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Half #2= complete! This weekend was all around incredible! Friday I spent the morning taking it easy on my day off (including a chiropractor knee and back and now hip adjustment) and spent my afternoon shopping around Rouses on Baronne and SAMs in Metairie with Lauren. We also stopped at my moms office for a feast that included seafood gumbo, eggplant stuffing, stuffed artichoke, shrimp fettuccine, white chocolate bread pudding and doberge cake.

Did you know doberge is a New Orleans original? I love the chocolate. Besides plain, homemade yellow cake with chocolate icing, this cake tops my list.

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At SAMs, I purchased bratwurst and smoked sausage for the LSU tailgate this weekend, tilapia, honey crisp apples, 240 red solo cups for beer pong (not sure if that will be enough…), and a case of bud light. You know, the essentials.

After this exhausting, yet thrilling trip, I laid low for the rest of the night in order to prepare for the 7am start Saturday morning. We had brisket for dinner which was perfect for me.

5:00AM – alarm goes off.
5:01AM – I am wide awake ready to start my day!
5:15AM – drinking my coffee and eating my morning ritual: Oatmeal Squares. Cinnamon flavor.
5:45AM – having trouble but finally succeeded in putting my compression pants on. Which will not come off until after the race. No stopping for the restroom from now on!
6:10AM – dad and I are walking out the door.
6:35AM – arrival to the start line. Freezing my butt off in a hoodie that is doing absolutely nothing.
6:50AM – guzzle the large glass of water I brought and stretch while waiting for the gun to start.
7:00AM – Start!
8:52:50AM – Finish!!

Everything in between the start and finish was a huge blur. I ran my heart out. I thought about a good friend, Amany, who just lost her sister to leukemia at the beginning on the month. I thought about the people who have made rude remarks to me as I train or run instead of indulging in other activities or spending time with others. I thought about how I couldn’t stop…this race wasn’t all for me. Although part was for me to have a personal best time in a half marathon, the other was for the awareness of cancer and fundraising for such a great cause.

I started with 8 min miles and calmed down to 8:57 min miles in the middle. The last 3 miles were between 8:20 and 8:38. I never had the feeling of just wanting the race to be over. I never thought about when the next mile marker would show up or why it was taking so long to show up. Such a great feeling! When the race was over the crazy person in my head even said, “I could definitely keep going…why did I have to stop?”

At mile 5/6, I spotted Lauren on the side of St. Charles. When I came back around at mile 11, I spotted Lauren standing there with a boom box radio ice chest and some curly haired guy. Roger surprised me! He originally told me he had an engineering lab to make up because of the hurricane. Well he got me good because I was sulking the whole week about him not coming to cheer me on and drink beer while doing it. That was a great motivator to finish up the last 2.1 miles in style!

Some things I noticed along the route:
– the sun didn’t come up until I was on mile 2 at 7:11AM
– puppies galore!
– ultimate walk of shame: girl wearing a super short jean skirt and her cowboy top and hat with her heels in her hands angered that she couldn’t cross St. Charles. Makeup smeared down her face. It was epic.
– I couldn’t understand why bystanders were bundled under blankets because I was sweating. I realized after my sweat crystallized when the race was done how cold it really was outside.
– there was no way I was going to let the kind-of-heavy guy with the pink iPod shuffle beat me. I left him in the dust at mile 8.
– Steve Gleason was right behind me the whole time!
– Audubon park was beautiful. I cannot express this enough…best part of the race by a far shot.
– Dominican cross country and track team at the last water station of the race! Go DHS!
– mile 12.5 – free whiskey shots!! The entire table was full of Jack Daniels and the air smelled like straight whiskey. There was no denying it. Couldn’t help but laugh! And yes I saw a guy take one.

Here are some pictures from the wonderful day!

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Before the race.

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“Mom, make sure you get our tennis shoes in the picture!”

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At the finish line with fellow Tulane intern, Erin. She is from San Francisco!

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I felt so great Saturday after the race that I went shopping with Roger, early voted, made cat whiskers and ears for a Halloween party, and went across the lake with my favorite aunts and mom for a paint and drink party for my cousin Colleen. I then went to a Halloween party that night wearing my cat costume…very make shift but effective.

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Sunday morning I was definitely achy but nothing compared to what I thought I would feel. Monday I went back to the chiropractor to get my back, knee and hip cracked. It felt wonderful! I went on my first after-race run Tuesday. It was a good run but my calves were still a little tighter than desirable. Going for a decent length run tomorrow morning before my rotation. Very excited to get back into the running routine!

Up next is The Color Run 5k November 17th. And then the Woman’s half marathon in Baton Rouge December 9th.

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