Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Marathon (I Was Literally Last Place)

February 6, 2017

Aurora with her New Orleans marathon medalPicking up from yesterday

So, once I got to the halfway point, I was around 3 hours and 30 minutes – not ideal, but close enough that I thought, “I can do this. I’ve gotta do this.” So, forget that out I gave myself to just do the half if I wanted. I kept on going on the full course.

Between mile 23 and 24, a woman slowed down beside me in the race vehicle and started to tell me she was gonna “give me a little bump,” and I was like “nope.”

And she seemed really taken aback – like apparently no one else had fought with her (or at least her reaction would’ve made you think that).

I felt if I could get to mile 23, I’d be safe – because we were back in the park. They weren’t holding up major streets anymore. So, I felt safer in the idea that if I fell behind, it might not be the end of the world.

When she tried to convince me, I was like “I’ll just walk on the sidewalk. I’m a pedestrian now.”

And she said “if you get in, you’ll still get a medal. If you don’t, we’re not responsible for you. You forfeit your right to be in the race”

And I was like “okay. I’m not getting in.” (‘Cause that’s not a marathon if I ride part of the way.)

Then she was like “well, I have to take your bib if you’re forfeiting…”

I’d read that if someone chooses not to board the van, they had to give up their bib.

Well, I want to keep all of my race bibs. Plus, I was still preeeeetty certain that I was gonna get to the finish before they’d totally torn it down – even if they had torn some stuff down… it was a gamble, but I know they don’t just snap their fingers and all of the sudden the timing mat is up – and I wasn’t *that* far behind…

So I took a gamble…

And I wanted to make *sure* I still had my bib on me, in case I could pass the van (or even come in after it, before the finish line is down).

So, knowing I was falling behind, I put my bib in my pocket when nobody was looking. And when that woman told me I had to give it up, I was like “a friend came by and took it for me,” which doesn’t really make sense any sense at all, and also I was a big liar, and I’m 99.999% certain she knew I was lying. (Go listen to my appearance on the Runner of a Certain Age Podcast, and you’ll hear more. :-)) But even though she knew I was lying, since she couldn’t see my bib, and I guess maybe felt she couldn’t ask to see my pockets, she angrily passed me by.

I tried to stay out of the way, and on the shoulder and sidewalks and stuff, but, even still, a huge caravan of vehicles followed me.

I almost made a wrong turn at some point, and the cop told me I had to turn right to stay on course. And this wave of gratitude and hope washed over me. “He’s helping me to stay on course? He wants to help me and make sure I finish?”

“Are they gonna let me finish,” I asked full of hope. And he told me yes!

As I said, originally, the race vehicles were trying to convince me to board the shuttle. (It’s funny because after refusing, I later caught up to (and passed) a spot where they were boarding a ton of people – but then I fell behind again when they drove right passed me, ’cause you know… they were in a vehicle, and I was not.)

And the one woman was not happy that I was refusing. (I get it. I’m sure it was annoying for her.) But the other sweeping race vehicle, just joined on board with my pursuit and even asked me if I wanted water. (Isn’t that sweet? :-))

Just as I was about to the final bit – At the white barriers that lead you into the finish line, I heard “I hear we have our last finisher coming in!” – about the person right in front of the race vehicle (the race vehicle driven by the woman who’s mad at me – all other race vehicles are still tailing me).

Oh my gosh. I am SO close! I can literally see the finish. I bet I can get in before the timing mat comes up…

Then, just as I’m about to pass the guys pulling up the “New Orleans 2017 sticker off the ground” (like, I am SO ridiculously close at this point), a woman’s like “you gotta get out of here”

She’s very firm about it, basically literally blocking my path with her body telling me I can’t be in there.

And I’m thinking “wow, they were not kidding about that forfeit thing. I *barely* didn’t beat the van and they are cloooosing down the finish line”

But then the guys taking up the sticker (and someone else by the barrier) are all like “she’s fine. She’s fine.”

And so I say thanks and start to move forward, but the woman’s like “you can’t go that way!”

And then I’m asking how I leave the barriers (still hoping to figure out a way to run over the timing mat before they take it up). And it’s very confusing ’cause I’m getting down to crawl out from the barriers and keep moving forward. But she seems to be suggesting I turn around and leave the area completely, just not going toward the finish.

And I don’t 100% understand why she’s acting like not only closing down the finish line, but not letting a runner go anywhere near it would be totally normal and not frustrating for a runner… Like, she seems to not understand why I want to keep going forward… So, it’s this whole bru-ha-ha of confusion that no one really understands is happening until…

Someone (I think one of the guys taking the sticker off the ground) says something like “she’s fine. She’s right here. Just let her finish.”

And the woman says emphatically, “she’s not a runner!”

And I yell out “I am!” Weirdly enough some people around me also yell out “she is,” even though I guess they don’t actually know any more than she would. So, I don’t understand why they know or why they’re so caring, but I’m glad they are.

Anyway, she’s like “where’s your bib?”

Thank goodness I was able to pull it out of my pocket. And I went on.

And I could hear that woman behind me saying “I heard them say the last runner was crossing, and she didn’t have her bib. How was I supposed to know?”

And I felt really bad that she seemed to feel bad like she messed up or something, because her point was very valid.

Anyway, I went on down that last little stretch, and then I saw Annie. And she was like “wait! One more runner! I know you.” And she was saying nice things about me in the mic. And she came to greet me. And I said, “The timing’s mat’s still down, right?! I’m gonna get to finish?!”

And she was like “we got you!”

She said into the mic, “Keep the timing mat down for one more!” And I ran on through and got my medal and the remix medal and the jacket – oh that illustrious marathon jacket…

(And the woman in the van did not have a happy face on that I refused her orders *and* still got to finish, for anyone who’s wondering.)

If it had  truly come down to it, I suppose I would’ve rather finished the actual distance and not gotten a medal (if that really had to happen – even though that would’ve had some dire consequences on the year-long-plan, oof…) than the other way around… but thankfully, I got both! (Yay!)

(By the way, I know I was being a little selfish, and I did take longer than I should have. So, while this is sort of a story of persistence and stubbornness and finishing, it’s also possible the story of an entitled girl who expected bent rules. So, I am sorry to the extra strain I put on the people around me. And THANK YOU so much for letting me finish! And onward we go!! :-))

(We’re now 45.5 miles in to this project! :-))

And I’ll finish here next time.

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