Gulf Coast Mandeville Half

What do you get when you mix some gorgeous weather,scenery and about 1000 of your closest running buddies? To me it sounds like the recipe for a great race day! 

Driving into Fountainebleu  State Park Sunday morning the temp was about 59 degrees/97% humidity/winds 8mph. For this year’s 5th year Anniversary race they went a step up in shirt design and bibs. I was very pleased.

GCM

Race start would be at 7am and I couldn’t wait to slip on this soft t shirt afterwards. Since this is a flat, scenic course many runners had a PR day in mind, me included although my speed work has been lacking to be honest. One person I was looking forward to meeting in person today was Mandeville Police Officer Becky Kramer White. She would be running the Half today in full police uniform to raise money for the Special Olympics. You can read more about her cause here. I caught up with her around mile 2 (right before my music died. I apparently failed in charging it the day before). I introduced myself and asked Becky if she would mind if I would run with her a bit today. She is a very well known local runner and fellow blogger. Today she would be extra motivating to many. There were extra police officers on the course to support her along the route taking pictures and cheering her on. She would finish today’s race in a remarkable time of 2:11. IMPRESSIVE!

beck

Today’s race had a choice of a 10 mile route or 13.1. Around mile 7 my knee started aching badly ( the one I fell on a few weeks ago and had stitches). In that delirious moment I could not recall if you had a choice to run either distance. I had personally signed up to run the Half so even though my knee was questionable and my PR wish time of 2:05 was doubtful I kept pushing forward in the hopes of a strong finish. Passing that 10 mile sign was tough but I could see Becky in the distance and told myself to catch up to her and enjoy the course ahead. That’s what I was there for. Miles started clicking by again and I finally got my second wind around mile 11. I changed my Garmin view to see where I was at time wise. I could see that I was coming up short but pushed it as hard as I physically could. ‘Get to the Finish Fest’ I kept thinking plus every self motivational phrase I could think of “I am Fit, I am Strong”, “Keep Pushing”, “That beer isn’t going to drink itself”. I remembered the race was offering free race pics at the finish and quickly adjusted my bib and told myself to smile as I came in at 2:07. (2minutes shy of a PR) Self disappointment started to sink in knowing I wouldn’t have another shot at a PR race until December but happy about my time in all things considering. Now time to relax and enjoy the music, food and drinks the race offered afterwards. Races aren’t JUST about your finish time its the entire experience and that is a “win-win”.

GCMP

I can’t wait to see the FREE Finisher pics courtesy of Northshore Plastic Surgery. That is one benefit of not running with music is those dreadful things wont be in the pictures! (Always look on the upside)

For more info on the race check out Gulf Coast Half on Facebook or on their website.

Race results can be found here.

Congrats to all that crossed the Finish!

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..

todo

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  

teamscootadoot

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

 

 

 

 

 

Looking for a change in pace? Experience Trails!

With every step into the earth your form changes, compensating for the change in texture from asphalt to dirt, rocks, roots, mud whichever you encounter you take gladly. Your pace slows slightly from road racing to trails but you don’t mind as you take in the scenery along your route. You have left your music at home to have less distractions and keep your focus forward. There are no water stops you carry your own respecting the rules given. You make sure to wear shoes that have more grip at the bottom to take quick but careful steps. You pause when needed to take in the beauty that surrounds you whether it is the sun breaking from the trees or a perfect view of the landscape. You leave your run with a bit more respect for nature from when you started.

Trails give you back more than what you put into it. Experience them for yourself and find one near you today. For Louisiana runners we are fortunate to have some options.

Q50 RacesI guarantee you will not find a more friendly race director on the planet. Cesar Torres genuinely cares about the environment and has a found a way to share his love of nature through trail running. Cesar has even been featured in Runner’s World Magazine. He has several events coming up to wet your appetite for trails. Check out the Q50 Website or the latest updates on Facebook. There you will find distances from kids run to ultras.

