Race Week Traditions

After a long hot, muggy summer finally its the first day of Fall and this coming weekend is my first race for the season. I have put in the training..

Mile after mile... Still need to work on speed work and hill repeats...#WorkInProgress

Mile after mile… Still need to work on speed work and hill repeats…#WorkInProgress

My packing list/to-do list for the week is started..

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This morning I made my concoction for my lunch meals for the week to add extra protein..

Brown rice, tuna, black beans, spinach with garlic and Mrs.Dash for seasoning. Easy Peasy!

Brown rice, tuna, black beans, spinach with garlic and Mrs.Dash for seasoning. Easy Peasy!

Toenails are painted for luck.. (I have been very lucky to NEVER have had a black toenail)

This week- Burgundy with glitter overlay.

This week pick: Burgundy with glitter overlay.

Extra vitamins being taken daily and of course LOTS of water..

What are your race week prep traditions? Share under comments

I draw inspiration and motivation from many different sources and something extra this month has been joining the team at Scoot A Doot. Read what we are doing here.
I am very happy to be a part of this group to support Childhood Cancer Awareness month with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation & Scoot A Doot  

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I have mentioned before during some of my runs I get short moments of clarity where everything clicks. This Saturday’s thought that popped in my head during my training run was “Run the Road, Don’t let the road run you!”  I took this to mean sometimes you will feel like the pavement is putting you through a cheese grater and then some runs will feel like you are running on all cylinders. The breathing clicks, you feel stronger and energized! Relish those runs and remember this is why you do it.

Run the Road, Don't let the road run you alll

 

 

 

 

 

Be the best version of yourself

Aack summer is HERE!!! But I am not beach ready yet what happened? Why do we ask ourselves this at the beginning of every summer?
To be honest I still have 5 pounds I would like to lose from Full Marathon training. Those stubborn, hard to lose five pounds where your pants just fit a tad snugger than you would like and seems to slow my running pace by a full minute which is quite frustrating.

Why does it have to be so hard?

Some people look at you crazy and say “I WISH I just had 5 pounds to lose” but truth be told when I was 5 pounds lighter I still was not happy.

WHY as women are we so hard to satisfy?

WHY are we so critical of ourselves?

WHY am I clueless in a clothing store when I finally get the gumption to go shopping to only leave in disappointment?

WHY do we only post picture of ourselves when it shows our best features?

There has been a lot of talk about body image as of late. From Special K commercials to shut down fat talk to Taryn Brumfitt’s Body Image Movement making a documentary to “Embrace Your Self Acceptance”. Remember the Dove® Campaign for Real Beauty ads featuring six real women with real bodies and real curves? The bottom line is if everyone looked the same our world would be pretty boring. Your self acceptance is NOT based on other people it is yourself. The trick is not to be over critical of yourself. To indulge but not go overboard. To enjoy life and know that it is meant to be savored!
So yes, I had a slice of cake with my lunch today and it was DELICIOUS!
I know that I may need to work out a bit extra tonight but hey that just means I can get in some speed work right? I will lose those 5 pounds eventually and get back my running pace.

I guarantee that if something happened to you tomorrow and your no longer on this earth your last thoughts are not going to be “Man, I wish my thighs weren’t so big!”

So yes you can have it all in moderation. Be the best version of yourself and it will all fall in place. This is a lesson I work on daily. It’s my never ending struggle. I always say I am a work in progress even after I lost half my size. Sometimes I look in the mirror and all I see is the excess skin or jiggle. I am a mom to a young teenage daughter who I don’t want to see go through my weight struggles so I try my hardest to not talk negatively around her. I allow junk food in my home but also fruit and yogurt. I tell her she can have anything she wants “in moderation”. I know as a parent you can’t ban it or they would just go find it elsewhere. You have to educate them to know what the better choices are and why. That’s your job as a parent. It’s not easy, you will make mistakes but learn from them and know that yes, it will be ok. Tomorrow is another day, Don’t compare yourself to others. Focus on YOU and Make it Great!

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Tips for getting your kids to the Finish Line

This past weekend was a unique race experience for me. After I was done volunteering I got to join my 8 year old niece and 6 year old nephew for the Girls on the Run 5k. As soon as we knew it the kids said “It’s starting, we have to go!” We lined up in the back since my sister in law said they would probably be walking most of it. Not a half a mile into it I started hearing the excuses from my niece:

“I have to pee”
“My side hurts”
“My feet hurt”
“Can I just sit?”
“How much further?”

Her younger brother was like Superman. You could have just put a cape on him and he would have been gone. He was enjoying himself and taking in the sights along the way. When we got close to the Finish line you couldn’t keep either child from make that quick sprint to claim their medal they earned for their 3.1 mile journey. My niece wouldn’t let the volunteer put the medal on her though she saved that honor for me her Aunt Nicole which made my day. I thought I would share some tips on how to make race day a bit easier on the kids so they can claim their own Finish Line experience.

