On February 13, 2011, I joined about 17,000 other people at the start line for the 2011 Rock 'n Roll Mardi Gras Marathon in New Orleans, LA. The race started at 7:00 AM.
Here's a picture of me waiting for my group to reach the start line. We actually started the race around 7:30 AM.
Here I am crossing the finish line. Don't pay attention to the time...my finishing time was 5:14:56!! Yay!!
Overall, it was a great run. I was doing really good up until mile 20. Prior to running the marathon, the longest run I had finished was 18 miles. I was supposed to do 20 miles two weeks before the marathon, but that's when I got that terrible stomach bug and I was totally dehydrated and in no condition to run.
The course took us through some of the most beautiful parts of New Orleans. We started at the Convention Center, ran through uptown, Audobon Park, the French Quarter (right in front of Cafe du Monde...so tempting), City Park, and along the side of Lake Ponchartrain and back to City Park.
I was keeping up with my split time on my watch, and about 16 minutes into mile 15, I realized I totally missed the mile 15 marker. Yep, the run was that good. I wasn't paying any attention to the mile markers. Fear not, I saw 16, so I wasn't quite at the delirious stage.
When I saw the family at mile 18, I was feeling great. I was running right on pace to finish in under 5 hours. I kissed my boys at mile 18 and headed out to the most difficult part of the race course: the long run to Lake Pontchartrain. The road that took us to the lake was long and straight and in full sun. By mile 20, I was feeling every one of the prior 20 miles. I was still running though. I don't remember much from miles 21-25 except bordom and pain. I was so tired and hungry. I took 2 gu's during those 4 miles. Probably not the best idea, but I needed something to get me through. Once I saw the finish line, I took off. I felt nothing. At the finish line, I hugged Jace and Cohen and cried. I still can't believe I actually did it!
Prior to the race, I signed up for runner tracking, so Jace could keep up with me during the race. They sent him a text message at certain points along the run. Below is a chart of the info he received.
Cohen was such a great spectator all day. At the end of the race, he even helped me with my stretches. He's my favorite training partner (sorry Jace...I'd pick you, but you never want to run at my pace, and he always goes at my pace).
A special thanks to Jace, my wonderful husband. Without all your support and encouragement through months of training, I never would have made it! Thank you for constantly pushing me to do more. You are the reason I knew I could do this. Thank you so much for running all over town so that you could be at mile 1, 2, 4, 11, 18, 25 and 26.2! Thanks for being there at the end to tell me how proud you are of me.
To my Cohen: You endured bear snacks, gummy snacks, bananas, poptarts, bagels, chocolates, raisins, the bitter cold, blistering heat, rain and Mommy's loud girl music for miles and miles in the stroller so that I could run. One day, I hope to repay you for your patience and enouragement.
And now to all my friends and family who were there for me during the months of training offering support, free babysitting, or just waving at me during those long runs. To Mrs. Jan, Mr. Jerry, Mitzi, Tricia, Adam, Damon, Scarlett, Stella, and Cille for coming to support me the day of the marathon (I understand that you were not all there for just me...Scarlett and Tricia did run 13.1 that day, and that's a HUGE accomplishment! I'm so proud of both of them!!) It meant a lot to me to have you there, and it allowed Jace to see me at all those miles listed above.
Now I have a question for you....will you join me next time?