FORGE RACINGCheck out their “Ales N Trails Run Group” and race schedule. Just one of three races coming up this fall is the “Cajun Coyote” 100M, 100K and 20M single track loop trail around the lake at Chicot State Park, Ville Platte, Louisiana. This event is definitely for those looking to get off the beaten asphalt. You can find the latest updates on meet ups of their weekly run group and upcoming races on Facebook. The Forge Racing website is in the process of being updated so please check back.

Not sure if you want to run but want to be a part of the experience? VOLUNTEER! Course support is invaluable and I guarantee after you spend the day at one of these events you will definitely want to join in on the action next time.

The trails await you

The Trails Await You

Still undecided? Check out the below recaps from a couple of my trail experiences:

1st Trail Half Claimed! Q50 style

Faint of Heart 4 Miler with Forge Racing

Click here to find more trails in Louisiana such as Tammany Trace, Chicot State Park and more.

Need help to find a trail outside of Louisiana? Go to this link and enter your state or zip code.

Happy Trails!

Runner Humor

We have our own gear, clothing, language, (Fartleks or Yasso 800’s any one?) of course we have our own humor. Sayings or pictures that we only find funny while our non-running friends are like “huh?”
Running can be stressful. We worry about stomach issues, injury prevention, nasal allergies, PR’s, coordinating family schedules so you can log a few miles in, so of course when a funny image or video comes across we jump at the chance for a mental break.

So enjoy your coffee or stretching break for a few running funnies:

13.1
runners_home
last_garmin

Two of my favorites videos guaranteed to make you laugh out loud:
8 Stages of Marathon Running: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ItnxJLAOeY
Don’t Be That Awkward Runner: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGojEyYBmwc

Even Women’s Running Magazine could relate 🙂
wrun

What makes you laugh? How do you de-stress?

How relay team ‘Tag Your It’ was born #im703Augusta 172 days!

This past weekend I was checking out the posts from the Galveston,TX 70.3 race and I was truly inspired. So much so I put a post on Facebook and much to my surprise it got a ton of feedback quick!!!
question
When I put it out there I truly felt like the kid in baseball that would be picked for the team last. Would anyone want to be my partner for a relay? SCORE! Several people piped up. I was thrilled beyond words.

Quickly it was between Ironman 70.3 in Augusta, GA on 9-28-14 or Austin, TX on 10-26-14.
I pulled the elevation chart for both races to see how it was for the run and hands down Augusta was MUCH flatter than Austin. For Augusta the bike is rolling hills with views of both Georgia and South Carolina. The swim is down river (fast) and the run is flat with spectators everywhere. Austin is 7 hours away and Augusta is 10 hours away. Which one would we choose?

Larisa Dixon a blogger in Alabama from Zero to Twenty Six Point Two quickly said she would be our swimmer. She was already training for her first solo 70.3 for New Orleans in 2015 so this would be great training for her. She has never done a Triathlon relay but has done a couple running ones and has 9 years experience on a national swim team. Laura Melder from Baton Rouge a runner that I have seen at a few local races quickly chimed in to be our biker. She has a specialized Dolce road bike. Laura has never done a bike race before but she said she would train like a mad woman during the summer so I was sold on her. I am not looking to place at this race since I believe on the IM 70.3 Relays there are no age group awards it is just Top 3 overall. I am just looking for a great experience. A relay has been on my “list” for a while now and what better one to do than at a 70.3 event! Plus I think it would be fun to be part of a team and make some new friends in the process.

After getting a bit more feedback and checking with hubby Augusta was the better fit.
Next, in order to register we had to pick a team captain which Larisa said I could take on so the next task was to pick a team name.
Suggestions I came up with: Scrambled Legs, Tag You’re It, Wind Kickers, Apple Bottomed Dreamers, You had me at Medal, Life is one big transition, Liquid Awesome, Wind at our backs, Team Awesome, Team, Hi my name is,

Everyone liked “Tag Your It” so within minutes it was done. (I like these girls)
The Active website only gave you 15 minutes to register so I had to quickly collect everyones info and on the second attempt our team was created and we were registered!
registered
Next is to research and get tips like crazy (which hello, have you met me I LOVE that part!)
I found information on each leg of the race for Augusta as well as the FAQ for which had info on the Relay.

