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Friday, March 30, 2012

Foody Friday: First crayfish of the season

Yes, I know. I'm supposed to call them Crawfish. I refuse.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I got my Boston bib number!

It's 5846. That puts me in wave one, corral 6. I don't much care about the number, but I really care about the wave. I have only run early morning marathons, so I didn't want to be in a back wave starting really late. I don't know how that might throw me off!
The race already starts really late - 10:00 am - and I don't need that pushed back any later.
Important card I will promptly lose.
Yep, I updated my qualifying time. I registered with a 3:27, but in my concern for early wave start I sent in the 3:09 I ran in January. 

I'm kidding, of course. Really I care because the bibs are different colors and I want a red bib.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Feeling the burn(out)

I didn't think it would happen to me.
I'm burned out. 
Too much running, too many marathons, too much going on at work.
I started feeling this way right before the Publix marathon. Usually I'm excited to race, even if it's at training pace. This time I felt like, "Ugh, another marathon?!"
Then, the week following the race, I felt slow and sluggish. I took days off, then I felt worse when I got back to running. I was a little sore since I'm not used to hills, but this was more than sore: this was bored.
By now I should feel fresh and fine. Instead I feel tired and slow.
I think part of this funk is that I have had several very busy and stressful weeks at work (something I will post about later) and, well, even though it wasn't my plan to "race" Publix and I could never, ever have run a PR on that course, I feel a little down because I didn't PR. And I came in fourth. I think fourth is the absolute worst place to finish.
Yes, I know I'm being unreasonable.

The problem with being burned out is that Boston is just a few weeks away. If I want it to not suck I have to get in some key speed and confidence-boosting workouts, and I need to get my interest back quick. Any ideas, peeps? 

On another note, some Publix pictures:
This picture gives you an idea of the hills: long and steep. The guy in red behind me was part of the "pack"  I ran with for the majority of the race. The guy in the white shirt led me for the first several miles, but gradually dropped back. I saw him finish 3 or 4 minutes after me. 
Guy in red STILL right by me as we turn to the finish!
And this picture is just because I think my muscles look awesome. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

What exactly does "chip timed" mean?

Because I'm confused.

The Wall 30k was advertised as "chip timed". When I see that, I automatically assume that the time reported will be the chip time, unless specifically stated otherwise (some races will have a caveat that winners will be based on gun time, etc). I really don't care if a race uses chip time or gun time, I just like to know which one. When I saw The Wall was chip timed, I attached my D-tag and lined up in the front-middle of the pack.
Remember that this race is on the levee path, which is narrower than a single road lane. So the start is a little congested. I moved back a tad because I didn't want to hold any 10k-ers back, and I knew it was chip timed, so it didn't matter that it would take me a little while to actually hit the start. Makes sense, right?
Nope. The New Orleans Track Club doesn't use a starting mat for their chipped races, only a finishing mat. So although you wear a chip, it times you from the gun (when the clock starts) until you cross the mat at the finish. That's a gun time. So you wear a chip, but your time is gun time.
FYI this is not actually the end of the world to me; the difference in my "chip" time and "gun" time is about 45 seconds, not a big deal. In other words I'm only talking about this because I need fodder for a blog post. Tee hee. 
Now this sort of thing also occurred at the Jazz Half marathon. This race was also advertised as chip timed, and while your chip time was listed, all results and even your pace were based on gun time! Since in this instance I started way in the back, the pace listed for me was considerably different from my actual pace - a full ten seconds off, in fact.

So. There you have it. My nit-picky chip-timed post.
Would you rather run a chip timed race or gun timed? The New Orleans Track Club only recently started chip timing; I kind of miss the old races in which you were given a tag at the finish and had to submit your own time. The tag was a sticker, and the directors would stick the stickers on a board at the finish so you could see in a glance how you did.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Publix Marathon race recap

This marathon trip was so exhausting and so much fun. So much! We got to stay with good friends and hang out with our godbabies, which was wonderful! But the travel schedule was un-wonderful. We flew out at 6:15 am Saturday; our flight back left at 10:55 pm. And in between those flights I had a 7 am marathon. So basically I got up at 4:30 two days in a row, then of course, headed back into work Monday morning. There was not enough coffee in the whole world.

