Christmas wish to my fellow runners

May your stocking be filled with your favorite GU…

gu

Let Santa know whats on your wish list…

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Enjoy a fun holiday race with friends…

Running Santas

and your 2015 be filled with new memories and race bling to come!

louisiana

 

Rock ‘n’ Roll Vegas Half Recap

Yep this picture kinda says it all. ELECTRIFYING

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If you read my earliar post. Competitor was promising a great event for this race in Vegas. One that had been on my bucket list for awhile. Excitement was building as we started our check-in at Luxor. After a quick change in rooms to get one with a bathtub (RunnerProbs) my best running bud Francine and I set out for the Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center by taxi to claim our Runner Perks wristband so we could get our weekend started off right. Packet pickup was a breeze but with no map to tell you what vendors was where the expo was a bit chaotic. People were everywhere. As I looked over peoples heads to see the booths ahead a lightbulb went off “MEB”!!!. Meb was to be speaking at 1pm. I quickly looked at my watch and it was 1:15pm. I told Francine we must find the stage where he was speaking. Success! We found him and he was talking about his Boston Marathon experience. (Mebrahtom Keflezighi won the 118th Boston Marathon in 2014, becoming the first American man to do so since Greg Meyer in 1983.) He spoke with emotion and was very humble about his experience even though he has probably retold it countless times before. After his session he signed copies of his book and took pictures. YES, I got mine and he even signed my #RNRLV bib “Run to Win”. Best Running Keepsake Ever!! What a great start to the weekend!

Meb would be a Pacer for the 1:45 Half Marathon Coral at RNRLV

Meb would be a Pacer for the 1:45 Half Marathon Coral at RNRLV

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Francine and I finished up with the expo and headed back to the Vegas Strip for some sightseeing. First stop was Hershey’s Chocolate World in New York New York. Oh wow! It had just opened in June.

Any flavor you could imagine. What's your favorite? I like the Dark Chocolate Mint!

Any flavor you could imagine. What’s your favorite? I like the Dark Chocolate Mint!

After awhile we headed back to change for our night out at TAO. A perfect evening to cut loose. Since we weren’t doing the 5k Saturday night we already had our day/evening planned out for the following day which would include M&M World, seeing the white tigers at Siegfried’s & Roy Secret Garden, a stop for sweets at Carlo’s Bake Shop, Dinner at Gordon Ramsay’s Steak and a bit of adventure. (Ziplining off of RIO at night- It was a bit windy and chilly but what a thrill. A must do on your next trip to Vegas).

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Such a Thrill!!!!

Such a thrill and if you look to the left while your in flight you can see the Palms casino!!!!!

Vegas constantly changes and even though this was my third trip here there is always something new to see and do. Tips: Wear comfortable shoes, Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, Plan out your day (know what is where and when at the various casino attractions), Stretch and rest when needed: you can do this by people watching which there are plenty of in Vegas and eat well since you are burning tons of calories walking.

Finally race day arrived on Sunday. We would be running the Half and decided to take it easy the first part of the day. While Francine stepped out to pick up souvenirs I started getting out my race gear so I wouldn’t be scrambling that afternoon. Scratching my head I realized I was missing a couple things which would be a problem since a cold front had come in that day (55 degrees & 12 mph winds-Yikes! Far cry from 70 degrees and 4mph winds Friday & Saturday) We had planned out some cute “Vegas-Themed” costumes for this race and I would be absolutely freezing if I didn’t find the rest of my race attire which included my arm-warmers,knee socks, compression shorts and of course special touches such as my red sparkly headband. I started panicking. I found my costume but where were these items? Did I pack them? I had changed suitcases at the last minute did I leave those items behind? What else was I missing? My bodyglide was also MIA and then I remembered we had changed rooms on the first day!!!!! Uh-O. Did housekeeping by chance have these items? Was I going to have to run this race practically naked? There would be no way I could replace these items in just a few hours. I called the front desk and got transferred to Lost & Found. I waited while someone went to look for my items. She vaguely remembered seeing something red & sparkly in a bag. Would she find it? Would she save my race-day?! VICTORY as I let out a deep breathe!!!  All of my items were located even though I didn’t even have the room number from our first check in. I got lucky!!  I went downstairs to the casino floor to claim my items and tried my luck at a slot machine with the $5 I had on me. Would I be lucky again ? uh- not so much but I had my race items so I was thrilled! Race Day Saved!!!!

We headed out to catch the Pre-Show before the race which would be Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. It was strange seeing the Strip empty and roads closed but excited to know that it was for us! We made our way across the street to take some pictures and enjoy a spectacular show. They played ALL of their hits such as “Thrift Shop”, “Can’t Hold Us” and more.

