In honor of Fat Tuesday, I am going to flashback to my first half marathon: the Rock ‘n Roll Mardi Gras Half in New Orleans. I ran the 2011 race and it was quite the experience!
I signed up for my first half about 3 weeks after I started running. I chose someplace nice and warm, as well as someplace I had wanted to visit since it was going to be a runcation. I probably and no business signing up so for a race that was just five months away, but I wanted the experience. I barely trained for it, (night shift and this early bird didn’t get along so well), I think my longest run was about eight miles, but there was nothing like the excitement of a big race.
I went to New Orleans by myself for a long weekend. I’m not a big drinker so I had no interest in the night life, but I was interested in the history, the architecture, and just being in someplace that is unlike anyplace I’d ever been. I took a shuttle to and from the airport, so I got around the French Quarter by foot, which is easy to do. I woke up early to go walking before the crowds came out so I could sneak some good pictures of the buildings.
Race day came, and I was so excited I ended up at the start line about 2 hours before the race started. I sat and listened to my music and calmed my nerves. I must say, given the chance to do it all over again, I think I would’ve run my first big race with an organization like Team In Training, just to have some support. I was all alone, and while normally I’m okay with that, I would’ve loved someone waiting for me at the finish line. Anyway, I got over that as soon as I started running and got into a groove.
When I ran, the race course was very flat and not very scenic, it’s a good course to PR on. Sure we ran by the French Quarter but nothing really stood out to me, but that could be because I was focused on running and not stopping, then the awful IT band pain around mile 10.
I ran my longest distance without stopping, 10 miles. I was so proud of myself ! I hobbled, run, walked my way through the last few miles and became a half-marathoner. I didn’t care how much my knee hurt, I was too excited!
I finished in 2 hours, 32 minutes, 44 seconds, just shy of my 2 hours, 30 minutes goal. I was disappointed, yes, but I finished and now had a goal to work toward (I went onto run 3 more half marathons that year, and met my goal of sub-2:30 at the Rock n Roll Philly and in Hershey).
I could eat these for breakfast every weekend
enjoyed all of the performers on the street corners….so talented and fun to watch!
After the race I headed back to my hotel, took an ice bath, then hobbled around the city to do more sight seeing…and chowed down on beignets (for the second time during that vacation). Not a very eventful first half marathon, but I will always remember it and how far I’ve come since!
me and my pretty medal and shirt
I definitely want to go back and run this race and explore the city more, hopefully sometime in the next few years!