Friday, February 27, 2009

This Month in Pictures: Kate's Wedding Weekend

Just a few pics to document Kate's (one of my marathon partners) wedding weekend. Lots of good times had by all....see February rundown a few posts below for the recap :) Next up....more Mardi Gras parades!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Mardi Gras Marathon...the rest of the story

Ok. So this month is very haphazard in terms of posting! After the marathon I put up the first part, at least the day before leading up to the start of the race. Then I had a crazy month (see a couple of posts below)....I pretty much outlined the month in 'End of Excess....'. I plan to post all the pics to document the month a bit at a time, and have so far put up *most* of the pics of the marathon as well as a couple from the first parade I went to for Mardi Gras. I will continue with the bachelorette party/wedding in Florida and the rest of Mardi Gras, but first figured I should finally finish my race report.

So after not too many hours of sleep (unfortunately :( ) we headed down to the start. They were screaming for people to line up, and I was sooooo thankful our hotel was only a couple of blocks away. Needless to say, I already had to pee again, and in hindsight should have ignored the screams to line up and hit the pots. But I didn't, and stood there kind of having to pee for 15 minutes waiting to start. Grr....

We were off after 'Oh Beautiful' or 'America the Beautiful' whichever you call it..(no National Anthem??? What is this?). First mile was crowded, but not have as bad as I suspected. I was immediately having trouble with my fuel belt staying put (which is so funny since I wore the EXACT same setup on my last long run with no issues). It kept riding up and I think I messed with it for about the first 3 miles. :(

Around mile 1 my phone rings (I know- how obnoxious, right?) and I answer. It's my husband and he can't hear me, which is even more obnoxious...I'm screaming, 'Hello???'....finally he hears me and says he's calling to wish me luck...I tell him thanks and that I'm already running, and he still can't hear me. I hang up but see the guy next to me chuckling...What? I can't take calls while running? :)

We head down Bourbon Street which is amazingly quiet and NOT bad smelling! I was shocked. They had just finished soaping and hosing down the streets so everything was actually a little slick which I found kind of amusing. I appreciate the attempt to make it not stink, but come on! Isn't it enough of an obstacle race between people, pot holes and trash?

We turn around at Royal St and head back towards Canal. I am already getting a little bored...this is going to be a long run! Once heading out towards Audobon park around the 3 mile mark I start to really have to pee. Hmmm...this is no fun! It's great seeing people out on the street though, beer in hand at 7:30! Some restaurants are open (for spectators, I assume) and I consider stopping in one right before I see a McDonald's. Excellent! I will get a real bathroom and skip the line at the Port-o-lets. Or so I thought. Apparently so did about 100 other people. Ok, so realistically there were 3 people ahead of me. That stop cost me about 3 minutes I think, which is kind of a bummer. This is about the 4.5 mile mark.

I continue towards the park occupying my time calculating fluid/nutrition intake. I had a great marathon experience and I swear it was because I am totally regimented when it comes to this. I read somewhere along the line that the body can only absorb about 6-8 ounces of water every 20 minutes. My body seems to be on the light side of this, so I did around 3 oz of water per mile. About one big sip every 1/3 mile. This made the time pass quickly, since I was constantly looking to the next sip, gel, etcetera, and it kept me on top of hydration. I was drinking an electrolyte powder mix and filling my bottles at water stations. It is WAY easier for me to drink out of a bottle rather than a cup, and I was able to avoid the crowding by grabbing a cup, dumping it in and going. I had a gel about every 45 minutes, 5 total for the race at miles 4.5, 9, 13.5, 18, 22.5. I had only water with the gels, at least 6 ounces spread over the next mile or so. I don't know if this was why, but my stomach never bothered me and I never felt dehydrated.

By mile 6.5 we curve into the park which was a needed change. My ipod is keeping me going and the change of scenery is really nice. My husband calls me AGAIN around mile 7 to confirm if it is my mom's ACTUAL birthday and should he bring the card. Seriously? I'm running here! But I had to laugh because there was a race photog right there (though she didn't get a picture, darn it!) and I thought it would be hilarious to be like, "Here I am running the marathon talking on the phone...". I tell him I'm right on schedule to see him and my parents at the half and we hang up.

Mile 8 had a fantastic water stop. They called it 'Blood, Sweat, and Beers', and were all dressed like vampires. The had bats and cobwebs hanging from the trees, offered up orange slices, pretzels, nuts, water, powerade, BEER and MARTINIS. Yep, that's New Orleans for you! In actual plastic martini glasses. I passed on all of this but had a great time passing through. I though about the martini because I assumed it was fake (like lemonade or something), and thank god I did! Laura took one and said it was an honest to goodness vodka martini and that she tasted vodka the next 4 miles. OMG I would have puked for sure.

