Oh, New Orleans. How you mess with my head. And my hydration.

Regardless of how well your training runs go, all of that might will fly out the window when you try to race in weather that’s 40 degrees warmer than you’re used to.

Let’s start off with my goals for this race:

  1. 4:50. (this is obviously a stars-are-aligning goal)
  2. Sub-5:00.
  3. PR (sub-5:18:51).
  4. Finish.
At the half marathon turnoff, I felt confident in my ability to achieve goal #2. By mile 20, I was questioning the feasibility of goal #4.

I underestimated you, New Orleans. Never again.

I’m not into serious recaps, but if you’d like to follow my stream of consciousness about my second marathon, feel free to click through.

Pre race was all sunshine and daisies. Gillian and I looked awesome. As did the entire Internet. (I can say that, right?)

(me, Rindy, Johnna, Cindy, Christine, Darcy, MAR, Gillian, Trish)

I hung with Trish for the first two miles. We talked about water bottles and Al Gore.  (EXCITING!) Shortly thereafter, Gillian and KC came up behind us, followed almost immediately by Kiera and her friend Erin.  I always start off slowly, because it takes me a while to warm up. After the first 5k or so, I picked up the pace and begrudgingly left these lovely folks behind. SPOILER ALERT: These miles were the most fun of the entire race.

I forgot to take my first Gu until about 15 minutes after I usually down it. Woops. At this point, I also realized that I forgot to pack an extra Gu, just in case I bonked or something. And I accidentally dropped my extra Nuun tab. FORESHADOWING.

Around 10k, I saw a crazy blonde woman standing in line for the bathroom and yelled at her. She decided to run with me instead of relieve herself, which I think was a great idea. In the short amount of time that we ran together (I’m talking maybe half a mile), JBizz chugged a mimosa and a beer. She also made me laugh more during this half mile than I did throughout the entire rest of the race. That says a lot about (1) how hilarious she is and (2) how much this race sucked for me.

For the week leading up to the race, I had forbidden Claire to run with me. I told her I’d sprint away from her if she tried to run with me. She told me she’d chase me down. Obviously she tried to run with me, and I sprinted away, weaving through the throngs of people. Try as I might, I couldn’t shake her. Because DUH: girl is fast. So I stopped running so SHE’D stop running, and she took a really flattering photo of me (amongst others):

My mind blanks between Claire and the half marathon finish. The marathoners split off to the left, and the field dwindled in number considerably. My half marathon split was about a minute and a half off of my half PR. I was doing well, and I felt strong. I was well fueled, having fun, up to this point I was well hydrated, and I pretty much felt like I could run forever.

Then the second half of the race started. A combination of three awful out-and-backs in the shape of a T. In the sun. With minimal (in my opinion) race support. Remember how I lost my extra Nuun many miles ago? Remember how I am the sweatiest runner on the planet? I stopped sweating shortly after the half marathon split. I remember that Anna texted me around mile 15 asking me if I was still feeling good, and I said ‘yes’. I can’t recall if that was true or not, so I was either lying to her or I was about to take my last happy steps.

Miles 16-21 were pure torture, which is kind of funny because they would have been quite beautiful in another light. (Maybe if there was LESS light…?) At this point, I had taken to dumping water on my head and back to cool off at every aid station in lieu of sweat, which my body was no longer producing. Rude.

I pretended to be happy any time I saw a camera. ^^^

A sign at mile 17 that read “free nipple massages” made me genuinely smile, but not nearly as much as seeing Christine at mile 21. She was my saving grace! Right before I saw her, I was fantasizing about curling into the fetal position on the side of the road and waiting for the sweeper truck to come by and collect me. The last 5 miles were a total suckfest even with her company, so I can’t imagine how awful they would have been without her.

I didn’t “bonk” in the traditional sense of a caloric deficit, I was just extremely dehydrated. Eventually, dumping water on my head and taking in salt packets wasn’t even helping. I was so nauseated that I couldn’t swallow the first half of my remaining Gu, and my water was making me feel sicker. I may or may not have thrown up in my mouth.

The Internet was waiting for us at mile 25, where Jonathan, Justin, Drew, Anna, Kiera, and Johnna ran us into the finish. They’re lovely people.

After the finish, I drank some of the juice from a fruit cup and half a bottle of water over the course of the next hour, but that’s about all I could keep down. lololol dehydration:

  • 26.2 miles.
  • 5:14:29.
  • 12:01 pace.

My average pace for the first half was 11:23. My average pace for the full was obviously 12:01. Clearly, the second half was ROUGH. Mostly 19-finish. But I PR’d and I’m not dead, so all’s well that ends well!

Oh look, more salt stains on my shirt.

Drew: So do you think you’ll do another marathon?
Me: …obviously.

I guess this turned into a normal-ish recap. Woops. First time for everything.

Anyway, if you’re ever on the fence about whether to run the half or the full in New Orleans, go for the half.  And if you do run the full, stop for that free nipple massage.

  1. gilliansquirtle said: bro, you can do anything!
  2. betternikki said: Yay Brenna’s not dead!
  3. tallmormon said: Nipple massages! My bloody nipple needed that!
  4. chrystimoreorless said: Training for goofy in WI, I spent the last 6-8 weeks running “hot”-over layering (nearly over heating!) for every run to get my body as acclimated as possible to FL heat in January in WI to avoid exactly what happened to you-SO GLAD you’re ok!!
  5. operation225 said: You rock, B.
  6. ariavie said: Haha! I love the recap. Hitting a hydro bonk is worse than calorie bonks! I’m so glad you still got a PR even though it wasn’t your 1st goal. :) PS- My outfits look similar to yours after a marathon. *high five from a similarly sweaty chick*.
  7. engineering-fitness said: you are simply an inspiration. Together again soon?
  8. shortmom said: We would have died out there alone. For realz. I can’t thank you enough.
  9. jbizzle329 said: I’m so glad I left that potty line to join you. Who needs to relieve themselves when you can run with you. Totally worth using leaves later…Great recap!
  10. kelzor reblogged this from runningwithguts
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