Thursday, February 28, 2013

NOLA Half Marathon Weekend Recap!

   After months of training and planning, NOLA weekend was finally here. It's been a crazy few months and Dudley and I were so excited, because you know what's awesome? A long weekend in New Orleans! You know what's NOT awesome? A plumbing emergency at 11:00 pm when you have a 6:30 am flight. Yes, that's right - our plans for a fun weekend away were almost derailed at the last minute because the faucet in the bathtub wouldn't stop running. It wasn't on full-force - it was more of a continuous stream. But we definitely had a dilemma on our hands. What to do? We didn't want to change flights, or have one of us stay to wait for a plumber. We also couldn't just turn off the water for the weekend because our pet sitter moves in while we're gone (with four dogs, this is a true blessing). We couldn't leave her without water for the weekend! After about an hour of deliberation (and of trying to fix the faucet), we decided that we'd leave a key out for out plumber (who we have worked with a lot recently) and hope that he can come by sometime the next day. And thankfully, he was able to and the water was fixed within a few hours. Very stressful way to start a vacation though. I don't recommend it.
   Our flight down to New Orleans was pretty uneventful (unlike our flight back). I made sure to wear my EN gear because I knew there would be some East Nasties on the plane. And there were - Gunjan, Kayla and Lennie. Love it! Look out New Orleans! East Nasty is taking over!
   Once we finally made it to New Orleans, it was only about 8:30 am. Since we couldn't check in until much later, we stashed our stuff at the hotel and walked around a bit. You know what? New Orleans is pretty creepy at 8:30 am. As busy and alive the French Quarter is at night - it's almost completely deserted that early in the morning. The only people out and about were beer vendors restocking the bars, a couple of runners getting their last few miles in before the race on Sunday, and a few stragglers from the night before trying to make their way home. Very surreal scene.
   We decided to walk down to Cafe du Monde, because that's what you do when you're in New Orleans. You go to Cafe du Monde and eat beignets. What's a beignets, you say? Check this out:

You know you want some.

   I won't go into detail here about our experience at Cafe du Monde, because the end result was me eating some of that powdered-sugared goodness you see above, which was awesome. HOWEVER - when pretty much the ONLY things you offer are coffee and beignets, it shouldn't take over 45 minutes to be served. Just sayin'. 
   After Cafe du Monde, we wandered around New Orleans and took in the sights while waiting for the race expo to open at 1:00. Typical touristy stuff:

St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square

Historic town homes

George Rodrigue's Blue Dogs on Canal Street

   It was fun. Exhausting, but fun. We got to the convention center (where the expo was held) about 20 minutes before it opened. I was more than happy to sit for a while and get off my feet. That walking is tough! I only had my Pumas to walk around in. They're cute, but they have NO support. Definitely need better shoes next time.
   By the time the expo opened, a line of runners had formed a line that went out the door of the convention center. Really? Dudley and I had no use for that, so we remained seated for a few more minutes and let the line pass before walking right into the expo.

I've never been in a corral this low.

Back of the official race shirt. Pretty cool!

   It was nice to get there right when the expo opened. Even though there was that huge line to get in, the crowd dispersed quickly because the event space was so big. No lines to check out or masses of people blocking the booths. It was almost like our own personal expo. Of course, the one time I did try to buy something, the register broke so we ended up standing there for about 15 minutes anyway. Whomp whomp.
   While we were at the expo, we got a text from the hotel saying we could check in. YAY! We were both hungry and really ready for a nap, so back to the hotel we went. Of course, who do we run into at the hotel? Only 8 more East Nasties! Did I mention we were taking over New Orleans? 

Hello Prince Conti Hotel
   
 Once we checked in, I was so tired that I immediately took at nap while Dudley went out and got some food for us. I'm not too proud to say that I ate my shrimp Po' Boy while lying in bed. No, I don't have a photo of that. It wasn't pretty.
   The race wasn't until Sunday so next day and a half, we pretty much did the tourist thing. We hooked up with friends at times, but we mainly just enjoyed the sights, sounds and food of New Orleans. I think they fry everything here. 

You are reading that correctly - Chicken Fried Bacon

   I wish we would have set our Garmins to track our walks, because we probably walked five miles each day. Not the smartest thing to do before trying to PR at a Half-Marathon. But I'll come to that in my next post - RACE DAY!