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.

 

 

 

 

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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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Sweet Victory! ‪#‎JazzHalf2015‬

“Your not running tomorrow right?” this was the question friends and race directors from other races that were at the Expo asked me as I was stopping in to get my packet and to say Hello. I showed them my race bib in my hand and sheepishly said  “well, I don’t know if you call what I will be doing tomorrow ‘running’ but my plan is to jog, walk or dance my way to that finish line tomorrow morning”   <For a little back story:> Just a couple weeks prior I got the green light from my doctor that I could start training again, I was excited because this was a full month early. This would help me be in better shape for the St. Jude race in December. I began running three times a week. The weekend before Jazz Half I had gotten to a whopping 6 miles. (in which I was exhausted afterwards) I know what your thinking, to go from 6 miles to 13.1 in a week is not recommended. I know,  but I needed something to boost my endurance and potentially my turtle like pace. I emailed the race contact to remove my name from the deferral list and it was done. Whew! This is crazy, I would tell anyone NOT to do what I was doing but a race on Halloween morning in New Orleans, Oh Wow!! just think of the costumes and sights to see!!! My running buddy Francine had been training hard the past three months and was in good shape to “run” Jazz so I was going to need someone to join me on this fun adventure and it hit me “Amazing Amanda”. I messaged her and she quickly accepted without hesitation. We chatted back and forth about various race outfits and kept an eye on the weather since storms were on the weekend forecast.  <Now that your caught up lets get back > After the expo Francine and I decided to go to Bourbon Street for dinner since our hotel was only a few blocks away. Due to the storms coming New Orleans and other local areas moved up trick or treating to that night so there was extra excitement in the air. We grabbed a table near the window at Olde Nola Cookery to watch the revelers go by and catch some music in the streets. You could not ask for better entertainment the night before Jazz Half.

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Music blaring, smell of Biofreeze in the air, applying ChafX, bread with honey for breakfast,  It’s Race Morning!!!!

One last weather check on our phones and we decided to put umbrellas and ponchos in our gear check bag. It looked like it was going to be very muggy but the rain should hold out until we crossed the finish line. Not PR weather conditions but it should be fun regardless. As we walked to Lafayette Square I was a little nervous that I would not find Amanda to pal around with me during the race but she found me easily. (she had already ran 2 miles that morning and planned to run 4 after the race since she is Dopey training, she really is “Amazing Amanda”) We took a pre-race picture, saw some awesome costumes and checked out the race bling that would be waiting for us. Soon it was time to go line up.

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We lined up towards the back behind the competitive and 5k runners whom had a slightly different route. I told Francine to have a strong race. For me today would just be about finishing. I was thankful to even be able to participate. The first few miles went smoothly, seeing familiar sights and friends along the way. I was soaking up the experience with every mile along with the humidity. Yes, it was going to be challenging. I fortunately remembered to take my salt that morning and knew I would have to take in water/Gatorade along the way. I could see the runners around me looking a little drained and I hoped it wasn’t affecting Francine too bad for her run. Then I felt a tap and lookie-lou! Mama Z had found me!!! Jen looked AMAZING in her Day of the Dead getup! I took a quick photo of her, hugged and she was on her way.

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After mile 7 I could start to feel my energy slowly zapping away and told Amanda I was looking forward to getting back on St. Charles after the Audubon Park loop so we could see the spooktacular skeleton house. This home was perfection along the race route on Halloween morning.

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Spotting this race sign I had to stop since I definitely needed some ENERGY to get me til the end!

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Just a couple more miles left and I was definitely taking additional walk breaks but Amanda cheered me on and said I was doing great. I was especially thankful in that moment to have my own race course cheerleader by my side! With the finish line in sight I knew I was close to completing my goal for the day and Amanda never left my side. Crossing the finish line i let out the biggest breath and knew I would now be ready for St. Jude.

We spotted Francine and she had a challenging run as well. We went to scope out the post race food choices: Jambalaya, Red Beans and Rice, Hot Dogs and Chili, Sno-balls on a Stick.(Soft sno-ball outer shell covering a creamy ice cream center) We had to try one! There was plenty of choices of food and drinks but we were soaked to the bone in sweat and ready for a shower after a couple of samples. The rain started, we quickly said our goodbyes and left with the satisfaction of a great race morning. Later in the day I was looking at social media and saw something that  truly warmed my heart.

