Irish for the day at the Shamrockin’ Run

I always like to throw in a “fun-festive” run to keep things interesting and what better race than the 4th Annual Shamrockin’ Run 8k in New Orleans?  With the heavy rain here the past few days at flood levels I was nervous that the morning would be a soggy mess at the Start of the race at the National WWII Museum and the Finish at Audubon Park but the skies broke through for a beautiful morning and the sun did its best to dry the area up quickly. My husband, daughter and I drove in the morning of the race. While he parked nearby Alaina and I got our race packets and blended in the crowd that was a sea of green.

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Being that it was my first time at this event I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but everything ran pretty smoothly. Soon it was time to take our “before” picture and line up in our coral.I decided that I would run with my phone and my husband took a couple of pictures at the Start and Finish. (He did a great job!) I was looking forward to seeing the Bag Pipers at every mile and at the Finish line would be the 610 Stompers plus Cowboy Mouth playing for us at the Finish Festival. I couldn’t have picked a better festive race. To top everything we would see the elites from Kenya and Ethiopia attempt to set a world record after the main race with their laps around Audubon Park. Definitely an event not to be missed. See a few recap pictures below including my epic finish!!!

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Havent had enough 610 Stompers? Check out this quickie video I took from the Finish:

 

Don’t miss next years 5th Annual, Race registration will be open soon at: http://shamrockinrun.com/ 

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The race distance that’s right for YOU

Once upon a time there lived in a certain town a little city girl with dark locks of hair, the kind at heart creature who every one loved. Her father was excessively fond of her; and her husband and daughter doted on her more. This good girl had little red shoes made just for her. They suited the girl so extremely well that everybody called her Little Red Running Shoes.

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One day her father, having made some pies while visiting, said to her, “Go, my dear, run a 5k and see how you do.

Little Red Running Shoes set out immediately and registered that day. She even invited a friend, who lived in another nearby town.

As she was going through the distance of her 5k run she felt wonderful and met along her path a balding but jolly running coach who loved donuts. She met with the jolly coach afterwards, who almost discarded her but she brought him a box of warm, glazed donuts which he gobbled up in an instant.

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He asked her what distance would she run next, She responded “I think I will try a 10k” . The girl realizing this would be double the distance at 6.2 miles but was not afraid. A couple weeks later as she walked up to the Start line and checked the laces of her red running shoes, she saw her coach on the sides lines and he said “Run your race and enjoy it“. Afterwards she gave him a full report and was excited to say that she actually beat her expected finish time. She showed him her shiny race reward with pride and rewarded her coach with more donuts for his advice.

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After a couple months of continued training Little Red Running Shoes decided she would attempt to conquer the 13.1 Half Marathon distance.Her coach advised her to wait til fall for cooler weather and she would be better prepared. She listened and by October she was ready to once again cross the Start line. This one would be a bit more harder than she expected, she worried at a couple points with the extra challenging distance if she would be able to finish but she came through the Finish line at 2:24. This time her running coach had a warm donut waiting for her which she accepted happily.

Little Red Running Shoes continued her training through Spring and even got up to a whooping “20” miles. She went back to her coach and pleaded with him to let her try the Full Marathon distance of 26.2 miles. He cautiously warned her off of the mighty distance but Little Red Running Shoes was very persistent. She begged “Please Coach, I can do it“. Against his cautious advice she signed up for one that was in a nearby town so she would not have to travel far. When she went to the race expo to pick up her supplies she was greatly amazed to see how large the Full Marathon finisher medal would be. She thought to herself how proud her father and running coach would be of her when she accomplished such greatness.

Race morning came with morning jitters. She barely got any sleep. So many thoughts ran through her mind…..

Did I drink enough?

“Did I eat enough to carry me through 26.2 miles?”

“Did I eat too much?”

” Did I break in my new shiny red running shoes long enough?”

Her running coach met her at the start line as promised and told her the same words as before “Run your race and enjoy it” , she exhaled slowly as the start gun went off.

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The miles ticked by easy at first but as the mileage increased it would become more difficult.

“Mile 10, what big hills you have!”

“Mile 14, should I have stopped for more nourishment?”

