When I got offered a spot to pace at the Louisiana Marathon this year, I was super excited. We held last year's Marathon Maniac reunion at Louisiana and they throw such a great party, I could not wait to go back!
Coming off the reunion weekend in Jackson and Mobile, I was starting to feel a little under the weather a few days before leaving. It was good that I was not able to fly into Louisiana until Saturday. I was supposed to get into New Orleans at around 2:00pm, but with a flight delay, I didn't get to the hotel until after 5:00pm.
I dropped my bags and looked at my phone to see what the address to the expo was only to notice that the expo closed at 5:00pm! WHAT? How does the expo close at 5:00pm the day before the race? 7:00pm? OK. 9:00pm? Even better, but 5:00pm?
I started to get a little panicked as I was pacing the 4:30 marathon group and I didn't have my sign or my pacer shirt and I was supposed to pick up a couple of friend's packets too!
When I spoke to another pacer, I was told that I could pick up my packet in the morning at 5:30am. That was a relief. I went upstairs, dropped my bag and then hooked up with a good friend at the bar for dinner.
Race morning, I got up and was not feeling well at all. My voice was gone and my chest felt really congested. I was sick. I sucked it up and drove to the start wondering how in the heck I was going to run 26.2 miles feeling like this, but I had a job to do and had to find the strength.
I found some great parking, so I was able to jump out of the car and run to gear check where they were handing out the last minute packets. Unfortunately, they were only handing out the bibs as they were short shipped on race bags, but they let us know that anyone that did not get their packet, would get it mailed to them. I was OK with that.
After I got my packet, I ran back to meet some Maniac friends for the group photo and to pick up my pacer sign and shirt. After the photo, I had 20 minutes to run back to the car, change my shirt and pin by bib on and get to my corral before the race started. Since I didn't know they ran out of gear bags, I expected to get one and had nothing to to check a bag so I had no choice to make another car run!
Maniacs at the Start!
Once I got to my corral, there were a few folks relieved to see me. I apologized and told them my saga with a very horse voice.
Within 10 minutes the gun went off and so did we!
Me at the Start!
My pal Georges and I at the Start!
The Louisiana course is flat and pretty. A very good course if you want to run a BQ or PR.
I was having a blast pacing. We had some great people in our group. There was a first time marathoner named Clint that was running to celebrate his 45th Birthday. We sung Happy Birthday to him.
We also sang Happy Birthday to a 14 year old that chose to run his first half marathon on his Birthday with his dad! Good parenting encouraging healthy things to do instead of letting him play XBOX all day.
Pacing is FUN!
I was keeping a really good pace staying with in seconds of each mile's goal time. I did have to make potty stop, but was able to make up the pace before I hit the next mile marker.
The weather was perfect, the race was perfect, the volunteers were perfect and the spectators were perfect. Everything was going great!
I picked up a few folks in the last 6 miles that were having trouble. I talked to them, encouraged and tried to take their mind off the running. I was so proud of them when they finished (some running ahead to beat the 4:30 goal)! It was awesome.
I came in at 4:29:28! Perfect!
The Louisiana Bling along with the special Marathon Maniac Medal!
After the race, the Maniacs had our own area called the Levee Lounge. There they had kegs of a couple different local IPA beers and Bloody Mary's with a strip of bacon sticking out of them.
The food was great too! Lots of local restaurants came out with lots of different Louisiana fare! I had jambalaya, shrimp toast and some gumbo.
It was super fun hooking up with friends and having a blast after the race!
My good friend Gerald and I at the Finish!
Maniacs at the Levee Lounge
My fellow New Yorker, Julia and I doing her signature pose!
Congratulations to Houston Wolf and Dan Semsel for both shattering their PR's! Way to go guys!
My dear friend Houston and I
Having a little snack!
A few more Maniacs at the Finish!
After the race I met a friend for drinks and dinner and just went back to the hotel for some sleep. I was able to run the race with no problem, but now I felt sick with a cough that was relentless!
I really enjoy this race and it will probably be on my list for next year too. I hope I get to pace again! HUGE THANKS to Sabrina for giving me the opportunity!