Tips For Your Roadtrip Race Weekend

Last weekend I had a blast at the Mardi Gras 10k and this weekend its off to to Gulf Shores Alabama for Half #17. Good times are in store for this 4th Annual Gulf Coast Half.

Race Details:

– Beautiful course
– Great support
– Awesome finishers medal
– Spectacular views
– Nearly world famous post race party at Lulu’s

Starting at Lulu’s runners will loop underneath then cross over the intracoastal bridge to begin their 13.1 miles. Exploring the many coastal neighborhoods that make Lower Alabama great runners will then enter Gulf State Park for a loop around Lake Shelby briefly popping out onto Perdido Beach Blvd for a beautiful view of the Gulf of Mexico. Finishing the loop around Lake Shelby runners will trace back part of the course to return to the north side of the Intracoastal Canal before turning for home and the nearly World Famous Post Race Party hosted at Lucy Buffet’s LuLu’s!

I have run the Pensacola, FL series once and Mandeville, LA twice so its FINALLY time for me to finish the three location series with ALABAMA!! I have not had a long run since my January races so I am a little bit nervous. I am hoping I don’t crash and burn by mile 9. This week the weather hasn’t been that good so my mileage has been low but I have been stretching, lifting weights and my nutrition is getting better as I am recovering from King Cake overload from Mardi Gras.

The drive to Alabama is only about 3 hours away but I am looking forward to the short overnight trip and hoping to at least walk on the beach for some relaxation time. In preparing to leave Saturday morning I thought I would share some tips for those with a racecation roadtrip weekend coming up.

  • Pack ahead of time. Don’t wait until the last minute. Make a list and check it twice. I even pack my list so when I am leaving I remember everything I brought. This also helps on race morning so I remember everything I need and nothing gets left behind at the hotel.
  • It is ok to over pack if your unsure about the weather. Bring a throwaway sweatshirt or mylar blanket if you think it will be a chilly morning. Remember the 10 degree rule you always warm up after Mile 1 so disposable layers are key.
  • Put in all of your addresses (expo,restaurants,hotel) ahead of time in your Garmin so you are not scrambling for time and can plan.
  • Charge your music, phone and watch ahead of time. Test everything before leaving.
  • Bring your own snacks, drinks, breakfast and race day energy supplies such as GU. Your stomach may not like surprises.
  • Clean up your house and pay bills before leaving. Last thing you want to do when you get home is chores. You will want to stretch and rest because more than likely you have to work the next day.
  • If you know of somewhere fun to stop on the way to your destination DO IT! Trust me you won’t feel like it on the way home after the race. I remember one of my favorite stops with friends on the way to the Pensacola race was “World Of Beers”. Memories with friends is part of the experience.
  • On your drive home from the race weekend stop every hour to stretch and wear comfortable clothes. Even compression socks on your legs will be helpful.

You want the least possible headaches for your race weekend away to give you the best possible race day results. Remember the journey is part of the experience 🙂

race week

 

 

 

Runner Moments

This morning I posted a picture on social media. One that took over a day to choose pictures for. I don’t participate in “Throwback Thursday” very often but I felt the urge today. I wanted to post a collage of “Runner Moments” for #TBT. As I scrolled through my phone and my Facebook albums I noticed I had countless to choose from. I have been very lucky since starting my Runner Journey in 2011 and I don’t take one moment or experience for granted. Thank you for those that I have met along the way.

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I am very thankful for the memories and friendships made through running. It definetly gives back more than I ever expected. It’s not a chore, it’s a privilege. Keep it fun!

Spring Southern Race Round Up for Discounts plus RNR $15 code

 Several race directors have contacted me with race discounts for the upcoming 2015 season so I thought I would share on this page and update this post as I get more so keep checking back!

Mardi Gras Mambo 10k & 15k   Mambo from Downtown Baton Rouge through the oak lined streets of the Garden District, past City Park Lake and back to downtown for the post-race fete. I have a special weblink to get 25% off the 10k or 15k race registration. (The discount will be applied during registration process.You get a race shirt, bling and food for only $19.88 for the 10k & $27.75 for the 15k) This #RunMardiGras deal expires 2/13/15 for the link click HERE

Gulf Coast Half Marathon Series in Gulf Shores, AL 3/1/15 — $13.10 discount with code: ‘NDECKERRUNNER’ Beautiful course and nearly world famous post race party at Lulu’s with one of the most unique finisher medals around.

Zydeco Marathon/Half “ZYDECODECKER15” for 10% off online registration.Race in Lafayette,LA 3/8/15 Distance runners will love the motivation, encouragement, and a little humor as they make their way through long courses in Lafayette, LA. At the completion of the race, there will also be a free outdoor concert, labeled the “Finish Line Festival”, held in the UL Intramural Fields next to Blackham Coliseum.  Local zydeco bands will perform and local restaurants will be on site for food.

