Tips For Your Roadtrip Race Weekend

Last weekend I had a blast at the Mardi Gras 10k and this weekend its off to to Gulf Shores Alabama for Half #17. Good times are in store for this 4th Annual Gulf Coast Half.

Race Details:

- Beautiful course
– Great support
– Awesome finishers medal
– Spectacular views
– Nearly world famous post race party at Lulu’s

Starting at Lulu’s runners will loop underneath then cross over the intracoastal bridge to begin their 13.1 miles. Exploring the many coastal neighborhoods that make Lower Alabama great runners will then enter Gulf State Park for a loop around Lake Shelby briefly popping out onto Perdido Beach Blvd for a beautiful view of the Gulf of Mexico. Finishing the loop around Lake Shelby runners will trace back part of the course to return to the north side of the Intracoastal Canal before turning for home and the nearly World Famous Post Race Party hosted at Lucy Buffet’s LuLu’s!

I have run the Pensacola, FL series once and Mandeville, LA twice so its FINALLY time for me to finish the three location series with ALABAMA!! I have not had a long run since my January races so I am a little bit nervous. I am hoping I don’t crash and burn by mile 9. This week the weather hasn’t been that good so my mileage has been low but I have been stretching, lifting weights and my nutrition is getting better as I am recovering from King Cake overload from Mardi Gras.

The drive to Alabama is only about 3 hours away but I am looking forward to the short overnight trip and hoping to at least walk on the beach for some relaxation time. In preparing to leave Saturday morning I thought I would share some tips for those with a racecation roadtrip weekend coming up.

  • Pack ahead of time. Don’t wait until the last minute. Make a list and check it twice. I even pack my list so when I am leaving I remember everything I brought. This also helps on race morning so I remember everything I need and nothing gets left behind at the hotel.
  • It is ok to over pack if your unsure about the weather. Bring a throwaway sweatshirt or mylar blanket if you think it will be a chilly morning. Remember the 10 degree rule you always warm up after Mile 1 so disposable layers are key.
  • Put in all of your addresses (expo,restaurants,hotel) ahead of time in your Garmin so you are not scrambling for time and can plan.
  • Charge your music, phone and watch ahead of time. Test everything before leaving.
  • Bring your own snacks, drinks, breakfast and race day energy supplies such as GU. Your stomach may not like surprises.
  • Clean up your house and pay bills before leaving. Last thing you want to do when you get home is chores. You will want to stretch and rest because more than likely you have to work the next day.
  • If you know of somewhere fun to stop on the way to your destination DO IT! Trust me you won’t feel like it on the way home after the race. I remember one of my favorite stops with friends on the way to the Pensacola race was “World Of Beers”. Memories with friends is part of the experience.
  • On your drive home from the race weekend stop every hour to stretch and wear comfortable clothes. Even compression socks on your legs will be helpful.

You want the least possible headaches for your race weekend away to give you the best possible race day results. Remember the journey is part of the experience :)

race week

 

 

 

Runner Moments

This morning I posted a picture on social media. One that took over a day to choose pictures for. I don’t participate in “Throwback Thursday” very often but I felt the urge today. I wanted to post a collage of “Runner Moments” for #TBT. As I scrolled through my phone and my Facebook albums I noticed I had countless to choose from. I have been very lucky since starting my Runner Journey in 2011 and I don’t take one moment or experience for granted. Thank you for those that I have met along the way.

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I am very thankful for the memories and friendships made through running. It definetly gives back more than I ever expected. It’s not a chore, it’s a privilege. Keep it fun!

Spring Southern Race Round Up for Discounts plus RNR $15 code

 Several race directors have contacted me with race discounts for the upcoming 2015 season so I thought I would share on this page and update this post as I get more so keep checking back!

Mardi Gras Mambo 10k & 15k   Mambo from Downtown Baton Rouge through the oak lined streets of the Garden District, past City Park Lake and back to downtown for the post-race fete. I have a special weblink to get 25% off the 10k or 15k race registration. (The discount will be applied during registration process.You get a race shirt, bling and food for only $19.88 for the 10k & $27.75 for the 15k) This #RunMardiGras deal expires 2/13/15 for the link click HERE

Gulf Coast Half Marathon Series in Gulf Shores, AL 3/1/15 — $13.10 discount with code: ‘NDECKERRUNNER’ Beautiful course and nearly world famous post race party at Lulu’s with one of the most unique finisher medals around.

