Gulf Coast Mandeville Half

What do you get when you mix some gorgeous weather,scenery and about 1000 of your closest running buddies? To me it sounds like the recipe for a great race day! 

Driving into Fountainebleu  State Park Sunday morning the temp was about 59 degrees/97% humidity/winds 8mph. For this year’s 5th year Anniversary race they went a step up in shirt design and bibs. I was very pleased.

GCM

Race start would be at 7am and I couldn’t wait to slip on this soft t shirt afterwards. Since this is a flat, scenic course many runners had a PR day in mind, me included although my speed work has been lacking to be honest. One person I was looking forward to meeting in person today was Mandeville Police Officer Becky Kramer White. She would be running the Half today in full police uniform to raise money for the Special Olympics. You can read more about her cause here. I caught up with her around mile 2 (right before my music died. I apparently failed in charging it the day before). I introduced myself and asked Becky if she would mind if I would run with her a bit today. She is a very well known local runner and fellow blogger. Today she would be extra motivating to many. There were extra police officers on the course to support her along the route taking pictures and cheering her on. She would finish today’s race in a remarkable time of 2:11. IMPRESSIVE!

beck

Today’s race had a choice of a 10 mile route or 13.1. Around mile 7 my knee started aching badly ( the one I fell on a few weeks ago and had stitches). In that delirious moment I could not recall if you had a choice to run either distance. I had personally signed up to run the Half so even though my knee was questionable and my PR wish time of 2:05 was doubtful I kept pushing forward in the hopes of a strong finish. Passing that 10 mile sign was tough but I could see Becky in the distance and told myself to catch up to her and enjoy the course ahead. That’s what I was there for. Miles started clicking by again and I finally got my second wind around mile 11. I changed my Garmin view to see where I was at time wise. I could see that I was coming up short but pushed it as hard as I physically could. ‘Get to the Finish Fest’ I kept thinking plus every self motivational phrase I could think of “I am Fit, I am Strong”, “Keep Pushing”, “That beer isn’t going to drink itself”. I remembered the race was offering free race pics at the finish and quickly adjusted my bib and told myself to smile as I came in at 2:07. (2minutes shy of a PR) Self disappointment started to sink in knowing I wouldn’t have another shot at a PR race until December but happy about my time in all things considering. Now time to relax and enjoy the music, food and drinks the race offered afterwards. Races aren’t JUST about your finish time its the entire experience and that is a “win-win”.

GCMP

I can’t wait to see the FREE Finisher pics courtesy of Northshore Plastic Surgery. That is one benefit of not running with music is those dreadful things wont be in the pictures! (Always look on the upside)

For more info on the race check out Gulf Coast Half on Facebook or on their website.

Race results can be found here.

Congrats to all that crossed the Finish!

An EPIC Relay Adventure at Ironman 70.3 Augusta

After months of training runs through the grueling, hot summer the day was finally here.  I was about to take one of the most epic road trips I have been on with three girls I barely know but who would become my friends for life. We started our estimated 665 mile trip from Baton Rouge and picked up our swimmer Larisa in Mobile on our way to Augusta on a beautiful morning with some fun along the way.

roadtrip

The next morning after Laura got her practice bike ride in, we did some sightseeing and headed to the expo at the Augusta Convention Center for check in. ( I was dying to get my blue band to feel like I was a part of the weekend event ) The expo was small in comparison to the ones we runners go too like the Rock ‘n’ Roll races but those can get overwhelming as well. We did get a couple shirts, try some jerky samples and got some relief with some Active Release Therapy. (Only a 10 minute wait) I needed this desperately since my IT Band was already throbbing from being on my feet so much.

swag

While waiting I met Kevin Swenson. At 53 years young he has done 13 Ironman’s including one Double (which he said was the hardest thing he has done yet). The locations he has done vary from New Zealand, France, Africa, Australia and this weekend would be his first 70.3 can you believe? (Of course he killed it on Sunday with a Finish time of  5:19:01)

