Monday, March 12, 2012

New Orleans Rock N Roll Half Marathon Recap

I don't know what has been my problem, but it has been so hard to get motivated to write this post. First, I was all whiney: "Boo hoo, I didn't meet my goal time." Then I was in denial: "If I don't write the recap, then it didn't happen." And then I just got busy: "I have no time for blogging! I've got to spend every waking hour training for the next one!"

But I forced myself to do it tonight. Let the story begin... 

On Saturday, Josh, my mom, stepdad, and I woke up bright and early to travel the 6.5 hours to New Orleans (yes, that is a really fast time from Little Rock...but that is because my stepdad can't go under 90 miles per hour). We made it to the Expo in plenty of time to spare before it closed; Josh bought himself a Spibelt and I got a cute new running headband. Priorities people.
Josh and I at the NOLA RNR Expo
My mom is amazing, but a good photo taker she is not.
Love ya mom!

We then made our way to our cute hotel. Seriously, I am love with the New Orleans architecture! We stayed at the Frenchman Hotel, which was a short walk from the French Quarter and our starting line. 

We ended the night walking around and eating our way through New Orleans- when we weren't running, this was basically what we did the entire 3 days. Fabulous!
Sunday Josh and I woke up bright and early, and dragged our support crew along with us.
Mom and me at the start line. 
Oh yes, those are my ROCKING new arm warmers.

Josh and I quickly split from my mom and step-dad to hit the port-a-potties then find our corral. I was really excited to be with Josh during his first big race. (Because lets be honest, he doesn't even count his first attempt at 13.1 miles). I hadn't given much thought to my own personal goals for this race. Setting a personal record has always been my goal at any race, but at the last minute I decided I not only wanted to run negative splits but also finish by 2:15. 
Once the gun went off, it took us over 30 minutes to reach the start.
Over 20,000 runners! 
I knew the first few miles were an out-and-back, but I didn't realize it was 7.5- mentally exhausting! But luckily, it was along the beautiful street of St. Charles Ave which is lined with trolly cars and beautiful, historic homes.

The scenery made the 7.5 miles totally worth it. A little before the 7 mile mark, I began playing some pretty serious mind games. I kept trying to calculate the pace I needed to keep if I wanted to reach the finish by 2:15. I found myself re-playing the 10K from the previous weekend and knew I could push myself further than I thought. But the moment I started to think confidently, I began to sabotage myself.

The mental games kinda went like this: "Alex, you can totally do this! You've got over 6 miles. Ha! You think you can keep that pace all by yourself!? Your legs are already shot and there really is no way you can do it."

Here I am, trying to be all confident because my arm warmers are awesome. Seriously. Arm warmers are awesome. Saucony, I expect to hear from you soon. Yes I am willing to be a sponsor.
Can you find Josh?

See, I'm so fast in my arm-warmers my mom couldn't even catch a photo of me. Vroom!
So, if mind-games were bad at 6.5 miles, then they were purely demonic at mile 10. The mental bashing went something like this: "Why the heck are you even doing this race?! You don't deserve these awesome arm warmers. You already backed out of the full marathon because you're such a loser! You are so dumb!"

Now if that doesn't knock you down, I don't know what will. At the pace I was going, I needed to keep a 10:00 pace for the next 3.1 miles to make it to the finish in 2:15. I told myself I couldn't do it. I convinced myself I couldn't do it. And I didn't do it.

Mile 1-10:31
Mile 2-10:28
Mile 3-10:29
Mile 4-10:34
Mile 5-10:35
Mile 6-10:37 <--The mind games are working
Mile 7-10:26
Mile 8-10:09
Mile 9-10:28
Mile 10-10:10
Mile 11-10:03 <--"See Alex, you can't do it." 
Mile 12-10:35<-- Officially gave up.
Mile 13-10:19
Total-13.21, average pace- 10:23

A new personal record, but 70 seconds short of my true goal. Curse!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I sort of had some negative splits, but should I have kicked it up a little more toward the beginning? I definitely shouldn't have walked those few water stops....and the mind game continues.

But despite my blah performance, this seriously was one of the best races I've ever ran. The weather was amazing, the course was perfect, and support was wonderful. I want to run New Orleans again, and again, and again. 
And the fact that Josh had a successful race made it that much better! He rocked it! So proud of him.
While I didn't reach my ultimate goal, I sucked it up because this race was amazing!! The race itself couldn't have been more perfect, I set an new PR, and my hubby dominated. 

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