We head out of the park around mile 9 and I start looking for Lauren and Kate who had started together. I knew it would be close if I was to see them, since we entered the park around 6.5 miles. When I didn't see them I was happy (because I knew they were at a good pace) and sad (because it would have been a major boost to see someone I knew). This part of the race gets rather dismal....there isn't much to see, we're not at the half yet, and I know no one. :(

I also had to pee again. I told myself not until after I saw my parents at the half. I was right on target for 9:15 (the time I had told them), and was pumped to see them. Around mile 11.5 I really really wanted to stop. Right when I was really thinking about it Lisa (owner of a local running store I frequent) runs up and taps me on the shoulder! I am really excited to see her. We have both been training for and talking about the marathon since August, and had done several of the same races. She had two daughters in the race as well, with her youngest daughter trying to break 3:25! Her older daughter got preggers while training and decided not to run, but her husband took her spot to jump in and pace Lisa for the second half. So we are going along chatting, but she is pushing the pace (she wanted to stay with the 4:30 group who was just ahead). She had stopped to pee and was trying to catch them again. I knew I wouldn't be able to maintain this pace, but figured I'd stick with her until after the half.

At 12.5 miles I call my dad to tell him I'm coming up on the half. Sadly they'd hit some jams due to road closures and weren't able to circumvent in time :( I am sad but tell him I will see them at the 15 mile mark, which isn't so far now anyway! Lisa and I chug along and at the half are joined by her son in law and another friend who sees her. Sadly I cannot remember their names now...darn it! We are all running and talking so I decide to stick with them as long as I can. Luckily I did, because miles 13-15 were horrible. I felt great, but it was through some really crappy areas so it just sort of sucked the life out of you. By 14.5 I started looking for the fam, and it was a HUGE mental boost to see them. Unfortunately some coworkers were also around this spot, but since I was looking for family I missed them :( Luckily they stuck around and saw me around 24.5 :) We continued on and there was a water station just past my family. I grabbed a cookie (something I had never done) and it went down great!

Just before mile 17 there was a (seemingly) HUGE overpass, and the pavement was being repaired so it was all torn up and scored. This was really really hard on my legs and I told my crew I wouldn't be running the whole thing with them. I was getting tired and didn't want to hold them back, plus I needed to pee. They encouraged me, told me I could do it and we continued. Apparently they were tired also, because at the 17 mile water station they grabbed some icy hot or some sort of cream from someone and tried to loosen up their leg muscles. This was a much needed rest for me, and I took a minute or so with them to stretch out. This helped alot, as did the thought (which I repeated to them) that we now had only single digits left!

We looped through City Park for the next 7 miles. This was SOOOO boring. I am so thrilled I had conversation to distract me and three other people to cheer me on. We all had our moments of being the slowest one in the foursome, but encouraged eachother the whole way. It was really great :). By mile 20 I started to think maybe I COULD finish with them. We were walking through each water stop at this point, but having short term goals (next sip, next stretch spot, next gel) really helped.

Finally we were coming up on mile 24 were I would see my parents again and I was so happy!! They got some great shots (I think still on the computer at home) and told me they were shocked I looked just as strong as at mile 15. Yay! Crazily enough, right at this point I also so Laura! I screamed her name and we jogged and chatted for a minute. She took my picture (Laura I will send you my email today so you can send it to me! BTW congrats on the offer!) and then stopped to grab a couple of other pics. We continued on and rounded the corner around mile 24.5.

At this point I was pumped...less than 2 miles left! I saw my coworkers and jumped around like a maniac!! We hit the home stretch and Lisa was turning it on. I didn't have much left but tried to stay with her. Around 25.8 or so her daughters jumped in (her younger daughter made her goal...holy crap!) and they were so supportive of their mom. They told her over and over how great she looked, how far we had to go, and jogged side by side snapping pics the whole way. I hope my kids are like that someday :).

Finally.....26.2!!!!! I was so happy. I found my husband and mom and dad right away, and they were shocked I still had so much energy. I felt great. I was glad I ran it responsibly, didn't push for time and my splits were super even. I have to look it up, but I'm pretty sure each half was in a minute or two of the other. I think it was something like 2:18 and change for first half, and 2:20 and change for the second half. I was the most proud of this, as it proved I didn't go out too fast.