“Mile 16, ooooooo that strange watery drink does not suit my tummy well!”

“Mile 19, The heat, oooo the heat, Where did the shade go?”

“Mile 22, Why oh why am I doing this again?”

As she approached Mile 26 Little Red Running Shoes legs ached, her feet were blistered, her mouth parched but she slowly made her way to the grand finish to claim her prize at 26.2 .

“Look Coach at what I did! “Little Red Running Shoes exclaimed. Her Coach replied “Did you enjoy it as much as the Half, 10k and 5k?” . Little Red Running Shoes had to think long and hard, “No, its not as much fun as I thought it would be. Why do I feel so guilty?”

Her jolly coach responded “You are to enjoy the run, some will be more challenging than others but once you lose the joy you will realize which distances suit best .”

And, hearing these words,  Little Red Running Shoes knew the Half,10k and 5k would happily be her distances of choice. Because YES she can have her donuts and run too !

 

 

 

 

Run it like it’s your last

Run it like it’s your last

This is what I kept telling myself as the miles ticked by during the rocky, pot hole filled race route for my 21st Half at Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans . Five years ago in 2011 I completed my first Half at this race so I was thankful to be lining up at the Start once again. Yes,the roads are sub par but the sights make up for it since this is a city that I love. The day before I always walk my legs off at the race expo and I can never skip going by the magnificent St Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter to soak up the culture and sounds of the local artists. This visit was no different just an extra 20k visitors to add to the mix. Afterwards we had dinner at Hard Rock where I enjoyed a couple of Hurricanes and an ice bath back at the hotel would be my penance for my sore legs to get me ready for race morning. We lucked out and scored a room with a balcony at Embassy Suites (which is great when you are wanting to check the weather). We woke up to a beautiful sunrise along the New Orleans river walk.

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Francine and I always lay out our gear the night before so race morning can go smoothly. We gave Alaina a few extra minutes to sleep in but since her 10k started 30 minutes before ours it was soon time to get her to her race start. This would be her 1st RNR event but she showed no fear. We made a plan to meet up after our Half and I decided to run with my phone so I could text her mile 11 to look for us at the Finish. Next we met up with some of our Varsity friends to say a quick prayer, calm each others nerves and wish each other luck.

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Races are always more than PR’s for me, its about friendship and enjoying the journey. Today for me was about being grateful. I felt the strongest I have had since before my surgery and my finish time of 2:13 showed it. Not a PR but I am back to the form I was last January so I’ll take it. Two years I pounded these streets in New Orleans for my one and only Full marathon, once you do that you get a feeling you can do anything. To be among this crowd I felt fortunate so I pushed extra hard knowing that my daughter would be at the finish and I was among friends that are on the same journey. So yes I jumped over those potholes with satisfaction.

<Quick count of runners:  Marathon= 3625 , Half Marathon = 11,353, 10k =2613>

Keep following your journey, you never know where it may take you.

 

 

 

 

5th Year Runniversary at Mardi Gras Mambo 10k/15k

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Yes, “Runniversary” is a word (in the runners dictionary)

If your a runner you know its a special celebration. Every year running is a personal celebration of YES I am still out there, I am still part of the cool kids club, I don’t need an artificial hip yet and when you hit “5” years its indeed quite special:)

For me it started February 5, 2011 at the Mardi Gras Mambo 10k among 890 runners in total on a very chilly morning.The first time putting on a race bib, first time crossing a start line and by the time I crossed the finish I knew I would be ready for the Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Half two weeks later which would be my first Half. (Shout out: Both of these race distances I was joined by my friend “Laurie” whom I will be eternally grateful for in getting me into running:) )

Fast forward five years later, back where it started this past Saturday morning awaiting the start of a race distance recently added at the Mambo the “15k” with my daughter Alaina who would be doing the “10k”  her 4th. This would be considered a training run for me to prepare for my 21st Half at Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans coming up this month on the 28th. (Cue the song “Reunited” by Peaches & Herb)

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Race Start of the Mambo 10k/15k  2-13-16 

This race has grown in numbers each year due largely to the festive theme, post race awards, bling and yummy treats from cake balls to subs. Today’s count of participants: 10k=1306, 15k=665 plus a 1 mile fun run=286