My friend Rena was running her very first half-marathon that day, which was wonderful. We got to go to the expo together and talk runner stuff, much to the dismay of all friends and family around us. I have to hand it to Publix - sweet little expo. Lots of samples, lots of food tasting from Publix (a grocery store). I actually bought a gaudy headband there, too, since I like trying new things for races (har har, so smart). 
Yes, my mouth is full of granola bar.
It was also great to have a buddy for the race start. We got up pretty early and I did my coffee and granola bar thing (thank you, expo, since I did not plan my breakfast!). I had a couple of snags at the start - there was NO water, which was weird, and I realized too late that corrals A and B were separated from the others and you had to enter a different way. I managed to actually squirm through a barrier just in time for the start gun.

The elevation profile shows right away that this just can't be a fast course. Yes, there are downhills, but there are plenty of steep uphills that can hurt you. The final few miles are a tough, almost unrelenting climb in the shadeless hot sun, and there are several hills over a mile long. 
I struggled to find a pace at first but finally landed at an approximate 3:15 pace (I threw in some fast miles in the least hilly middle section and gave up some time at the ending climb later). The temps were already warm and I was glad that I'd opted to run in a jog bra (The directors did "yellow flag" the race later at 10:15 am). 

I don't remember a lot from the first part of the race, probably because of the relative crowdedness and because I was concentrating on navigating these strange lumps in the ground called hills. I do remember that the race thinned out pretty quickly once the half split off at mile 7. It was shaping up to be the kind of race that makes you think, "Darn, it's hotter and hillier than I thought. Wish I'd saved some energy." Nice, strong-looking people were slowing down pretty early on. I missed the mile 7 GU stop because the volunteers had just handed off their last as I approached, which made me a tad anxious. I'd only brought 2 Gels so I knew I'd need more.

The middle of the race I enjoyed quite a bit: It ran through Decatur, which is more mildly rolling hills than steep ups and downs, and the town had printed signs with funny poems on them along the entire course! It was cracking me up! The signs were about running sometimes, but usually about returning to Decatur to spend money. Too much fun. 
A local runner at the start warned me that mile 17ish was a brutal hill, and he was right - it was long, and late in the race, and I think my slowest mile was there. I snagged two gels once we finally descended again, and noticed a lady in front struggling a little. She was kind of walking to take her GU, so I passed her while she was slowed down. Then I ran into my fans! David and our friend Kika and some cute kids were there to see me! So fun. Much to my surprise David told me I was 5th female; I didn't expect that in a race of this size.
Seeing David at mile 20. This little group sort of formed a "pack" as the race thinned out after the half; we stayed pretty close most of the way but oddly did not talk at all! 
This was at mile 20, and it was already plenty hot and sunny. By 21 or 22, I was facing pretty much an uphill climb to the finish, and no shade at all. I was definitely feeling thirsty! On the climb at mile 23 I passed another women. I actually ran with her a little and tried to get her to keep up but she wasn't having it. The half and full course re-converge near the finish (mile 25 I think?) and that was fun; I cheered some halfers on who looked really ready to call it a day. I was pretty much sick and tired of climbing uphill by the time I finally got to the finish chute; I wrapped that race up in a hurry and immediately drank two bottles of water. And a chocolate milk, since everyone keeps saying you should, and it was incredibly gross. I don't like sweet drinks, I don't like milk, and dairy after a marathon isn't exactly a great idea for the GI system. Yuck (you can see I'm campaigning hard for a spot on the refuel with chocolate milk team here...).

I was a little annoyed when I realized I was 4th and the top 3 females win prize money, but I shrugged it off - the top three all ran faster than my PR and I doubt I would be busting out a 3:04 on this hilly course.   Next year, Publix, next year. 
Rena had finished feeling great and strong! I think I might - just maybe - have a running convert! I assessed my muscle situation and things felt ok: my ankles and quads were mushy, but I was walking. Other than that, I felt good, which is a bonus when you run a race at a training pace. Strangely, a few hours later I suddenly felt dizzy and weak; I had some salt and coffee and got my pressure back up and I was ok.

So, how do I feel about hills now? I am ok with them. I wish I had some here, in fact. They break up the monotony, they use different muscles, and they HAVE to be good for training. I think if I could stay strong on this course, Boston might not eat me for lunch. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

All of my hill training in one day.

Publix Geogia Marathon, 3:14:something, and I got all my hills training for my entire life in on one day. Very efficient of me.

I was running this race as hills training, sort of, although I couldn't really decide what I wanted to do going in. The problem is that the course is 100% hills, not a single flat meter, and I just didn't know how I'd do on hills. I run them so rarely that I just didn't know.

