Louisiana Marathon! If you do have plans; cancel them and meet me in Baton Rouge anyway!! This event is WELL worth it!!! Okay, now on to my normal, excessively long race report....Let me just start by making the following declaration: This is an absolute MUST-DO event!! If you don't have plans for January 20, 2013 then you need to plan to be in Baton Rouge for the
As time went by, I was VERY impressed with their use of their Facebook page (any race directors that might be reading this: pay attention to this part!). They provided almost constant updates, asked for and took to heart feedback (both positive and negative) from runners, posted lots of motivational items, and ALWAYS responded to any question or suggested posted on the page. This is 2012, people, if you are active with your Facebook page you will keep runners' excitement and interest levels high! The more this went on, the more certain I was that this was going to be a great, well run event. I told Kristy that if it did end up being as good as I expected we would make this an annual January tradition so that we could say we've run every single Louisiana Marathon! She agreed.
Finally it came time to get down to Baton Rouge!! We left on Friday (1/13) and drove down to Shreveport to spend the night with my grandmother; it was about a 10 1/2 hour drive. You have to make some extra stops when you've been hydrating for a week (TMI)!!! We had a nice couple hours chatting with Memaw then headed off to bed. The next morning we drove the rest of the way down to Baton Rouge. I just couldn't help myself but take this picture when we got to mile marker 26 on I-49 about an hour outside of Baton Rouge!! Finally we got to our hotel, a La Quita about 15 minutes from the start line. We unpacked everything from the car and relaxed for about 20 minutes or so then headed out to the Expo where we were going to meet up with one of our buddies from the HCR Running page on Facebook, Jamie. He was running a little late driving in from Pensacola thanks to an accident on the highway, so we knew we'd be there for a while but we didn't mind at all. It was a short drive over the the hotel the Expo was in and we found parking quickly an easily in the hotel parking garage.
After getting our shirts and packets we headed back over to the vendor booths. Okay, beat this; 3 bottles of free, cold Poweraide, 3 cups of beer each, about 4 or 5 bottles of beer free to take with us!! SWEET!! So I'm sitting at a marathon Expo waiting for Jamie drinking some free beers; non-too-shabby in my book!! Not too long after that Jamie, his wife, daughter and baby arrived and we all introduced ourselves. They headed in to get Jamie's bib/shirt (and free beer) and I ran into several Marathon Maniacs that I've been chatting with over Facebook! We all introduced ourselves and chatted about the race and previous races we've done. It is amazing how Maniacs are all just instant friends whether they've ever actually met or not (and I'm glad to be a part of it!). After the Expo Jamie invited us over to his hotel for a homemade pasta dinner that he has before every race. It was a nice time chatting and a very nice dinner. Perfect way to spend the evening before the race. We then went back to our hotel to get all of our clothes, gear, food, bags, etc ready for race day.
The morning started when the alarm went off at 5:15 AM. I had forgotten to bring milk for my normal pre-race breakfast (a bowl of Wheaties Fuel) so I had to eat a Pop-Tart instead. This definitely effected my race but not too much. I had planned to wear my Team RWB shirt and my Marathon Maniac arm sleeves, but because of the shape of the bibs and the placement of the logo on the shirt it really didn't fit well with my bib on it. I opted, for comfort reasons, to go with my Marathon Maniac shirt and sleeves instead. We left the hotel around 5:50 and got to the start line around 6:05ish. Again, almost immediately on stepping out of the car I met another Maniac! This one was a very nice lady in a Maniacs Divas shirt named Ellen that had driven in from Atlanta. We walked over to the start area together then went our separate ways. She will come back to be an important player in my marathon later. We went to the steps of the Capital Building for the Marathon Maniacs group picture, which was great meeting so many fellow Maniacs! I'll post a picture once someone that took one with an actual camera posts it; we only got one with my cell phone so all you can see is reflectors!! Then a quick trip to check my bag in and it was off to the start line.
After finishing Kristy & I found each other and went to pick up our bag. On the way we ran into a guy that had started with my pace group that was running his first marathon. He had finished a little bit after me. I congratulated him on a huge accomplishment and he when one way as Kristy and I continued on to get our bag. We found Jamie & his family at the Finish Festival. This was awesome! We had some red beans & rice, free beer and enjoyed a great jazz band! This was a one of a kind finish area; never been a part of an event with a festival like this. It was really great! On our way out I ran into one of the race directors and thanked him for such an amazing event. He remembered me from posting so often on their Facebook and told me that they had done a marketing study of their Facebook page and found that Jamie & I were two of the most active people! He asked me to send him my contact info so he could follow up with me. Pretty cool that they paid enough attention to what was going on that he specifically remembered Jamie & I.