2nd annual Allstate Sugar Bowl St. Patrick’s Day Classic 3/15/15 “ccc10kblogger” for $5 off –Expires 1/31/15.  Run down Metairie Road before the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and don’t miss your ONLY chance to qualify for the 2015 Crescent City Classic 10k at the 2-mile distance.

37th annual Crescent City Classic 10k 4/4/15 “ccc10kblogger” for $5 off- Expires 1/31/15. The Allstate Sugar Bowl Crescent City Classic 10k road race is held in New Orleans on the Saturday before Easter Sunday each year.  The Classic is locally produced by a not-for-profit 5013c entity, the Crescent City Fitness Foundation, and is a great way to get in shape, while having fun!  Both runners and walkers of all abilities are invited to participate in the race.

Gulf Coast Half Marathon Series in Pensacola, FL 4/12/15-$13.10 discount with code: ‘NDECKERRUNNER’  This race feature Mile Markers at every mile and 11 well supported water stations. Sunrise at the beach for this race start is always a sight to see so don’t miss out! Post-Race Party fueled by Flounders where you can dip your feet in the Gulf Coast waters after your run.

 Jazz Half Marathon  promo code ‘DOITAGAIN’. This code is $10 off registration for the Half is good through 2/20/15. The 7th Annual Jazz Half Marathon and 5K will be held on October 31, 2015. The race begins and ends in historic Lafayette Square, and is followed by a post-party featuring live music by local artists and delicious New Orleans fare benefiting the Cancer Program at Children’s Hospital.

Dirty South Marathon/Half “RUNDECKER10” for 10% off online registration.Race in West Monroe,LA to be held on 11/15/15. This 2nd annual event ensures a quality experience for all participants so general entry caps are set for 500 marathoners and 1,000 half-marathoners. Don’t miss out!  Participants can signup to run as a St. Jude’s Hero by pledging to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. St. Jude’s Hero’s will strive to hit fundraising milestones for free entries, pre-race meals, and accommodations.

5th Annual The Louisiana Marathon Weekend 2016: Promo code “IKNOWNICOLE” 10% discount for all distances ( Full, Half, Quarter, 5k ) except the kids race Jan 16- Jan 17,2016 join in the fun for a running festival with lagniappe! The course features a fast, flat, festive path from downtown along the river through the University Lakes, the Louisiana State University campus and in historic river town neighborhoods. This race featured in Runner’s World Magazine draws in runners from all 50 states plus over 9 countries.

Looking to sign up for a Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series race? I have your $15 off Promo code “NDECKERRUNNER” Thanks rocknblog Good for any Full or Half distance race in 2015 throughout US except Mexico. Expires 12/31/15. Do you #RunForTheBling? RNR offers unique opportunities to earn extra bling by completing multiple Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon Series events.

 

Keep checking back for more….

Do you have a Race Discount to share? Comment or message me to be added

M tree

Lessons from the road

Race day may not always going go as planned there are so many variables:

  • Weather may be too hot or too cold, rain, humidity
  • Muscular aches and pains
  • Stomach distress, nutrition, hydration
  • Sleep, fatigue, overall energy level

What went Right during my recent back to back races:

  • Good attitude going in. Goal #1 to Finish and to Enjoy the Experience
  • I foam rolled and stretched daily
  • I ate good the night before and morning of the race
  • I packed and prepared ahead of time so no last minute frenzy

What went Wrong:

  • I need better nutrition two weeks before my race at least. I need to go back to my brown rice, spinach and tuna regimen. Lay off the junk food and go back to my food journal.
  • I did not take my daily vitamins like I should have, I did take EmergenC daily but need to get back to my vitamins.
  • I did not hydrate as much as I should have. Need to start a week before not two days before.
  • I didn’t get enough sleep. I felt this after the second race weekend. It took me 3 days to catch up on my rest
  • Back to back weekends are not for me especially with my schedule.
  • I did not stretch after the race. Once again I got caught up with the after race festivities.

Did you notice my “What went Wrong” list is longer than the “ What went Right” ?. Well that’s part of running. Did I enjoy the experience? YES! Would I do it all over again? Absolutely!

I am currently struggling with Shin Splints and off running for the next week, implementing R.I.C.E. (short for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation)

I found some good daily stretching techniques to add to my routine and help with recovery: Stretches for Runners via Cool Running

My next race isn’t until the end of February so it is the perfect time to recover and refocus.
# KeepPushingForward

 kara

“We all have had injuries and disappointments. It is a part of running. It can bring us down and at times be overwhelming when we see how far we have to go. But I encourage you all to take your time, stay inspired and focused. Instead of stressing about how far behind we are, we need to focus on the progress we are making and continue to make.”

-Kara Goucher, two-time U.S. Olympian

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.