I had considered pacing the race for one of the pace teams - the 3:30 group was short a pacer - but when I offered I was, ahem, decidedly turned down. I got the impression that the pacers are stringently vetted. That meant I had to decide on my own pace. I decided to go for a typical long run pace, so I should be between 3:15 and 3:20. As you can see, I pretty much nailed that pace. That surprised and pleased me. I am so unsure of how to run hills that I thought I'd have a terrible time hitting the pace I was aiming for. It turns out that,while each mile split varied considerably (some of the hills were really long, over a mile), I was able to adjust for those miles at other points in the race. By the time I hit the mile 5, I could guess how to make adjustments, and I purposefully sped up in anticipation of the tough final miles (almost straight uphill for the last 5 or 6 miles). The strategy worked, I hit just where I wanted to be, and I enjoyed a less-agressive race. It was fun to feel ok at the end (although it was very hot) and I actually liked the course, even though I would certainly call it challenging.

I will do a better recap later, but for now I'm just happy to have gotten some hills in and not feel too terrible afterwards.
Huge thanks to Ashley and Vanessa for hooking me up with a free entry! My Boston training wouldn't be complete without it!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

What to do for Publix?

The Publix marathon is this Sunday. It will be very hilly ( =Grace sucks) and apparently very warm.
In fact, the directors sent out a warning, along with this lovely little system:

Course Flag Warning System

Colored flags will be located at each mile marker along the course to advise runners of any weather or course related problems. Please pay close attention to the following flags on race day.
GREEN FLAG: Proceed as normal.

YELLOW FLAG: CAUTION - Slow down, use caution and drink plenty of water.

RED FLAG: EXTREME CAUTION - Slow down, use extreme caution and drink plenty of water due to dangerous weather conditions. Timing of the event has stopped and no awards will be issued.

BLACK FLAG: STOP - Seek shelter immediately in the event of a weather emergency. The race has been cancelled due to exteme conditions or course emergency such as lightning, tornado, or human disaster.
I don't get that. Slow down? SLOW DOWN? It's a race. We aren't doing this for fun. Sheesh.
I have Boston in about a month so this could be good hills practice, but I don't want to totally trash my legs and miss tons of time. So should I:
1. Ignore my good sense and go for the win? (my husband's suggestion...obviously he doesn't know that real live fast people show up and run this race)
2. Run at my regular long run pace and get in a good long run with hills practice?
3. Volunteer at the pacer booth and pace a group significantly slower than my typical race? This would be a nice thing to do while still getting practice in.
WWYD? That is, what would you do?
P.S. I cannot believe I'm doing another 26.2 this weekend. Totally feels like I just ran one.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Marathon recovery week

Turns out that after RnR New Orleans I had more sore ego than sore muscles. In fact, I felt remarkably good last week. I had mild soreness for a few hours Sunday and Monday, and no other aches and pains at all. As you can see, even my toenails are in fantastic shape!
I'm lying, of course. I cleverly painted them with a dark red to mask the two black ones. 
Miles: I ran about 30 miles total last week, mostly very easy moderate length runs.
Time off: I took one day without any exercise and one day of just the gym, no running.
Speed: I did speedwork Monday night after the race Sunday, but it was just 3 sets of 4 loops on the track of alternating 200 m hard, 200 m easy with some rest between.

I felt very fresh all week, and this I credit to a new recovery technique:
I went running Sunday night after the marathon. 
About 6 pm, 8 hours after finishing the race, I ran 3 very easy miles with my husband. I felt very stiff for the first couple of minutes, then I loosened up. By the end of the first mile I felt fine, just a little tired. When I got home, I felt a thousand times better than I had a few hours before, and the next day I caught myself jogging up 6 flights of stairs in the parking garage without even noticing.

So that little trick really worked for me. I will definitely be repeating it when can in the future.
What's your race recovery trick?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Stupid time change

It ruined my weekend. It looks like it's ruining my work week, too.
Haha. I have no shame. I'm really a looker in the morning. By the way, I am wearing clothes, my straps are just under my hair. Promise. 

I don't understand daylight savings time at all. If the farmers really need more daylight to harvest their crops, they should just set their alarms earlier.

Sunday morning I was deathly tired. The night before we had late dinner and drinks with some of my friends who were in town for a conference. We had to wait for them to finish up some evening educational classes first, so we were just getting to The Swizzlestick at 11:00. By the time we had sipped our drinks and said our goodbyes, it was 1 am. Except it was now 2 am. And we had agreed to bring donuts to church, which meant that we had to leave extra early to buy the donuts AND we couldn't be fashionably late like we usually are, because hungry people would be waiting on their donuts.

