New Orleans, Louisiana

State #21

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Half: Rock & Roll New Orleans 
Date: February 10, 2019
Finish Time: 1:33
Who’d I travel with? Mom & Boyfriend
Pre-run meal? Lemon Chicken & Vegetables


Guys. I’m not even sure where to begin with New Orleans. I had always imagined, in my head, what New Orleans would look like, be like, sound like, feel like; but nothing I imagined was even close to the reality of this unique stop in my journey. 

Before I get into the actual half marathon I must say that the Uber and Lyft drivers there…honestly, there is nothing like them anywhere else, and I’ve traveled around my fair share of cities. They just have the most interesting stories I’ve ever heard. As we drove around exploring on day 1 of the trip, the driver explained to us the history and background of those unique “above ground cemeteries” around the city of New Orleans. I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW THOSE WERE A THING. But as he explained, I shit you not, he told us that, “up to 5 people get put into each grave. Once a person has been in the grave for, specifically, one year and one day, they shove them to the back and put another person in there.” After I inquired more about the specificity of the “one year and one day rule” he explained, “they got to make sure they’re done and cooked,” before they can put another body in there….. what. the. heck. He also explained that, “usually it’s family members of the same family buried together, unless, of course, the family is short on cash and then they’ll rent out spaces to other people for cheap.”ARE YOU KIDDING ME. And this wasn’t the only case of Uber/Lyft scaries during our trip. 

However, for the sake of my time and your attention span, I’ll continue with the story of my trip. 

On day 1 we decided to explore by foot. First, we listened to some live music on Frenchman Street (highly recommended) – we bounced around visiting Blue Nile, The Maison, and a few other Jazz hotspots. We found a game-room/arcade bar called Barcadia (also a good time) and pretty much took up residency in front of Big Buck Hunter. We ended our pre-race day with a nice dinner and an early bedtime since it would be an early 7:00 starting time the next day. 

This race, in particular, was one of my biggest. It was another Rock & Roll Half Marathon – the huge series that travels to all of the major cities and puts on the biggest, coolest, races I’ve seen. What this means, for me, is that I know I’ll get stuck somewhere in the pack during the start of the race, but I know I’ll be motivated to pass people the whole entire time. It also means that I have people to pace myself with, since there are so many people running similar paces throughout the race. Prior to starting, I discussed my goal time with my mom and boyfriend, stating: “I don’t even know what I’m going for today,” as I looked at a “half marathon finish time paces” spreadsheet on my phone (literally the most unplanned person in the world – who looks at the pacing chart 10 minutes before their race to determine what they want to do!?). I decided I didn’t care what my pace was for this race, I just wanted to get under 7:30 minute miles, which was highly possible for me given my previous times. 

However, as the race began, and I began to compete and pass the people around me, and I quickly realized 7:30 wasn’t going to happen. I WAS CRUISING GUYS. My first few miles were 7:00, 6:58, and 7:04. I was averaging 7:02 consistently by mile 6. At mile 8, when I realized I WAS STILL HOLDING THIS PACE, I decided I was going to stick it out and finish with sub 7:10 per mile, something I’ve never even dreamt of doing thus far in my journey. When I texted my mom to say “3 left” she literally thought I was either kidding or mistaken. NOPE. I rounded the corner for that last .1 mile and was still holding firm – 7:02 finishing pace – 1:33 finish time. I was so unbelievably proud, not to mention completely shocked, when I saw the number 1:32:54 ticking before me as I sprinted in. I had never seen such a low number displayed on that huge finish line clock – and I can’t really explain the butterflies in my stomach as I realized that was my ​finish time I was looking at.  While I don’t necessarily like to put the emphasis of this journey on my finish time or on my performance, I can honestly say that I have come so unbelievably far, and there isn’t a much better feeling than the happiness you recieve from your hard work, dedication, and persistence towards improvement. 

After the race it was OBVIOUSLY time to celebrate. Like for real. I was in freaking New Orleans and had just finished 13 miles in 93 minutes. I NEEDED A DRINK. NOW. And there was no shortage of drinks here. Bourbon Street is a place that I’ve heard about so many times, but never imagined when or why I would go there, or if I ever would. This journey has allowed me the opportunity to see these places that you imagine seeing in person — and Bourbon Street was one of those places I envisioned myself finally seeing one day during my trips. SO MANY PLACES AND ALL DAY TO DO IT – nothing was going to stop me from living my best life today. We went everywhere – AND I FOUND OUT THAT IT’S TRUE, WE ACTUALLY GOT TO CARRY OUR DRINKS FROM PLACE TO PLACE. Pat O’Brien’s introduced me to a beautiful rainbow drink, House of Blues offered us a drink that was so strong you were only allowed to order one per person, and after several more bars, Barcadia felt like home sweet home as we played more Big Buck Hunter and Golden Tee to finish out the night. 

With such an action-filled adventure and the excitement of my new personal record, I left New Orleans the next day with a full tank of happiness and a desperate need for some Advil and H2O. Thank you New Orleans, Louisiana for making #21 so special. 

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