Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ochsner Ironman New Orleans 70.3 Race Report

It’s now taken me over a WEEK to sit down and write my race report… I’ve been thinking about it – I mean obsessing about it.  I will start with two disclaimers:

1.  this is really long
2.  this has a TON of pictures

How am I going to put all of the emotions into words???  And find time to do it…

I’ve said it on here before that work has been busy lately; so busy in fact I still have 468 unread blogs in my google reader…. So sorry about that…. I promise I’ll get through them, and hope to comment too.

I thought I would break my race report up into sections…..

Thursday – April 14

I had a crazy day at work, I was hoping to get out early, around 2pm, but that didn’t happen.  I ended up leaving at 4:45pm.  I got home; we loaded up and hit the road.  By the time we got out of Dallas we had an 8 hour drive ahead of us.  That’s.a.long.time.

We stopped in Shreveport, about 3 hours outside of Dallas, and had dinner.  Other than that the drive was pretty uneventful – we made it into NOLA around 2:00am… crawled into bed and slept – until 10am J

Friday – April 15

Bill and I got up and ate breakfast at Café Du Monde.  A MUST if you are in New Orleans.  We walked around the French Quarter and took in all NOLA had to offer.  Bill had never been so I wanted to make sure we did all the walking and exploring on Friday so I could rest up on Saturday in preparation for the race on Sunday.

After we explored around town (sans camera due to dead battery … grrrr!) we headed to packet pick up and the expo.

Packet Pick Up

Packet pick up was very well organized.  You had a series of stations that they sent you to – starting with waivers, then pick up packet, then chip check in, t-shirts then bag pick up.  After all of that – it led you straight into IRONMAN village (expo).

Signing my life away

I was surprised that IRONMAN village was so small.  But I did get a sweet deal on a $10 polo shirt J

After packet pick up (and a 15 minute session with the Recovery Pump) Bill and I headed back to the hotel to rest up and then out for a nice dinner.
I really, really, really want one of these....
Bill was so sweet to take me to a wonderful dinner at Bourbon House.  The redfish on a half shell was UNBELIEVABLE!  (And the bourbon milk punch was even better)
We finished off dinner with a homemade chocolate chip bread pudding.  To.Die.For.

The best after dinner drink ever....

We sat and listened to a jazz band play on a patio...
 Saturday –  April 16

Amber flew in at 9:40 on Saturday morning so we went to the airport and picked her up.  We promptly headed to Café Du Monde for the second straight day for Café Au Lait and Beignets.  Saturday morning at Café Du Monde is terrible….the lines are outrageous.  Even the back side to-go line…. Lucky for me I found a rogue waiter.  We placed our order; paid him cash and were G-T-G (good to go).

He was sassin' me

We walked to Bourbon Street (Amber has never been to NOLA) and took in all of the nastiness that is Bourbon.  Amber and Bill rode a bull….. We took crazy pictures and enjoyed the beautiful day.  We stopped for Alligator and Gumbo for lunch. 

We do what we are told....

This picture = a huge bruise on my leg

Alligator and Gumbo

After lunch it was time for bike-check in.  This is when the reality of what I had signed up for set in.  We arrived at transition and saw the blow up bike in/run out tunnels were set up….the racks and signs were up…bike support was there…. It was REAL…and SCARY.

Checkin' in the bike

I checked my bike in and we headed out back to the hotel for an Athlete’s briefing.

The Athlete’s briefing was basically a verbal version of the athlete’s guide I had studied front to back about a billion times.  But it was nice b/c the swim course had changed and they went over that to make sure we were aware.  The water was wet suit legal so score on that too!

Overlooking the swim area

That's my transition rack!

During this time, Bill and Amber were scoping out places for dinner…. When I was finished at the briefing I met up with them and we headed to dinner at Pie; an awesome little Italian place across from our hotel in the warehouse district.  It was a super cool building with exposed brick walls and fun music.  The bruschetta was amazing…..the tiramisu – not so much.

