Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Mardi Gras Marathon 2009 Race Report

7am, New Orleans, LA
Temperature: 50F-64F, Cloudy
Humidity: 83%-50%

I had no plans of running this marathon until I realized that there was going to be an awesome group of folks heading down to "the Big Easy". I needed a break from winter and work so I was sold.

This was the first time in a marathon that I would be:
- signing up for the race at the expo
- having a hurricane at the dinner the night before
- running wearing beads. This actually felt good towards the end...
- running on shoes with 350+ miles on them. Bad! I just could not get new shoes on time.
- running with a camera- stopping/adjusting my run to take pictures
- running with a singlet (Marathon maniacs). Worked out great since I got to interact with MMs before, during and after the run...
- not using body glide or any anti-chafing mechanism. Accidental, but did not pay for it.

My goal for the race was to run a 3:40-3:45 marathon. Anything faster would not be good for a train-through run and anything slower would be a PW. The plan was to run with Eric, Anu, Nagesh and possibly Bill, Brian. Anu and Nagesh were running the half.

After a discordant rendition of "America the Beautiful" we were off running. The first mile passed through Bourbon street. This was kind of strange - 7am in the morning with no raucous crowds and the roads being soaped off. I was also working out the quirks of taking pictures with my camera while running (this was a new cam and I had not gotten a chance to test it out).

Next, the course hit Charles street. During my last visit to NOLA for Mardi Gras '05 I had watched with envy as runners ran on the cable-car trails. Finally, I got a chance to run on it while admiring the beautiful mansions. I was with our "3:40/1:50" group for the most part though I was stopping/running ahead/getting behind when I saw something that I needed to take a snap of.

The course then took a loop around Audubon Park. This was beautiful with trees, swans, golf courses, some impressive houses...

As we headed to the half finish, the focus was on Anu and Nagesh finishing strong. And finish strong they did!

Passing the half finish was kind of anti-climatic. As the loud cheers died down the scenic course transformed. Our "group" also gradually disintegrated. A&N seemed to be a glue that held it together... We caught up with the 3:40 pacer dude right after the half. I ran with him for a bit but dropped him after about a mile. While I loved listening about his plans for Med-school, the pace did not seem to click. Eric later concurred with this.

Scenery-wise there was nothing note-worthy until we headed reached the City park at mile 21. I remember being inspired by "Chariots of Fire" both the times I passed someone blazing it. It never gets old on me. The mile 19 beer stop seemed tempting.

Unlike my other marathons, I'll remember a lot more about this run going forward - I have the moments that stood out for me preserved in pics... A kid I high-fived in the park (along with her brother). A couple of ladies with a cow-bell after mile 24 - seeing their pic being taken seemed to have made their day. Brian with his arm-panties to remind me of the discussion about his friend's wife's present. A lady with a cute running skirt I passed after the mile 25 marker. Robyn, Michael, Jon, A&N cheering right before I crossed the finish...

Thanks Eric for getting us all aboard. Great FEs :)

mile 1: 9:00
mile 2: 8:24
mile 3: 8:19
mile 4: 8:12
mile 5: 8:19
mile 6: 8:19
mile 7: 8:21
mile 8: 8:28
mile 9: 8:23
mile 10: 8:23
mile 11: 8:26
mile 12: 8:38 ???
mile 13: 7:17 ???
mile 13.1 1:49:35
mile 14: 8:30
mile 15: 8:35
mile 16: 8:32
mile 17: 8:07
mile 18: 8:19
mile 19: 8:09
mile 20: 8:17
mile 21: 8:05
mile 22: 8:06
mile 23: 7:56
mile 24: 7:54
mile 25: 7:54
mile 26: 7:44
mile .2: 1:48 (@ 7:40)

Chip: 3:36:27 @ 8:15
Gun: 3:37:17
OA: 216/1486
Male: 191/945
Div: 32/155


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