Originally, I had wanted to do the Mandeville, LA half marathon the weekend I ended up doing the LaPorte half, but Jamie, my running partner, couldn’t take off work to drive to Mandeville. She found the La Porte By the Bay race and we packed up the car.
I did little to no research except to book the hotel. We drove out the Saturday before the race, leaving mid morning to get there in time to grab our packets. The drive out was a defining moment for Jamie and my relationship – we had never spent a lot of time alone together and knew each other because my now ex-husband’s friend was her next-door-neighbor. In my opinion, that ride and race solidified our friendship.
When we arrived, we checked in and made our way out to the packet pick up, which was a ways away from the actual start of the race by where we were staying. It was, in fact, very close to NASA Space Center. NASA – so yes of course we decided to go in. That is, of course, after we tried to go into the worker only entrance and got stared down by a guy who clearly knew something about aliens.
Once in, we did the usual. Checked out the old spaceships, read about Rovers, and watched some video about space. Neat. But what struck me most was how unprepared they seemed for a zombie apocalypse. All of the buildings were glass and they didn’t even look bullet proof.
Once I got over the fact that the government wasn’t prepared for such an occurrence, we headed back to the La Porte area and started looking for a place to eat. After driving the route and coming across a biker bar we were both too afraid to go into, we ended up settling on a random place in their tiny downtown and ate an amazing meal at a place called Mainly Drinks. They ended up having a stellar beer selection and far better food than we expected. After fueling up, we were ready for bed.
The next morning, Jamie and I got up, got ready and took our time getting to the start. Took our time so much that the race actually began before we parked. Still, it ended up being my best race in a while, even with the bridge – “the highest off ground half in Texas” so the website claims.
But, also unexpectedly, the after party was the BEST I’ve ever been to. They had more food than any race I’ve ever done – tacos, soup, chili, pizza, fruit, and sausage on a stick!
Oh and beer.
I love race after parties – not because of the beer actually, but because people are usually very happy to be done and celebrate.