Zydeco Marathon/Half “ZYDECODECKER15″ for 10% off online registration.Race in Lafayette,LA 3/8/15 Distance runners will love the motivation, encouragement, and a little humor as they make their way through long courses in Lafayette, LA. At the completion of the race, there will also be a free outdoor concert, labeled the “Finish Line Festival”, held in the UL Intramural Fields next to Blackham Coliseum.  Local zydeco bands will perform and local restaurants will be on site for food.

2nd annual Allstate Sugar Bowl St. Patrick’s Day Classic 3/15/15 “ccc10kblogger” for $5 off –Expires 1/31/15.  Run down Metairie Road before the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and don’t miss your ONLY chance to qualify for the 2015 Crescent City Classic 10k at the 2-mile distance.

37th annual Crescent City Classic 10k 4/4/15 “ccc10kblogger” for $5 off- Expires 1/31/15. The Allstate Sugar Bowl Crescent City Classic 10k road race is held in New Orleans on the Saturday before Easter Sunday each year.  The Classic is locally produced by a not-for-profit 5013c entity, the Crescent City Fitness Foundation, and is a great way to get in shape, while having fun!  Both runners and walkers of all abilities are invited to participate in the race.

Gulf Coast Half Marathon Series in Pensacola, FL 4/12/15-$13.10 discount with code: ‘NDECKERRUNNER’  This race feature Mile Markers at every mile and 11 well supported water stations. Sunrise at the beach for this race start is always a sight to see so don’t miss out! Post-Race Party fueled by Flounders where you can dip your feet in the Gulf Coast waters after your run.

 Jazz Half Marathon  promo code ‘DOITAGAIN’. This code is $10 off registration for the Half is good through 2/20/15. The 7th Annual Jazz Half Marathon and 5K will be held on October 31, 2015. The race begins and ends in historic Lafayette Square, and is followed by a post-party featuring live music by local artists and delicious New Orleans fare benefiting the Cancer Program at Children’s Hospital.

Dirty South Marathon/Half “RUNDECKER10″ for 10% off online registration.Race in West Monroe,LA to be held on 11/15/15. This 2nd annual event ensures a quality experience for all participants so general entry caps are set for 500 marathoners and 1,000 half-marathoners. Don’t miss out!  Participants can signup to run as a St. Jude’s Hero by pledging to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. St. Jude’s Hero’s will strive to hit fundraising milestones for free entries, pre-race meals, and accommodations.

5th Annual The Louisiana Marathon Weekend 2016: Promo code “IKNOWNICOLE” 10% discount for all distances ( Full, Half, Quarter, 5k ) except the kids race Jan 16- Jan 17,2016 join in the fun for a running festival with lagniappe! The course features a fast, flat, festive path from downtown along the river through the University Lakes, the Louisiana State University campus and in historic river town neighborhoods. This race featured in Runner’s World Magazine draws in runners from all 50 states plus over 9 countries.

Looking to sign up for a Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series race? I have your $15 off Promo code “NDECKERRUNNER” Thanks rocknblog Good for any Full or Half distance race in 2015 throughout US except Mexico. Expires 12/31/15. Do you #RunForTheBling? RNR offers unique opportunities to earn extra bling by completing multiple Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon Series events.

 

Keep checking back for more….

Do you have a Race Discount to share? Comment or message me to be added

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Lessons from the road

Race day may not always going go as planned there are so many variables:

  • Weather may be too hot or too cold, rain, humidity
  • Muscular aches and pains
  • Stomach distress, nutrition, hydration
  • Sleep, fatigue, overall energy level

What went Right during my recent back to back races:

  • Good attitude going in. Goal #1 to Finish and to Enjoy the Experience
  • I foam rolled and stretched daily
  • I ate good the night before and morning of the race
  • I packed and prepared ahead of time so no last minute frenzy

What went Wrong:

  • I need better nutrition two weeks before my race at least. I need to go back to my brown rice, spinach and tuna regimen. Lay off the junk food and go back to my food journal.
  • I did not take my daily vitamins like I should have, I did take EmergenC daily but need to get back to my vitamins.
  • I did not hydrate as much as I should have. Need to start a week before not two days before.
  • I didn’t get enough sleep. I felt this after the second race weekend. It took me 3 days to catch up on my rest
  • Back to back weekends are not for me especially with my schedule.
  • I did not stretch after the race. Once again I got caught up with the after race festivities.

