Roll With the Wind-Ainsley’s Angels

  • To do for others that can’t.
  • To give each other a lending hand.
  • To give someone something to smile about.
  • To develop a special connection with others.

This is all the backbone of Ainsley’s Angels.

We have all seem them at the beginning of a race. Generally it is one Angel Athlete Rider with a disability to a team of three Angel Runners ready to push and cheer their rider to the Finish line.  I saw them recently at our local Mardi Gras Mambo race and thought how inspiring. I never thought possible that I could be fortunate enough to help participate as an Angel Runner. That is just for the elite runner right? Nope! If you can run and have the positive energy to support your rider than Yes, you can be an Angel Runner.

I heard of a local race event coming up that they would have a presence the Amazing Half/5k in Baton Rouge. I signed up on the Ainsley’s Angels site under my state as a runner and reached out to the chapter head. He was very responsive and encouraging to join the team. For this event I would be joining the team of #TeamNika with 4 other Angel Runners (all women) IMG_1193

We were ALL actually newbies but Nika wasn’t worried. She was a pro. She had done the Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Half! This would be a piece of cake for her. We got a quick tutorial on her bike (The front tire does not swivel so you have to be careful on turns and stay towards the right of the course for runners to pass).

Soon we were at the Start line ready to kick off the race.

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This would be an easy out and back 5k. The cloudy morning fortunately kept the rain at bay. I got to start the race with my buddy Francine. We took turns pushing Nika who made it super easy. I had looked up some advice on how to run and push at the same time (you concentrate on not twisting your hips too much, use the power of your legs and keep your chest forward. If you buddy up with one person pushing on each side alternate your arms that you are using to swing).

Jennifer, Emily, Sarah, Francine and I kept about an easy 10min pace and got Nika to the Finish line in 32:31. I would run with these ladies anytime!

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I highly recommend you checking out Ainsley’s Angels and signing up to be someones Angel. A special “Thank you” to Nika for letting us join you today!

For more info check out : http://www.ainsleysangels.org/

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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

Running through the heatwave

Summertime in the South is NO JOKE!

We have the weather app open in a moments notice for flash storms and heat waves that can occur at anytime. You have to be able to adapt whether its frozen water bottles,Gatorade and hand towels stocked in the freezer or being flexible on what time you get your miles in.

A few tips:

  • Apply sunblock before you are head out, BUT make sure its sweat-proof. You DO NOT want the sting of sunblock in your eyes a couple miles down the road.
  • For achy joints DO NOT put icy hot on before a run outside. Trust me it is not pretty. It will hurt like a #@%!# ! (Yes I have done this recently)
  • Drink lots of water several hours before and after you run to stay hydrated.
  • If you gotta take it inside to the treadmill then do it!
  • Change it up and go biking or take a class if the weather gets too dicey.
  • Don’t forget to stretch adequately before and after your workouts.
  • Treat yourself to a frozen Popsicle or frozen Gatorade after your sweltering run.
  • If you see a sprinkler GO FOR IT!!!!

Girl jumps through water sprinkler.

Highlights from the Crescent City Classic 10k Weekend in New Orleans

Let’s start with the  CCC10k Expo which included: yoga, cycling, a fitness-wear fashion show, meet and greet with local running clubs, healthy cooking demos, Friday morning “shake-out” run with Dane Rauschenberg, ZULU Second Line parade, & a CCC pre-race pasta dinner!

Here is my short video clip from the ZULU Second Line. Can’t you just feel the energy? I love New Orleans!    http://youtu.be/b2dlJztEhJY

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If your not familiar with the Crescent City Classic 10k here is a brief history from the website on this race: “The Classic is New Orleans’ (and the region’s) premier 10k road race, and one of the oldest 10k races in the nation. For 37 years, it has combined world class competition, amateur participation and great fun for all participants. Starting in 1979 with 902 participants, the Allstate Sugar Bowl Crescent City Classic has grown to become the preeminent fitness event in Louisiana. This Easter Weekend Tradition is now, along with Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest, one of New Orleans signature events. Each year, over 20,000 people gather in Downtown New Orleans for an event that attracts everyone from international Elite Athletes to those who walk the entire route carrying cocktails or wearing bunny suits. Young, old, fit and not so, the Crescent City Classic was the first 10k to be televised nationally, and is, to this day, perhaps the most fun you can have over 6.2 miles.  The Classic has been praised in every major running publication as “one of America’s fastest 10k’s”, “the originator of the party race”, “an Easter Weekend tradition that should never be missed”  a great race, on a beautiful course in America’s most unique city”.

Each year this race delivers. Quick tip if you want to “run” this race register for an earlier coral. If you want to enjoy the sights along the way and are there for a good time then line up according to your expected finish time and get ready to take it all in. This years race was no different, although the weather could have been a bit better (drizzly rain and breezy) it didn’t dampen the spirits of nearly 20k people that came to run, walk or dance at the Start on Poydras St. in Downtown, New Orleans right on through to the Finish at City Park.

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After you cross the Finish line great food, drinks and live music await you at the Race Fest.

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Still not convinced to add this race to your radar? Check out this awesome drone footage from this year’s race filled with a marriage proposal and aerial sights from the Start to the Finish.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGzQ7MBDsM4

See you next year for the “38th Annual”  (Save the Date: March 26, 2016)

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

 

The day I met Kathrine Switzer

Who is Kathrine Switzer?

