Rock N Roll New Orleans 2012 (Marathon Number 7, State Number 6–Louisiana)

I’m still trying to catch up with race recaps for the races I’ve completed in the past.  Earlier posts covered the Atlanta Marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon, the Virginia Creeper Marathon, the Nashville Country Music Marathon, the Baltimore Marathon, and the Harrisburg Marathon.  Next up…  my recap and review for the Rock N Roll (Mardi Gras) New Orleans Marathon!

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Website: Rock ‘N Roll New Orleans Marathon.

Location:  New Orleans, Louisiana. 

Time of Year: Sunday in February.

Size: 12,000 runners across events, including a half marathon.

Weather and What I Wore:  It was great running weather–clear skies, not windy, comfortable temperature.  I wore too-short shorts (which came back to haunt me, and necessitated handfuls of Vaseline as a I neared the end of the race), a short sleeved tech tee, and a hat.  I started with a long sleeved tee on top but ended up with it tied around my waist for most of the run.

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Harrisburg Marathon 2011 and 2013 (Marathons Number 6 and 10, State Number 5–Pennsylvania)

This is a nice little race.  So nice that I’ve done it twice and would probably do it again.   Here is my recap of the Harrisburg Marathon.

Website: Aspire Harrisburg Marathon.

Location: Harrisburg, PA.  Begins on City Island.

Size: About 700 full marathoners, joined by a small contingent of relayers.

Time of Year and Weather: November. Both times I ran, the weather was great for running, although a bit cold at the start.  Luckily there is no waiting around necessary before the start.  Towards the end of the race, running in the sun along the water, I wanted to shed all of my layers. But then once I finished, I wanted them all back.

En route to Harrisburg, PA.

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Getting Back to “Normal” After a Marathon

After a marathon, it is totally understandable that your body needs a break.  And you might find yourself really hungry and supersluggish for days after your race.  That’s fine.  Sleep in.  Eat what your body is asking for.

But sometimes we go beyond that, and for days and even weeks after a race.

At some point, we need to say,

“OK body, time to look ahead, not behind.”

So how do we get back to “normal” after months of training (and eating accordingly), then carb loading, then running 26.2 miles, and then trying to recover from it all?

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Baltimore Marathon 2011 (Marathon Number 5, State Number 4–Maryland)

Here is my recap and review of the Baltimore Marathon.

Website:  Baltimore Marathon

Time of Year:  October, which is a very lovely time of year in the mid-Atlantic.  I recall having great weather.

Logistics:  Getting to Baltimore is very easy via air (flying into BWI) or Amtrak if you do not live within driving distance.  Packet pickup was in the city–very easy.  I stayed with a friend in the city the night before the race, but there are tons of hotel options.  The race starts and finishes as Camden Yards–again, super easy.  Walk to the start!  (Yesssss.) Also, Camden Yards is pretty and fun.

Swag: I cannot emphasize this enough.  REQUEST A MEN’S SHIRT.  The women’s cut did NOT work on me.  Maybe it has been improved?  Better to just stick with the guys.  But otherwise, YAYLONGSLEEVEDTECHTEEMYFAVORITE.

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Rock N Roll Nashville/Country Music Marathon (Marathon Number 4, State Number 3–Tennessee)

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Country Music Marathon, 2011

Website: (Now Called) St. Jude Rock N Roll Nashville Marathon.

Size: 30,000 runners across all events (full, half, 5K).

Time of Year/Weather/What I Wore: Saturday at the end of April.  My weekend was quite warm, so be prepared.  I was nervous about overheating but drank ample water and sports drinks, and I ate ice and put it down my sports bra.  It was fine.

Race Logistics: This race is easily accessible via air, being in big city Nashville.  Just fly in if needed and Uber about as necessary.  Start and finish are conveniently located downtown.  There are lots of hotels nearby and lots of restaurants and attractions within walking distance of the race and the hotels.  It is nice that the race was on a Saturday, so runners could go out on Saturday night and relax around town on Sunday before heading out.

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Virginia Creeper Marathon 2011 & 2012 (Marathons Number 3 and 8, State Number 2–Virginia)

Ahh the old Creeper.  This race is near and dear to my heart because I absolutely love the town where it takes place.  If you are looking for a small race, a Virginia race, a race that is gentle on your joints, or a little weekend getaway in March–THIS IS IT FOLKS.

Virginia Creeper Trail Marathon 2011 & 2012

Race Website:  Creeper Trail Marathon.

Size: 100 runners.  Full marathon only.

Month: March

Location:  The race starts and ends in Abingdon, Virginia, a historic town nestled in the far southwest corner of Virginia, near Bristol, Tennessee.
abingdon

Logistics:  The closest airport to Abingdon is the Tri-Cities Regional Airport in Tennessee.  Roanoke Airport is also relatively close.  Abingdon is a 6 hour drive from DC. If you fly in, you will likely need to rent a car to get to Abingdon from the airport and around town.  There is little public transportation.  There are several campsites, cabins, and bed and breakfasts in the Abingdon area (including Damascus, Virginia).  There are also a few not-as-fancy hotels and one very nice hotel.  Once in Abingdon, day-of logistics are very easy because of the race’s small size.  Packet pick up is the morning of the race.  Note that most restaurants and shops in Abingdon are closed on Sundays.  Two very notable exceptions for yummy post-race food: Heartwood and Harvest Table (closes at 2:30).

Weather/What I Wore:  Abingdon is a beautiful town, and the Creeper is a lovely trail.  Unfortunately, this is not the absolute best time of year to visit.  Each time I ran this marathon, I had cloudy weather, and in 2012, it was rainy.  You will likely need to bundle up for the start of this marathon, but it is easy to shed layers as you pass the main spectator area a few times during your run.

Course/Terrain:  The vast majority of this race takes place on the Creeper Trail, through a series of out-and-backs.  The course is very flat, on a gravel and dirt path.  There are some rocks, twigs, and roots, but I’ve been fine running in road shoes.  Generally the runners of this race are very supportive, but most of the trail is not suitable for spectators, so there will be some solitary and quiet moments.  This is probably not the best race for a first marathon unless you have a running buddy.

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Speed:  This race is flat and moderately fast.  The footing may slow you down a bit if it has recently rained.  My first time, it took me 4:05, a PR at the time, but I beat that time a few weeks later by 10 minutes at the Country Music Marathon in Nashville.  The second (rainy) time I ran the Creeper, it took me 4:01, 17 minutes slower than what I had just run at the Rock N Roll New Orleans Marathon.

Race Amenities:  This is a very low-key, no-frills event.  There are ample water stops, but do not expect free GU and a brass band for entertainment.  No t-shirt or medal, but finishers are given a nice paperweight.

Overall:  Like It.  Why not Love? Mainly because of its out and back structure (which makes it a little boring) and the fact that it is in March and not a prettier month.

Marine Corps Marathon Recap (Marathons Number 2 and 9, State Number 2–Virginia)

The vast majority of this race is in DC but it technically counts for Virginia because it begins and ends there…  plus DC isn’t a state.  Next up on blasts from marathons past…

Marine Corps Marathon, 2008 & 2012

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