March 4, 2013

Race Recap: NOLA Half Marathon

Last weekend I ran my 2nd half marathon.  I ran the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon in New Orleans.  This was my first destination race & I really liked it!  Jaime & I traveled together & shared a condo in the French Quarter that we found on VRBO.  But we weren't alone.  About 40 East Nasties were also there to run the race.

We got there on Friday & treated ourselves to a drink at The Carousel Bar & a fancy dinner at Herbsaint.  The food was good, but we were a little underwhelmed.

Saturday was a full day.  We started with brunch at the highly recommended The Camellia Grill.  It was so good!  Y'all, that's butter, not OJ!

After brunch, we headed over to the race expo to get our race packets & hear Olympians speak.  Olympians, you say?  Yes, a whole mess of Olympic runners ran the half as a training run.  No pressure!

We spent the rest of Saturday afternoon walking around, shopping & riding the St. Charles Streetcar.

Another New Orleans restaurant that came highly recommend is Mother's.  We ate our pre-race dinner there on Saturday night.  I mean, everyone eats fried chicken & bread pudding the night before running 13.1 miles, right?

Sunday - race day!  We woke up early & made our way to Corral 17.  I thought we would have to wait a lot longer than we did.  We were off & running in about 20 minutes.  The weather was great.  The first 7 miles of the race was an out & back along St. Charles Avenue, which was nice.  I love looking at all those huge old houses.  There were a lot of spectators & live bands set up every mile.  It was a good start.

Around Mile 10, I saw this huge inflated rocker dude that we had to run under.  Obviously, I stopped & snapped a pic.  OBVIOUSLY.  The last miles from Mile 10 to the finish were on horrible roads.  You basically had to run with your head down because of all the potholes & broken pavement.  It was also hell on our feet.  And there were no spectators along this part.  I felt fine, in fact, I felt a lot stronger than I did at the end of my last half marathon.  It was just boring & got a little tedious with the roads.  I kept chanting to Jaime & Lana, "Channel the HAM!"

We finished in City Park, which is a gorgeous park.  I ran the entire race with Jaime & Lana.  Heidi started with us, but left us soon after as she's a little bit faster than we are.  Even though my NOLA finish time is 9 minutes slower than my 1st half marathon, I felt stronger during this run.  Last year, I really struggled to finish, but this year I felt great the entire time.  I'm a slow runner, but I'm a strong runner.  I'll take it!

East Nasty had a designated meeting spot in City Park, so we met up with everyone to celebrate.  In true New Orleans fashion, you get free beer & jambalaya after the race.  It was delicious.

After a nap & a shower, we all met back up at Pat O'Briens to continue the celebration.  One of my best friends from college was also in town for the race & we met up for the first time in 14 years!  We had an obligatory hurricane, then moved along.  It stormed that night in New Orleans & we were without umbrellas, so these ponchos happened.  Ballers!

We eventually ate dinner, then called it a night.  Before our flight the next day, we grabbed brunch at Stanley, which turned out to be my favorite meal of the trip.  I ordered the Eggs Benedict Poor Boy & it was delicious!  And our server was from Nashville!

After one of the worst flights of my life, which you can read about here, we were back home.  But there's no rest for the wicked, as we're registered to run the Oak Barrel Half in Lynchburg on April 6, a mere 4 weeks away.  Stay tuned!

For more details on the race, read my post over on the East Nasty blog.

Full NOLA photostream here.

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