run, rest, eat, bitch, buy things, cross-train, blog, repeat.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

17+ miles in the Crescent City

I love running, it's as much a part of my daily routine and life as brushing my teeth. And one of my favorite things about running is that you can literally do it anywhere. And so anytime I travel, I always bring wayyyyy too many running clothes in the hopes of getting out into the city. This past weekend was no different. Except... I didn't have plans for a nice 1 hour jaunt throughout the city... No... I had plans for a long run. A very long run.

Here's the deal. April needed an 18 miler this weekend according to her training plan. Initially, I found a 30k race in New Orleans for Sunday morning that I thought would be awesome to do and then I realized... Wait... Sunday morning comes immediately after Saturday night. Probably not the best idea. So, instead since April and I were the only ones in town on Thursday night and Friday morning, we decided we'd do it on Friday morning.

We did well on Thursday night. We fueled up on some pizza and water and then we hit up the Huge Ass Beer place (Hey! Beer contains carbs). And we were back to the hotel room and in bed by 11:30. The plan was to hit the streets at 7am, as to give us plenty of time to get back to the hotel before the next friend got into town (11:30) and also before a thunderstorm rolled in.

I had mapped out a perfect 17 mile route, basically making 2 loops of the square of Canal Street to the River to Esplanade to City Park to N. Carrollton back Canal. Easy. One loop was 8.5. I figured we could get the extra mile in the park, or down by the river or something.

We started out okay... we hit the walgreens next door for some water (April is snooty with her water and wouldn't fill her bottles up with tap water, like I did) and then we headed down Royal Street towards Canal. To be honest... initially I wasn't feeling spectacular. I didn't feel bad, but I didn't feel great. One awesome thing though? The weather! It was overcast and like 63 degrees. PERFECT. We got a little turned around making our way to Esplanade from the river, so tacked an extra mile or so at that point by going the wrong way, then correcting ourselves before we actually made it to Esplanade.

April and I run in two totally different environments. She's a residential runner and I'm a city runner. I'm used to dodging people, cars, waiting at intersections, etc. She's not and she was getting stressed out by all the stimuli around. Finally we got to Esplanade and at this point, I was actually starting to feel kinda good.

There was one problem though. April has a garmin... but it's not a GPS garmin, it's the foot pod/cadence garmin. And everytime I would ask her what our pace was she'd say something like... 12:30/13:00... OCCASIONALLY I'd get an 11:30 out of her. But, I knew that there was no way in hell we were running that pace. I mean.. don't get me wrong.. I can and will run a 13:00 minute mile... but right then, we weren't. So, by the time we hit the park and April told me we'd only ran like 4.5 miles and we'd been out for over an hour I thought I was going die.

Despite that, we plugged on and decided to make up some extra mileage within the park.

April when we first arrived at City Park

We spent about another hour in the park. Running along the paths there... finding a track and running a couple loops on it, and we spent a good part of that time looking for a bathroom (surprisingly... not for me! holla!). We darted out of the park to hit up a gas station for a bathroom, but it was sketch-city, so hopped back into the park... thinking SURELY TO GOD there is a public bathroom somewhere. Everytime I saw any type of shelter-y looking building.. I'd say... "that looks like one" and we'd run over to it and it would just be like a maintenance shed or something. Eventually... we came upon a playground. We decided to take a mini-break and we hopped on the swing set.

We convinced ourselves that we were actually coming up with a new form of cross-training to be performed mid-run. It was awesome. I hadn't been on a swing in years and I forgot how fun they are! (and how weird your legs feel afterwards).

At this point I was trying to convince April that by the time her garmin told us we had 18 miles.. we'd probably have 19-20. She didn't care. She wanted to see the 18 miles on her watch. And ultimately, as much as I hated hearing it, I completely understood. So I tried to shut my trap and we headed on... Even though she revealed to me that she hadn't recalibrated that thing since she first got it YEARS ago. For a brief moment I thought about ripping the watch off her wrist and smashing it into the sidewalk.

We hit up a Walgreens, so that I could get some gatorade and so that April could use the bathroom. At this point, according to her watch, we were about half-way and I thought.. ohhh 9 miles. That's so NOTHING. Until I realized it had taken us 2 hours to run the "9 miles" we'd ran so far. We made it back down Canal Street, back to the river and then back to Esplanade, where I decided to take a detour so that we could run up Bourbon Street for a bit.

The soberest we'd see Bourbon Street all weekend.

It was here that we started to encounter people and delivery guys and we weaved through the city at this point... just pushing and trying to get the last 5 miles that we needed. We headed back to the River to try and run up and down the river as much as we could to make up the last 3 or so miles that the garmin said we needed. But by this point, the storm was moving in and the wind had picked up. Finally, April said that she wanted to go back to the hotel and finish whatever mileage was left on the treadmill there.

So, we headed back. When we got to the hotel, her garmin read exactly 16 miles. I KNEW that we had ran more than that, because there was no way we were averaging a 13+/mile pace. We had been running for 4 hours, sure we had a couple of breaks for like 5 minutes... but we had been actually running for at the very least 3:45. That's 14 minute miles, in fact! NO WAY.

April did another mile on the treadmill and I half-heartedly did some free weights in the weight room and we called it a day.

All-in-all the run SUCKED. I never once felt like I got in the groove, I was stressed out by the garmin situation, but the thing is... we got it done. And I have to admit, it was cool running through the city and I felt like by doing it, I had a better sense of direction the rest of the weekend. I knew where things were, how the streets worked. And I didn't feel bad when I drank 10 zillion drinks that night and indulged on Turtle Soup, Pecan Encrusted Redfish, and Pecan Pie with Praline Ice Cream at Palace Cafe later that night (or the Muffaletta and fries and 2/3 of Aprils fried shrimp at the place we had lunch). So, that's a bonus.

I tried to map out our route on running ahead when I got back as best I could and I came up with 17.12 miles... but I know there's some extra random street running that we did that I just can't remember. Whatev. It sucked, but it was totally worth it. Thanks April for not letting me convince you to quit after like 10 miles or something, like I tried to. (I'm not a good running partner, folks). And also April, please for the love of God re-calibrate that thing!

1 comment:

Beth said...

I ♥ Turtle Soup!!!! So jealous.

Glad you had a fun trip!