Cross Training for Variety

I admit it, I haven’t crossed many finish lines as of lately. Heck I am not even signed up for an upcoming race. Usually I am scheduled a year in advance on my race calendar. ( Yes, runners generally have a separate calendar)

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What I have been doing is hitting my local gym 4-5 times a week and LOVING it! To be back in a group environment again doing Spin, Tabata or even good ole treadmill ( better known as the dread mill) to work on incline training and it has been MARVELOUS! For me it is a boredom buster to throw in something different. I can disconnect my brain and just follow the instructor. Plus it helps to improve my overall fitness such as core work to ward off those pesky injuries like my I.T. band or weak hips.

 

Am I getting the itch to sign up for a fall Half Marathon? YEP! Have I picked one yet? Nope! but its coming….In the mean time I will be at the gym because sweat is sweat no matter if its on the roads or off. Just enjoy !

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Racecation NYC style at the Mini 10k

Going to New York has been on my list for quite some time. I always thought it would be a weekend girls trip but hubby mentioned to make it a week long family vacation and do some sightseeing. Which NYC race would I chose? I decided that it would need to be during the summer so my daughter could come and since I have always wanted to run in Central Park I set my sights on the  NYRR Mini 10k.  This is an all women race and 2016 would be the 45th year with 8,833 running (a record if I am not mistaken). I took a look at the landmarks on the race map and got even more excited ( Metropolitan Museum of Art, Tavern on the Green,  American Museum of Natural History, Central Park Zoo, St. Patrick’s Cathedral ).  I decided to make the race the beginning part of the trip instead of the end and that was a smart move for my legs with all the walking we would do around New York. We flew in on Thursday and I easily got my race packet at the annex which wasn’t far from the hotel.

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Got my race bib,  YAY!!!!!

We decided to stay in the Hell’s Kitchen area of NYC at the Washington Jefferson which was just a short walk to Times Square, the race start at Columbus Circle and a short subway ride to the majority of the sightseeing during the trip. This worked out quite well.

Race morning on Saturday came quickly and so did the temperatures. Race start at 8am was 62 degrees but would quickly rise to 73 but I didn’t mind because I was finally going to run in Central Park!  I was ready, phone in hand ready to take pictures along the way to document the experience, though it would forever be in my memories. To make it even more special a social media friend I have had for years “Angie” agreed to meet me in real life and run the race by my side and show me the sights along the course. She met up with my daughter and I right before it was time to get in our corals for the wave start.

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Selfie at the Race Start

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Over 8000 ladies!

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Almost our turn for a little run in the park!

 

The race sights along the route did not disappoint. I even got to see the life-sized bronze statue of Fred Lebow (runner, race director, and founder of the NYC Marathon) .  You have to watch carefully for random decor on the statue. Today would be the same flowers that would be given to the ladies at the end of the race.

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As our 10 kilometers were nearing the end I texted hubby so he would be ready to take an epic picture of Angie and I at the Finish. We collected our race medals, carnation and pink bagel (yes, they were dyed pink!). Angie had plans right after the race so we said our goodbyes and I promised to return the favor if she ever decides to come to New Orleans for a racecation🙂

 

Here are a few tips to ease your racecation planning alongside a family vacation:

  • Pack your gear separately in your luggage: I packed my running clothes with a short checklist in a seperate 2 gallon Ziploc so on race morning I could easily pull everything out. I also packed shorts & capris since I was unsure what the temperatures would be for race morning. Don’t forget the body glide & Biofreeze!
  • Charge up your running watch ahead of time and music if you decide to use any.
  • Wear your running shoes on your travel day since they are more bulky in your luggage.
  • Hydrate -Hydrate-Hydrate before race morning. This will help your energy level after the race so you can do some sightseeing.
  • Pack your portable stick/roller. Your legs will thank you!
  • Enjoy!!! This is what you came for. Just go with it and don’t worry about a PR.

 

Thank you New York for the memories!!!!

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Run like Phoebe

Words have escaped me as of late. Life gets hectic, chaotic and downright stressful so yes I have been a bit neglectful on my blog please forgive me. I do think about the rambles of words and subjects to throw on my blog but I don’t write just to have content. It has to mean something to me. I do admit I have scaled back my races this Spring/Summer due to my teenage daughter Sophomore year coming to an end and Junior year will be even more demanding. An involved parent has to put things on the backburner occasionally and not feel guilty doing so. Thankfully I have not completely neglected my fitness in the process. I have been spending more time in Bootcamp style classes at the gym instead of the road which has given me time to work on my core and meet new people. Reading blogs like Modern Mommy Madness  and Scary Mommy  has put some hearty laughter in my day which is much needed to not take things so seriously. I do have an event I am looking forward too in a couple weeks. My husband, daughter and I are scratching an item off of my bucket list. We will be traveling to New York for our first time. We will be doing the tourist thing and I finally get to run in Central Park!! Even better I get to participate in the New York Mini 10k! To sweeten the pot I get to finally meet Angela  my Yankee friend in person who I have chatted with on Social Media for years! I have been promising to visit the big apple and she has agreed to run with me and show me the sights during the race, so expect a picture recap on that one for sure! My daughter will be doing the #Mini10k as well (walk/jogging). We will be wearing matching Nike tanks (twinsies as she puts it) So it looks like NYC will be my runcation for the year which I am thankful to make more memories.

I cant wait to run like Phoebe!🙂

 

 

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……🙂