At long last the day arrived and Mom and Pop took me to the airport. I had a quick layover in Atlanta, where I'd meet up with Kris & Ed and then we'd head off to New Orleans. My first flight went good. And then when we arrived, they shuffled, and shuffled, and shuffled the gate, and made us really late. Atlanta is a HUGE airport and I RAN (after taking the shuttle to the correct concourse) to catch my next flight. I literally ran to my gate, but I made it. I think I was the second to last person on the flight.
We finally landed in New Orleans, and I waited for Kris and Eddie to get off the plane, where we hugged, and set off for a great weekend in the Big Easy.
Since we got to New Orleans on Saturday morning, and dropped our bags at our hotel and headed to the expo. We were able to walk there, which was great. We were hungry, but wanted to grab our bibs first. We got our bibs and some pics. We shopped around a bit, but we were getting hangry, so we headed out and started walking back.
Eddie had a recommendation to go to Mother's and our uber driver from the airport agreed on that too. We stopped at Mother's for lunch. OMG, what deliciousness. Our uber driver recommended the roast beef po' boy. And that's what Kris and I got. Amazing, seriously it's all about the debris. So freaking good.
We headed back to the hotel to get our room and rest a little. We also got our race gear ready.
After some rest, we headed out for an early drink and some dinner. We also found a cute little place for a coffee, before we headed back to get some sleep before the race.
And as always, that race morning wakeup came all too soon. We were all dressed up and headed out to the start. It wasn't too far a walk there from the hotel. And the great thing about race morning, is that the only ones out there are the runners, so just follow them and you'll get there.
I had on a long sleeve top, but had a tank underneath, cause I knew I'd only need the sleeves for a little bit. It was chilly for me.
We waited for what seemed like nothing (and I really mean that, not the loooong wait times like at runDisney), and the corrals started going off. About 30 seconds to 1 minute in between. Loved that! Soon enough corral 17 was off and running.
We ran through the central business district, around the circle and up St. Charles Street with all the big houses. It was so close to Mardi Gras that the houses were all decorated already. The houses were amazing and they really go all out on the decor. By about mile 3, I was hot, so I took of my long sleeves, tied it around my waist and ran in my tank. So much better. I was feeling good and it was a little cool-ish, which made it all the better.
We did a tour of the Catholic schools on the course. First the elementary. Then we passed the high school, which looked like one of those movie schools with a really old building. I half expected to see nuns crossing with rows of uniformed kids behind them. Then we hit the college, Loyola. Just gorgeous. One of those old campuses that looked like it has been there forever, has tons of traditions, and too many secret societies. LOL
Here was the turn around and we headed back up to the St. Charles circle and cut through another part of town. All along the course there were different bands playing which was super cool. Had to get a pic of these guys killing it on the bagpipes.
Now we headed towards Jackson Square. We ran right between the square and the river, and could see St. Louis cathedral. And the super long line at Cafe Du Monde first thing in the morning.
We headed through more of the French Quarter, full of more bands, Mardi Gras decorations, and we were holding a pretty good pace. My hip, which had been acting up since before Christmas was bothering a bit, but doing pretty ok. I always seem to struggle a bit after mile 10, so I thought nothing of it.
We headed out of the French Quarter and headed to the park, and the finish line. Right before we headed in, my IT band was screaming. I guess that's what I get for not taping it. Soon enough we were heading into the park for that last 1.1 mile. I was a little hobbly with my IT band pain, but dammit we were almost done.
As usual, we saw the finish and ran all the way there. But this time it was definitely more of a sprint. And it did its job, cause BOOM, half marathon PR... 2:43:17!
With that we got the bling, some snacks and sat to eat and chill for a sec. Then we headed over to get our beer, saw the headlining band, and headed to the shuttles back to the start.
The shuttles were so well organized. We were on a bus before we knew it. Then back to the hotel for showers, cause damn, that gross stinkiness.... and out to get more food and explore the town.