My winter training for the Mardi Gras Marathon has paid off. The last 10 weeks of training was through the cold harsh winter in Cleveland. During those long hard runs I would tell myself that "this will make me tougher and more prepared for the marathon".
So during those final miles of the marathon I really felt strong mentally and physically. And when I crossed the finish line I realized my legs are finally getting to the point of running through a whole marathon. This was my 7th marathon and the first time I didn't have to walk.
On Race day we had temperatures in the low 50's and over cast clouds. It was a perfect morning for a race. I positioned myself near the front and found others around me shooting for the 3 hour mark. I wore a marathon pace wrist band and immediately had a crowd around me when the gun went off. I was the pace leader and enjoyed the camaraderie. We stayed together until the half way point where we looped back into town. The crowds were large and cheering which helped me run a 6:38 (fastest mile) and to drop all my new friends by mile 14. For most of the second half I was running alone. Most of the crowds were at or near the aid stations which was every 2 miles.
The aid stations were in typical New Orleans fashion. A couple of them not only served us water and Gatorade but we also had the choice from a buffet of hot dogs, chips, and beer. The aid stations reminded my of the festive food choices along the Burning River 100 mile race without the beer. This was one fun race and the people down there do like to throw a party.
Another interesting course highlight was Bourbon street. It was was freshly soaped and washed minutes before we ran down the street. And the all night party people standing out in front of the bars cheered us runners on.
Overall this was by best marathon because of the good mental and physical shape I was in and the festive atmosphere the marathon had.
Total time 3:04:34 (Second fastest out of 7 marathons)