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We were absolutely freezing in our outfits but got lots of compliments. I was actually surprised there were not more people dressed up for this race. We stood out a bit more than I expected but that was ok. We jogged to Coral 11 to warm up and catch the start of the race. The next 13.1 miles would definitely stick out in our memories and we could not wait. Every coral had their own fireworks at the start and soon we were off! Our plan was to PR in FUN for this race. We were armed with our camera phones and smiles. The sights and sounds of the Las Vegas Strip at Night did not disappoint.

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Crowd and course support was heavy on the Strip but as you got off the main drag there was less as to be expected. I personally could not see doing this course as a Full since you have less light to see the roads in certain areas plus it is just not as entertaining. ( However I do have friends that have done the Full and had a blast!)  It was fun spotting the various wedding chapels as you got close to downtown. I tried to look for my own but I believe it was just a block over from where we were running. ( Yes, I got married in Vegas in 2007 at ‘A Special Memory Wedding Chapel’) We got so caught up on the course that we didn’t even take our GU til about mile 7. At that point it was needed since we expelled so much energy shivering in our costumes and had several miles to go. It was an unexpected thrill to run Downtown ( I never look at race maps ahead of time). We stopped for more pictures and listened to the drummers before we headed back to the Strip to enjoy more bands in the distance. No headphones are needed for this race you have plenty to occupy your senses.

Finally the Finish line was in sight and we were ready to claim our bling! One last push and we had conquered the #StripatNight . We even received our finisher medal and were interviewed on camera by RNR staff at the finish line. I will have to look for that clip later. ( maybe not though since we were in a brief state of delirium lol!)

Women's Running Magazine even featured this pic for the #RunBrag of the weekend :)

Women’s Running Magazine even featured this pic for the #RunBrag of the weekend 🙂

We walked through the finisher chute getting water and chocolate milk exhilarated and proud of ourselves yet still freezing. Hot Chocolate was the next pursuit which we would find at Paris.

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The finisher party was being held after the race at MGM Grand’s nightclub Hakkasan but honestly after that long of a weekend we were done! We had accomplished our PR in fun.

I highly recommend this race for an awesome Racecation getaway because if your not having fun its not worth doing. Thank you #RNRLV we enjoyed running the #StripatNight

For more check out this awesome video clip by Pure Dope Magazine of highlighted recaps from #RNRLV race weekend!

 

 

 

 

Stretch, Roll, Strengthen, Repeat….‪ #‎RunnerProbs‬

IT BAND I curse you! If you have issues with yours you know what I am talking about. That dull ache that not quite a pain but discomfort out the WAZOO. It hit me at mile 7 of my last Half and again on last weekends 8 mile training run. (mile 7 once again). That ache from the hip all the way to the knee. OW! My knee. That IT band on your side can really put a strain on it.

Right when I need to be working on hill training as well as speed work now I have to throw yoga poses (Pigeon Pose, One legged seated spinal twist etc) back into the mix.

Hip opener stretches, foam rolling, ice alternating with Arnica gel will be my daily regimen as well as post-runs.

Here are some posts that I found helpful that I thought I would share:

  • Video of a short set of 10 different stretches that target your thighs (quads, hamstrings, inner thighs) and calves, as well as other problem areas for runners (IT band, psoas, and more). -Click HERE
  • 3 Yoga poses to Ease Your Pain via POPSUGAR- Click HERE
  • 9 Yoga Poses Plus Tips to Keep Athletes Injury -Free-Click HERE
  • Lululemon Sea Wheeze 2014 Yoga Practice 48 min video-Click HERE

When I mentioned my IT band issues on Facebook and Twitter I got a lot of feedback from other fellow runners dealing with the same issues. They say that Yoga, Stretching and Strengthening go hand in hand for runners. You MUST take care of your body properly. Treat it well. Your recovery and maintenance is just as important as those training runs.

I gotta admit during last nights attempt at the Yoga video part of me was like

uhhhhhh - You want me to do what????

uhhhhhh – You want me to do what????

These yoga poses require proper technique. You HAVE to be patient and possibly enlist a yoga expert friend or take a class to get the most out of it. It is especially difficult when you would MUCH rather hit cardio for 45 minutes instead. (yes, ME)

So I put a water bottle in the freezer at work and at home  (awesome to roll on a couple times a day to work out the knots) and decided I will have to respect my body better if I want to do my races this fall/winter. Maintenance is key.

**Please share any additional tips, links, videos you have found under comments**

#WorkInProgress

 

 

Quality over Quantity in Regards to Races

I was looking back at my race calendar the other day. When I started this journey in 2011 I ran 11 races that year. In 2012 I completed 21. In 2013 I ran 13. So far this year I have only completed 7 races so far with 4 planned by the end of the year. 

When I first started I wanted to complete as many as possible. I was eager for the new experiences. Some I did for time and some I did with friends just to enjoy and take it all in.  I tend to do more local races then destination races just because I have yet to find that illustrious money tree that I am sure we are all looking for plus the time away from my family and work is difficult to balance in.

