondering about D. I assumed we had passed and I had just missed him.
Mile 14: 15:37
Mile 15: 16:14
Mile 16: 16:02
I decided somewhere in this time to go to the 4/1 strategy. As I ran along Lake Pontchartrain, I wondered if not really having good weather when I ran the Smuttynose Half was really all that bad. The water was water. There really wasn't that much interesting going on. I wondered where the turn was. I finally passed D. He was walking. He said he was walking the last 5 miles in. I told him he had 3 hours to walk it. He kind of looked at me, oddly.
|D probably around Mile 17, not Mile 20|
Mile 17: 16:33
Mile 18: 17:15
Mile 19: 16:46
At this point, I wondered about running. I was walking at a good pace. I was chatting and annoying all those around me. I broke away from the Cramping Man, and just kept walking. Another lady caught up to me, and we walked for awhile. Then she broke away on "that" bridge. While on top of that, I came across a couple. The woman was in tears that she wasn't going to make it. I gave her one of my packs of Clif Bars. I kept going. I caught back up to the woman because I started running to test out my foot. She asked me what the point of running at this point was. So I stopped. The SAG Wagon came by the other way. They stopped and gave us water, pretzels and a banana. I passed on the banana, because I was still having issues with the Blok. I ate some pretzels but they were too salty. I just kept on moving, although I really did seem to be dicking around. The lady broke away again. Finally I got back to Marconi. The band seemed really out of tune at this time.
Mile 20: 17:03
20 Miles Total: 5:00:41
Mile 21: 16:17
Mile 22: 16:38
I was so close. Only about 90 minutes more. I was so bored. Whose idea was this? I was right. I was never doing this again. D was probably showered, napped, and dressed. Was I a runner? I walk every 9 minutes. But I am now closing in on 6 hours of exercise. Can the naysayers who have told me my runs don't count because I walk do that? Fuck them.
|Sent to D and Facebook|
Mile 23: 18:40
Mile 24: 18:11
Mile 25: 16:42
At the last water stop, the ladies there were saints. They told the cameramen to start clicking. They hit a car with their fists to say, "We have a runner here." I think if I had asked them, they would have poured the water and Gatorade in my mouth. And they said, "You have 1 mile left." No lying here. I continued this pace strategy I had cleverly devised. I ran over a stream. The camera men played on their phones. That annoyed me. But eh. I was almost there. I started to cry. Back in 3rd grade, my gym teacher (he was a bully) told me I was fat, and I shouldn't even attempt sports, and then would give me F's for not trying. 3rd Grade, and I've been carrying this shit. Where the hell did that come from? I gave him the bird (although he wasn't there to see it). I was not going to cry on the finish line. I turned and seemed to be running to a museum. There was no one around except one girl infront of me. Where was the finish? We ran around the museum and my watch dinged. And I saw the 26 mile sign. And I heard a loud whistle. I know that whistle anywhere. It was D somewhere. The girl had started running as well, so she was far enough infront of me. The announcer called her out and gave her a high-five. She crossed. Another whistle. I had about .1 to go. I wondered if anyone was behind me. The announcer started congratulating me. No way. I was going to do this. No one was going to stop me. He high-fived me. I was going to do it. My brain, my legs. I crossed.
Mile 26: 16:59
Marathon Total Time: 6:47:43 (I was 25 from last).
D's Marathon Total Time (on a bum foot): 4:59:03
The 2 people there, gave me a medal, and stuffed a water in my hand. I wandered around. Where was D? They moved the gate for him to get out and we hugged. Then they hurried us into the photo booth.
|Shirt and Medal|
We stood for about a minute when I looked over and the whole RnR City was had been taken down (including the beer tent). They announced the last shuttles were about to leave. Since D had gotten hurt, he never went and got the car. He just waited for me. He also told the photographers they weren't leaving until I crossed the line. It ticked us both off a bit, as we found out from various people the 7 hour time limit started when the last person from the last corral started. So it was a little insulting to run 26.2 miles, and then have to run across a park to catch a bus. But we did. And the girl that I gave the Shot Bloks to? She finished as well.
The shuttle dropped us off beside our hotel. We went up and layed around for a little while. I was right about the Clif Bloks. I think I coughed up 2 (hard to tell since they were fluorescent green...could have been phlegm). We realized we were ravenous. So we went and had food and beer.
|The first post run beer!|
The next day we did the Bourbon Street thing. We may have gotten a little drunk. I know you all are shocked.
On Tuesday we returned to Atlanta. We had a little shopping to do. Yes, we went and got this before we even went home.