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Friday, January 22, 2016

#104- The 2016 Louisiana Marathon!

Last year, I was asked to pace the 4:30 marathon with the Maniac Fanatic Pace Team at the Louisiana Marathon and had the time of my life (Click here to read last year's race report), so when I was asked back for this year, I jumped at the chance!

I LOVE the Louisiana Marathon. This was my third year running and I am never disappointed. They don't just put on a race, they put on a PARTY!

I got into Baton Rouge late very late Friday night. I had signed up for the 5k Saturday morning for the first time and was beginning to think that may have been a bad idea. Sleeping off my headache seemed like a better plan, but since my roomies Patti the Krez and Stephanie LaBoo were running, my fear of missing out gene kicked in and I was up and out!

Maniacs at the start of the Advocate 5k and Quarter Marathon.

It was cold at the start, but by the time we got into the start coral, the sun had come up and I knew once we started running, the temperature would be perfect, and it was.

Patti and I started out at a nice shake out pace and just held it at just around 8:00 minute miles the whole time. Not killing ourselves, but not jogging either felt so good! 

Running the 5K!
Photo credit: The Louisiana Marathon

We laughed and talked about what were were going to eat after. The good thing about running a 5k is that it is over fast and the eating can get started sooner. Stephanie was running the Quarter marathon, so Patti and I got started while we waited for her and boy were we glad we did! The food was amazing! They even had a "Vegan Village" for our vegan friends.

We started here!

The braised pork cheeks with butternut squash was so delicious, we went back and stood in the long line for seconds! 

Same with the Jambalaya! Sooooo good! 

No party would be complete without a party band!

As Patti and I waited for Stephanie, we checked our results and found out that I placed 2nd in my age group and Patti placed 2nd overall in the Grand Masters division! We were awarded with these great wooden footprint plaques and a one of the beautiful 2016 commemorative art prints!

Patti and I with our awards!

The 2016 Commemorative Art Print by Tuna 

Me, my shoe and the Louisiana State Capitol!

After the 5k, we went back to the hotel for a quick shower and the I was off to work the pacer booth with a few of my favorite Maniac Fanatic pacers!

Our fearless leader, Sabrina Seher with our 3:05 marathon pacer Daniel Bucci!

Pace team fun at the expo!

Too cool for school!

After the expo I headed back to the hotel while I waited for Patti and Stephanie to return from sightseeing, but I fell asleep and missed the text asking me to meet them for dinner, so I just made my way down to the pacer dinner at a cute Italian place called Monjunis! The spaghetti and meatballs was delicious!

Maniacs at Monjunis!

Photo credit: Joe B. Raymond III

After dinner I headed back to the hotel and found the girls in the living room of our hotel relaxing and watching TV. We chatted a bit and I went in to charge my phone on the bed, while looking at Facebook and I fell asleep with out even realizing it!

We needed to be at the start for the pacer and Maniac/Fanatic group pics by 6:30am (to ensure us pacers were in our corals by 6:50am), as the race started at 7:00am.

Your Maniac Fanatic Pace Team!

Maniac and Fanatics in front of the Louisiana State Capitol.

Getting ready to start!

Start selfie with the Louisiana State Capitol, Fellow Maniacs and my AWESOME pace partner Ryan!

Race started with the Ainsley's Angels wheelchair racers and then we were off! We had a great group with us. Ryan and I talked, laughed, told stories, coached, played music and pushed our runners, all while having a great time! 

Are we having fun yet? Oh yeah!

Ryan and I take short walk breaks through the aid stations. Mainly because I have a drinking problem...I can't run and drink out of that cup without wearing more than I drink!

Adonica was slaying it while I let Ed hold the cat for a while. Yeah, I am a giver! Hee Hee!

Ryan was a really fun pace partner!

The course was stunning!

Follow Me!
Photo credit: The Louisiana Marathon

It's not a party in until Elvis shows up!

The last 6 miles of any marathon is the toughest both mentally and physically. Runners are tired and just want to be done. Ryan and I did our best to make sure our group knew what laid ahead, even if it was an evil overpass at just before mile 25. We wanted our runners to save enough energy to be able to get over it and have enough energy to leave us at the top of it. 

Photo credit: The Louisiana Marathon

Sara is going for it!
Photo credit: The Louisiana Marathon

"It's time to fly chickens!" We yelled to our group as every last one of them took off and left us! It was such a great feeling to see them go and reach beyond their goals!

Ryan and I were just a little excited to see our chickens fly!

In the last .2 miles, Ryan and I continued to encourage others to beat us (Ryan even pretended the cat sign was a broom, clearing the way)!

We came in at 4:29:17, just under our 4:30 pace!

Photo credit: The Louisiana Marathon

When we finished our group got together for a photo. All of these runners ran their personal best times, some by over 30 minutes!! THEY WERE AMAZING!!!

Our AMAZING group of runners at the finish!

We were proud pacers!

Ryan and I at the Finish!

Saw Patti and Stephanie at the finish and we made our way over to the food tents. We were so looking forward to eating some more of that pork and sweet potato, but it was not offered on Sunday, but there was Jambalaya! After two bowls, we picked up our Rendezvous Deja Vu Award craw fish plate (for doing the 5k and the Marathon) and we headed back to the hotel for a shower and a look at the Seahawks game before checking out.

Patti and I with out medals and our Rendezvous Deja Vu Awards.

We checked out of our hotel and went to stuff our faces at the Cracker Barrel before driving to New Orleans where Andrew had rented us pacers a sweet house in the heart of the French Quarter for the night.

Stephanie takes a shot of Fireball every time the Seahawks score (or in Sunday's case does anything of value)! Ha Ha!

Once we made it to New Orleans, chilled out for a little bit then hit the town! We started with dinner at New Orleans Creole Cookery, where we ate some great creole food, including a tastes of Marc's Alligator Andouolle Sausage!

Getting ready to try the local fare!

I had "The Taste Of New Orleans". This included: Jambalaya, Crawfish Etouffee, Shrimp Creole, and Red Beans and Rice.  

Andrew got the HUGE plate of Jambalaya!

Then we hit Bourbon Street for some dancing!

Bourbon Street was hopping! We even got beads thrown at us! 

Dancing with Andrew and Sabrina!

Brian and I showing off our beads!

The band was great!

Gangsta pacers!

The Sheik, Sabrina and Gucci!

Joni and her boyfriend Chris were in town to go on a cruise. It was cool to see her!

By 10:30 the day had caught up to me and I wanted to head back to the house. Brian was nice enough to walk me back and I went right to sleep missing Greg's twerk/lap dance from a drunk woman on the dance floor! Ha Ha!

We had to be out of the house by 11:00am, so we all were up early for a nice shake out recovery run!

Those of us that had time to kill before our flights home hit the streets around the French Quarter.

No Patti, I was not THAT kind of dancer!

Stephanie and I are ready for Mardi Gras

I was the last one to go home and it was bitter sweet. I always have the best time at the Louisiana Marathon. I didn't think anything could top last year, hanging out with my Maniac friends brings so much joy to my life! Such a great group of people! I can't wait to come back next year!

If you are looking for a fast course, good weather, nice medals and awards, and great food and beer, this race is for you!

Close up of my 5K Age Group Award

The 5k and Marathon medals and this year's bag.

This year's shirt is so nice and so is this cool hat!