I'll have to put up the mile splits, but it was all really even. I was thrilled with how it went, and at the time thought I would do another right away. I haven't run in 25 days (boo!) so the one I thought I would do next weekend is out of the question. So that means no Maniac membership for me right now :( Lauren and I had considered one in March and one in April to hit 3 in 90 days, but that's not going to happen right now. It starts to get hot around here pretty soon, so it looks like my next marathon will be my last until fall at least.......So here it marathon......

Country Music Marathon, Nashville, Tennessee....April 25! It's out there, Lauren, so now we have to do it! Anyone interested?

This Month in Pictures: February 7

Just a couple of pics from the Krewe de Vieux parade in New Orleans February 7. I have many others of a much more graphic nature, but as I'm not completely clear on the posting policies of blogger dot com, I better err on the side of caution...I think the monopoly float gives you the basic idea, however. Next up, bachelorette extravaganza!
Oh- and since my google reader has long ago runneth over, I have marked all as read, and am starting fresh now. I apologize for my pathetic commenting status lately, and I swear next week I'm back! I am just playing catch up this week at work. In Louisiana Lundi Gras and Mardi Gras are both holidays (yay for four day weekends!) so even though it feels like Tuesday it's Thursday...woo hoo!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

This month in Pictures: Feb 1

Hubby and I at the beer truck :)
My dad and Lauren's dad...working hard on finishing offthe kegs. Notice everyone else is gone
Will at the Superdome
We did it!!

day before marathon in hotel with mom and dad...

mom and dad waiting at the finish
Lauren bringing in the strong finish...I think she was just eyeing the beer in my hand...

Kate coming in.....screaming "How did I EVER let you talk me into this????"
Me at mile 15....glad I still look so happy!
And of course my lack of understanding of how blogger works made them all mixed up, but these are most of the marathon pics. Still a couple more at home.

The End of Excess...40 days to Redemption

I am back. I think. Since February 1 I have had the marathon, recovery, plan for the wedding, go to the wedding (another four day blur), get home, work a couple of days, Mardi Gras (another four day blur).....and it is now truly time to get back on track.

While all was good times this has truly been a month of excess for me. 24 days of eating, boozing, sleeping, ...repeat. I have gained 4 pounds and my eyes may be permanently bloodshot. To recount:

