Race Review: Rock n’ Roll New Orleans Half Marathon

NOLA expoErica turned 40 on February 11th. To celebrate, her sisters and running friends booked a long weekend to celebrate and run in New Orleans. It worked out perfectly to run the Rock n Roll half marathon in New Orleans.

Before we do this race review, let me set this up with the week PRIOR to the race.

  1. Erica went skiing in Breckenridge for a week or more. She was gone forever.
  2. Karen suffered from insomnia for 4-5 nights.
  3. I decided to do training runs with Jen who is training for Boston and there’s just all kinds of pacing runs. I also got an indoor bike and has been doing rides on top of everything else. And, Dry-ish January has kept me feeling good.

The Saturday prior to the race, everyone decides to run anywhere from 11-17 miles (why? Because we love Jen so much we run/follow with her so she’s not alone). Karen has kept her cards close and will either PR the whole race or go into take shots in bars because it’s no longer dry January. Erica says she’s been running slow, but she lies. She’s been at elevation and will smoke a below sea level race. I am the usual a wild card depending on nerves and weather.

So we flew into New Orleans the Saturday before the race. The expo was typical with nothing to write home about. We were there for 30 minutes tops.

The half marathon was on Sunday, and we took an Uber to the race start. We NOLA startactually had about 30 minutes to relax, and we popped into a hotel lobby to stay warm – this was a GREAT decision. It helped us (me) stay calm, do some light stretching, and stay calm.

New Orleans half has everyone in corrals by expected finish time. This wave start makes such a big difference and cuts out on a lot of weaving around slower runners. I decided last second to run the race in a very controlled way, with a goal to even split the course. That meant staying within 3-4 seconds of the first mile (goal met, and it was a great feeling). Karen wanted to negative split so we ran together the first 6 or so miles before she started chipping away at the mile splits (she got her negative split). Jen met all of her varied paces for her training run. Erica went with the #nowatchme approach and had an excellent run!

We all agreed that the course was great. The streets aren’t quite as nice as other cities, so we did have to be mindful of uneven pavement in places, but we saw a lot of the city with the antebellum homes. We heard jazz music every 3 or so miles and that put everyone in a festive spirit. Two others from our group ran the 10k and had a great experience (Lori even took 2nd in her age group!). New Orleans is also flat; if you’re looking for a flat and fast run, this location and race should be up for consideration.

Of course, NOLA is famous for their food, and we made sure to have reservations to continue the post race celebration and Erica’s birthday. One of our favorite stops was Brennan’s, home of the Bananas Foster dessert. This was a perfect post race stop, and we took full advantage of a creative menu.

We all agreed that running a destination race was a lot of fun! If you’re looking for a quick getaway, consider New Orleans.

New Orleans dinner

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