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

“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

 

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?

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