Irish for the day at the Shamrockin’ Run

I always like to throw in a “fun-festive” run to keep things interesting and what better race than the 4th Annual Shamrockin’ Run 8k in New Orleans?  With the heavy rain here the past few days at flood levels I was nervous that the morning would be a soggy mess at the Start of the race at the National WWII Museum and the Finish at Audubon Park but the skies broke through for a beautiful morning and the sun did its best to dry the area up quickly. My husband, daughter and I drove in the morning of the race. While he parked nearby Alaina and I got our race packets and blended in the crowd that was a sea of green.

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Being that it was my first time at this event I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but everything ran pretty smoothly. Soon it was time to take our “before” picture and line up in our coral.I decided that I would run with my phone and my husband took a couple of pictures at the Start and Finish. (He did a great job!) I was looking forward to seeing the Bag Pipers at every mile and at the Finish line would be the 610 Stompers plus Cowboy Mouth playing for us at the Finish Festival. I couldn’t have picked a better festive race. To top everything we would see the elites from Kenya and Ethiopia attempt to set a world record after the main race with their laps around Audubon Park. Definitely an event not to be missed. See a few recap pictures below including my epic finish!!!

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Havent had enough 610 Stompers? Check out this quickie video I took from the Finish:

 

Don’t miss next years 5th Annual, Race registration will be open soon at: http://shamrockinrun.com/ 

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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

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!

 

14 races in 2014 a look back

So I was looking at my race list and in 2013 I did “13” races” (Coincidentally)

2013 Completed  (13)

  • Louisiana “HALF” Marathon – Baton Rouge  1/20/13— Finished in 2hr 12min –BIB#1466—My 6th Half!
  • Disneyworld Princess Half Marathon Feb/2013–February 22-24, 2013  (for fun) plus Royal Family 5k- BIB#1001—4:05
  • Corporate Cup 5k (with Turner) 3/23/13—— 27:29 5K PR! –8:52 pace– BIB#1992
  • Crescent City Classic 10k 3/30/13—New Orleans—35th Anniversary!- Finished in 57:58 10k PR!- 9:21–pace  BIB#3749
  • Gulf Coast Half Pensacola  4/7/13—  Finished in 2hr 10min –BIB#287—my 8th Half!
  • Run Forest Run 5K 4/28/13 15th annual-New Orleans—–Bib#553  Completed 28:38
  • 3rd Annual SuperHero 5k Zachary 5/11/13 (for fun with Alaina-She won 1st place in Costume Contest)
  • Rocketchix Duathlon 7-27-13   2mile run/12 mile bike/2mile run-Bib #505-1:26 (1st in my age group ,3rd overall –Fat Tire )
  • 4th Annual Muddy Water Paddle Battle Relay & 250m Sprint 8-3-13 (Came in 3rd in the Women’s Relay/ 4th in the Sprint.-My daughter Alaina did the ½ mile)
  • Zoo Zoom 5k       8-24-13   28:28  –9:11 pace– BIB#152
  • Saints 5k      8-31-13 –with  Steve & Alaina for fun
  • Zombie Bash    10-4-13 –with Alaina for fun—Alaina did it —(I was injured, not in Count)
  • Middendorf’s 10 miler  11-16-13 — 1hr:37    — BIB#62
  • Baton Rouge Beach Half     12-7-13—–2:10—BIB #434

In 2014  I did “14” races” (Again a TOTAL Coincidence in count)