After a while I dipped my toe into other challenges such as obstacles, trails, duathlons, paddleboarding and even a sprint triathlon. I have taken something from each experience whether it was friendships or knowing that I am capable of doing more.

Even though my numbers have dropped from when I first started it does not mean I am less eager. I am just a bit more choosy. There are not many races that I like to repeat. I like variety and I constantly keep my ear out for what is coming up next.

My goal at this point is to simply continue pushing forward. To learn more about my body and what it is capable of. I want to get stronger and faster. I still want a sub 2hr Half so I am planning on running one Half a month starting in September through Spring. In the back of my mind I would like to train for a solo 70.3 Half Ironman. This may not sound like much to some but coming from someone that is a very weak swimmer and struggles for the time to train for one sport much less than three it is quite a task.  I also enjoy blogging and encouraging others. What I put out I get back tenfold in encouragement and support. For that I am quite thankful.

 Just have to remember the Journey is the Reward, it’s not always about the numbers.

 journey scenic route

 

 What is on your goal list for the remainder of 2014?

#JourneyClaimer

2nd Annual Louisiana Fall Race Roundup (Discounts,Training,Info & More!)

Varsity Sports was back at it again this past Monday sending out the call to various race directors to come armed with brochures, koozies, race shirts and of course discounts to some of the best local races this coming fall season.

VS Race Roundup

 

Many answered the call such as Gatortrax DuathlonPennington Doc’s Dash 5kDirty South Marathon , Crescent City Classic presenting the Fall Classic 5k & Celebration in the Oaks Run/Walk , Gulf Coast Half & 10 miler Mandeville , Jazz Half Marathon & 5k Woman’s Half Marathon, 10k & 5k Baton Rouge Beach Marathon & Half , The Louisiana Marathon , Club South Runners  and more.

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Varsity Sports in Baton Rouge will be kicking off their FREE Half/Full Marathon training program next Monday, August 25th so if you have a goal or race in mind it is the perfect time to join in. Check out their Facebook page  or website for more information.

Some race discounts that were provided at this event were only good that day but here are some codes that are still active for a limited time: 

Dirty South Marathon/Half/5k/Relay Inaugural 10-12-14: “HRC15OFF” for $15 off  Half/Full individual registration only.

Gulf Coast Half & 10 miler Mandeville 5th Annual 10-19-14:  “VARSITYSPORTS” for $10 off  registration.

Jazz Half Marathon & 5k 6th Annual 11-1-14: “JHMGEN” for $10 off Half registration.

Crescent City Classic “Fall Classic 5k” 11-8-14: “BRRRU14” for $5 off  registration.

Crescent City Classic” Celebration in the Oaks 2 miler Run/Walk”  12-13-14: “BRRRU14” for $5 off  registration. (Holiday themed costumes encouraged!)

Woman’s Half Marathon, 10k & 5k  3rd Annual 11-16-14: “VSBR” for 15% off  registration.

Baton Rouge Beach Marathon & Half : 21st Anniversary 12-6-14:  $10 off to those who print & mail in their registration with payment postmarked by 8/23/14. Registration form can be found on the website. Reference “VSROUNDUP” on the form for your discount.

The Louisiana Marathon/Half/Quarter/5k/Kids 4th Annual Jan 16-18 2015: “IKNOWDECKER” for 15% off all race distances except for the kids race. (Tip: If you have run it every year I would not skip this year being next year will be the 5th year anniversary “Rendezvous5”. They are known to treat the Alumni extra special!)

 ***I do not know how long these codes are good for so don’t wait!***

Important Race Highlights To Mention:

Pennington Doc’s Dash 5k  on 9-27-14 this inaugural event promises to be a fun, family friendly event. Registration is a bargain at $20 until September 14 for the 5k and only $15 for the 1 miler.  Check out there website for more information.

Dirty South Marathon  has several race distances to chose from and even a relay option. This inaugural race is put on by runners so they know what you want out of a race and promise to make it worth your while to join them in West Monroe on 10-12-14. Better yet sign up as a St. Jude Hero and join the cause.

The 5th Annual Cane Field Classic will be held on 10-25-14. For those that like to run off the beaten path and something a bit different to add to your race bling collection you will LOVE this race. Custom etched machetes await the finishers that take on the “Cane Cutter Challenge” of running ALL events. Those participants will receive the “World’s Most Dangerous Race Medal”. This trail experience is held at the 100+ year old Margaret Plantation in Port Allen. This “sweet” event grows every year and is a race like no other. Are YOU up to the challenge?  Registration will open on 8/25/14. To get the scoop check out the event page here.

