This weekend in New Orleans was AMAZING!!!
I have to start out by giving mad props to the folks at the Rock 'n' Roll series - this was my first Rock 'n' Roll event and I have to say that I WILL be back!!!
So, how about a recap??
Mr. Smith Summary and I woke up early Saturday morning for the 6 hour drive to NOLA; we got in town around 2pm and headed over to the expo, which was at the convention center. It was not near our hotel so we drove. The folks at the Rock 'n' Roll series had warned us the day before that a cruise ship would be docked on Saturday and that it might be extra crowded in the area and sure enough, we saw it! But honestly the crowds were not that bad. I did not wait in a line to pick up my bib and was immediately off to explore the expo.
I was very pleased with the variety of vendors! I did also manage to pick up a shirt from the official Rock 'n' Roll merchandise booth. They were a tad picked over but considering the expo had opened the day prior, I honestly wasn't too surprised. I was a tad disappointed that there were more men's options than women's and I actually ended up with a men's shirt because I liked the design better! Again, no wait to check out and then I was off to the official Rock 'n' Roll tour booth to get my picture taken!
I also stopped at the Gu booth to cast my vote in the #GUMOCRACY! The Rock 'n' Roll series is picking its official Gu flavor and us lucky runners get to help by voting for our favorites! The flavor choices are:
Salted Watermelon - #GUMOCRACYGREEN
Caramel Macchiato - #GUMOCRACYGOLD
Apple Cinnamon - #GUMOCRACYRED
I tried the Apple Cinnamon and it was REALLY yummy!
Before we headed to the hotel I had to pit stop at the St. Jude Heroes booth to pick up my wristband for the VIP tent (more to come on that!) and also the Sparkly Soul booth to pick up a new headband...or two :)
Our home away from home for the weekend was the Hotel Mazarin on Bienville in the French Quarter - and I have to say, it was absolutely WONDERFUL!!! The rooms were SO nice, the staff were very helpful and friendly and the location was great. I would definitely stay there again!
We met my buddy Kristan and her hubs and walked to Decatur Street for dinner at Maximo's Italian Grill. I learned my lesson in Nashville and stuck with pasta and meatballs for dinner. It was really tasty and I didn't feel like I had overeaten. After the walk back to the hotel I was ready to crash for the night! I laid out Flat Kristen and hit the hay.
Sunday morning my alarm went off at 5am and I began getting ready and I knew when I woke up that it was going to be a good day. The weather was a little less than desirable but I had planned ahead and brought a hat. At 6am I met my buddy and her hubs in the lobby and we walked to the starting area!
I was in corral 9 and at 7am the race started; they truly did not wait long in between corrals so before I knew it, it was my turn! I'll go ahead and warn you now - I didn't really take any pics along the course because A - my phone has no memory left because I need to put some pictures in Dropbox, and B - I was gunning for that PR and didn't want to take any extra time. I liked the course overall; there were a few places that the roads were rough and I did quite a bit of weaving in between people who need a lesson in running etiquette but other than that I had no major issues at all during the race. The water stations were stocked, there was pretty good crowd support, and I enjoyed the on course entertainment.
It was extremely foggy in NOLA that day and it was drizzling rain from time to time with 100% humidity so I looked like a drowned rat by mile 1. I ran the entire first mile to get out of the crowd and then stuck with my 3:1 run/walk ratio for the entire race. I did make an extra stop at a water station for some Gatorade towards the end since I had not brought enough fuel with me (GRR!). My A goal was to finish in 2:15 and at 2:14 I was less than a mile from the finish and I knew I wasn't going to hit goal 1 so I took my final 1 minute walk break and then HAULED to the finish line (seriously, my final 0.25 I was running at an 8:30 pace!!) and crossed at 2:19:45.
I beat my previous PR by 9 minutes y'all, and I couldn't have been happier!!!
The chute moved very quickly with water bottles, Gatorade, chocolate milk (YAY!!!), and other snacks. I also grabbed a mylar blanket because after we stopped I began to get chilly and I knew I was going to be standing around for a bit. I made a pit stop at the St. Jude tent before heading to the family reunion area to meet the hubs and my buddies.
I REALLY liked how the Rock 'n' Roll series has the family reunion area organized - there are alphabetized signs so you can tell your cheer squad to meet you at a predetermined letter to make it easier to find you. As luck would have it, we met at the "S" sign which was right next to the St. Jude tent so I did not have to walk far to reunite with Mr. Smith Summary while we waited on Kristan and her hubs to finish. Once we were all reunited we walked to the shuttle area to catch a bus back to the starting line. In the finish area there was live music playing along with vendors and, of course, a beer booth set up to get your libations flowing! It was definitely a great post race celebration.
Once back at the hotel I noshed on the complimentary breakfast before having a shower and a quick nap before we grabbed some lunch on Bourbon Street and then we ladies enjoyed a nice post race massage and mani/pedi while the men got their football fix. We rejoined the men for a late dinner and then I had one more pit stop to make to make my NOLA trip complete:
Yup, you guessed it. #coffeeaddict
Monday morning we were back on the road. It was a quick trip but I still had a wonderful time and I would love to do it again next year!!! Thanks Rock 'n Roll for an awesome racecation weekend!