Yesterday my daughter and I got up early and headed to New Orleans for the “15th Annual Run Forrest Run/Walk 5k” benefitting Children’s Hospital. This race has been on my list but I had not had the opportunity to do it. Finally this year would be my year! It would be extra special due to it would be my daughters last race before she gets her Scoliosis back brace on Wednesday. We parked at Jax Brewery on Decatur and walked to the packet pickup area/race start located in front of the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company Restaurant. I didn’t even know they had a location in New Orleans so I was looking forward to checking it out after the race. Out front there was a very good Forrest Gump impersonator taking pictures with runners. He looked and sounded just like him. He introduced himself to me with the biggest smile and said “Hi, I am Forrest, Forrest Gump!” For me that was worth coming out to the race alone.
Look who it is!!! Even the Nike shoes!! love it!
Packet pickup was a breeze and the crowd of estimated 1500 runners quickly filled up for the 8:35am start of the 5k.
15 minutes before the start of the Run Forrest Run 5k Run/walk on Decatur
It was a warm 74 degrees and 87% humidity due to the rain coming by noon. Alaina took the race at a slower pace taking in the sights along the way while I gave it all I had for my 28:38 finish. I was expecting more people dressed up for this fun themed race but we had a great time plus the rain held out until after we got our post race beignets at Café Du Monde.
Alaina got her “chocolate” after the race from Forrest!
So as you may know my daughter has joined me in my running quest during the past two years. It has become some really great mother-daughter time. In fact she just did her 1st 10k and loved it. On the way home that day she asks ”When is the next one?” Boy, we had no idea of what was ahead….
About a week later I took her to get X-rays for her Idiopathic Scoliosis update. Last year she was at 10-14% on her S curve but unfortunately 12 months later she is up to 23%. This means back brace time. If it gets to 40% she will need surgery which must be avoided if at all possible. Since she is 13 years old she still has some growing to do so she must get into a brace (that she has to wear 23 hours a day) as soon as possible. Last Friday afternoon I took her to the Orthopedic clinic to get measured and we had a huge scare when we were told she would not be able to run, do P.E, Yoga or dance for the 2 years minimum she would be in the brace. WHAAAAT??!!! That whole weekend when I was around my daughter I tried to be positive. I told her that this is just a temporary setback but inside I was a wreck. You take an active, young girl with great self-esteem and tell her she has to dress differently due to the brace she will be wearing under her clothes (no skinny jeans, no thin tops) and most of her physical activities including simple things like Xbox Kinect she can’t do until she is 16-17!! What is she to think?! First thing Monday I called the Specialist to see what the deal was and found out he intends to “modify” the custom brace after it is made so she can continue to be active. Thank goodness!! I let out a huge sigh of relief. We still don’t know the full impact or restrictions the brace will entail but there is hope that she can continue to be active. Our next race together is the “Run Forrest Run 5k Run/Walk” in New Orleans 4/28/13. This may be her last race before she gets her back brace.
Her first race ‘with’ the brace will be the “Superhero 5k Run/Walk” in Zachary on 5/11/13. I told her just walk or jog anything you can do as long as your out there its all good! A friend and I are going to make her a SuperGirl costume! But of course, who else would she be?
The day started with the live steam viewing of the elite women Shalane Flanagan finishing 4th in 2:27:08 and my running idol Kara Goucher finishing 6th in 2:28:11 both just amazing performances. I get back to my day job as my phone pings with text alerts from my running friends that I am following in their Boston quest from afar. Later in the day I check my phone and see a disturbing message about a bomb at the Finish line and immediately start checking updates to see who had crossed and who hadn’t.. Shock and dismay. Could this really be happening?
This article by S.I. ROSENBAUM I found online sums it up as a fellow runner:
Last June I received a free entry from a #RunLA Twitter chat hosted by http://www.claimyourjourney.com/ sponsored by http://www.rocketchix.com/ to their July 28th Rocketchix II Triathlon. The course would consist of a 350 meter swim in LSU’s pool, a 12 mile out and back bike ride along River Rd. and a 2 mile run through part of LSU’s campus.
Their motto is “We believe there is a TRIathlete in every woman” and they truly do. This group was one of the most supportive environments I had ever encountered. They believe there is an inner athlete in everyone and most importantly they make YOU believe it.
This was definitely outside my comfort zone. With only a month to prepare I had to start swimming lessons (I only knew how to doggie paddle) and I had to borrow a bike. Fortunately Rocketchix offered swim and bike clinics. They even had a Transition 101 clinic to show you how to setup your transition area, which would be essential to save you a few minutes between swim and bike then bike to run.