Baton Rouge Beach Marathon & Half  with this years guests being Kathrine Switzer & Roger Robinson this 21st anniversary race is sure to be a sellout so don’t be left behind! Join us on 12-6-14 and be sure to stay after the race for Louisiana style cuisine of gumbo, jambalaya and more. You will not leave hungry!

Race to keep on your radar for “Spring 2015”: Zydeco Marathon & Half. The Zydeco race premiered this past March in Lafayette and promises next year’s event on 3-8-15 to be even bigger! I heard lots of good things about this inaugural event from my fellow runner friends and I plan to join in next March. They are currently offering a 10% discount on race registration with promo code “LARaceRoundup”. This code is good for either race distance and will expire on 12/31/14.

If I missed any race discounts please add under comments. See you at the races!!!

Local Love

Local Race Love

Meet your latest Blogger On The Run- August- Women’s Running Magazine!!!

It’s out , It’s out!  Have you seen it yet?

August 2014

August 2014

Flip to page 18 and you will see yours truly!!!

August page 18

I can’t tell you how excited I am! Little old me. I still at times have lots to learn about running and blogging. I still lean on others for support so this is truly an honor 🙂

I get to add this logo to my blog with a link to my “full”  feature which will be posted on the Women’s Running  website in September. So be on the lookout for it. There may be a special treat in it for you!

Blogger On The Run

I am especially excited and grateful since those before me are AMAZING such as:

Women’s Running Magazine started this monthly ‘Blogger On The Run’ feature in their magazine in April 2012 so it is definitely something I had hoped for in the past year or so but never imagined possible. I love these women and happy to be among them.    #BeyondThankful

Halfway to Geaux party! The Baton Rouge Edition

What do you get when you mix close to 500 runners and the running legends Bart Yasso and Frank Shorter at a promotional event for The Louisiana Marathon and Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans? A good time had by all would be the correct answer.

Bart always takes the best Selfies!!!

Bart always takes the best Selfies!!!

A fantastic meet & greet, lots of socializing, great vendors and food (Varsity Sports, Fleet Feet, Saucony, Muddy Water Paddle Company, Jimmy John’s and Lucy’s just to name a few) was on tap for the evening. Mother nature was actually very nice for our visiting guests even though there was a threat of rain in the area. The clouds kept the hot southern sun to a minimum with only the humidity to dampen you on the 3 mile group run scheduled for 6:15pm hosted by Happy’s Running Club.

For a mid July evening run it doesn't get much better than this!

For a mid July evening run it doesn’t get much better than this!

Before the run I got to take some pre-sweaty pics and chat with Bart Yasso. He remembered me from the Crescent City Classic expo last year. We have been chatting on Twitter ever since. Bart is the Chief Running Officer for Runner’s World. He has to be one of the most gracious, personable people on the planet. Due to his vast experiences he offers advice to all from the newbie to the experienced plus he has a great sense of humor. He follows a Vegan/Vegetarian diet which he says helps for faster recovery and reduces inflammation. He mentions the benefits of eating smaller meals throughout the day so you can run easier at any time of the day and that fried tofu is his “bacon”. (Hmmmmm I must try that!)

Frank Shorter was very gracious as well. You may remember him by winning the gold medal in the marathon at the 1972 Summer Olympics. He mentioned how at one time the accomplishment of completing a marathon was once a test of the fittest and now it is attainable by anyone that does the training. He is no stranger to Louisiana. Frank mentions that one of his 10,000 meter records was made here and enjoyed being back.

 

Getting a pic with Frank Shorter and Bart Yasso before the group run

Getting a pic with Frank Shorter and Bart Yasso before the group run

A big promotion tonight was the 20% discount for signing up for the Louisiana Marathon race weekend. If you missed it and you still want to sign up you can use code IKNOWDECKER to still get 15% off. There are a variety of race distances to choose from: Full, Half, Quarter, 5k and even a kids race.

You can check out what’s new for the January 2015 Louisiana Marathon race weekend HERE.

Another option for additional bling is “The Louisiana Double Down”. You get THREE MEDALS when you run both Louisiana Marathon/Half and the Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Marathon/ Half. I know several runner friends who will be doubling up on their race weekends in January to do this. Find out more HERE.

Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans recently announced some improvements for their race in 2015 such as unlimited beer in the Beer Garden, more course entertainment and support to carry you through every mile. To register and get more information check out their website HERE.

The next and last stop for the Halfway to Geaux party will be in New Orleans tonight where I am sure my friend Fred will be covering the event. I don’t know how they will top Baton Rouge but I am sure they will try! They will be at Happy’s Irish Pub on Poydras as 5:30pm. If I was you I wouldn’t miss it!

I have ran both of these races several times so hit me up if you have any questions. I am happy to help!

More pictures and even a video recap from both Halfway to Geaux parties will be up soon on The Louisiana Marathon Facebook page  so don’t forget to check back!!