In 1967, Kathrine Switzer became the first woman to officially enter the Boston Marathon. An all-male event for 70 years. She signed her name for the race entry as KV Switzer and at the time long distance running was questionable for women because of course we were so fragile that our uterus would fall out! Women faced many prejudices back then which Kathrine was ready to debunk. That day in 1967 the men in the race and even the photographer was very supportive but not the Race Director. He personally proceeded to run after Kathrine and physically grabbed her to remove her off the course. At the time Kathrine was not trying to be a crusader but realized in that very moment it was a much bigger statement to simply finish this race. That 4hr20min changed her life and many others. In 1972 five years after she crossed that finish line, women were officially allowed to compete in the Boston Marathon. In 1974 Switzer WON the NYC Marathon. She has had many career highlights including being named one of the Visionaries of the Century (2000), Hero of Running (2012), and Runner of the Decade (1966-76) by Runners World Magazine. Kathrine continues to deliver her visionary message and inspire many with her charm and class. When I heard she was coming here to Baton Rouge, Louisiana that first weekend of December 2014 for the Baton Rouge Beach Half/Full Expo and Marathon weekend, I made it my goal to meet her and she more than exceeded my expectations. I was personally introduced to her by the Race Director Craig Watson ( like “I” am a somebody lol) Kathrine seemed genuinely excited to meet me. I don’t get flustered that easy but I could barely speak as I stumbled my words to tell her how much of an honor it was to meet her and wanted to sincerely thank her for everything she has done for women in running. She is an icon to many. She actually introduced me to her friends who are also very lovely and gracious as well. I can see that Kathrine keeps excellent company. After chatting I asked Kathrine for a picture and if she would sign my bib (a new tradition that I decided to start on the spot even though this was my 15th Half lol)

Can you tell I am just a tad excited?!

Can you tell I am just a tad excited?!

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The next morning I looked for Kathrine before the start of the Baton Rouge Beach Half/Full. I mentioned to her that I was part of the Varsity Sports running group and if she would take a pre-race picture with us as well as stay for our Runner’s Prayer. A tradition that is done before the start of the race with the group. It was an honor to have her company with us that morning, especially since it was going to be a challenging race with the very high humidity and fog that laid before us in the miles ahead.

Our group race pic

Our group race pic

Kathrine was a great sport and stayed for our "goofy" pic as well :)

Kathrine was a great sport and stayed for our “goofy” pic as well 🙂

Runner's Prayer to give us extra blessings for a good race day.

Runner’s Prayer to give us extra blessings for a good race day.

Even though I did not have a stellar performance at that race, getting a hug from Kathrine Switzer after crossing the Finish made my day. So gracious, supportive and inspiring. We were blessed to have her at the BR Beach weekend events. Thank you Kathrine! #261 #BeFearless

Another reason as to "Why I Run" the people you meet :)

Another reason as to “Why I Run” the people you meet 🙂

For more on Kathrine Switzer:

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Race for the Cure

The Susan G. Komen 19th Annual Baton Rouge Race for the Cure and Inaugural 10K was held this past Saturday at the LSU campus and the energy of people was exciting to see. My daughter was planning to volunteer and participate in this event as part of #TeamDeb and I could not be prouder. I almost sat out on this event but my sister in law messaged me the day before to tell me she had a 5k available bib if I wanted it. I remembered being a part of this event a couple of years ago and the overall rewarding feeling to see so many people coming together for Breast Cancer so I jumped at the chance. The morning of Race for the Cure was cool and sunny which would be perfect to spend outside. Once we got to the event I could see there was thousands of people in attendance. The majority of the attendees were either survivors or running for someone directly affected by breast cancer.

Did you know?

  • One in eight women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.
  • Every minute, somewhere in the world, someone dies from breast cancer.
  • Breast cancer knows no boundaries- be it age, gender, socio-economic status or geographic location.
  • At the current rate, 13 million breast cancer deaths around the world will occur in the next 25 years.
  • In 1980, the 5-year relative survival rate for women diagnosed with early stage breast cancer (cancer confined to the breast) was about 74 percent. Today, that number is 99 percent.

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This year they had the runners/walkers go off in waves with the timed runners going first which helped with the congestion on the course. As I ran the 5k I read various custom made t-shirts and signs along the route that intensified the cause for many as to why they were there to show their support. After I crossed the finish I saw various tents setup such as the “Ford Warrior Scarves” for donations  (I got mine) and one that you could take your picture with props and state your “Curemittment”.

I of course had to participate:

My Curemitment   "Stay Active, Aware & Encourage Others"

My Curemitment : “Stay Active, Aware & Encourage Others”

The stage was jamming with a high energy band that had the crowd dancing. There was a special area for the Survivors to get free food, drinks, tote bags and more. Between the Survivor parade and various tents dedicated to the Breast Cancer Survivors they got the extra treatment they very much deserved. One particular lady that I felt honored to meet was Pamela Bordelon. She had the most infection smile and warmth of someone that I have met in a very long time. She truly touched me. This event was extra special for her and her family who put together the team “Green Eggs and Pam” as she just had her last chemo treatment that week. Plus Pam did the 5k that day. HOW AMAZING!

Congrats Pam!

Congrats Pam!

I texted my daughter to see where she was and found out she was just about to go on the stage for the t-shirt contest so I made a beeline to not miss it. #ProudMomOnAMission I made it in time to see her and found out later they WON! She came home from the event later in the day singing so I knew she had a great time. She told me she was very happy to be a part of it.

Alaina on the far right and the card she got from her friends mom Deb for participating.

Alaina on the right and the card she got from her friends mom Deb for participating.

The goal for this event was $185,000.00 and as of the last update they raised $168,728.88!

Thank you to all the sponsors and participants for making this one amazing event annually and for supporting this cause that affects nearly everyone on some level. For more information please follow them on Facebook or visit the Website