Sunday, February 02, 2014

Rock n Roll New Orleans Marathon Review

Great!  Marathon number 78, on the way to 100.  I felt strong all the way.

The worst fog was in the
French section
Runners have strange taste in weather, and this was (almost) as good as it gets.  Mostly low- to mid-sixties, heavy overcast, refreshing breeze, a bit foggy for the first half, and humid throughout, with maybe one mile of light rain early.  Hard to beat that weather for running, especially after being figuratively toasted in November and actually frozen out in December, when the Memphis Marathon was cancelled by an ice storm.

We're from Minnesota, where lately it's either 15 below zero or it's snowing.  This weather was a treat.

My Marathon:

Bagpipe Band
Better than expected - I was a bit anxious about this one.  I was shooting for 6 hours and beat that by about 17 minutes.  I did my usual run/walk, this time running 20 triplets (60 footfalls) and walking 40.  I walk fast.  I was prepared to go to 60 triplets in the walks, but never had to do that.

The second half of the marathon took me only about four minutes longer than the first half - not bad.  No one passed me in the second half, and I passed lots.  I didn't train very well for this marathon - my longest run was just nine miles - but I sure did shovel a lot of snow and maybe that helped?  Apparently it didn't hurt.

At the beginning of the marathon I walked my 40 triplets and just couldn't wait to run again.  Toward the end of the race it was the exact opposite - during a run I couldn't wait to walk some more.  This is normal - it all works out!

My girls did fine too, finishing the half right on time.

After the race
Whining:  A little pain in the right tibia, just below the knee joint and slightly to the outside, worse when the road surface slanted to the right.  I tried to stay on surfaces that were not slanted either way, and the pain did not limit my run at all.  I've had other pains in that tibia in the last year - maybe it's time to ask my doc for an x-ray of that bone.

Cramps:  I've had painful cramps in my calves for years now, especially in the last miles of a marathon but sometimes even in bed at night, severe enough to actually bruise the muscle so it hurts later.  A few months back I started taking a modest dosage of magnesium, 125 mg twice per day, as magnesium taurate.  That stopped the night cramps, but not the running cramps.  Today I took two caplets, for 250 mg magnesium, just before the race.  After the start I took water any time I could, often two cups (they don't always get them very full), and about ten salt tablets, one every two to four miles.  That, and comfortable temperatures, and a sensible pace, kept the cramps away entirely.  Yay!

In a previous blog, someone commented that magnesium oil rubbed on the cramping muscles can help too, probably without the risk of inducing diarrhea, though that risk is small with magnesium taurate.

The New Orleans Marathon:

Excellent - I have no complaints.  Good stuff:
  • We never had to compete with vehicles for the same road space.  I love that.
  • More than enough water stations.  Perfect.
  • There was a mix of music - we liked the jazz and the bagpipe band better than the rock & roll.
  • Lots and lots of police, troopers, sheriff's deputies, and volunteers manning the intersections.
  • The only hills are bridges, and none of those are very high.
  • I highly recommend this race.  It's run by professionals.
  • 9675 finishers in the half marathon, not including relay runners.
  • 2749 in the full.
I ran this marathon in honor of two favorite survivors, Caroline and Sharon.

  • Two women ran with only their bras above their shorts, but the bras were gold in color and made of something very stiff and slightly open at the top, offering a bouncy view of feminine tissue as they ran.  Being happily married for 50 years I only glanced, of course, and didn't stare or get out my camera.  Like other people did.
  • One woman was running the marathon on crutches.  She seemed to be slowing as I came up on her, and she got a lot of encouragement from the rest of us.  I hope she finished.
  • I saw more Team in Training coaches than I've ever seen before.  The TNT runners are raising the money, and their coaches are giving advice and encouragement.  Lots and lots of the runners too, of course.
  • Brooks Running is a sponsor of the race and had an amusing inflatable character at about mile 10, a guitarist I think, huge, towering over the street with his head in the fog.  We all ran through his legs, or under his crotch you might say.  Was that Elvis?  Was he an ambassador from the Memphis race that wasn't?  That would sort of make sense.
  • Because we had registered for the Memphis Marathon, we were invited to a VIP tent after the race where the early finishers got some jambalaya or gumbo, whatever.  That was nice.  When the girls got there the jambalaya was gone, though.  I got in even later and skipped it - the fast runners get the good stuff.
  • The race was mostly two out-and-back parts, so we got to see many of the other runners twice.  On the way back from the second turnaround I saw the very last marathon runner, still going out, but closely followed by the cleanup crew.  That consisted of a street sweeper and several large trucks, City of New Orleans equipment I believe, and when they had passed, there was no evidence that a marathon had ever been held on that side of the street.
  • I thanked one woman who was a TNT runner and told her my story.  She responded that she also has cancer, CLL, and we shared good wishes before I ran on ahead.
Splits:  12:49, 24:47 (2 mi), 13:29, 12:21, 13:03, 55:22 (4 mi w nature break), 12:31, 13:18, 12:37, 11:40, 28:08 (2 mi), 12:59, 38:52 (3 mi), 39:18 (3 mi), 12:24, 12:45, 14:15 (slowed for photographer), 2:36, total 5:43:06, pace 13:05.

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