I had first heard about this group last June by volunteering at a Rocketkidz Rookies Triathlon for kids 3-10. Trust me when I tell you these kids on their tricycles were one of the cutest things I had ever seen! My daughter Alaina also came along to volunteer and after our shift was done she immediately asked where to sign up for her own age group Triathlon event. Turns out there would be one coming up in July. Her group would be the Saturn group since she was 12 years old. Her course would be a 200 meter swim, 4 mile bike and a 1.2 mile run.
When I won the entry I found out it would be a day before my daughters TRI. At first she felt like I was stealing her thunder. Then she thought about it and said this could really be a fun weekend. We can be each other’s race support and that’s exactly what we did. After a month of training we both put forth our best effort and had one of the most inspiring, challenging weekends ever!
Don’t be afraid to “TRI” something new!
Why do you TRI?
Go Alaina!! #ProudMom
I had the BEST race support ever!
I started running a little over 2 years ago and this past weekend I completed my 8th Half. Someone mentioned I can stop calling myself a “newbie”, that I am an experienced Half Marathoner. How crazy is that?? Inside I still feel like a newbie. I still don’t know how to eat before a race or have my breathing quite right. I still twist my hips too much when I run but I’m no longer a “newbie” whaaaaaat??.
That word gave me a sense of security. That I am still learning and it’s ok to have a bad run once in a while. However I have learned that every runner is still learning and striving to improve which leads me to my next question.
To go the distance or not? People ask when am I going to sign up for a Full. Running can be very competitive. You push yourself to PR at every race even though that’s not really possible and can lead to burnout. During my recent Half I once again had that feeling during the race that this is the max distance for me and I must be totally nuts to even consider to start training for my first & only Full. I do say 1 & only because between my weak hip flexors and nuisance of an IT band I think I only have one in me.
I so desperately want that Full race bling. I want to be among my friends that can proudly claim that 26.2 distance. I am in awe of them. Another thought comes to my mind, what would be my next goal after a Full? Ragnar Relay? Rouge Orleans? There are so many fantastic races out there that I would desperately like to be a part of but being that I work full time, I am a wife and mom means I have commitments, plus I am not a spring chicken. I started this quest at age 38 not 25 so once again the voice of reason comes into play. Enjoy the Journey. Own the Half Marathon distance. I have yet to make my sub 2 hour goal for that distance so I would like to continue with that quest for this coming fall season. I would like to pick out 1 or 2 reasonable racecations a year to partake in such as the Space Coast Half Marathon in Cocoa Beach, Florida or the Nike Women’s Marathon & Half Marathon in San Francisco, California. Yes, I still want that Mickey medal for Walt Disney World marathon weekend but if I do get to do that race one day the goal would be just to finish and Enjoy!
Opening this up for your thoughts?
A road trip to Pensacola with some pretty awesome people that is the way a race weekend should be done. Our stop for lunch on Saturday ended up being at “World of Beer” on S. Palafox St. in Pensacola. (well it does count as carbs right ?) . Since we had six people with us we each tried each other selection. My first was the Radeberger Pilsner – A German light hoppy beer. #2 was a mix of Angry Orchard Crisp Apple from Ohio. I had it mixed with a second beer that I honestly can’t remember the name but it was red in color and sweet. I wish I could remember because it was very good.
Check out the beer menu here: http://wobusa.com/Locations/Palafox/Menus/Drafts.aspx
Our bartender “Patrick” knew about the Half Marathon the next day and mentioned he would be running it so he gave us a few pointers. We ordered some food to be delivered and afterwards we left to check in to our hotel to have some beach time before our pasta dinner at Lillo’s Tuscan Grill.
View at dinner the night before the race outside of Lillo’s Tuscan Grill (Great Pasta!)
Our race crew.
You could not have asked for a better evening on the beach which of course had to be capped off by a ride on the “Wheel of Excellence” ferris wheel.
Wheel of Excellence otherwise known as Pod of Death per Stephen!
Bed by 10:30pm and up for 4:30am yep that’s how I roll! Roll being the key word since my IT band was being a bit cranky. Race morning was 58 degrees & 5mph winds. The perfect start! It would have been nice to stay at this temp but the sun came up fast for the race start at 7am and we were off. My dear friend Stephen came along on this trip to pace me since my goal was to beat my PR of 2:06 but his wise words in my head echoed ”Enjoy the Run” so as I was putting forth my best effort I would gaze off to the beachfront views and gorgeous skylines ahead from time to time. I felt very good for the first 6-7 miles taking in a few sips of water at every other stop. My playlist tunes were pushing me forward but by mile 9 my labored breathing due to my allergies were starting to take a toll on me. I could see my pace slipping away. Since this race had only approximately 1800 runners there wasn’t as much race support along the way as some of the bigger races but you would see a few people who got up early that Sunday morning to support with their homemade signs such as “Stop slowing down to look at my girlfriend run” or “Go faster my arms are getting tired”. I was slowing losing steam at mile 10 & 11 and honestly felt I had nothing left to give by mile 12. Stephen was a trooper and patiently waited for me to catch my breath. The finish line was in sight with a last push that did extend slightly past the 13.1 mile mark for a time of 2:10. I finally got my long awaited Pensacola finisher medal.
