Sometimes failure can be fun: The New Orleans Marathon (Part 1 of 3)

A post in three parts:

Part 1: Dead man shuffle: A recap of my race

Part 2: I’ll admit when I’m wrong: Broader thoughts on the New Orleans Marathon

Part 3: The long weekend that wouldn’t end: Six days in the Crescent City

Part 1

This is the first real-time race recap I’ve ever written and I suspect it will be a pretty easy one. Had I run a great race, exceeded expectations and set a blazing PR, I would have had to weave the fine line of recapping my triumphs while maintaining a thin veneer of modesty, so as to retain a sympathetic voice to the reader. Sometimes it’s just easier to write about abject failure.

I previously wrote about the new three day training program I used for this race. Over the past four months I ran fewer miles than in any previous marathon training, but at much faster paces. I felt fast, but uncertain if I had the endurance to last all 26.2.   Despite my doubts, I decided to go bold. Rather than settle for a comfortable 3:20-3:25 finish (current PR 3:19) I planned to push a 7:30 clip and chase glory or burn out spectacularly. I estimated a 25% chance of a glorious new PR and a 75% chance of good blog fodder. Fodder it is.

Race recaps focused on the post-mortem and minutiae of what went wrong are boring, so I’m not going to belabor the point. I ran 17 strong miles, then fell off pretty sharply and finished in 3:36. Below is a simple, short annotated history of my race.

Splits by mile: This chart shows pretty clearly what happened. Halfway through mile 18 things started to go wrong and then basically stayed wrong.


Below I’ve split the race into two different charts (with different scales) in order to simply walk through what was going on during the long stretch of ~7:30 miles and during the longer, painful denouement.

Annotated splits – the good part


Annotated splits – the bad part


So sure, I didn’t meet my goal, but I really don’t feel so badly about it. I enjoyed my training and I got an excuse to go to New Orleans with my good friends. I enjoyed the marathon and I really enjoyed eating lots of jambalaya. In a perfect world I would have enjoyed a PR, but I guess I can’t be so picky.

A couple of notes:

Many, many thanks to Awesome Wife Kelly, Running Partner Lindsey and our supporters, Adam, Anne, Dave, Isla and Stella. You guys made it a great race and a great weekend.

One more hats off to the amazing 3:15 pace team leader. I wish I’d finished with him so I could have gotten his name. He was so spirited and fun and I’m certain he pushed me further than I would have been able to go on my own.

Tune in later in the week for a review of the race itself (e.g., not my performance) and a recap of a great week in New Orleans



  1. Brittany · January 28, 2015

    Um…you still did amazing. Like…really amazing.


    • golddh · January 28, 2015

      Well thank you, much appreciated.


  2. Pingback: Sometimes failure can be fun: The New Orleans Marathon (Part 2 of 3) | Run David Run
  3. Pingback: Sometimes failure can be fun: The New Orleans Marathon (Part 3 of 3) | Run David Run
  4. Pingback: Obsessive behavior – The Razorback Endurance race and a casual morning 50k | Run David Run
  5. Christopher Cudworth · February 13, 2015

    I burst out laughing when I saw that graphic where the pace shoots up! God we’ve all been there. This is really well done.


    • golddh · February 13, 2015

      Thanks Christopher – I guess if I make people laugh at least something good came of it.


  6. sophisticatedjerseygirl · February 14, 2015

    Thanks for naming the Dead Man’s Shuffle! That’s exactly what I did on my long run this week. Like my body and mind just couldn’t get it together. Looks to me like you finished strong, even if it was a little slower than you hoped for. And in New Orleans!!


    • golddh · February 14, 2015

      Thanks, appreciated. Was just looking at your recipe for burrata gnochhi and I’m already planning when we can try it out.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. mattahutton · March 3, 2015

    Love the annotations, a very nice way to set out your race. I wish I could remember my races in that much detail afterwards! I may have to add New Orleans to my list of prospective international marathons, always been a city i’ve said I wanted to get to and if you’re going somewhere you may as well race, right?


    • golddh · March 3, 2015

      NO is an amazing place to visit and the marathon is pretty good too. The biggest issue is that the food is so good it’s hard to stay disciplined prior to the race…


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