The only good part about yesterday morning is that while buying donuts I saw these bags of sale bananas - all the loose bananas go in a tote for $1.49. This not only means I'll be making and freezing plenty of banana bread this week; it also means we got to bring a healthier snack option to church. I hate just bringing donut, especially given the high prevalence of diabetes and heart disease in New Orleans.

Now it's off to work in a haze of sleepiness. Unfortunately I have a busy week, too.
What's your view on daylight savings? If I send an obnoxious petition to Congress, will you sign it?

Friday, March 9, 2012

What went wrong? RnR New Orleans 2012 recap

It's hard to recap a race that's simultaneously a PR and your worst race ever.

This was a terrible day to run as the weather was miserable. It was a beautiful day.
I was sick with a sinus infection that I'd had for 6 weeks. I was on the last day of antibiotics and pretty much turned the corner earlier in the week.
The record crowds led to a crazy packed course and we ran out of water at mile 8. The race did start out crowded, but not unbearably so, and the course was well-staffed with fantastic volunteers.
My old knee injury reared its ugly head. Except for lack of training, my body felt fine.
This was my first marathon, and I didn't know what to expect. What is this, number 11 for me?
My Garmin/ipod died; my ponytail came out; I wore the wrong socks; my shoe came untied. Well, my shoe did come untied.

The real story? Pretty simple. I went out too fast, I freaked about the slow Lakefront area late in the race, and I used all my energy up on the first 13. The only thing I can blame is the runner. Moi.

Sunday morning David dropped me at the start area. I started at the very back of a crowded corral one, since two was so jammed I could not even squish in. I did not expect to see so many people up front, but of course most were running the half. This kept the course pretty crowded for at least ten miles. I started with a group of Varsity runners, and I stupidly stayed with them at the beginning. They are all faster than I am, and all but one were running the half. I had no Garmin reception in the crowd, and the fast start threw my pacing.

