Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Big Easy Run

I am not a distance runner. 
So it is with some trepidation that I approach running any distance beyond what I can see in front of me - an odd trait for someone supposedly getting into triathlons, I admit.  The simple truth is that I the day I was created, there must have been a slow-twitch shortage.  My 6'3" frame will happily jump six feet in the air over and over, but it tends to rebel when asked to steadily carry itself over many many miles.  These rebelions have historically come in the form of deteriorated knees, feet, etc.

So for my first race of the 2010 season, I had three simple goals:
1) Don't break anything.
2) Beat my time from my fist 1/2 Marathon of 2009 (If I pull off #1 - this should be easy.)
3) Control my pace and more importantly, heart rate.

A quick overview of the race in convenient bullet format:

-The "suggested" parking at the Superdome is ok, but the Wal-Mart on Tchopitoulas is pretty close to the start line too - if you don't think your car will be broken into. (Most thieves are in bed before 5 AM, right?)

-Plan to wait to pee.  Like all big races, the lines for the Port-o-Potties seem longer than the actual race.

-The announcers are hilarious.

-Some of the runners appear to come to the race directly from a night on Bourbon Street.

-Great course! Planned through Jackson Square, Audobon Park, down the St Charles Street Car line and into City Park by the Museum of Art. 

-The only incline was a 3 ft change in elevation to go over a small canal by the park, and people commented as they approached it - ""Uh-oh, a hill!"

-Swag was top notch.  Hi-tech Brooks shirts in a wearable color.  Medals that look like Mardi Gras beads.

My race went pretty well.  I use the term "race" loosely, as I entered the event with little to no competitive aspirations.  The start of the race, a corral-style wave start with 1000 of your closest friends made for slow early miles.  (Especially since they start the full and half marathoners together.)  It didn't start to thin out until almost the 10k mark.  But no worries, the crowds were friendly and happy.  The weather was fantastic - a cloudless 55 degrees.  (This is where I apologize to Heidi, who ran a blazing fast 10 miler in 10 feet of Pittsburgh snow on Staurday - oops.)

As I said, the course was flat and almost entirely on main New Orleans roads.  The volunteers were fantastic, as with almost all races, it seems.  And the bands were a fun addition ever couple of miles. 

I finished a few minutes shy of the two hour mark.  Slow? Yeah.  But good for me. 

13.1 with no IT band problems = victory.

So that meant that I met two of my three goals for the race.  My heart rate maxed out around 180 within minutes of the start, which made me wonder if my HRM was broken, but it proceeded to fluctuate +/- 3 for the rest of the 13 miles. 

Most of all, I had fun.

The post race party looked like a blast, but alas, I had to get back to helicopter camp, so I made an early trip back to the car (Oh, one more tip - if you do park at the Superdome, remember where your spot was.) 

As we made our way from City Park back to downtown, I observed the rest of the people on the bus as they watched the city go by.  The route that the driver took was so appropriate.  The historic landmarks and pretty sites that had lined the course had been replaced by the still-teetering remnants of Katrina ravaged neighborhoods.  Scores of houses abandonded and barely standing.  Profanity spraypainted onto the remaining walls.  For the many runners who came to visit New Orleans the ride back served as a reminder that while the Crescent City might only be the location for the test of their personal endurance, the city itself still has miles to go.    

1 comment:

  1. great post and of course fantastically written :) i'm super proud of you and you should be too! great race babe and congrats on accomplishing 2/3 !


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