I have several friends that have done 70.3 events and full Ironmans but none that has done a Relay as of yet so if YOU have any tips please post under comments on this post. Until then I will look online to find race recaps. I find those helpful but of course they all vary based on their own personal experience, location, weather conditions etc.

Coincidentally my friend Jennifer Zenuch posted on her blog Monday (the same day this idea was born) “Do Something that Scares you”. Well I think this qualifies!! Training through the heat of the summer for a race that you have to travel 10 hours for, to a place you have never been, with people you barely know. um yeah!

What have you done lately that was a bit out of your element?

Ironman 70.3 Augusta 172 days! Let the countdown begin! 9-28-14

Let the countdown begin! My 1st Relay Event in 172 days !! Ironman 70.3 Augusta, GA 9-28-14

Next up: FORGE Racing’s Faint of Heart Unicorn 4-miler trail run this Saturday morning in Woodville, MS. It will have an elevation gain and loss of 1700 feet!!! Can you say YIKES!! I am bringing a couple of the kids to this one. They will like the change in scenery (4 waterfalls, creeks, hills) It is going to be scenic and challenging. You can guarantee a recap next week on the blog 🙂

Recap of the Rendezvous3/ 3rd Annual Louisiana Marathon Experience

This event is definitely growing year after year and it didn’t hurt that Runners World magazine named The Louisiana Marathon one of the Top 10 up and coming running events in the January 2014 issue. Buzz had been growing for weeks on Facebook, Twitter and even on the local news. This Boston Qualifier race was going to be the place to be the weekend of January 18-19, 2014 and it didn’t disappoint. To a packed expo at the Baton Rouge River Center to the stellar speakers at the Pastalaya dinner. Bill Rodgers and Matt Long were deeply engaging. They offered advice and jokes that quickly put everyone at ease for those looking forward to their race the following day. Bill Rodgers has run over 175k miles since 1973 he has seen running evolve into a family sport over the years. First with women entering the field now the younger generation has joined in. Bill introduced Matt Long and seemed just as interested in hearing his story as we were. How the NYC firefighter fought to live with only a 1% chance of survival. He had over 40 surgeries after being run over on his road bike with a 20 ton bus in December of 2005. He had just completed the Lake Placid Ironman that July and ran the NYC Marathon. He is the second oldest of 9 kids and from Brooklyn. His spirit and humor shined through in his speaking.

A few tidbits Matt Long shared:
“As an adult you set a goal. To make it happen you have to do 3 things:”
1) Make a plan
2) Commit
3) Make Sacrifices

“If you’re the person that says you can’t, until you believe in yourself, until you say “I Will”, you won’t achieve.”

Matt’s personal mantra for his comeback was “I Will”. Even after his recovery he completed a Marathon and an Ironman. Since then Matt doesn’t run much anymore. He went back to cycling since it’s better physically for his body. Does he wish that tragic accident hadn’t happened to him? No, he has been able to help so many realize that they are strong enough to survive. He knows his endurance through training for the Marathon and Ironman shortly before his accident is what helped him survive. Even on this same day as the dinner he got on a treadmill and jogged 2 miles for Meg’s miles. A young mother, runner that was tragically killed recently by a drunk driver. Matt shared personal stories and offered lots of great advice. He is truly an inspiration. For running he stressed to get a coach and make a journal. It helps to make you accountable and lastly “If you have a dream hold on to it”.