Did you notice my “What went Wrong” list is longer than the “ What went Right” ?. Well that’s part of running. Did I enjoy the experience? YES! Would I do it all over again? Absolutely!

I am currently struggling with Shin Splints and off running for the next week, implementing R.I.C.E. (short for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation)

I found some good daily stretching techniques to add to my routine and help with recovery: Stretches for Runners via Cool Running

My next race isn’t until the end of February so it is the perfect time to recover and refocus.
# KeepPushingForward

 kara

“We all have had injuries and disappointments. It is a part of running. It can bring us down and at times be overwhelming when we see how far we have to go. But I encourage you all to take your time, stay inspired and focused. Instead of stressing about how far behind we are, we need to focus on the progress we are making and continue to make.”

-Kara Goucher, two-time U.S. Olympian

“Blues to the Bayou” My own Back 2 Back Half’s-Part two: The Bayou

It was looking like a picture perfect weekend for the 4th Annual Louisiana Marathon weekend. I had a plan B going into the weekend to run the Quarter distance race instead of the Half but I knew in the back of my mind I wanted to keep my alumni status and keep going Half Crazy. (my own term)  Next year will be the 5th annual and since this race has been growing every year it promises to be great. The Expo this year was at the Baton Rouge River Center. Packet pickup was a bit crazy if you were doing pickups for multiple people for different races but other then that it went smooth and there was lots to go look at. I got a scoop for this years Jazz Half Marathon in New Orleans on October 31,2015 from the Race Director Chuck George that starting this year he will be changing up the bling to musical instruments. This year will be the Saxophone! I was very excited to hear this update. 2016 may be the Piano and possible the Clarinet in 2017 ( my daughter plays the Clarinet so when I told her that she was very interested).  Race expos are a great place to find out more about races in your area. Plus this weekends race in Louisiana was bringing in large crowd from all 50 states and 9 countries so you never know who you could possibly meet.

Saturday’s race was the 5K, Quarter and Kids Marathon. I would be on hand to be race support for my daughter Alaina running the 5K and my friend Francine doing the Inaugural Quarter distance (6.55 miles). The weather was perfect about 35 degrees and no wind.

Start line for Saturday's 5K & Quarter which started at the time

Start line for Saturday’s 5K & Quarter which started at the same time

Alaina hugging Francine after finishing their races. "Runner Support" I love it :)

Alaina hugging Francine after finishing their races. “Runner Support” I love it :)

So proud of her and relieved she is out of her Scoliosis brace. (That was a long break but she is back out there and already focused on doing a couple 10k's this year. I told her this morning I was proud of her before she even crossed the Start line. I know she hates the training but the Finish line makes it SO worth it. I loved to see that face of accomplishment today. Such a great morning. She will be out there to cheer me on tomorrow for the Half. BTW: This was Alaina's 22nd event since she started with me in 2011. Today was her 15th actual 5K. (Count includes: 1=10K, 1=Sprint Triathlon, 1=Paddleboard race, 2=Trail races, Couple fun runs) #ProudMom

So proud of her and relieved she is out of her Scoliosis brace. (That was a long break but she is back out there and already focused on doing a couple 10k’s this year) I told her I was proud of her before she even crossed the Start line. I know she hates the training but the Finish line makes it SO worth it. I loved to see that face of accomplishment today. BTW: This was Alaina’s 22nd event since she started with me in 2011. Today was her 15th actual 5K. (Count includes: 1=10K, 1=Sprint Triathlon, 1=Paddleboard race, 2=Trail races, Couple fun runs) 

We hung out at the Finish Festival for a bit where there was bands and food from various vendors before leaving. They understood I needed to get off my feet a bit for my race Sunday and promised to be my support the following day. On the way to the car we caught the start of the Kids Marathon. It was AMAZING to watch them go and what a CROWD!

Kids Marathon. So cute to watch. Some ran hand in hand :)

Kids Marathon. So cute to watch. Some ran hand in hand :)

Sunday arrived finally. What would the day bring? My PR time to beat was a 2:06 but I had not been running that fast lately and my legs were still tired from MS Blues the previous weekend. I did have some extra excitement for the day. My daughter and husband was coming for the FIRST TIME to see me Start and Finish a Half Marathon. This was a big deal for me and definitely a good one for them to come see. There would be plenty of excitement in the air and a great Finish Festival so they wouldn’t be bored waiting on me. Lining up in the start coral there was lots of familiar, friendly faces offering encouragement and last minute advice.