Check out his tattoos:

kevin

Next up we went to go check out the transition area so we could strategize. Fortunately it was laid out very well and marked for those directionally challenged like myself!

transition

Then we went to the Finish area a couple miles away to check out the Finish line while there wasn’t anyone around. (OK yes it may have been bad luck but it wasn’t fully setup yet.) Speaking of I was surprised to so many people wearing there race shirts. Us runners don’t tend to wear them til after the race but TRI athletes seem to like to get there game face on early.

finish

4:45am came early the next morning but we wanted to get out there early to park and head to body marking. The sea of bikes and people out that early was incredible. The sun started to rise as well as the excitement level. It was amazing to watch the nerves and exhilaration in everyone’s faces. They had trained for this day for months. Before we knew it the Elites were out first at 7:30am.

race morning

We took a few pictures and even ended up on IM Augusta’s FB page:

augusta

I saw the cutest race support ever. These kids cracked me up!

race support

Since we were the Relayers we were the last wave which wasn’t until 9:20am. Waves were 4 minutes apart and went off like clock work. Spotters were on the bridge to look for anyone struggling. Kayakers and paddle boarders as water support were also prepared to help. I would make my way to the bridge to take pictures of Larisa for the swim while Laura headed to transition to prepare for her bike portion when Larisa came through. She was easy to spot with her tattoos and I scored some great pictures. She completed her 1.2 mile swim in 29:11 which was under her goal. She was pumped with excitement.

swim

Next up Laura headed out for her 56 mile bike ride.  She was going to get to bike through two states Georgia and South Carolina. How cool is that?!

bike

The weather was lenient to the race participants and spectators today with a temp of 80 for the high, 67% humidity and a good bit of cloud coverage through out the day which I hugely appreciated for the upcoming run portion. I made sure to snack on salted almonds, peanut butter crackers and Gatorade while I was waiting on Laura. I wanted just enough food for energy but not weigh me down. I applied some biofreeze and sunblock. Larisa helped me stretch out my hip flexors and IT band. Both she and Michelle (our race support for the weekend) kept me company while Laura was out for her ride. The plan originally was to go to the Finish area to go watch some of the Elites come in but unfortunately we discovered it was a 2 mile walk there and back. I just couldn’t do it. I was already sore and needed to save my legs. We could only check on Laura with the IM Tracker with the one split halfway through the course. We knew she was well prepared for the ride with adequate fluids and nutrition which would help her recover quickly after the race. About 45 minutes before she came in I headed to transition to prepare mentally for the run ahead. I had never ran a Half Marathon in the middle of the day on tired legs, without music and with the nutrition I had taken in so I was a bit concerned.

As it got closer to the time for Laura to come in and tag me I started to get anxious and was ready to head out and see what I could do. I knew today would not be a PR day but I wanted to do my team proud. Spotting Laura coming in to transition was awesome  I went out in force. The ride was more challenging for Laura then expected with all the steady inclines but she did a great job and came in at 4:14:38. The first loop of the two loop run course was easier than the first since there were more people but I knew most of the runners out there were actually on there second loop. Fluids and nutrition on the course were still found in abundance which was a relief since I didn’t start my run til about 2:30pm. The roads were flat as promised but many were at an angle as I fought to keep as straight of a path as possible for my cranky IT band. This weared on my pace badly. The 2nd loop was scarce with people as I expected. At that point I was anxious to get closer to that finish line. Soon I was at Mile 12 and spotted my crew who were there cheering for me and took a few pics.

ASICS sponsorship perhaps?

ASICS sponsorship perhaps?

That was the last push I needed to make it to that 13.1 finish line with a time of 2:12:37. Our total relay team time was 7:02:28. They announced relay team “Tag Your It” was in and I had did my job. I collected our three relay medals and hats, proudly gave them to Laura and Larisa. I thoroughly enjoyed being in the Ironman world for the weekend and the hospitality of Georgia. Sharing this experience with Laura and Larisa was awesome! They did amazing!

finsih

and what better way to end our journey but a dip in the cold Savannah river after the race!