2014 Completed  (14)_

  • 3rd Year -Louisiana Half Marathon    1-19-14- Finished in 2hr 07min –BIB#4578—My 10th Half!!
  • 5th Anniversary New Orleans RnR FULL MARATHON   2-2-14– Finished in 4hr48min –BIB#12145–1st Full!
  • Q50Half —Trail Half Boque Chitto–3-8-14– Finished in 2hr33min –BIB#155–1st Trail Half
  • Forge Unicorn 4 miler Clark Creek 4-12-14—Did for “Fun” with Alaina, Maggie and Dan-Finished in 1hr59min—
  • Crescent City Classic 10k 4/19/14—New Orleans—BIB#13051  —Finished in 1hr:4min
  • Happys 5000  3miler 5/3/14– Finished in 29:18 –BIB#165-
  • Q50 RACES CINCO DE MAYO 5/4/2014—Audubon Park-4miler trail w/ Alaina – I finished 44:38 Bib#193 21st overall woman–Alaina #194 finished 59:30
  • 70.3 Ironman Augusta,GA 9-28-14–1st Relay!–“The Runner” -Finished in 2:12 –BIB#3456-
  • Gulf Coast Half Mandeville 10-19-14 – Finished in 2hr 07min –BIB#220—
  • RNR LAS VEGAS HALF 11-16-14 – Finished in 2hr 52min –BIB#11242—SO MUCH FUN!
  • Goldenfliers 5miler 11-22-14 – Finished in 47min:47 –BIB#289—9:33pace
  • Reindeer Run 5k for fun with Alaina-45min
  • Baton Rouge Beach Half 12-6-14 – Finished in 2hr min:19 –BIB#803—My 15th Half
  • Girls on the Run 5k for fun with Gabbie 12-13-14 -41min (It was an honor to run w/ my niece)

2014 was NOT a year of PR’s for sure but I did my first Full Marathon, my first Trail Half and participated in my first Ironman event which was also my first Relay event. My bling rack represents lots of incredible memories and friends made. Not every race was for time some was to help my niece complete her Girls on the Run program or to take the family out for a fun race morning at Clark Creek or an evening out with my daughter to enjoy the Christmas lights and a 3miler thrown in so we can enjoy some treats at the bake sale booth afterwards. I look at each medal or race bib and feel blessed. For me that is what running is about, to ‘Enjoy the Journey’ and share it with others.

Some 2014 race highlights in pictures:

First Full Marathon! RNR New Orleans 2-2-14

First Full Marathon! RNR New Orleans 2-2-14. I could not have done it without Francine, Karen, Coach Stephen, my family plus all the support from friends following along.

 1st Trail Half 3-8-14. A great morning in Boque Chitto

1st Trail Half 3-8-14. A beautiful morning in Boque Chitto

Fun family morning at Forge Unicorn 4 miler Clark Creek 4-12-14

Fun family morning at Forge Unicorn 4 miler Clark Creek 4-12-14

Crescent City Classic 10k 4/19/14

Crescent City Classic 10k 4/19/14  Always on Easter Weekend!

Love these girls!! 70.3 IM AUGUSTA,GA   9-28-14 1st Relay

Love these girls!! Hugs Laura & Larissa  70.3 IM AUGUSTA,GA 9-28-14 1st Relay

Viva Las Vegas with my best running bud Francine!!!

Viva Las Vegas with my best running bud Francine!!!

Gulf Coast Half Mandeville 10-19-14

Gulf Coast Half Mandeville 10-19-14. This is the look of “Relief” at the Finish!

I love and support the Girls On The Run program

I love and support the Girls On The Run program. So proud of my niece Gabbie

Still growing

Still growing. Lots of memories and look forward to more.

Starting off 2015 by being selected for the #RocknBlog team

A tisket, a tasket , a brand new widget to add to my blog!!

Wha what?! Nicole Decker is a member of the 2015 #RocknBlog team.

What is #RocknBlog ? well the Rock ‘n’ Blog team is a community of health & fitness enthusiasts, social mavens, and certified selfie-takers for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series. They make running fun, earn tons of bling, and will convince you to do the same! runrocknroll.competitor.com/rocknblog

How AWESOME is that?!

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To be able to add this to my blog is…wait for it…..LEGENDARY!!!

100 bloggers were selected over thousands of qualified applicants from all over the United States and even Canada! To be among them..well.. I am flattered 🙂

Surprisingly I knew many of the selected from previous races and events so that made it even better.

Meet the team HERE

To go directly to my profile go HERE

Last year I was fortunate enough to do the Rock ‘n’ Roll  New Orleans and Vegas races. Which tour stops will it be this year? Stay tuned and check out the choices HERE

One of the many perks? (BTW: I will be getting discount codes for races & scoops to share with YOU)  Is getting cool emails with yourself featured unexpectedly! Can you spot me below two times?

Thanks for the ‘Rockin’ welcome Rock ‘n’ Roll!

#rocknblog

 

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

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!!