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2016 Race Bling for the 10k, 1mile fun run & 15k

We got a quick pre-race pic by a gorgeous oak tree before starting with my daughter Alaina and my running buddy Francine. (Both will be joining me in New Orleans for RNRNOLA)

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Alaina was genuinely excited for the 10k even though she hasn’t really been training much. She loved being out on a beautiful morning in the race atmosphere with so many friendly faces. I have to say we shared in her excitement. I found out in advance that the race course started both distances off together and would veer off at a couple points and line back up again so I told her I would look for her towards the last mile of the race since my distance was longer. We started with a bit of congestion due to some unexpected road construction then smoothed out for a single loop for both races that takes runners through the LSU campus, past the LSU lakes, through the Garden District and back to downtown Baton Rouge for a finish party at Town Square. Francine has done really well with her training this fall so I told her that I would meet up with her at the finish to not hold her back. I surprisingly felt really good this morning and kept a decent pace with my endurance that has been improving the past few months. I was anxious to get to the last part of the race course to see if I could find Alaina which I did and she was still smiling and even encouraging others on the course. At the finish I put on her medal and she quickly turned around to put medals on two other ladies that joined her on the course but to her surprise they had followed behind her on the sprint to the finish.

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The post race was busy with participants awaiting the costume contest, prizes awarded to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishers and of course the race grub from various sponsors including Raising Cane’s. We met up with Francine to get our times which we were very happy with (me for the 15k 1:34, Francine 15k 1:29 and Alaina 10k 1:35)

A great Runniversary indeed!     #RunMardiGras    #MoreMemoriesMade

Until Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans……:)

 

 

 

 

 

A look back to look forward

2015 taught me you cant plan for everything. It was a tough year and at moments had me lost for words which is why my blog hasn’t been as filled with as much content. Sometimes writing can make you feel naked, to hit “publish” on a blog post or to add a picture can make you feel so vulnerable it makes me question what and what not to share. It can be tough for a woman at times. Working full time, raising a teenage daughter, marriage and juggling personal goals as well as running can leave you wanting a time out and not to feel guilty about it. That’s exactly what I have done. I have hit pause. Don’t get me wrong 2015 had some highlights. I didn’t do as many races but the ones I did participate in gave me some special memories that make me reflect with a smile.

2015 Completed <12>  (with links to my blog recaps):

Reflecting on these races again remind me why I do it, its not for the finish time but for the experience. Each one of these remind me of special times with my daughter that we shared or a good laugh with a friend.

The app #2015bestnine selected my most liked pics from Instagram and I have to say it hit it pretty close.

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What’s on tap for 2016? I am not sure yet. Tomorrow I go to the doctor for a follow up from my spinal surgery, fingers crossed I am making good progress. I am scheduled to run Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans next month and I am currently planning my first trip to New York in June to run in Central Park at the Mini Oakley 10k which has been on my list for awhile. Whatever I do if I am adding special memories along the way I am happy.

Thanks for following along let’s see what 2016 offers…..

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How the St. Jude Half came to be

So when my husband gave me a cuddly stuffed “St. Jude” bear with my Christmas present last year from Kay Jewelers he had no idea of what he was starting. This race in Memphis has been on my bucket list for awhile (largely in part due to my running buddy Francine). Since we started this journey in 2011 she has asked every year “When are we going to do St. Jude?”  well I had decided 2015 would be the year. Bear in hand I asked my Hubby “Can St. Jude be my destination race in 2015?”  ( I try to pick one a year if budget allows) His response “As long as you find a child to give the bear too“. In fact he went and got me a SECOND one. Both would make the trip to Memphis but we will come back to that. Not only did I decide that St. Jude would be destination race but that I would also sign up as an Elite VIP St. Jude Hero which would mean I would have to raise $2500. This would guarantee Francine and I the chance to tour the St Jude Hospital. I am not the type of person that likes to ask for money (even for charity) but the cause behind St. Jude made it easy. I fortunately was able to raise the full $2500 by October 29th, over two months ahead of the deadline.

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All “22” donors I personally thanked and added their names to my St. Jude singlet that I would wear proudly on race day.

