While the St. Augustine Half Marathon is at the front of my mind (since it is quickly approaching), there is another half marathon I have my eyes fixed on.
Come January 25, 2015, I will be rocking the Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Half Marathon for the third time. Leading up to this event, I’m excited to be spreading the enthusiasm as part of the Rock ‘n’ Blog New Orleans team.
2012 was my first experience at this particular race, as well as my first ever Rock ‘n’ Roll series event. In 2013, I eagerly returned to New Orleans for round two. Unfortunately, timing didn’t work out for me to return this year for round three, but I completed the Nashville Country Music Full Marathon instead (my first ever full)!
Truthfully, my time away from rocking NOLA has just made me that much more amped for January 2015. But first, here is a flashback to me with my bling, post-finish in 2012.
In the spirit of Flashback Friday: Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans edition, not only have I found this photo from my first Rock ‘n’ Roll experience, this morning, I located a recap I wrote in March of 2012, immediately following this race, titled “Rock ‘n’ Roll Race Day.” This piece sums up my sentiments surrounding participating in a race of such magnitude for the first time, in a city that is dear to my heart. For this reason, I felt it warranted sharing.
Rock ‘n’ Roll Race Day
4:30 AM—There are a lot of thoughts that race through your head as your alarm goes off and you get ready to embark on what is about to be the biggest race of your life to date. Some of these thoughts are in the form of questions, others answers. For one, What are you doing? This seems to be the big one. It is the question that plays on repeat in your mind from the painful minutes that exist somewhere between dragging your lifeless body out of bed at such an obscene hour and waiting for the hotel coffee maker to do its thing. Just six months ago if you would have told yourself you were going to be giving up your 4:30 AM late nights for this madness, you would have thought you were crazy, and well, maybe you are. But here you are, with one of your best friends from childhood/high school in your cruise-ship-like hotel room. After chugging down your coffee and suiting up in your NOLA SWAG you answer your question. You are doing this because you can do this. You are doing this because you want to do this.
5:35 AM—Soberly cruising along in New Orleans at this hour is an unfamiliar, eerie feeling in itself. As you step out of the car at the parking lot by City Park in the brisk air you feel the life gradually flow into your limbs. You board your tour bus and head toward the start. You feel almost famous. Almost.
5:50 AM—With a race involving nearly 20,000 people, the area near the start line mirrors a commune of sorts, a quirky sub-city of runners or better yet, a music festival. Where else would you find music blaring and a sea of energized people prancing around in very limited clothing and costumes at this hour? You rip your jacket off like it is a bandaid and place it in your SWAG bag to be loaded up in a UPS truck and taken to the finish line to await you. You jog around the park, hunt for the port-a-potty with the shortest line, stretch, double check your playlist to make sure no slow depressing jams crept in, watch the sun creep up, hit up the port-a-potty again just to play it safe and settle into a bit more stretching.
6:45 AM—Upon walking over to your designated corral, the amount of people that are sharing in this story with you starts to register and sink in. As you pop your ear buds in and line up next to your running partner, someone who has grown to know you on a different level than most, you smile that you are able to share this experience with such dear friends. You find comfort here. You may be doing this for you, but you are undoubtely sharing in the experience with every runner here today as well as runners past, present and future. You start channeling what you imagine to be the sentiments of both your mom and your dad in their race days. This must be what it felt like for them. Now you understand. Now it is your turn.
7:00 AM—The race has officially started. Each corral is gradually released and walks in formation the 2 blocks over, 1 block up to the start line. The countdown begins. The anticipation continues to build as you wait. 10,9,8… another corral goes, and another. Finally you turn the corner. The moment you see the start line everything becomes real and every emotion you have ever felt during any given training run hits you at once like an electric shock. Your hands get shaky and you tear up. It’s time. You know it’s time. You know it’s time for you to run your race.
Sign Up Today
If you’ve been considering participating in the 2015 New Orleans Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and ½ Marathon and have simply been waiting to sign up, I urge you to register today to beat the price increase happening at midnight!
Be sure to use discount code VOTRNOLA when registering to save an additional $10!