We are back from New Orleans, and the Mardi Gras 5K! That’s right: we’ve got State #10 in the books, and I’m the proud owner of another shiny medal! This was a fantastic race weekend away, and I am so grateful for the opportunity. Getting to run in another location is always such a gift and experience and I would love to share that with you!
We arrived in New Orleans around noon on Friday, and were lucky enough get checked into our hotel right way. From there, we had lunch, and then took an Uber to the New Balance store in Metairie for early packet pickup as recommended. I was pretty delirious from being up since 3AM with only two hours of sleep, so not much to report from that front. We got our swag bags and shirts, and then our driver took us back to town. I put out my race outfit and tried to determine how much outerwear I would bring for the cold start line.
We had a delicious pasta dinner and then called it a night, with the sounds of jazz music playing from the street. It was kind of amazing.
With an 8:30AM start time, we opted to get our rideshare for 7AM. We split a Nature’s Valley granola bar, although I was still a little hungry. What can you do?
And then we just hung out until our time to run. The Mardi Gras 5K was attached to a festival called Family Gras, located right next door. There was supposed to be an early entrance for runners, with access to the live music, vendors, and fun, but the weather was making things challenging.
Instead, we meandered around the venue, used the restroom, and just tried to stay warm. I ended up wearing shorts and a tank top, with a long sleeve shirt around my waist, and gloves, just in case. In the event of rain, I brought my hat, but that was it.
Time To Go!
After the kids’ fun run, we all lined up at the start line. The race director asked for the 6 minute per mile or faster runners to come to the front, but everyone else just filled in where they were. This meant I was way closer to the front than I would have liked. Oops.
They played the National Anthem and we were off.
The Mardi Gras 5K
In the interest of honesty, this was not the prettiest, most scenic or most interesting course in the world. We ran about a mile down the main road, turned left for just over half a mile, turned around and ran back the way we came. It was mostly flat, and the roadway was unobstructed and plenty wide enough for the runners. Along the way, there were plenty of volunteers and two water stops. I passed on both of those.
I started out way too fast (for me), and struggled in that first mile. To add insult to injury, my shorts started falling down and I had to knot the drawstring while running and not tripping over myself! Boo! But I solved that problem and kept pushing.
Every time I wanted to give up and walk, I told myself to hang on for a count of 20, then 40, then 100. And I kept doing that to the finish line. Even though it was cold, and threatening to rain, it was super humid and I had a hard time breathing.
I crossed the finish line with another post-injury PR! No negative splits this time but my overall time was significantly better. I’ll take it!
The Finish Line
I collected my medal and a branded towel, and then I waited for Mr PugRunner. He came in a few minutes behind me, which meant it was time to celebrate!
The race offered slices of King Cake and free beer, and I was so ready for it!
We hung out for a while, waiting for the Family Gras to open, but they were super delayed. It was fun just milling around and taking it all in, but then some rain drops fell, so we decided to get a car and head back to the hotel before we got stormed on.
First of all: STATE #10!!!! Huge! So exciting!
Second of all: a new PR for this stage of life. I’m also not terribly far off my overall PR, and I feel myself getting closer with every attempt. This is, again, such a boost of confidence, and I love it.
All in all, it was a good race for me. Yes, I could have been more conservative at the start, but it worked out for the 5K distance.
We were a little bummed that Family Gras was postponed, but with the weather, I can’t blame them. It did take the race from something super unique to just a regular, local 5K, but these things happen. To make up for it, we got fancy coffee and beignets at the hotel coffee shop, and that made it better.
What gives you confidence after a race? Do you prefer “regular” race events, or big production with lots of attached events?
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