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Races are about supporting each other and enjoying the experience which Amanda perfectly captured.

Sweet Victory! ‪#‎JazzHalf2015‬

Back in the saddle again…. I’m Back!

Cue AC/DC yep I am BACK!! I got the green light from my doctor with a FULL release a month early to start Half Marathon training again. THIS -IS- HUGE! Fall is here and it has been tough to see my fellow runners doing the races and feeling like I am missing out. Since I have started back last week I have noticed my endurance is not where it was due to my three months off because of the neck surgery. BUT I can’t go from 0-60. I have to start back S-L-O-W. Make a plan.

Taking the training wheels off the bike felt pretty good the first night back even though my pace and breathing was labored. (I am not a stellar 8 minute miler anyway but I would like to stay in the 9-9:5 range) Nonetheless a friend reminded me that even though my pace was not on target it still was better than it was three weeks ago and for that I was grateful! Even if I never get to participate in another race again to just be able to workout again is a gift. My mind is clearer and it gives me more energy.

Soaking up a beautiful sunset on my first night back for an easy 3 miler.

Soaking up a beautiful sunset on my first night back for an easy 3 miler.

From today I have 45 days until the St. Jude Half . I am not looking to PR at this race but I have worked hard to fund raise for these kids (with only $275 left to go to meet my goal of $2500). I truly want to do more with my running this year so I will not let them down. Looking at the calendar this gives me 6 weeks to train. Holy Heck!!! Only 6 weeks?!!!

ok, B-R-E-A-T-H-E make a plan. Looking at the calendar I have a couple conflicts to get my long runs done so I need a boost mileage and endurance wise. I realize I am still registered for The New Orleans Jazz Half Marathon to be held this year on Halloween morning. Ummmmm this is only 11 days away but the weather has been great and who could miss out on a race that is actually on Halloween? (Think of all the race costumes and sights?) If I can jog it I can get the feeling for distance again perhaps? Even though I have only done a maximum of 4 miles since early July I foolishly think I have a shot. I just have to take my time and have some fun with it. Above all “Do Not Get Injured”. Gotta go easy or I will kink up my IT Band and really be in trouble. I still think this is exactly what I need to get me a kick start, plus this race benefits the Children’s Hospital of New Orleans so it fits right in line with what I want to do this year. Doing Jazz even for fun will also make St. Jude my 20th Half which is a pretty awesome number. 🙂

So follow along with me, shoot me some costume ideas and stay tuned!

On the road again to train for St Jude.  #RunForAReason

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It’s summer!!! Time for BBQ’s, beach and vacations yet all I can think about is I have to get back in shape for Fall running season. I signed up for New Orleans Jazz Half Marathon that will be on Halloween this year (costumes are a guarantee for this fun race) and that will make St. Jude’s my 20th Half this December. When you get discouraged you know its time to refocus and sign up for more events to keep your motivation flowing. This year I want to #RunForAReason and these two events will help me do what I want to do which is to highlight kids in need. My daughter is healthy and happy. She had her followup yesterday with her Scoliosis doctor and she doesn’t have to get back in her brace so we are blessed. It’s unfair that children have to fight to be healthy this day in age yet we all know someone that has struggles. Be grateful for what you have and pay it forward when you can.

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Running to Finding Cures and Saving Children. Officially signed up as a St. Jude Hero

Today on May 1st Heroes VIP race registration opened for the St. Jude Memphis Half/Full Marathon which will be held on 12/5/15. I have chosen this as my destination race this year. Not Disney not Nike not NYC, I have chosen St. Jude. Why? because St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital means Hope, Faith and a test of Strength for many people. The doctors, nurses and supporters of St Jude have added additional memories for some to share with their loved ones and for others it is the possibility to ease the pain since the toughest cases come to Memphis for a chance to be saved. Some have won their battle against childhood cancer and some have lost. I have set up my Heroes fundraising page and it is called “Never Forgotten”. I am running and fundraising for those that lost their loved ones too young in life and for those that are still fighting in the hopes of a cure. Please consider donating on my page, afterwards send me the name of someone that you have lost or someone dear to you and I will write those names on my St. Jude singlet as remembrance when I run the Half in Memphis on Saturday, December 5, 2015.