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Even an unexpected spinal surgery and lack of training would not keep me down from this experience. This would be my 20th Half Marathon but this race had much more personal meaning to me. St. Jude is a charity special to both my Dad and Francine’s. We wanted to see first hand how St. Jude and the money from donations gives back to the kids and families touched by childhood cancer and how they can make loving, lasting memories when it seems all hope is lost. This year I truly felt the need to do something much more this year with my running, I wanted to #RunForAReason and St. Jude gave me the chance to do just that. So on December 3rd Francine, myself and a couple of buddies (below) were road trip bound to Memphis. I found out in advance I would not be able to bring them to the hospital since you are not allowed to interact with the patients so I decided I would bring them with me on race morning and give them to children before the start of the race as a “Thank you for supporting St. Jude“. From the smiles on their faces that worked out very well:)

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Our tour of St. Jude Hospital was very enlightening, especially to see how every child no matter the race or religion are treated with open arms exactly the way the founder Danny Thomas wanted it to be.  If you are ever in Memphis I highly recommend you to stop by for a guided tour. What made the tour extra special were the two moms whose own children were previous patients of St. Jude and shared there own personal experiences. What I found particularly endearing was there was not one ounce of bitterness but gratefulness for the care they received from the doctors and nurses during their time at St. Jude.

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The expo at the Memphis Cook Convention Center was a breeze to get your bib and race packet. I even found my name on the official St. Jude pace car as an added bonus.

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Next would be the St. Jude Heroes Pasta Party at the Convention Center which would BLOW OUR MINDS. I was not expecting such the celebration. From the moment you walk in the door, people are thanking you for being a supporter of St. Jude. You can smell the delicious food, music is blaring from the speakers, there is a huge video wall, you knew you were in for a treat! After we picked our table and got our food I was literally dancing in my seat. I was so excited with everything going on I could barely eat.

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They also had a social media screen which I was too excited to get on several times, one included with Joe from run8va whom I finally got to meet at the party.

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Once we finished eating St. Jude kicked off the presentation with a touching video that would inspire anyone to lace up their shoes. ALSAC President and CEO, Rick Shadyac said it’s his favorite weekend of the year and welcomed a record year of participants (Estimated 21,500,  13 years running, established in 2002) to raise money and awareness for the work at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. It’s here that patients and their families receive treatment at no cost. This race event alone in Memphis raised over $8 million dollars. Check out this special news clip here.

The next morning was the race, cool temperatures to start that would warm up quickly and hills awaited but more than that was the most smiles and high fives you have ever seen at a race event. The 5k started at 7:30am and the Half and Full all started together at 8am. Even though it was a large number of runners the course opened up quickly and gave sight to a beautiful morning in Memphis.

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This just melted my heart

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The race signs say it all

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Does it get more real than that?

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So many young kids, teenagers and adults high 5’ing and cheering along the way made the rolling hills not be as hard.

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Wearing my Heroes singlet proudly as promised

When my lack of training kicked in I remembered something one of the moms said at the Pasta Party the previous night. “Running is hard, but so is Cancer.” and I kept going. Francine and I crossed the Finish line hand in hand in 2:24. A moment I will always treasure.

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Check out more race event photos from participants HERE.

Next was the VIP Hospitality tent which had loads of goodies! It overlooked the Finish area and had TV screens to watch runners cross over the finish line which was a nice touch as we stretched and gorged ourselves with treats . We also took a fun photo after we freshened up.

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As we walked to the exit an overwhelming feeling of sadness struck me, I didn’t want to leave. I looked around and saw families hugging each other, runners taking pictures, signs of congratulations “We are proud of you“. To have taken part in such a race that brought out such emotion from beginning to end I would always be so grateful.

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#NeverForgotten #ForYouDad #RunForAReason #TeamDevin

 

 

Why running with your kids is important

  • They have the goal of the finish line to focus their attention on
  • Gives them more motivation to eat healthy and stay in shape
  • Provides an activity you can do together which in turn will add to their memory bank
  • Your kids may get their own friends involved
  • Teaches them to support and encourage each other
  • Your child will ooze self confidence after stepping over the finish line
  • One day they may do it with their own kids

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