I ran the Mardi Gras 1/2 Marathon today with my friends, Jennifer and Monique, and I really could not and would not have done it without them - starting with the actual arm twisting to get me signed up and ending with rides to and from the start and finish - I know I would have backed out if they had not been running.
It was nice to have people around for support and encouragement and great commentary while we had nothing to do but people watch for an hour and a half while we waited for our time corral to start.
All in all, even with the tricky logistics, it was a great race. I felt so lucky to be out there running on such a beautiful day and enjoying every minute of it. The bands were great - especially the one at mile 13 with the old ladies dancing in unison. It was so surreal that it caught me off-guard and I only regained my senses after a big breath of what Jennifer later described as "old lady perfume" did the work of smelling salts. The highlight, however, was seeing Christian, Luz and Big Sexy at mile 3. They were so smiley and proud, I felt like a hero.
It wasn't a super-fast race for me, but yet, I felt like I was working hard the entire time. I finished at 2:11, which is a pretty consistent 10 minute mile pace. The best part of the race - all of the free stuff at the end. I suppose it is the runner's equivalent of 'swag'. I didn't take any pictures of me, and you should be thankful. I did, however, manage a picture of all of the goodies:
Missing from picture are the following : one banana, one sports drink, one water bottle, 2 cans of Miller 64, and one bag of Zapps.
My favorite 'swag' : the 'blanket'. I am not sure what it is made out of and I have seen people using them before and wondered how they could possibly be effective. They warm you up in seconds. I was shocked. The best part - they were delivered to the runners post-race via a hug (this was optional, I know plenty of you would not have been interested - I thought it was sweet).