Feb 1: Marathon. Finished in 4:39, had a fabulous time, waited for Kate and Lauren at the finish and passed the time by eating cookies, a subway sandwich, and drinking about 8 beers (yikes!). Full marathon story later, but first, the rest of the day...Parents were here so headed back to the Northshore where I live, about 40 minutes from New Orleans. Hit Wow! Wingery for a bathroom stop and to check it out for the Superbowl which would be on in 2 hours. Looked good, so we headed home, iced, showered, more adult beverages, headed out. Ate a wing sampler platter, cheese fries, quesedillas, brownie dessert (my mom's birthday) and other bits all washed down with a huge margarita followed by a few more beers and a 'Chalmation' (think dalmation, the dog) some huge, red, hurricane-like concoction named after the fine people of Chalmette a suburb of New Orleans. overkill. Headed home, had a couple MORE drinks, then bed.
Feb 2: Parents and Kate still here. Hit the Broken Egg Cafe for great eggs benedict and two mimosas. My husband took my dad to get his rental car (he had a business meeting) while mom, Kate and I went back to New Orleans for last minute shopping for stop, bar for a last minute beer with Kate and a couple of quick appetizers. Drop Kate at the airport, head home, grab dad, and off to the Tap Room, where my parents try some local beers while we have MORE wings and some calamari. Head home, grab Will and off to dinner at Copeland's (where I work nights) for the best steak EVER, hot blue crab claws in italian vinegarette, and some great red wine. We take a white chocolate bread pudding and a white chocolate raspberry cheesecake (slices) to go. Sit around reading things to eachother out of The Birthday Book (basically astrology by the day you were born) and drink MORE beer.
Feb 3: Parents take off around 10. I have the whole day for vacay but had thought about going in after they left...Ahhh.....NO. I am way too sore, so instead I lounge on the couch all day eating desserts from the night before.
Feb 4-6: Catch up on work, pretty boring....
Feb 7: First Mardi Gras parade of the season for me, the Krewe Du Vieux rolls in the French Quarter. A great, really personal parade focused on sexual humor and bodily functions. Fantastic! Afterwards manage to spend $100 (that I don't have) on drinks...for just me. Several Irish Car Bombs and vodka redbulls later, I head home around 4 am...only to have to work Sunday at 10...ouch.
Feb 8: horribly hung over, beg my way out of work...ate a burger at work for lunch, go buy taco bell for dinner, sit on couch all day.
Feb 9: Crazy rush to finish work for wedding week!
Feb 10: finish work, head to salon for cut/highlight. Head to nail salon for pedicure...head to tanning booth for last tanning...head to mall for slutty bachelorette party dress...couldn't decide so bought 4! (again, with $$ I don't have!)...raced home, packed, hit the hay around 1 to get up at 5:45 (ugh) for the airport.
Feb 11: Yay! Kate's wedding week finally here! Get into Orlando at 10:30. 7 of us squeeze in the truck (believe me, it was interesting!). She shows the girls her new home, we have a couple of beers and a pizza. Head to Payless to get shoes to go with slutty B-party dress. Buy TONS of alcohol for next day's festivities. Head back, grill, drink more at house warming party. Finish wedding favors and head to bed at get up at!
Feb 12:up early, decorate teh 15 passenger van we will be using to shuttle these 12 wild ladies around in...haha! Found this hilarious car/limo decorating set with all sorts of funny things including mudflaps with glitter fringe stating "On the Prowl" and all sorts of other stuff. After morning errands and trying to figure out how to get 12 girls suitcases into a luggage compartment meant for 2 we hit the road back to Orlando. Get to our condo at 12, and it is an absolute oasis. It was so beautiful (for $162 a night anyway!), spacious and right near the pool. We park the chick mobile and head to lay in the sun, have some drinks and get ready for our night on the town in the stretch Hummer. By 5 we head back for massive showering and hair drying, and slutty dresses donned head out. We hit a restaurant first, where our bachelorette is a little too enthusiastic. She polishes off two glasses of champagne in the limo, a couple of red stripes, an applemartini, a glass of wine and a lemondrop shot. By the time we get to Blue Martini, a really fun bar, she is done. We had free drink coupons there and she makes us leave! Waa! Next stop is Howl at the Moon, a Piano Bar, and we grab Kate's sister as our fake Bachelorette. It is only 10:30 so there is no way we are going home yet. At 24 and single, Meg loves this and jumps in head first. She enters the bar swinging the veil around her head and we are onstage in about two seconds after I turn in a request for 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun'. To make an Already Too Long Story a little shorter, we stay here for the rest of the night and finally pass out around 3:30. To AGAIN wake up at 8:30. Casualties of the night: I drunken bachelorette, one zero alcohol tolerance friend (we're talking two's an enzyme thing), one barfing in the limo (and her bed!) bartender friend (pathetic, really) and one puking outside the condo friend. All said and done 16 girls, two passed out, two puked. Not too bad! Myself and one other bridesmaid were of course the last ones standing!
Feb 13: WE hit the van for the two hour drive north to Gainesville, location of the wedding. Stop at Dunkin Donuts on the way, only to have the clerk be annoyed we are ordering bagels. Seriously. She was like, 'Really? Another bagel?'...and I'm thinking, how do you work at Dunkin Donuts if you hate making breakfast food!! We get up there just in time to hit Bath Junkie for the bridesmaid party. Here Kate has arranged for us all to make a bath scrub, a spray lotion and another item of our choosing. We pick the scents and colors while munching on wine and cheese and getting hand exfoliations. Very relaxing and much fun. I picked Coconut banana for my scrub (light yellow), pomengranate-persimmon-tangerine for my spray lotion and regular massage oil for the third. After this we head to the church rehearsal and then back for the rehearsal dinner at her aunt's house (which is huge- she had seating for 80!). All in all much fun even though we were exhausted! We ate a ton of chicken parmesan and drank beer, finally heading back to the hotel bar for one last drink. Actually made it to bed by 12!...alarm off: 7 am.
Feb 14: Wedding Day! We hit the hair salon by 9 to start getting done up. Hair and makeup (and of course wine!) Until 11:30, then off for pictures. More wine, lots of pics, more wine, wedding ceremony, champagne, wedding dinner and reception....more drinks...hotel bar....more drinks...hotel suite with the bride...more drinks...bed at 4...WHAT????
Feb 15: Drive back, try to survive...grill out More DRinks??? Fly home...
Feb 16-18: Try to catch up on work....boring :)
Feb 19: Muses Parade. My new favorite! Every throw was great, the crowd was fun, we had daquiris, beers, drinks...gawd what is this trend???
Feb 20:Orpheus Parade here on the northshore. Discovered a new place to hang out! And it's cheap, yay! Went to bed early to prepare for long long day planned for Saturday.
Feb 21: Got up and showered at 7 to get ready for three Mardi Gras Parades down in New Orleans. Grabbed the cooler, champagne, oj, sangria and fruit to put in it and snacks. Headed to Erin's to get ready. Lots of glitter and fake eyelashes involved. Headed down at 9 (thankfully friends Jeff and Jon had staked us out a spot at 7 am!!). Broke out the mimosas first, then hit sangria...the third parade is pretty much a blur. We grilled, drank, caught beads, it was a fantastic day.
Feb 22-today: recovery. Sleep sleep sleep catch up on work...catch up on blog!