8th Half in the books with a time of 2:10. My 3rd Half for the year so far..
While we waited for a couple of our friends to finish I saw the Race Director “Michael Wattigny” and briefly stopped him to ask a couple of race questions. First being: Why is this a smaller race at 1800 runners?, Why isn’t this race promoted more? Turns out with the limited budget for marketing and some of the roads are a bit narrow it could only accommodate a max of 3000 runners so it will always be a smaller race with race caps in place. I also asked him if he had anything in mind for next year’s being that it will be the 5th year anniversary. He said he has a few ideas but will be keeping the Finisher medal relatively the same. (it also doubles as a bottle opener –a signature for this Gulf Coast Half Marathon series) Turns out the Mandeville, LA race will also be the 5th year. Alabama is rather new with the 2014 race being the 3rd year for that location. Each is unique and should not be missed. We went to go find Amanda who turns out was soaking her feet in the Gulf which didn’t end up being a bad idea. The cool water felt good with a great after party at Flounders going on in the background. Next year’s race is already calling my name to come back!
Soaking our feet in the chilly Gulf after the race (felt amazing!) Great idea Amanda!
After party at Flounders
Walking up to the start line was a bit different for me this race morning. You line up by your corral color which was dictated by your estimated time to finish. I was in the Green corral which was four corrals from the start and my daughter Alaina was in the Purple corral which was just one corral before the walkers in Yellow since I expected her to just walk/jog it. This would be her farthest and largest race to date at 17,546 runners. I gave her some last minute tips (watch your step, drink water when you need too, text me at mile 5, have fun, enjoy the scenery!!) She saw her purple corral and all I heard was “Bye, Mom” and with that she disappeared into the crowd. Nerves sat in for me as I walked to my corral with Stephen and Francine. We started to warm up for the race and in no time we were off.
Picture courtesy of Times-Picayune
The first mile was a bit slow due to the large amount of runners and narrow start plus I admit my mind was still on my daughter at the start line. ‘Would she trip & fall? “ .. “Oh no, I forgot to tell her to ONLY drink out of the Kentwood water cups as I see beer stands and Jell-O shots on the race course”.. (it is New Orleans!). In no time I am running past Jackson square, French market, up to mile 3. The temperature is getting warm quick. I slowed down my pace a bit as I look for a runner nearby who has a steady pace to time with, since I do have a Half Marathon the very next weekend. Up ahead were the mossy, covered oak trees of City Park for miles 5 and 6. I looked at my time on my Garmin and I see a small PR in sight and think to myself “I got this”. Finally up ahead I see the Finish line, I turned down my music and do my best for a final push which seemed to take forever as I made my unexpected PR of 57:58!!
I got my water and medal then quickly checked my phone. No text from Alaina until a short while later I get “Be at the finish, I’m going past the volleyball nets”. I quickly went back to the Finish hoping to spot her in time and get a quick picture. SUCCESS!!!!!!
Alaina heading to the finish!
Beaming with pride we hug each other as she looks to collect her medal. She finds it and says “That was fun!!” I asked how she feels and she says “accomplished” with a big smile!!
Alaina’s 1st 10k!
Time to go celebrate with friends at the race festival while we wait for her race time.
Unfortunately they were having Wi-Fi issues so it took longer than expected to get the final race times. Later that evening I got word she finished in 1hr: 21min: 28seconds which I sent to her via text and I got this reply back.
By the way my plan to stalk Bart Yasso at the Expo was a complete success!! I got my picture with him and he was so nice!! A very entertaining, informative speaker whom I sincerely hope comes back in the fall for our Louisiana Marathon kickoff this Fall. I can’t wait to read his book “My Life On The Run”. If it is half as entertaining as his session at the expo I am in for a real treat!
The Hyatt Regency was a great choice for the venue for the Expo, good variety in booths, easy packet pickup, soft- true to size race shirts, parking for the race was no problem at the Superdome however getting back was a chore (long lines at the finish to catch a bus back so we walked back until we could get a taxi which was 2.7 miles later), A thought for future races would be to send out a quick email blurb on runner etiquette for the newbies but this is a race for anyone to participate in so you have to keep that in mind and last but not least an entertaining Finish Festival that only New Orleans could pull off.
My next adventure is Gulf Coast Pensacola Half Marathon next Sunday.
Time to go foam roll my legs!!!