This past weekend I headed over 2 1/2 hours west for my ninth (!!!) half marathon and the race that really started it all, the Rock n’ Roll New Orleans half. We pulled into town and went straight to the expo, which was a madhouse. I still managed to convince Mark to sign up for the race for 2017 because it was discounted and you got a cute shirt.
The race didn’t start until 7:30 this year, and I snagged us a hotel just a couple of blocks from the start line, so we didn’t have to get out of bed too early.
I wore my Half Fanatic tank for the first time ever because the weather was finally cool enough.
We headed down to the start line about 7:15, unfortunately missing the Half Fanatics group photo.
We were in corral 21 of 26, so we knew we knew we’d have a little wait, but our corral didn’t get to the start line until after 8:30! Standing around for so long really got my back to start complaining.
I mentioned my goals for this race in my last post, and I wrote a couple of words on my hand to remind me what today was about.
I’d been warned going in that St. Charles Avenue is pretty rough with lots of potholes, but I wasn’t quite prepared for just how bad it was. Between the rough asphalt and the potholes and unevenness, I couldn’t really get into a rhythm. At the same time, I forgot to take a salt tab at the start, then neglected to take any after mile 2, and my gut let me know it. I kept looking at my hand, but I felt neither strong nor like it was fun.
On the upside, I ran very well up until around mile 10. I had one of my fastest 10 miles in a race and, although I was going to miss 3:10, I had a PR well in hand. Until mile 10. Just like at Space Coast, my back started to spasm but this time I had the joy of nausea to go along with it. I resorted to walking, and not very fast. It took me an entire hour to walk the last 5K. I took some Tylenol at a medical tent and it didn’t touch the pain. I honestly didn’t think I could walk the last half mile. It was not the way I wanted my day to go.
Just like with Space Coast, I didn’t really want to wear the medal and I didn’t take any post-race photos. I know technically I earned it, and I did my best, but I’m extremely disappointed.
In the end, most of the race was a good effort and it wasn’t my slowest half ever. I did celebrate like I’d just run a half, though.
Finish Time: 3:30:15
Overall: 10752 / 11553 <— there were over 20,000 participants, so I don’t know what RnR is trying to pull here!
AG: 1182 / 1321
Female: 7130 / 7806
I did learn some very important lessons for next year:
- Get my butt in gear with core work! Running the streets of New Orleans is like what I’d imagine a trail race to be like. I don’t really have any trails around here, so I need to work those stabilizing muscles in other ways.
- Fully execute my nutrition plan. I was great with taking fuel, but not so good about my electrolytes. I let myself get in a pretty bad way after the race. There is no excuse for this.
- Wear newer, firmer shoes. I wore my favorite Glycerins with close to 200 miles on them. Great for most races, but the near-gravel pavement wore right through them. My feet hurt so bad!
- Sleep in. Standing and waiting an hour to start put my back in a bad place from the start. Not necessary. Wait and join the corral a little later.
- Remember to actually wear the sunscreen I brought! I brought it. I unpacked it. Mark and I talked about it. But I totally forgot to put it on, and boy did I get burnt.
- Trust your pacer when he tells you you’re where you want to be, even if you feel slow and are convinced you are tanking. Eventually I did tank, but not because of the pace, and I had it completely within me to hit my goals if my back had held up.