Carbo loading

We walked across the street to the hotel, grabbed the car and I dropped Amber and Bill off at Bourbon street.  After they were safely on their way to debauchery I settled in for a little rest and relaxation.  Immediately – I took a hot bath and soaked my nerves away in the tub.  I laid out all of my gear – re packed it and checked my list (about 4 times)
As I soaked in the hotel tub...Bill was soaking a bird bath..

I hopped on twitter and found out from another athlete that was racing NOLA70.3 that a plane crashed on the bike course.  Omen #1 that maybe NOLA70.3 wasn’t going to be all that I expected.

I turned on the local news to see the story about the small single engine plane that decided to land at one of the intersections of the bike course…..hope that doesn’t make us bottleneck tomorrow…oh yea, I also hope that everyone was OK.

*the pilot walked away just fine FYI

My mom was schedule to get in around 9:30 so I expected her back at the hotel around 10pm.  I fell asleep but woke up when she got there… I was happy she made it – rolled over and headed back to sleep for sweet triathlon dreams.

Sunday – April 17

4:00am my alarm went off.  I jumped out of bed – rested and feel great.  I was excited…pumped up – ready to go!

I checked the weather on the ipad – 7mph winds – awesome J Flat water – no wind on the bike – I was ready to rock.

I ate my granola bar, drank a bottle of water and half of a Gatorade by 4:30am. I knew I needed to eat 3 hours prior to race time…I was scheduled for 7:31am start…perfect!  I woke up everyone, they got ready and we were out the door by 5:15am.

Transition area
It was about a 15-20minute drive from the hotel to the race start.  I was nervous the whole way.  We arrived at the site – traffic/parking was so organized it was ridiculous. We parked easy and headed to transition to get set up.

On our way in – I heard the news.  NO SWIM.  I’m not going to lie – I was excited at first.  The swim is what makes me puke…the swim is what scares me the most, the swim is what I have been dreading for 29 weeks.  Then it hit me…no swim=no 70.3  The winds were sustained on the water at 25-30mph and gusting 40+ mph.  They would not even deploy the kayaks to drop the buoys the winds were so bad.  The race officials deemed it “unsafe conditions” and the swim was thus cancelled.

Amber pumping herself up!
I was really discouraged. I texted Jason and told him the swim had been cancelled…he responded back “You can’t control it, don’t get flustered – Do your best on the bike and run. Focus on that.”

By this time word had come down that the bike was going to be a time trial start and I was severely disappointed.

The swim is where all the competitive juices get flowing – sure you get kicked, hit, your goggles may come off, your heart rate soars, but it’s the start of the RACE! It what makes you feel like you are RACING….. it is where your mind is going in 90 different directions and although mileage wise, it is the shortest part of the race – for me, it’s the longest…it feels like it will never end – BUT it’s where can feel the race atmosphere and inevitably gets you in the right mind set for the next 6+ hours.

I felt sad and cheated and was upset that I wasn’t going to feel ALL of that….

Non- existent

I ended up starting about an hour and half late…so now my nutrition routine was off.  I ate a honey stinger waffle while waiting to go off on the time trial bike start.  I was hoping it would hold me over until I could get into my nutrition on the bike.

A time trial bike start is where you start with 3 or 4 other people about 10 seconds in between each group.  Almost like a road rally type feel.  B.O.R.I.N.G.
I was already in the mind set that this was a long workout day and not a race.  Probably not the best mind set but it is what is.

We lined up “conga” line style on our way to start…before I knew it I was off….

We exited out of the chute to the right and went out 5 miles did a turn around and headed back towards transition.  On the way out I was averaging 21+ mph.  (Thank you tail wind) on the way end it was closer to 14mph (I hate you head wind).  After we crossed back through transition I sat in for another 46 miles of biking around New Orleans.