• Research the pre & post-race day activities and food options that your kids would like ahead of time.
• Choose light breakfast options for your kids to not weight them down but provide enough energy to carry them through.
• Lay everything out the night before so you’re not scrambling to get out of the house.
• Try not to over dress your kids. Check the race temps and dress for 10 degrees warmer. You will warm up within the first mile of starting your activity.
• Check your kid’s shoes before race morning to make sure there is enough wiggle room and the soles look good. Check their shoe laces before the race starts.
• Take them to the restroom 15-20 minutes before the race start.
• Allow them to drink at the water stops but not chug! A few sips will suffice.
• Watch your kids breathing. Quick, shallow breathing will bring on side stiches. Slow your pace. The faster the pace, the shorter the sequence (fast pace = one or two strides per breath, slower = three or four strides per breath).
• Encourage them to keep moving when they want to slow down or stop. Tell your kids you are proud of them and focus on the shorter targets rather than the finish line. Let’s get to that stop sign or next water station.
• If your child has any medical or physical impairments write it on the back of their race bib along with their full name, allergies as well as your name and phone number in case you get separated.
• Don’t forget sunscreen and enjoy this experience with your kids. It may be something they pass on to their own kids one day. 🙂

gab

gotr both

Light at the end of the tunnel

A little over two years ago ago my daughter was diagnosed with Idiopathic Scoliosis during a routine annual physical. At the time X-rays revealed her S curve was at 14% overall. Twelve months later (last May) it went to 23%. Unfortunately this meant it was time for her to wear a back brace.
To put an active 13 year old that just ran a 10k into this contraption for 23 hours a day was very difficult but she understood it would be necessary to prevent surgery. The brace is needed to keep her spine straight until she stops growing which would be monitored every six months with X-rays.

Front/Back view

Front/Back view


The past year has been extremely challenging. I was worried she would lose some of her sparkling personality due to the brace but she started off with the best attitude saying “Haters are my Motivators”. She went to school with the brace under her clothes and yes, unfortunately it stuck out past her hips and buttocks being very visible. She can take it off for PE since it is only every other day and a short period of time (PE in our schools are such a joke, She tells me half the time they just stand around so she doesn’t even bother taking it off. Instead she goes to the gym with me occasionally to get her excercise in or joins me for a race.) Fortunately she has supportive friends and family so the transition was made easier. Clothes shopping has been the biggest obstacle. She can barely button her jeans, the brace wears holes in all of clothes, she prefers tops that covers the brace which is extremely hard to find. (She lives in Varsity Sports t-shirts) Vacations had to be reconsidered. Beaches and water parks were no longer practical so we went on a cruise last summer. We gave her one day out of the brace when we were in Cozumel (don’t tell her doctor).
Cozumel 4th of July Weekend cruise 2013 at Mr. Sancho's

Cozumel 4th of July Weekend cruise 2013 at Mr. Sancho’s

I have encouraged Alaina to stay physical as much as possible but her motivation has been lacking over this past year. She still has done a few races. (We take off the brace right before the race starts and leave it in a safe place)

Pics from just a few of Alaina's races the past year

Pics from just a few of Alaina’s races the past year


This Monday we had our one year update. I had a huge amount of anxiety leading up to this appointment. Would the doctor say the brace is keeping her curve in check? (She had gotten quite tall in the past year.) How much longer would she have to wear it? Would she still need surgery?
The doctor pulled up the previous X-rays and the current. Success! From the last appointment in October she increased 2% overall (of course I would have preferred a decrease, She is now at 29% overall apprx) but the doctor said that was good news. Looking at her growth plates she is about to sprout up again so he tells us the brace is no longer fitting well for her low lumbar (which has the largest curve) so he tells us she has to get a new brace made ASAP. This is disappointing for Alaina since she starts high school in the fall and this means the new brace will fit low on her again (she will have a hard time hiding the brace under her clothes) but we understand it must anchor on her hips correctly. (I hadn’t noticed how much taller she had gotten until then.)
The good news is it appears she will only be in the new brace for 9-12 months and her journey should be over. No surgery! (I breathe a sigh of relief) I tell Alaina to just “embrace the suck” and that her Sophomore, Junior and Senior year will be great! She will be able to wear whatever clothes, dresses she likes and that she will be a beautiful Swan. She looks at me and asks “What, are you calling me a Duck?” lol! I laugh! (Mouth, insert foot) I respond, “Well, your a beautiful Duck!” laughing….

She still has her Spark 🙂


• 5/1/2013: Starting point with the brace: 11 thoracic/ 14 lumbar
• 10/28/2013: 6 months in the brace: 13.5 thoracic / 14 lumbar
• 5/5/2014: 1 year in the brace: 14 thoracic / 15 lumbar
• 5/2015: Hoping this journey will be behind her. Stay tuned.

A look back leading up to my 10th Half Marathon

#1: ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Half’ New Orleans,LA 2/13/11 Finished in 2hr:18min BIB#21303
They say you never forget your first and this is true with races as well. I was on such a runners high at this race. I remember halfway through the race I was so pumped I felt like I could run the Full!
a1rnrnola 12

A feeling of accomplishment with my 1st Half completed!

A feeling of accomplishment with my 1st Half completed!


#2: ‘Gulf Coast Half’ Mandeville,LA 10/9/11 Finished in 2hr:06min BIB#269
Gorgeous course at Fontainebleau State Park and weather that made me finish with a smile.
Joe Relaxo & I!

