Sunday, March 7, 2010

Laissez les Bons Temps Rouler!

Wally the Wonder Turtle is becoming quite the little traveler! Last weekend, he came to New Orleans with me and my husband, Ken, for the Rock 'n Roll Mardi Gras half-marathon. The race was on Sunday, so we walked around the city on Saturday, taking in the sights. Wally wanted me to share some pictures with everyone, and I thought that was a fine idea.

We walked over to Jackson Square, a fun place with sidewalk artists and performers as well as great little shops and restaurants. (Check out the The Louisiana Pizza Kitchen if you're over that way -- good stuff!) Here is the famous St. Louis Cathedral, named after King Louis IX of France, and its statue of Andrew Jackson.

The French Market along the Mississippi River is a fun place to visit. For over 200 years, merchants have been bringing their wares and produce to this lively marketplace.

I found some soap at the French Market and, of course, had to buy some! I absolutely love trying other people's soaps! I bought this big beautiful bar of cold-process eucalyptus soap from a delightful man named Roger. He told me this bar would make me think of a spa, and he was right! The soap has a wonderful herbal, almost minty smell to it, and the lather is creamy and luxurious.

Sunday was half-marathon day! What gorgeous weather we had! Friday was rainy, Saturday was cold and windy, but Sunday was sunny, cool, and calm. The temperature at the starting line was 41 degrees, but it was a warm 41 with there being little breeze. Things warmed up quickly on the course, and I was so grateful that I didn't have to fight the wind for 13.1 miles.

The half-marathon (and even the full marathon) is so much fun in New Orleans because there are throngs of spectators lining the streets all along the way, cheering everyone on. There's a great energy on the course, which keeps your spirits up and your energy high. And this year, with the race being a Rock 'n Roll event, there were live bands spread throught the course. I have run a marathon route where there were few spectators and low energy, and, man, what a grind. I so appreciate the wonderful people who turn out to support this race!

I crossed the finish line in 2 hours and 3 minutes, uninjured and happy.

Action shot! Here I am, moments before crossing the finish line. (My husband took this picture -- he's faster than me and finished his half-marathon in plenty of time to take some photos of me.)

I shared my medal with Wally. My victory is his victory, too -- I couldn't have done it without him.

Any of you Wonder Turtle fans runners out there? Anybody do a fun race this season? Wally and I love to swap running stories almost as much as we love swapping soaping stories! We'd love to hear yours!

Many thanks to the New Orleans Police Department, the Sheriff's Department, all of the race volunteers, and the city of New Orleans (and anyone else I may have inadvertently left out!)  for making this year's event safe and fun!