This year it was a wave start with Ainsley’s Angels starting out first.

Start line for the Half & Full

Start line for the Half & Full

Finally we were off. I saw my support krewe at the Start to wish me luck and off I went.  The first Half of the race went well. I did my best to not start off fast and was at the 10k mark at 1:01. I watched my tangents and took in the sights which there was plenty of. There was lots of cheer stations along the race course. Some offered free mimosas, pancakes, beer, whatever you would like.  At one spot I saw some little kids in their pj’s high fiving runners as they came by. So cute! Those kids could have been sleeping or watching cartoons but no they were outside giving their support on a 45 degree/5mph winds morning. Very Sweet! ( I got my high 5’s) :)

I noticed I was having to use my GU’s more frequently than usual and could feel my energy level zapping away. By mile 11 I was slowly crashing. Nooooooooooo! I must push through. I had people waitting for me at the Finish. At this point I knew I was not going to make my PR and just tried to come in as close to 2:09 as possible. The feeling of slight disappointment was already settling in. Finally the home stretch. My last push to the Finish but I had nothing left in the tank to give. I  just kept my focus to run to the end and spot my Support Krewe. They were giving smiles and cheers as I crossed the Finish at 2:12. Mike Wattigny was there and gave me a high 5 at the Finish who I coincidentally saw at the Start as well  (He is the Race Director for Gulf Coast Marathon Series and Operations Director for Louisiana Marathon) Rachel Booth congratulated me and I was elated to see her (She currently holds the course record for the women/Louisiana Half at 1:17) I gave her a huge hug and told her how thankful I was. Then I got hugs galore from my friends and family which made my day. My husband and daughter said they were proud of me and my daughter waited for me to go get my medal so she could put it on me as promised. My friend Francine had no doubt I would do the Half and gave me props for doing them two weekends in a row.

Although it was not a PR day for me (yet again) I still felt thrilled that I got to experience it. It was time for me to enjoy the after party and watch the people running the Full come in. That is always inspiring and motivating to watch. For me it is part of the experience as well.

A Great Day!

A Great Day! Pics from the Start & Finish

Amazing Finishers! So inspiring to watch #GeauxRunla

Amazing Finishers! So Inspiring  #GeauxRunla

Number of participants this year at The Louisiana Marathon Weekend:

  • Marathon: 1360 (638 Female/722 Male) Average time  4:32
  • Half Marathon: 2853 (1716 Female/ 1136 Male) Average time  2:21
  • Quarter: 397 (248 Female/149 Male) Average time  1:13
  • Kids Marathon: 641 (287 Female/353 Male) Average time  11:36
  • 5K: 1399 (864 Female/534 Male) Average time  37:49

 For more information and to join us next year check out The Louisiana Marathon website at: http://www.thelouisianamarathon.com  or on Facebook.

#GeauxRunLA

 If you missed Part One from MS Blues check it out HERE

 

“Blues to the Bayou” My own Back 2 Back Half’s-Part one: The Blues

While some people are getting prepared to run Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans this weekend I can rest a bit. I decided to add some new bling to my collection with the ‘8th Annual Mississippi Blues Half and then the ‘4th Annual Louisiana Half Marathonthe very next weekend. I was a bit concerned since the MS Blues promised rolling hills and inclines that would be a bit more challenging than I am used too plus cold temperatures of a feels like degree of ’19’ on race morning. YIKES!! This southern girl likes it a bit warmer. I was worried the steep inclines may take me out for Louisiana Half since that course has more promise for a PR. My head knew that goal was going to be a bit ambitious for me anyway so first thing first was just to finish both uninjured and have a good time doing it.

That secondary goal was definitely accomplished :)

Part one: The Blues

My running buddy Francine and I enjoyed the expo in Jackson for the MS Blues. Terry “Harmonica” Bean was performing on the Expo stage at the time we were there and he oozed soul. To my delight he was featured in a couple songs on the Blues CD that was included with the runners packet.