 Why I am passionate about St. Jude:

  • Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to more than 80 percent since it opened in 1962.
  • St. Jude is working to drive the overall survival rate for childhood cancer to 90 percent in the next decade. They won’t stop until no child dies from cancer.
  • Because the majority of St. Jude funding comes from individual contributors, St. Jude has the freedom to focus on what matters most – saving kids regardless of their financial situation.
  • St. Jude was founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas, who believed that “No child should die in the dawn of life.”
  • St. Jude is where doctors often send their toughest cases because St. Jude has the world’s best survival rates for some of the most aggressive childhood cancers.
  • St. Jude has treated children from all 50 states and around the world.
  • On average, St. Jude has more than 67,000 patient visits each year.
  • It costs $1.8 million a day to operate St. Jude. 70% of the funds come from public donations from people like yourself.
  • Thanks to donors like you, families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing and food – because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.

For every child treated at St.Jude, thousands more have been saved worldwide through St. Jude discoveries. Let’s not forget those that we have lost and help those that are still fighting. 

Please consider making a tax deductible donation to support this wonderful cause. My personal Heroes fundraising page can be found HERE.

Thank you deeply for your support!

‪#‎NeverForgotten    ‪#‎TeamDevin‪    #‎CancerSucks ‪   ‪#‎ForYouDad   #RunForAReason

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Watch this VIDEO on St. Jude to see why I want to “Run for a Reason”

For those wanting to sign up for General Registration it will be available on June1st.

Please share with me your blog recaps if you have ran this race previously. Thanks!

Please visit my St. Jude Heroes Fundraising page:   http://heroes.stjude.org/NicoleDecker

Quest for Memphis

On May 1st Heroes VIP race registration opens for the St. Jude Memphis Half/Full Marathon which will be held on 12/5/15. I have chosen this as my destination race this year. Not Disney not Nike not NYC, I have chosen St. JudeWhy? because St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital means Hope, Faith and a test of Strength for many people. The doctors, nurses and supporters of St Jude have added additional memories for some to share with their loved ones and for others it is the possibility to ease the pain since the toughest cases come to Memphis for a chance to be saved. Some have won their battle against childhood cancer and some have lost. I will be setting up my Heroes fundraising page on May 1st and it will be called “Never Forgotten”. I am running and fundraising for those that lost their loved ones too young in life and for those that are still fighting in the hopes of a cure. Please consider donating on my page, afterwards send me the name of someone that you have lost or someone dear to you and I will write those names on my St. Jude singlet as remembrance when I run the Half in Memphis on Saturday, December 5, 2015.

 Why I am passionate about St. Jude:

  • Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to more than 80 percent since it opened in 1962.
  • St.Jude is working to drive the overall survival rate for childhood cancer to 90 percent in the next decade. They won’t stop until no child dies from cancer.
  • Because the majority of St. Jude funding comes from individual contributors, St. Jude has the freedom to focus on what matters most – saving kids regardless of their financial situation.
  • St.Jude was founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas, who believed that “No child should die in the dawn of life.”
  • St. Jude is where doctors often send their toughest cases because St. Jude has the world’s best survival rates for some of the most aggressive childhood cancers.
  • St. Jude has treated children from all 50 states and around the world.
  • On average, St. Jude has more than 67,000 patient visits each year.
  • It costs $1.8 million a day to operate St. Jude. 70% of the funds come from public donations from people like yourself.
  • Thanks to donors like you, families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing and food – because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.

For every child treated at St.Jude, thousands more have been saved worldwide through St. Jude discoveries. Let’s not forget those that we have lost and help those that are still fighting. Thank you for your support! *I will post the web-link for the fundraising link on May 1st*

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‪#‎NeverForgotten   ‪#‎TeamDevin‪   #‎CancerSucks ‪   #‎CrushingCancer   ‪#‎ForYouDad