So yeah. That has basically been the short version (believe it or not) of my month. Next post will document in photos. Total drinks consumed 15,387,722 (give or take a couple). Total hours slept: 10.6 Total calories consumed: 1,567,970,564,369...Total Runs: 1 (but at least it was 26.2 miles!).

Next up, pics of all this. Then a Plan. a new one.... Oh yeah, and no more drinking as though I have gills....or eating as if I am in some sort of least for Lent, even though I'm not even Catholic!

Monday, February 9, 2009

I swear it's coming...

I haven't forgotten about the rest of my race report! Unfortunately after a short work week last week (took Monday and Tuesday as much needed vacation days) and a short week this week (leaving Wednesday morning for best friend Kate's wedding (yes- she did the marathon two weeks before her wedding!) I have to spend some time on acual work (damn work getting in the way of blogging!).

I leave Wednesday and come back Sunday, so next week I should get around to the rest of the pictures and the rest of the story. See you soon!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


 I am horrible at uploading photos, and even though I did them in order they uploaded out of order...not sure how to fix it, but I'm sure you can all figure out the progression! These are just from my cell phone (hence the bad quality) but I still have two cameras to upload pics from tomorrow or the next day.
So Kate (my best friend, bib 1217 above) arrived from Florida at 8:45 Friday night. We headed back to my house (about an hour drive) and after much discussion over whether it was really in our best interest to have a couple of drinks, decided that we don't see eachother often enough and picked up some beer. I had rented Run Fatboy, Run for marathon inspiration, so we watched that, chatted, and worked our way through three beers each and about a box of Cheez Its...(oops). We were in bed by midnight, though, and didn't get up until 9 so we still got plenty of rest.
In the morning we started hydrating (something that is very difficult for me to remember on the weekend) and got all of our stuff together for the marathon. Kate hadn't ever used any nutrition while running (actually she only ran about 10 times in the last 6 months and never over 4 miles, but that's another story!) so we stopped by the local running store. She was scared of gels, so she picked up some Sports Beans and waist pack to carry her phone and beans in. We headed to the airport to pick up my parents and then met Lauren (striking her running pose above) at the expo around 2:30.
The expo was really lacking. :( No free samples, so we left fairly quickly after getting our packets and checking our timing chips. It was nice and organized, however, and took no time at all. We checked in to our hotel and then met up with my parents for a snack (fried crab claws and chips and salsa with quacamole...hmmm maybe not the best choice?) and yes, a couple of beers. Hell- I only get visitors here and there, and I'm obviously not breaking any records this time around so I figured I may as well enjoy myself. Then we drove part of the course to see where they would try to see us, and they dropped us off at our hotel around 5:30.
We got some things organized, then headed out for dinner around 6. There was a sushi place right across the street, so we figured rice and soy sauce = carbs and salt, and headed over there. I did avoid eating anything raw, just to be safe, but did do a little more carb loading via Asahi. We went back to the hotel just in time to catch Bring It On: All or Nothing on TV...bonus! We turned off the lights around 9. I, of course, couldn't sleep. I imagine I drifted off around 12, but my husband called at 2 am (what is wrong with you??) to wish us luck. Finally back to sleep, and then the alarm at 4:45 am.
I wasn't feeling as great as I had hoped...I ate two packs of oatmeal, stretched, and tried to calm down. I was tired and kind of off in the stomach, but luckily the female problem didn't arise, which was a bonus. I had some coffee and (thank god!) was able to use the bathroom, so that was one thing I wouldn't have to stress about during the race. We left the hotel at 6:30 and headed to the start.
Luckily our hotel was only a quarter mile away, so we got there quickly and checked our bags. Another bonus (at least at the start) was that it was warm enough to ditch our long sleeves before checking bags. I new this could spell trouble for later, but I was glad to not have anything to take off while running. We lined up (with 5kers and walkers of course in the way regardless of the announcements from the race director...grrr...) and at 7 am we were off!
More later on the race itself and more pics!