Mile 1: 6:36. What?! I doubted my Garmin was accurate, since it had been so off at the start, but this still scared me.
Mile 2: 7:00. I knew I should slow down and I dropped behind the Varsity group. It was loud and crowded. I got stuck in a "pack" I couldn't escape from as we headed down St. Charles Ave. I wanted to drop back a little but there were many people behind me.
Miles 3,4,5: 6:57, 6:55, 6:56. Weaving. Maneuvering. Cursing myself every time the mile beeped. I was struggling with my pacing. We turned at mile 4 and I saw David, who took my best race picture ever. I gave him thumbs-down: I already knew I'd botched this race.
Mile 6, 7, 8: 6:57, 6:59, 6:55. Back up St. Charles. Sun was coming out - I was already warming up. Pack thinned a little but I still seemed trapped in a large group. To get out of it I could either speed up or slow down. I should have slowed down!
Mile 9: 7:01, mile 10: 6:53: Through the French Quarter. Feeling fatigued at this point. "Slow down!" I screamed at myself. But I kept thinking, "If I slow down, I'll never make it up later. The Lakefront will be so tough". This was in the back of my mind the whole race. I simply can't trust myself to negative split. I'm always afraid I'll crash no matter what pace I run the first part at, so I start too fast to build a cushion. FYI a cushion has only worked for me once: at the Louisiana Marathon I started fast and hit the wall and still made my time goal. Other than that - never!
Mile 11: 6:58. Onto Esplanade. A little shade. I hoped the halfers would split onto the other half of the divided road here: nope. One of the runners was one of those loud-breathers: grunting puffing, moaning, gagging, spitting, snorting. humphing. I prayed he was a half marathoner: I could NOT shake him from right behind my shoulder and he was driving me berserk.
The guy scratching his head is the loud-breather. If you recognize him,  please tell him to breathe more quietly.
Mile 12: 7:06. As I neared a water table, a man suddenly cut in front and across me, then stopped dead in his tracks. To avoid hitting him I veered right and got body-checked into the Gatorade table. It sloshed all over the place. I said something mean. Oops. Sorry.
Mile 13: 7:05: Finally the half marathoners split off and there was suddenly lots of room. The loud-breather did not. He stuck with me. I hit the half in 130:47. This shook me. My half marathon PR from December is 1:30:26. At this point I knew I was toast. Suddenly I wanted those last 13 miles back. Why was I running under 7's?! I should have been well over that. I was filled with regret and assessed my condition. I was hot, fatigued, and feeling a little low on fuel. My face was crusted with salt. My kidneys felt bruised. I realized I needed to hit the Gatorade and water big time or risk dehydration. I resigned myself to suffer for the second half and miss my goal.
Miles 14, 15, and 16: 7:08 7:07, 7:11. Straight up Marconi Drive, into the wind, full sun. I was hot and tired and I knew all I could look forward to was a long loop on the hot, windy lake. The last half of the course is a "T" up Marconi Drive with a loop on Lakeshore Drive. I was already starting to get into the panic mode that hits in the last miles before you hit the wall. I overtook a woman right before the lake. She was working hard. I didn't even care that I passed her.
My shoe came untied at mile 16 and I had to stop and retie. I was so frustrated that I didn't think to retie the other shoe, too; I felt it get progressively looser all the way until the finish.
Mile 17: 7:09. I turned onto the lake. Headwind. I grabbed some gels at the Gu stop. I started counting ladies at the turn around. I was tenth.
Miles 18, 19, 20: 7:05 7:03 7:09. Nice tailwind - but I knew this meant I'd turn back into the headwind for the last part of the lake loop. I knew this would be extremely hard for me. The sun was strong here, and finally, oh finally, I passed the loud-breather. Now THAT made me happy! I actually passed a good number of men on the lake: maybe ten?
Miles 21 and 22: 7:18 7:27*. Turn around. Back into the headwind. Struggling. I felt my form deteriorating and regretted skipping the gym for a month and a half. My lack of core strength was painfully apparent. I can hardly describe these miles: this wasn't hitting the wall, this was just total exhaustion. I had nothing left. I was ready to quit, but a little part of me knew I was tenth, and I really wanted to be top ten in a hometown race. I forced my legs to move. A friend running her first marathon saw me around this point (she rocked a 3:31!) and told me later that my exhausted appearance actually encouraged her: it reminded her that a marathon is supposed to be hard!
 Miles 23, 24, 25: 7:19, 7:26*, 7:19. My mile splits were depressing me. I couldn't even do the math at this point, but I knew I wouldn't make 3:05. I wanted to give up, but a blue sports bra in front of me seemed to be getting closer. I caught her right at the mile 25 marker. She said something super encouraging, like, "Go for it, girl" and I immediately knew she wasn't actually trying. Turns out she is a professional triathlete for Zoot an this was just a long run for her. Figures!
This picture is funny because you can see David behind me trying to get a picture, too! 
Mile 26.2: 7:25*, 7:00. Nothing left. Just nothing. No burst, no push, no energy. I was not happy to cross the finish. I was just tired. I was mad at myself because I knew I'd messed that up. What if I'd hit the sunny, windy area with lots of energy left? Could I have picked up my pace or at least held on? What if I'd had confidence in my strength late in the race and held back at first? Would I have been faster, or just happier?
Unfortunately, I have to leave that as what-ifs. But I think it's time to try a negative split race. I don't ever want to end a race feeling that disappointed or that tired!
*Looking back, if I had just cut these miles down to 7's, I would have made my goal. Inspiration to hang on at the end of tough races in the future! 
So where am I now? I have Publix marathon in about a week, a race I plan on using as a hilly long run for Boston, and then I have Boston. I have no idea how to run Boston. Any thoughts?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Window treatments

So what the heck do I do with these windows?

These nasty mini blinds have been here since David was in law school and I was underage (don't worry, we weren't dating then). I am over them. But I'm weirdly scared of window treatments. The choices overwhelm me. What should I put here?

And then I'll come back tomorrow and talk about crappy races. I took a rest day yesterday and have nothing else to talk about.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

RnR New Orleans 2012: The good, the bad, and the ugly

The good:
- I PR'd with a 3:06:12
- I was 9th female, breaking the top ten in a largish race (this got me in the paper this morning which pretty much made my life. I live a very unexciting life.)
- I won 2nd in my age group
- Not one single female passed me in the last ten miles, and I passed two

The bad:
- I missed my goal of 3:05
- I felt like death for the last TEN miles
- I squandered my "last good marathon chance" this season

The ugly:
My form. My form is ugly. Seriously what the heck am I doing bending at the waist. I look like I'm about to sit down. I wish this was just an awkward fleeting second caught on camera, but nooo, David took about 10 of these and in all of them I'm totally crunched up. 
- This was my most poorly-run race ever: I don't know what got into me, but I ran it totally wrong. I could have had so much better of a race (maybe not any faster, but at least not utterly miserable) if I had started slower and saved some energy for the windy and boring 8-mile section on the lakefront. This was a big disappointment but I am definitely going to try to learn from it.
Agonizing real recap later.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Blogger humble pie

3:06:12 at RnR New Orleans 2012. I did not make my goal of 3:05. In fact, I ran a very foolish race and paced like a complete moron. I am off to eat a huge slice of humble pie. Actually, I think some real pie sounds pretty good right now.
This is how I felt about this race. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Getting ready for RnR NOLA #3!