Did I mention I cant swim? Fortunately Larisa stayed close!

epic

Laura and Larisa are already talking about coming back next year. :)

Check out  my teammate Larisa’s recap here Part 1 & Part 2

We also met Cynthia from “You Signed Up for WHAT?! during our weekend adventure. She did her first solo 70.3 in  a remarkable time of 6:18:48. Her thorough recap is up and can be found here.

I am thankful for the experience to come to a new place and partake in my first Relay with two amazing ladies. #IM703Augusta was incredible to see. Congratulations to all you inspiring athletes that have the courage to toe the line at the Start and the heart to carry you through the Finish.

#TeamTagYourIt

 

 

Race Week Traditions

After a long hot, muggy summer finally its the first day of Fall and this coming weekend is my first race for the season. I have put in the training..

Mile after mile... Still need to work on speed work and hill repeats...#WorkInProgress

Mile after mile… Still need to work on speed work and hill repeats…#WorkInProgress

My packing list/to-do list for the week is started..

todo

This morning I made my concoction for my lunch meals for the week to add extra protein..

Brown rice, tuna, black beans, spinach with garlic and Mrs.Dash for seasoning. Easy Peasy!

Brown rice, tuna, black beans, spinach with garlic and Mrs.Dash for seasoning. Easy Peasy!

Toenails are painted for luck.. (I have been very lucky to NEVER have had a black toenail)

This week- Burgundy with glitter overlay.

This week pick: Burgundy with glitter overlay.

Extra vitamins being taken daily and of course LOTS of water..

What are your race week prep traditions? Share under comments

I draw inspiration and motivation from many different sources and something extra this month has been joining the team at Scoot A Doot. Read what we are doing here.
I am very happy to be a part of this group to support Childhood Cancer Awareness month with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation & Scoot A Doot  

teamscootadoot

I have mentioned before during some of my runs I get short moments of clarity where everything clicks. This Saturday’s thought that popped in my head during my training run was “Run the Road, Don’t let the road run you!”  I took this to mean sometimes you will feel like the pavement is putting you through a cheese grater and then some runs will feel like you are running on all cylinders. The breathing clicks, you feel stronger and energized! Relish those runs and remember this is why you do it.

Run the Road, Don't let the road run you alll

 

 

 

 

 

What running gives back…

runnersworld

Runner’s World posted this today on there Facebook and Twitter today as midweek motivation and it spoke to me. It brought up a range of emotions that I have felt throughout this journey in the past few years since I started running.

When I first started in 2011 I was 37 years old and my first thought was “Am I crazy?”. Isn’t this just for the young, physically fit folks only? Me of all people plan to sign up for a Half Marathon when I have not even run on the road before or done a 5k?  Isn’t this for the people that ran track in school or have less than 10% body fat?  Are my thighs too big and going to weigh me down? What if I get injured am I done? I have weak hip strength, Do I have the time? Can I really do this????

Even with all the doubts I saw this as something new, a challenge to myself that I could do more. That first finish line was the beginning of a new journey. It opened up a path to meet new people. It gave me confidence to do my first duathlon,triathlon and even a full marathon. Some of these I experienced with my daughter and some with friends that decided to join along themselves to try something new.

  • I am grateful I took that first step.
  • I am grateful I put aside the doubts.
  • I am grateful that I am now in my fourth year and I am continuing to push forward.
  • I am grateful for the people I have met on this journey and the encouragement they have provided.
  • I am grateful for the experiences I have had so far and look forward to more.

Running has definitely given me back what I have put into it.

