Sunday, March 4

How to run BEHIND the sag wagon

First things first.
Read the pace chart included in the Rock 'n' Roll New Orleans guidebook:
When we left our hotel at 7:45am to get to get to our corrals, you can imagine our surprise* when we saw NO ONE THERE. In fact, crews were breaking down the starting area. Hubby, I, and at least 2 other ladies were told by a race official; "Run over the timing mats and just get going."


The whole thing - marathon and half - started at 7. As we covered the first mile, well BEHIND the sag wagon, we (briefly) considered throwing in the towel. The police were re-opening roads, and the only way we could find the course was to follow the trail of discarded sweatshirts and gloves. I tossed my feather boa on the road, having already cast aside all hopes of this being a fun run, and ran flat-out. With the roads re-opening, we either had to catch the pack or call it a day.

But the wave starts took a long time, and we knew we'd catch up with the walkers by mile 2 at the latest.

I flip-flopped between emotions. Confusion. Fury. Despair. Acceptance. Fury. Defeat. Humor. Fury.
(Do you notice a pattern here?)

Then I rounded a bend, and the walkers were in sight.

We crossed the 1-mile marker. I looked at my watch: 7:16.
Not only was I going to have a 3-hour half marathon time on the record (I resigned myself to clock time at this point) but I was going to blow up spectacularly by the end...

All those rules:
  • You can't "bank time" in a race.
  • You shouldn't go out too hard, you'll regret it later.
  • Keep your pace steady and work on negative splits.
I live by those rules.

My 7:16 first mile of the course... the Rock 'n' Roll group thinks I ran it in 62 minutes. (My splits for the race are hilarious.) But I know I ran it in 7:16, and I would pay for it later...

... or would I?

(more to come, including a "real" race report, when I'm recovered from the race, 3-hour drive back home, and the day's calorie deficit.)

Do you have any "so late you might as well have stayed home" stories? Please share and help me feel better about this fail.

*Two points of note: 1 - Our hotel was less than a tenth of a mile from the start. We dropped by to watch the elites take off, went back for one last "potty break," and returned to find that everyone left without us! 2 - There was 1 other page in the booklet that listed a 7am start time, but the pace-group wave start timing chart (page 14 of the booklet) was so detailed, we never even saw the "marathon and 1/2 start at 7am" note on page 8. At least we weren't alone in our confusion! Our fault? Their fault? Both? You decide...


  1. Oh my gosh I cannot believe they made such a huge error! I would have been so pissed and probably also would have run the first mile way too fast solely on aggression. Can't wait to hear the rest of the recap!

  2. oh for god's sake- so sorry to hear about this!! Definitely their fault- that's completely insane. I probably wouldn't have been able to continue- good for you for going on in spite of it! You're a stronger woman than I, that's for sure. :) xx

  3. AHA! Knew I'd come up with something else if I let it fester a bit- bonus silver lining: bet you're glad now you didn't pay full fee for this, eh? :) (OK, it's not much, but I tried...). :) x

  4. Definitely their fault! I would have been demanding a refund (or free entry into another RnR within seconds of finishing.

  5. oh no! I would have been so mad! Definitely their fault! I hope you got compensated somehow?

  6. Competitor needs to step it up - too many mistakes. I'm sorry you missed the start.

  7. Oh wow, sounds like a mess...hopefully it got better?!?

  8. Thanks all!
    I've been conflicted about this. I read the race start time as 7am on the event website, but when I saw the detailed 8am schedule in the book I assumed I read the website wrong. Having not had my laptop with me, I didn't re-check the website. I assumed the brochure table was right. (Never assume?)

    Also - on our part, I *normally* get to races a good 30-40 minutes (if not a full hour) before the race. If I hadn't been so "oh, we're just around the corner, let's use our hotel instead of the potties" about it, and stuck with my normal routine, I have to believe I would have noticed. I'm sure that other confused runners figured it out when they saw ALL waves going off.

    Live and learn.

  9. Wow. That is unbelievable!! How ridiculous is can't provide information with incorrect times...just, wow.

  10. This sucks. I still want to see how it turned out for you!

  11. Oh my gosh. I totally read this booklet and did not even notice that. CRAP! Cannot even imagine! Well anyway, you missed crowded corrals/crowded start, that's all.

    1. The marathon wave starts were listed correctly. It's just the half marathon table that was mis-labeled...

      Oh well. In the grand scheme of things everyone survived so it's all OK.
      (Plus, any excuse to be in New Orleans is a good excuse, in my book!)


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