Thursday, April 26, 2012

New Orleans Half Iron...ish (Pre Race)

Get a nice cup of coffee, or beverage of your choice, sit back and relax...this is going to be long (maybe even in parts!).

Non-race stuff...I LOVE New Orleans.  It's one of my favorite cities in the world.  Yes, it's dirty.  Yes, there are a lot of homeless, drunk and sketchy people all over the place.  Yes, parts of it smell like booze and urine.  However, other parts smell like crawfish, gumbo and beignets.  And don't even get me started on the sounds--jazz, blues and tap dancing in the street!  I've been there many times, including one time as an insurance adjuster just weeks after Katrina, and other than the utter devastation I saw, I've loved every moment in the Big Easy.  This trip was no exception; the town never lets me down.

Because a friend knows someone, I got to stay with 3 other gals in a sweet condo about a block away from the Quarter.  It's a time share place and was perfect-full kitchen, 2 bedrooms, quiet, great staff.  I certainly want to go back there.  Although there was a big group of people going down, because we were all taking bikes, and because I am NOT a plan-ahead kind of gal, I ended up not being able to ride with anyone.  It turned out to be a good thing after all because on the way down I was able to mentally plan out some Spinning class playlists...and was able to keep my nerves at bay (believe it or not).

When I got there, my three roommates were waiting on me so we could go over to athlete check in.  We had planned on going to an athlete briefing, but we weren't quite sure if it was at the host hotel or the convention center so we missed it.  We were able to get checked in and pick up our numbers, swim cap, timing chip, awesome bag and not-so-awesome race shirt.  The expo was small, but had everything you could imagine needing for triathlon for sale.  It was the most laid back expo I've ever been to--probably because it was Friday evening.  I bought a NOLA 70.3 sticker and some Tri Slide to help me put my wetsuit on without having to rub Body Glide all over me.

Afterwards we found a place to eat.  This was a little hard because I know I can't eat certain things (especially before a race) but, man do I LOVE cajun food!!  I kept my race goal in mind and chose wisely (fish soup and rice).  I had planned on going for a short run, but didn't end up doing that Friday night.

Saturday morning I woke up, ran a couple of blocks over to another friend's hotel.  A group of us went over to the race briefing together...and found out, as predicted, the swim was (most likely) going to be cancelled...they made if official about an hour after we left.  Instead of being a 70.3 half Ironman, it had turned into a 67.1 duathlon (2 mile run, 52 mile bike* and then 13.1 mile run...*the bike course had to be shortened because, apparently, part of the course was underwater or had some storm damage to it).  They also changed the 13.1 course to be a double loop instead of a big single loop (which would have been my preference).  Although I was slightly relieved about not having to think about the swim...I was more than a little bummed out about the changes.  But, I always said it would be my first not my only...and since I had a feeling it was coming, I had already decided the race was going to be about taking whatever was thrown at me.

Because of the changes, Saturday's bike check-in became optional so I decided to wait-no need to get my car out both days.  I finally got to get a little run in...and it was so amazing I didn't want to stop!!  I felt like I could run all day long.  My right calf had been feeling like it was on the verge of cramping up, but it was fine as I was running.  I left my watch at home since I knew I wasn't going to wear it at the race so I just ran what I thought was about 20 minutes and made myself stop.  After a shower and some much needed make up we were off to dinner.  We went to Louisiana Pizza Kitchen ...and I had... salad.  It was surprisingly easy to stay away from all the food I wasn't supposed to have because all I could think about was the race!!

Early to bed and early to rise.  I had gotten everything completely ready the day before so all I had to do was get up, get dressed, eat and go.  The one thing I didn't account for--really cold weather!  I didn't have a jacket or even anything long-sleeved!  When I got to transition, there were two super nice LSU Tiger fans parked beside me, one of whom let me borrow a Tiger sweatshirt which I gratefully accepted (that's just how cold it was out there!).  I found out later it's owner was just about to put it on when I walked by shivering to he shivered to death in my place!!  How sweet, right?!

Since the race changed from a tri to a run-bike-run I had to rethink my transition area just a tiny bit.  I also had a difficult time figuring out where we were starting and where the first run in was.  I asked several people, but no one seemed to be able to give me a straight answer until just before the race.  Even one of the directors couldn't seem to understand why I wanted to know (he said I just needed to follow everyone, unless everyone else was going to be running to MY bike, that wasn't going to help me get oriented in transition).

One stop off at the portopotty and it was time to take the sweatshirt off and get ready to watch the pros start!!

Thanks for stopping in....come again soon for the race recap! :D

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