#KeepPushingForward

 

Countdown to Augusta! #IM703Augusta

11 days 22 hours

Tick Tock

Tick Tock

and currently the Savannah River (the 3rd most toxic river in the nation) is under a swimming ban plus our relay swimmer Larisa had her wet suit lifted during a practice swim recently that she had to scramble to replace. Oh, did I mention on my 12 mile training run a couple weeks ago I fell at mile 8 of my run and had to get 3 stitches afterwards due to a small hole in my knee? BUT I finished all 12! Can I get a fist pump?

I may get knocked down but I WILL get back up!!!

I may get knocked down (ok, fall down)  but I WILL get back up!!!

Then our Bib#’s came in and it started to become REAL!
teamtagyourit bib

So next Friday I will be going on an epic road trip with our biker Laura to a place I have never been, to do my 1st ever Relay. I have never seen an Ironman event so I am quite excited. Secretly I am hoping to see some of the Elites finish before I have to get to transition for my part of the race .  #IMARUNNER

map.2png

The Ironman motto is “Anything Is Possible” and  I am beyond excited to see it first hand at this event and be inspired by so many athletes whom have trained for months to cross this Finish line.

Good luck also to those doing Ironman Chattanooga which will be held on the same day. (Special shout out to my dear friend Susan Hayden who will be one of the Chattanooga IM Finishers) Do Greatness! 

Watch this video to see why I am in complete awe of those IRONMAN Finishers that do the training, step up to the start and cross the finish. Perhaps it will inspire you..

If you missed how this Relay idea started check it out here from my previous blog post in April. BTW: This race sold out a week after I registered our team! 

Wish us luck!!!!  

BIB#3456

BIB#3456

Keeping the Mojo Going

What is Mojo? There are actually lots of meanings to this word such as:

  • Magical charm bag used in hoodoo
  • Charm or a spell
  • Sex appeal or talent

For me it’s that oomp, that extra good workout that makes you feel like you accomplished a little more than what you did yesterday. The extra vitality and energy you get afterwards that you conquered greatness!

To get there can be a bit challenging. You may receive a text from a friend just at the right time with encouragement or an unexpected kick in the pants reality check. Whatever it is for you, let it pull you from a bad mood and use it as motivation to get out the door.

You may not find your mojo everyday but if you don’t look for it you will never find it.

mojo

 

Recap of my Wellness Wednesday posts on Baton Rouge Moms

If you missed it I am one of the contributors for the Baton Rouge Moms website. Who would have thought it?  When I was first approached I was completely flattered. Really, you want MY advice on how to get started with running and races? Sure enough they asked for a short biography, picture to post then it began! You can read about the Baton Rouge Moms team here.

The writing schedule is very flexible plus I tend to only write when I am inspired which is good because I don’t even write on my personal blog daily. People don’t have much time to read a bunch of fluff so I tend to be direct and to the point as much as possible on both sites.

I have been writing on BR Moms since October 2013 and here are my articles to date:

Setting your sights on a Fall race

Join us for the Family Zoo Zoom 5k & Fun Run on August 23rd!

5 Tips to Stay Motivated Through the Summer Heat

Tips For Getting Your Kids To The Finish Line

Girls on the Run BR- Spring 5k

Ladies Self Defense

Aim to Maintain

Apps to Help you Stay on Track of your Fitness Goals

 10 ways to Keep Your Goals and Stay Motivated

 8 Tips for Surviving Holiday Indulgences

Running 101-Taking That First Step

More Than A Race:  Article on Breast Cancer/Woman’s Half Marathon

I tend to write about whatever is relevant at the time or to provide support on local races. Fortunately I have been getting great feedback. My only trouble is that I can’t duplicate content on my personal site. I have to keep the information separate so this is my way of sharing to you. Check out the posts when you get time and let me know if you have any suggested topics.

BRMcontributor_zps932bc59a

Baton Rouge Moms  is a one stop resource for parents in Baton Rouge and beyond. Bringing you all things Baton Rouge, family & fun. For more check out their website.

Any other bloggers out there doing dual duty? How do you manage keeping content seperate? Please share and let me know your double duty sites.