We went out about 5 miles on high way – crossed over two draw bridges and then made a left hand turn on to country type road where we straight away for 13 miles to the ½ way turnaround point. 

After you turned at mile 28 we went up another 5 miles or so to another country road took a right hand turn and headed down there for about 8 miles to another turn around point and then we were home free back to the highway and to transition.

The entire bike race had more drafting than I ever thought would be allowed and I only saw one race official the entire time.  I did not draft (although tempted with the winds).  My nutrition was spot on during the race.  I was consuming about 80 calories every 30 minutes and drinking either water or Gatorade every 15 minutes.  I never felt hungry or thirsty and knew the entire time I was going to be prepared for the run.  That was a good feeling.

All the way from mile 29, home to mile 53 I was jockeying position with Jorge.  Jorge was singing on his bike the whole time I was around him.  It was in Spanish so I have no idea what he was singing – but he helped me pass the time and the miles.  Jorge was on a mountain bike and looked as if he was just out for a Sunday ride……. I would pass him, he would pass me and we did this dance all the way to mile 53 when I pulled away and pushed it home to transition.

Mile 53 – I immediately wanted off my bike. 

I tried something new on race day….I know they say never do this – but I thought what the hell….

I slipped my feet out of my bike shoes before I dismounted and ran in my socks through transition.  I’ve always been scared to do this for fear of crashing my bike – but it was a great decision – running in bike shoes is never fun.  However, transition was in a HUGE grass field so I had a few stickers to pick out of my socks before putting on my running shoes.

The run *dare I say* was not as difficult as I expected it to be.  This could be because of my nutrition plan on the bike, it could be the level of fitness I am at (that I didn’t realize) or it could be that I just generally was EXCITED to get off my bike and run!

I headed out of transition and saw my family sitting on the curb….I had a HUGE smile – I was so happy to see them; and headed out for 13.1 miles of fun!  I told them “I’ll meet you in 13.1 miles for a hurricane”

I ran my first mile in 8:50.  WOWZA – I’m not that fast – my legs felt like jello and I wish I had that pace in me for an entire half marathon.  But that is my pipe dream!

At mile 1 – and the first aid station – all of my proper hydration hit me.  I had to pee.  It was the most glorious 30 seconds of my life.

I hit the aid station, a little water and an orange slice and was off.  I ran the first 2 miles pretty steady and then decided it was time to deploy my run/walk strategy.  I had planned on running 8 minutes walking 2 minutes to get through the distance but I ended up having to change it up.  We ran through 2 different parks…. Each had light poles about equal distance apart for a good portion of the race.  I would run the distance of 3 light poles and then walk the distance of 1.  I did this until mile 10 when we turned to head into the French Quarter.

Mile 10 I started running distance between streets….run from one street to the next, walk the next so on and so forth.

At mile marker 11 – I flipped.  I flipped shit…..I just about finished NOLA70.3 in jail…and not b/c I was a drunk idiot like Nicolas Cage.

I hit mile marker 11 and was ecstatic to be so close to the finish; when this douche bag police officer tried to make me stop.  Here was our conversation (to the best of my recollection)

DBPO(Douche Bag Police Officer): Ma’am hold up!

Me: Excuse me?

DBPO: I said Hold Up!!! We have a parade coming

Me: You have GOT to be shitting me – I’m on mile 12 of a freaking 70.3 mile race and you are telling me to hold up?

DBPO: Ma’am you are going to have to wait until the parade is over…

Me: Sire you are crazy……– *sprinting through the intersection and on to Esplanade *

*Enter Lori*

Lori: Was he serious?

Me: I hope he isn’t yelling at us…

Lori: He can’t catch us….lets go!

Lori ended up being my angel that day. I swear had it not been for her I would have continued my walk/run routine until people could actually see me on Decatur Street.Lori encouraged me to finish out STRONG and PROUD – we finished in the finishers shoot at 9:30/mile for the last mile. 