Mother Nature cooperated once again for this weekend running events. Saturday morning the Kids Marathon and Cypress 5k went off without a hitch and on Sunday the Half/Full Marathon race started at 7am with brisk temperatures of around 45 degrees but quickly warmed up for those running the Full to apprx 60 degrees. Hydration would be key since most had been training in lower winter temperatures. There was a pelican flyover right before the start of the national anthem and we were off. The Full and Half both started at the same time and didn’t split until around mile 11. This was supposed to be an easy taper Half for me since my first Full would be in two weeks but race day adrenalin was once again kicking in. Throughout the first 6-8 miles I was struggling to keep my pace down. My friends along the course noticed and reminded me to slack off. I took in the views along the race and really appreciated the fact that runners from all 50 states were here enjoying the beauty of our neighborhoods, LSU lake front and downtown area. Along the course people were cheering and made signs to welcome everyone on this Sunday morning.
I evaluated how I felt around the split of the Half/Full course and asked myself could I have run the Full today? Yes, had I not run at the average 9:45 pace I was running. I know my race in two weeks for my first Full at the Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans will be much more congested at 17k+ runners compared to today’s 6k apprx and the first mile or two will take much longer to get through than today which for me will be a good thing.
I started making my way back downtown towards the Finish and noticed I could pick up the pace for a stronger finish. Normally I would be running out of the steam at the 10-11 mile mark but my endurance had increased due to Full training. My coach Stephen said it would help me run stronger Half’s and he was right. My last three miles were actually faster than the first ten and that has never happened before. I turned off my music as I was heading into the last half mile so I could hear my name and the crowd cheering as I came in for my 2:07 finish time. I had not run that well in almost a year. It wasn’t a PR but it was a strong run and I felt good. I found my friend Francine who finished a minute before me and quickly got a Core Power Protein Drink that was being supplied at the finish along with water.
I went to get my bag so I could check my phone for the Runner Tracking text alerts that the race provided and it was working like a charm. I could see all my friends estimated finish times to know if I had time to stretch my legs and be back in time at the chute to see them finish.
Many of my friends chose this race for their first Full and I was getting very excited that I would be able to see them coming in soon. They had trained for months for this day. Some had stellar sub 4hour times and some fell just short of their personal goal but every single one of them Finished Strong. Their hard work and determination had paid off. They were proudly wiping the sweat away as they took in their breaths shortly after crossing the Finish line with their new Finisher bling worn proudly on their chest. They earned it with every step from the early morning training sessions to the struggle of the wall at Mile 17 or 22. They didn’t give up. I was so happy for them and it made me want my day even more. Afterwards I headed to the Finish Festival to listen to the local bands and grab some food. I even purchased a Sweet Greens Kale drink at The Big Squeezy booth I had been wanting to try.

Looking around I could see families and friends were equally enjoying the festivities. It was quite remarkable that an event like this can bring so many people together and provide so much inspiration. I am already looking forward to next years.

But first I want my day… My day to call myself a “Marathoner”….Stay tuned

Few pictures from the weekend events:

Pastalaya dinner with Bill Rodgers and Matt Long

Pastalaya dinner with Bill Rodgers and Matt Long


No shortage of running merchandise to be found here. From Tanks, Spibelts, Sweaty bands, GU you could find it all here.

No shortage of running merchandise to be found at the expo. From Tanks, Spibelts, Sweaty bands, GU you could find it all here.


Gorgeous weather to camp out at the Finish line waiting for friends to come in.

Gorgeous weather to camp out at the Finish line waiting for friends to come in.


A short walk from the finish is all it takes to soak in some local cuisine and music at the Finish Fest.

A short walk from the finish is all it takes to soak in some local cuisine and music at the Finish Festival.


la mar finish fest 2
la mar ham fam
My "Half" bling collection from every year. I have to say though that FULL Finisher medal was sweet looking though!

My “Half” bling collection from every year. I have to say though that the FULL Finisher medal was sweet looking!

For more information on this race check out: http://www.thelouisianamarathon.com/ and on their Facebook page.

For more on Matt Long visit: http://www.iwillfoundation.com/#home

Dont think, Just Go!

MondayMotivation

As I am just getting settled back from vacation. I look at my countdown app for my upcoming races. My heart skips a beat and I tense up with anxiety. Just breathe I tell myself. It’s going to be ok.
This Saturday morning I have my ‘9th’ Half Marathon the Baton Rouge Beach Half. In 47 days I have my ’10th’ the Louisiana Half Marathon and then just two weeks after my first Full. The Rock’n’Roll New Orleans FULL Marathon. That’s in just 61 short days!!
We all know the month of December FLIES by so this makes me even more tense.
I just have to remember WHY I am doing this? BECAUSE I CAN!!!!
So I am keeping it short and sweet today as I ramp back up my training from vacation.
Its time to get busy and stay focused. What motivates you around the holidays?
How do you stay focused?