Mar 1, 2010

Mardi-Gras Marathon: Trip notes & Race report

  • Chip time: 03:45:43   Clock time: 03:50:07
  • 40s temprature, light breeze, and flat course
  • Must eat: Gumbo, Banana's foster
  • Can avoid: Beignets
  • Preferred place to stay: "India House" hostel.
Day 0 (Friday evening):
This is the first time I've visited New Orleans, for a marathon or anything else, and I ended up liking this place as soon as I got on the airport shuttle. The driver was so friendly and each and every one of my co-passengers were either running the marathon or the half. So, we spend a jolly good time exchanging running notes. The most impressive of the lot was an elderly gentleman from Spokane who claimed to be running at least two marathons a month. That's an incredible feat!  My lodging was at the "India House" hostel, a few miles from downtown along Canal Street. The driver of the shuttle gladly agreed to drop me off at the Cafe du Monde although my reservation was for the hostel.

I got the usual fare, beignet and Cafe au lait, at the Cafe after a little past midnight; true NOLA experience that I would regret later. After quick stop for beignets I reached my hostel, the India House. It is impossible to not love this place. It has a unique 60s hippie ambiance with almost no restrictive rules or curfews like your average hostel. The staff are extremely friendly and rates very affordable. As a student traveler, I loved both. There is no reason why it's called "India House" as the front desk staff told me it was neither connected to India or the Native Americans. The hostel is a big hit with international backpackers so you will not be surprised to find teenagers and 20somethings from several continents at once. The hostel also provides affordable food but being race weekend and all, I was a little careful about food.

Day 1: (Saturday)
So much for being careful. The beignets I ate yesterday gave me a bad case of rashes today morning. I just applied some coca butter, that I always carry with me, and hoped for the best. I did a small three mile jog in the morning to fight the rash jitters. Rest of the day was spent in a little bit of sight seeing, packet pickup and shopping trinkets. I thought the expo was boring, nothing like San Francisco or New York. However there was one booth with the name EFX, that was trying to sell some "device" that "captured vibrations" and made them "resonate with you". The lady selling this sounded so ridiculous giving her spiel but I played along getting amused all the way.  I thought this was a part of racing in the Voodoo Town. Lunch was gumbo with Cajun beans and rice at Mother's. I stomached that well. Dinner was a large bag of trail mix and a banana with a big bottle of Powerade before hitting the sack early.

Race day: (Sunday)
Race days always make me nervous. I always endup waking very early, go to the race venue almost an hour early and loiter around. Sunday morning, I had a case of the runs but that was just me being a nervous wreck as usual. Pre race food was more Powerade and two bananas.

Sunday morning was great weather to run. I was dressed super light, unlike Toronto marathon where I had to layer up, which made running so enjoyable. The course is very flat and running went according to my pace calculation except for the five mile strecth betwen miles 17 and 21 where I took more than 9 min/mile making me overshoot my 3:40 target. I still don't know why that happened. Perhaps I was distracted by the beautiful New Orleans City Park or when I came across a street called "Peniston" when I cracked out laughing. I did not stop anywhere during the race, not even for water -- grab & go -- but my laces became undone twice during the end of the race. First I tried to ignore it but caved in to avoid a tripping hazard. Around 2hrs or so into the race, somebody held a poster saying "The Kenyan has finished now. You may slow down."

I tried Bynum's +/- game where you increment 1 for every runner you pass and decrement 1 for every runner passing you while ignoring anyone who's walking. This was a fun game but I found it made me run faster than my intended pace during the start of the marathon. So, I stopped that and decided to play it towards the end but as I was approaching the finish line, my mind went blank and I ran like a zombie or as if I was chased by a one.

The race loot was a medal on Mardi-Gras beads. Looks fun! Overall, I loved this race and I'm happy to choose it as my first race for the year. I also loved visiting NOLA and would like to go there again for some serious goofing around.


Anonymous said...

Great race report Delip! Found your short version on the DRS list. I'm amazed the temp was that cool! We have a nephew and his wife who just moved back to CA from New Orleans. All the time they were there it was pretty darn hot and sticky. Thanks for the entertaining read. Don in MN

What The Run said...

Nice to see you here Don! I'm enjoying your posts on the list. Keep posting!

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