Tuesday, November 3, 2015

New Orleans Jazz Half Marathon & 5K Race Report

My first race report... can you believe it?!? When I posted last Wednesday, I wasn't so sure that we were going to go through with the race. After checking the weather Friday morning and seeing that the rain on Saturday was going to hold off until later in the day, we decided to just do it.

On my lunch break from work, I picked up the stroller from my friend and went to the expo to pick up our packets. Once I got our bibs, it finally started to feel real--we were really going to do this!

The race started at 7am, so I set my alarm for 5am in hopes of actually getting out of the house no later than 6:15.

Now, any time I'm not using my Garmin, it's plugged into my computer, charging. When I went to put it on, wouldn't know IT WAS COMPLETELY DEAD. I hadn't gone for a run in a few days, and apparently the power had gone out at some point which shut down the computer, therefore NOT charging my Garmin. I was so mad at myself--I should have checked it the night before to make sure everything was all set! There was literally nothing I could do at that point though, so I made the last minute decision that we'd just run and walk as we felt like it.

So I was trying not to freak out, but I was just a little... was this an omen of how the rest of the morning would go?! Of course the kids weren't so easy to get out of the house, and we finally got on our way at 6:30 (instead of  6:15 like I'd planned). Fortunately, we don't live far so it only took us about 10 minutes to get to our parking place (a garage about 5 blocks from the start line). By the time we parked and got the kids in the stroller, it was 6:45; at this point, I was just focusing on not freaking out and just accepting the situation as it was--out of my control.

Well, while making our way to the start line, we turned right at one point instead of left, and didn't realize we were headed the wrong direction until we'd gone about 3 blocks! It was dark and we were tired, what can I say? At that point, there was no way we were going to get the start by the time the race started, so we just did the best we could. I quickly checked our backpack at the bag check, and we made our way to the actual race. As we crossed the start line, the timer was right around 8 minutes and we were *definitely* at the back of the pack.

It turns out the race had a lot of casual walkers, so we quickly passed a lot of people and groups. Since I didn't have my Garmin, we just ran in intervals as we felt like it. I snapped this picture maybe 5 minutes or so into our race. It actually wasn't so bad being so far back; we didn't have any crowds to fight, and we could easily stop and deal with the kids as needed.

I took this after we'd already passed quite a few people
The first 2 miles passed fairly quickly, and I was feeling good. Marc was struggling a bit though, as he'd been pushing the stroller, so I took over pushing at that point. It was surprisingly easy to push, but after a few minutes I could definitely a difference. My arms were aching! The kids were whining to get out, so we finally gave them our phones and that seemed to placate them.

At this point, I'll mention that it was really really humid that morning; I'm sure that affected how I was feeling too. I mean, my arms and hands were sweating so much that my hands were slipping on the stroller handle! There was supposed to just be 1 water stop on the 5K course, but they ended up having 2 which was extremely awesome! The volunteers along the course were so encouraging--it was great to have them out there.

So we finally turned on the street to the finish line, and we were maybe half a block away--the clock was around 59:40 so we decided to give it all we could to finish in under an hour, and we made it at 59:55! Marc was in a Star Trek shirt, and I was wearing a Star Trek dress (100% cotton, which I thought would be okay because I was anticipating cooler weather... hahahahahaha), and as we approached the finish line the announcer said, "And here comes Captain Picard and... company... just under an hour!" That was fun :)

We grabbed some water, and headed to the grass to sit down for a minute. The after party had free beer, jambalaya, hot dogs, red beans and rice, bananas, and sno-balls. The jambalaya was delicious! About half an hour later, we heard cheers as the first half-marathoner crossed the finish line--that was crazy!

I gotta say, my only complaint about this race was the lack of music on the 5K course; it's advertised as having live music all along the course, but we only passed 1 truck with loudspeakers, playing (awesome) music and you could only hear it when you were within a couple of blocks of the truck. I was expecting more! All in all though, it was a really great time--and lots of people liked our costumes.

My official chip time was 51:45--not bad, all things considered! It was actually better than I'd expected, having to stop so many times to deal with the kids and whatnot--and the course is actually 3.2 miles, so that added like 30 seconds or something too, right? Oh, and we're getting medals! Apparently they misplaced a bunch of the medals, so they're mailing them out tomorrow. It was a super flat course, and a very positive atmosphere. I look forward to next year!

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