Joe Relaxo & I!


#3: ‘Louisiana Half’ Baton Rouge,LA 1/15/12 Finished in 2hr:6min BIB#1550
This was the Inaugural race and one that I knew I would definitely be repeating. Great course featuring LSU lakes, Campus, Downtown area and historic neighborhoods with lots of spectators to cheer you on along the way.
clahalf2
I ran this one on behalf of 'Kids Fit Foundation'. A national non-profit organization created to serve communities with the charitable mission to fund and provide fitness programs for at risk youth and their families.

I ran this one on behalf of ‘Kids Fit Foundation’. A national non-profit organization created to serve communities with the charitable mission to fund and provide fitness programs for at risk youth and their families.


#4: ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Half’ New Orleans, LA 3/4/2012 Finished in 2hr:7min BIB#7573
Back for more at this New Orleans race. This race course that passes St. Louis Cathedral and Café DuMonde is just too hard to resist.
Nothing better than the excitement at the Start line. Except of course the relief at the Finish!

Nothing better than the excitement at the Start line. Except of course the relief at the Finish!


drnrnola2
#5: ‘Women’s Half’ Baton Rouge,LA 12/9/12 Finished in 2hr:10min BIB#129
This Inaugural race that’s more geared towards women was a welcome addition to our local community races and lots of great race swag to boot!
I love the special people I meet from running.

I love the special people I meet from running.


First Half I ran after losing my Dad unexpectedly from Lung Cancer on 9-14-12.

First Half I ran after losing my Dad unexpectedly from lung cancer on 9-14-12.


#6: ‘Louisiana Half’ Baton Rouge,LA 1/20/13 Finished in 2hr:12min BIB#1466
Love the race start at our State Capital downtown. It brings me back every time.
flahalf
#7: ‘Disneyworld Princess Half’ Orlando, FL 2/24/13 Finished in 4hr:05min BIB#1001
My PR was in picture taking this day!! I wanted to soak up every second. It was truly magical from Start to Finish. Disney does it great!!
My home away from home!!

My home away from home!!


Fun times and loved meeting a lot of the Team runDisney runners in person.

Fun times and loved meeting a lot of the Team runDisney runners in person.


#8: ‘Gulf Coast Half’ Pensacola,FL 4/7/13 Finished in 2hr:10min BIB#287
This road trip with friends made this weekend racecation so much fun. I would love to do a trip like this annually maybe Vegas next year?
Fun Times!

Fun Times!


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#9: ‘Baton Rouge Beach Half’ Baton Rouge,LA 12/7/13 Finished in 2hr:10min BIB #434
This was the coldest, most challenging race I have done yet but considering this course provided my training for many early mornings a Finisher Medal was well deserved!
I think this pic captures the shivering well but still we are all smiles :)

I think this pic captures the shivering well but still we are all smiles 🙂

And my 10th will by the ‘3rd Annual Louisiana Half’ Baton Rouge,LA on 1/19/14
Check out the race promo video to see why this is yet another event repeat for me.
I purposely held out so Louisiana Half could be a milestone race for me.
http://www.thelouisianamarathon.com/its-a-running-fest/
I am expecting to run this one with dead legs considering I am in Full Marathon training and my farthest run will be the weekend before this race. My 1st Full Marathon is 2 weeks after at Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans,LA on 2/2/14. I have many friends that will be at both of these races so they will be extra special.

Sometimes it’s fun to look back to reflect and see how far you have come. It can help motivate you towards the future. As I look back at these races I appreciate the memories and friends I have made along the way. Thank you for letting me share this with you.
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Being Grateful

This time of year it’s easy to get caught up in the craziness of the holidays. Holiday food indulgences, parties, family, gift exchanges, money concerns. The end of the year is coming. What did I accomplish? What do I want to accomplish next year? I need to work on my resolution/goal list for 2014, I need to get back in the gym, I need to do more weights, I shouldn’t have had that Christmas cookie or two, I need to sign up for more races.
STOP- BREATHE-RELAX – It’s going to be ok. Stay FOCUSED- Take time for you.

Did I run as many races as I expected to this year? No, I only ran 14 as compared to 32 last year but that’s ok. I have had a new motto as of late.
quality-over-quantity

I ran ‘4’ Half Marathons this year. (Louisiana Half, Disney Princess Half, Gulf Coast Pensacola Half and Baton Rouge Beach Half) Each I have wonderful memories of and met some great people along the way. I also completed my first Duathlon and Paddleboard race both I placed in Top 3.

I had my 5k and 10k PR’s this year. (27:29 at Corporate Cup 5k and 57:58 at Crescent City Classic 10k) My daughter did her 1st 10k at Crescent City Classic, completed 6- 5k’s, and 1-Paddleboard race. One she PR’ d in and another she took 1st place in the costume contest which was also her 1st. My husband ran his 1st 5k at the ‘Back to Football Saints Run’ and enjoyed It!

It has been a good year and next year will be even better.
I appreciate my friends and family that choose to be in my life and support me.
I am grateful beyond words.
How was 2013 for you?