Lori disappeared….. I can’t find her on the competitor list either….maybe she really was my angel…Who knows…..

As I crossed the finish line it was probably the most amazing moment of my life….honestly.  (Short of never being married or having babies) – I sobbed, I stretched, I had a jungle juice and then I iced bathed…..

After the race we met up with my cousin and his wife for a hamburger at Port Of Call.  It was great seeing them and catching up!

It was an amazing experience, even without the swim, and I look forward to my next race.  Now it’s time to sit back and plan out my summer race schedule……But first…. Work calls..boo!

GRATUITOUS PHOTOS: (b/c some are really cute)

Bill, Mom and Amber - Gambling while I was racing!

Oh yes and drinking!

Finishing in the french quarter

My mommy!

My love!

My bestie!

This one was for Cayla since she couldn't be there!  HULA HOOP!


She attacked me - b/c she was the coolest girl on the street that day!

Mom and Amber dancin'

Nothing like a little stretch with a Jungle Juice!

The night after the race - I couldn't wait for a HAND GRENADE!

official finisher pic!


  1. You rock my socks girl - I love all the photos - I loved your recap - not to mention that you look beautiful :+)


  2. Great re-cap and awesome photos... you look soo tan ;) You did an amazing job. I'd really like to do N.O. one day. Dare you consider Austin this year??? Jason's doing it and I'm on the fence.

  3. Great recap! This is awesome! I am looking into doing a sprint tri, but I am nervous about doing it!

  4. Amazing! This made me want to do a half marathon! Great job!

  5. You will get your 70.3, but how many of us can say they did a 69.1, not anyone I know, you have a story within itself right there.

    I cant believe a cop stopped you during a race for a parade, I blame WTC for not securing that lane on the run

    Congrats, you are a rockstar

  6. Congrats! Sounds like you had a great time!

  7. You look so strong and beautiful in every picture!!! Way to kill it! And what a great story..seriously a parade?????

    Congratulations on job well done!

  8. Great race report - it had to have been so deflating to have the day start the way it did, but you took it in stride, smiled, and finished that bad boy! Congrats!!!! Loved all of the pictures!

    That police officer was off his rocker to think you would just sit and watch the parade and then finish.

    And I love my Recovery Pump. It's amazing isn't it?? :)

  9. Awesome, awesome, awesome! You have some great pictures! As for stopping for a parade... really, that man must have been insane. Love the ice bath - a new use for a kiddie pool. I am totally getting one :) Is your race outfit zoot? really like it.

  10. Congrats on a great finish. It looks like you had a lot of fun too. Love all the pic's.

  11. Holy WOW! What a great race report! I loved your policeman story. WHATEVER??!!!! You did the RIGHT thing :D

  12. congrats!! that's crazy that the cop tried to stop you! Wonder what happened to the people behind you, if he made them stop?!

  13. Congrats girl! So proud of you! What a great day and even more fun weekend! When's the next one?!?

  14. You are awesome!!!! loved the race report. Congrats on the finish!!

  15. WOW Amazing job ... and great report ... loved all the pics!!! Awesome job!

  16. Awesome! Amazing! Crazy! You did it, girl! All those nerves, and you did it. Congrats!!!

  17. You had quite the crazy-happenings! Glad the pilot landed on Sat instead of Sun. Now this Iron PR will be hard to beat with a swim added on next time ;)

    Congrats to coming out on top in a difficult race situation!

  18. I've meant to comment on this for a long time lol :D Congrats on a great race! Loved the whole recap and awesome pictures :)

  19. Congrats! It looks like you and your friends had similar fun to what we did.

    I did my first almost half at NOLA. I went for a swim Saturday and it was really rough. With the winds even stronger Sunday, I had a knot in my throat on the way to the race. I was bummed I only got to do a 69.1 but relieved I didn't have to swim in that chop.


Leave me some love...

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.