Terry "Harmonica" Bean doing his thing on the stage at the MS Blues Half expo

Terry “Harmonica” Bean doing his thing on the stage at the MS Blues Half expo

There was several race booths setup such as Zydeco Marathon, St Jude and plenty of runner aid supplies. At the expo you could get just about any last minute items that you may have forgotten such as gloves for the drop in temperatures that was expected overnight for race morning. We found the race medal for the Half which gave us more incentive for being there. It was different than the year prior. Slightly smaller and less glitzy but would certainly be a nice addition to my collection. MS Blues also gave runners a vest with their entry which was something different that the usual race T shirt.

half bling

We had our pasta dinner at the historic ‘Mayflower Cafe’ walking distance from our our hotel. They even had a sign outside and food discounts to welcome the out of town runners. In fact everything was walking distance from our hotel which was very appreciated. One downside I hate to mention was the streets. They were very uneven and lots of potholes. I asked someone at the expo if that’s what we were going to be seeing throughout the race and unfortunately yes that was going to be the case. Since I had a taken a couple recent spills during training runs back home this did worry me a bit. ( No bandaids or neosporin was packed for this race lol!)

The next morning we made sure to have our throwaway layers and gloves as we started to head out for the race start on a very chilly morning. (Actually it was the coldest one we had done yet). My friend Francine had a fantastic attitude going into it. She said the cold and hills would make us stronger because of it. She was right! I decided to go at an easy pace and save some energy for my race the following weekend.  The race started after the most amazing blues guitarist performed the National Anthem (What an incredible race moment! He killed it!) Because of the cold I would not be taking pictures during the race so I left my phone behind in gear check. The sun started to come up for a beautiful but cold morning and we were off for a 13.1 mile jog. There were not as many bands on the course as expected unfortunately due to the weather. I think I only saw “3” when I expected more like 8-10. This was a bit disappointing but to my relief the spectators still braved the cold to cheer us on. One setup in particular I liked was “Sorry about the potholes, enjoy a donut hole”.  Anything that could make us laugh that morning was appreciated. There wasn’t that many sights to take in throughout the race course but we hit the inclines as a challenge that felt at times like a never ending treadmill stuck on “+” and let the miles tick away as we got closer to the Finish.

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Success!!!  We Trained together, Started together and Finished together at a time of 2:22.

The race had a tent setup for the finishers with heaters, pizza, red beans and rice plus plenty to drink such as hot chocolate/Gatorade. We grabbed a couple of items and went to look for the massage area inside the musuem that was being offered complimentary by Bluecross. There was a very short line and we were happy to get some knots worked out from the hills. This would give us a headstart on recovery since we had a race the very next weekend. Unfortunetly the cold set in again for us and we had to head back to the hotel to get cleaned up and go home.

Goodbye Jackson the Blues was a blast. Next up the Bayou. Stay tuned for Part 2

Numbers of Runners at MS Blues:

  • 808 for the Marathon
  • 37 for the Marathon Relay
  • 1783 for the Half
  • 84 for the Quarter

Elevation for MS Blues Half:

HalfElevation

For more information on the Missisissippi Blues Race weekend check out their website at:  http://www.msbluesmarathon.com/

 

 

Thoughts before, during and after a race… #RunnerHumor

Thoughts “before” a race…..

  • Aack! Is that a rain cloud?
  • Did I apply Body Glide in “all” the right places?
  • Is my KT Tape going to stay on?
  • I have done this a bazillion times so why am I nervous right before race start?
  • Is my music charged?
  • I have to run how far?
  • Don’t forget to start my Garmin

Thoughts “during”  a race…..

  • I am only at mile 2?
  • Really a stroller is going faster than me?
  • Aack! Is that a rain cloud?
  • Did I apply Body Glide in “all” the right places?
  • Crap! a 12 year old is going faster than me!
  • Is my KT Tape going to stay on?
  • Did I eat enough?
  • Did I eat too much?
  • Aack! Pothole!

 Thoughts a mile or two before the Finish line…..

  • Is my Garmin still working? It doesn’t seem to be moving or am I going in slow motion?!
  • This last mile is the longest yet!
  • WHERE is the Finish line?!
  • Finish line in sight, OK this is where I need to go at warp speed. ENGAGE! SMILE!

 Thoughts “after” crossing the Finish line….

  • Whew that wasn’t so bad
  • I could have gone faster
  • Where is my phone?
  • Where is the Chocolate Milk?
  • FOOOOOOD!!
  • Ouch!! I missed a spot with the Body Glide
  • Aack! I forgot to press stop on my Garmin!
  • When is the next race?

banana

 

Feel free to share yours and Geaux Run!!!!