I knew this was going to be an awesome race as soon as hit play on my Ipod. When I crossed the starting line on Tchoupitoulas Street, the first song on the shuffle was perfect for the day. Out of thousands of songs in my running mix, the Ipod picked, Dr. John's Back to New Orleans. That had to be a good omen.
I loved this race. Probably the most consistently beautiful course I've ever run. It's everything good you hear about New Orleans - the Mississippi, the Garden District, creepy Lafayette Cemetary, the French Quarter and the glorious homes up Esplanade Avenue. Every street was lovely and the people were wonderful. (It was the first time I had someone smoking a cigarette hand me a cup of water at an aid station.)
I ran slowly, but comfortably for the entire race. I was a bit worried since my training has really suffered since January. Between my swollen ankle and moving houses, I lost a lot of training time. The weight loss more than made up for the reduced training time. It's a lot easier to run if you drop 15% of your tonnage.
One more thing I have to cheer - the pre-race potty situation. If you've ever raced you know the worst thing is that there are never enough port-o-lets at the starting line. A marathon start is 20,000 over-hydrated people showing up at one time; there are always huge lines to get to a port-o-lets. I've stood in bladder-busting lines that were 20-30 people deep. This race had the best bathroom innovation ever. Each starting corral had 5 port-o-lets inside the corral itself. No need to leave your corral to stand in long bathroom lines and hope you can make it back in time to cross the start line. Brilliant.