Tomorrow is the third time I'll be running Rock n Roll New Orleans, formerly the Mardi Gras Marathon (back before Competitor Group bought the event, the route alternated each year, and at one time it was run across the Causeway bridge: a 26-mile span over Lake Ponchartrain. Talk about a boring course!).
What I'm wearing: You know the old rule about not wearing anything new on race day? I'm breaking that, because Varsity Sports was kind enough to give me a singlet so I can represent during the race. I run with the Varsity track group on Mondays and sometimes join the Saturday long run. I feel like this might have been a bad move on their part. What if I do poorly? What if I finish badly and everyone is like, "Who is that girl in the Varsity singlet WALKING at mile 24?" Also I'm nervous about the racerback because the shoulder area is actually pretty snug, and racerbacks tend to give me a neck ache. I don't even wear racerback sports bras.
Eh, I'll survive, it's only a few hours.

I love Varsity's slogan. Love. 
I'm also wearing some kind of shorts...whatever is clean...and of course, my lucky blue sports bra. I always choose light blue on race morning.
On my feet? Saucony Kinvaras, of course. I love this shoe.
What my goals are: Even though I've been sick and haven't done any specific running to make myself faster, I still hope to PR. A 3:05ish would be really nice but I have to be honest with myself here and say that I think that pace is too much for me right now. I turned the corner on my sinus infection, but I still feel kind of weak, and I certainly feel out of shape, too.
What my plan is: But since I'm bull-headed, I think I will go out at 3:05 pace for a few miles to see how I  feel. If I feel great, I will hang on to that. If I feel tired and winded, I'll slow down and resign myself to a bad race. It's a risky strategy, not very smart, but there is a slim chance that I will wake up brimming with energy and this could work. After all, the weather is still supposed to be high 50's to high 60's - good running weather.
How I'm fueling: Well, tonight I am walking over to Figaro's for pasta and the world's most amazing salad ever (this is not an exaggeration). Tomorrow, I'm bringing 4 gels. Even though there is gel on the course I would rather be prepared; I might miss it, especially if the course is crowded.
Two with caffeine, two without.
What I'm looking forward to: This year I will know many, many runners in the race. I can't wait to see them. I freakin' love seeing people I know on course.
What I'm kind of dreading: The new course has the last 13 miles on a very boring loop on Marconi and Lakeshore Drive. This is a sunny, windy area and is pretty boring (although it;s nice to run by the lake). If you are spectating, please line up on the lake or on Marconi. We runners will need your support!

Are you running this weekend? Tell me about your race! 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Record crowd for RnR NOLA!

In its inaugural year (2010), Rock n Roll New Orleans had 13,000 runners. This year? A record-breaking 22,000. And 7.000 of those runners signed up on a single day, the largest one-day registration Competitor Group has ever experienced. 
That's because RnR offers a $1 discount for every point by which the Saints win, and this year they beat the Colts by a cool 55 points, bringing the cost of the race down to under $40. The discount code is only good the day after the game, so that Monday brought the huge surge of registrations.

So what does that mean for runners?
Well, first of all, I'm not sure that RnR is ready for this kind of crowd. New Orleans isn't really that big, and many of our streets are narrow. Perhaps that's why the course changed this year - it sticks mostly to wide roads. That won't help the finish, though - it's bound to be crowded in City Park.
However, 22,000 is not a huge field. And not all those people will actually make it to the starting line. So I'm not sure it will make it any harder for runners, as long as everyone is properly corralled at the start. The only thing I'm worried about is that the half and full start together and don't split off until...MILE 10. At least I think they do. According to the map, they don't split until mile 13, but I think that the portion on Esplanade Avenue will be split onto either side of the divided street. So I hope.
My advice? Start in the right corral, practice good race etiquette, and watch out for sick runners blowing snot (me!).