Stretch, Roll, Strengthen, Repeat….‪ #‎RunnerProbs‬

IT BAND I curse you! If you have issues with yours you know what I am talking about. That dull ache that not quite a pain but discomfort out the WAZOO. It hit me at mile 7 of my last Half and again on last weekends 8 mile training run. (mile 7 once again). That ache from the hip all the way to the knee. OW! My knee. That IT band on your side can really put a strain on it.

Right when I need to be working on hill training as well as speed work now I have to throw yoga poses (Pigeon Pose, One legged seated spinal twist etc) back into the mix.

Hip opener stretches, foam rolling, ice alternating with Arnica gel will be my daily regimen as well as post-runs.

Here are some posts that I found helpful that I thought I would share:

  • Video of a short set of 10 different stretches that target your thighs (quads, hamstrings, inner thighs) and calves, as well as other problem areas for runners (IT band, psoas, and more). -Click HERE
  • 3 Yoga poses to Ease Your Pain via POPSUGAR- Click HERE
  • 9 Yoga Poses Plus Tips to Keep Athletes Injury -Free-Click HERE
  • Lululemon Sea Wheeze 2014 Yoga Practice 48 min video-Click HERE

When I mentioned my IT band issues on Facebook and Twitter I got a lot of feedback from other fellow runners dealing with the same issues. They say that Yoga, Stretching and Strengthening go hand in hand for runners. You MUST take care of your body properly. Treat it well. Your recovery and maintenance is just as important as those training runs.

I gotta admit during last nights attempt at the Yoga video part of me was like

uhhhhhh - You want me to do what????

uhhhhhh – You want me to do what????

These yoga poses require proper technique. You HAVE to be patient and possibly enlist a yoga expert friend or take a class to get the most out of it. It is especially difficult when you would MUCH rather hit cardio for 45 minutes instead. (yes, ME)

So I put a water bottle in the freezer at work and at home  (awesome to roll on a couple times a day to work out the knots) and decided I will have to respect my body better if I want to do my races this fall/winter. Maintenance is key.

**Please share any additional tips, links, videos you have found under comments**

#WorkInProgress

 

 

An EPIC Relay Adventure at Ironman 70.3 Augusta

After months of training runs through the grueling, hot summer the day was finally here.  I was about to take one of the most epic road trips I have been on with three girls I barely know but who would become my friends for life. We started our estimated 665 mile trip from Baton Rouge and picked up our swimmer Larisa in Mobile on our way to Augusta on a beautiful morning with some fun along the way.

roadtrip

The next morning after Laura got her practice bike ride in, we did some sightseeing and headed to the expo at the Augusta Convention Center for check in. ( I was dying to get my blue band to feel like I was a part of the weekend event ) The expo was small in comparison to the ones we runners go too like the Rock ‘n’ Roll races but those can get overwhelming as well. We did get a couple shirts, try some jerky samples and got some relief with some Active Release Therapy. (Only a 10 minute wait) I needed this desperately since my IT Band was already throbbing from being on my feet so much.

swag

While waiting I met Kevin Swenson. At 53 years young he has done 13 Ironman’s including one Double (which he said was the hardest thing he has done yet). The locations he has done vary from New Zealand, France, Africa, Australia and this weekend would be his first 70.3 can you believe? (Of course he killed it on Sunday with a Finish time of  5:19:01)

Check out his tattoos:

kevin

Next up we went to go check out the transition area so we could strategize. Fortunately it was laid out very well and marked for those directionally challenged like myself!

transition

Then we went to the Finish area a couple miles away to check out the Finish line while there wasn’t anyone around. (OK yes it may have been bad luck but it wasn’t fully setup yet.) Speaking of I was surprised to so many people wearing there race shirts. Us runners don’t tend to wear them til after the race but TRI athletes seem to like to get there game face on early.

finish

4:45am came early the next morning but we wanted to get out there early to park and head to body marking. The sea of bikes and people out that early was incredible. The sun started to rise as well as the excitement level. It was amazing to watch the nerves and exhilaration in everyone’s faces. They had trained for this day for months. Before we knew it the Elites were out first at 7:30am.

race morning

We took a few pictures and even ended up on IM Augusta’s FB page:

augusta

I saw the cutest race support ever. These kids cracked me up!

race support

Since we were the Relayers we were the last wave which wasn’t until 9:20am. Waves were 4 minutes apart and went off like clock work. Spotters were on the bridge to look for anyone struggling. Kayakers and paddle boarders as water support were also prepared to help. I would make my way to the bridge to take pictures of Larisa for the swim while Laura headed to transition to prepare for her bike portion when Larisa came through. She was easy to spot with her tattoos and I scored some great pictures. She completed her 1.2 mile swim in 29:11 which was under her goal. She was pumped with excitement.

swim

Next up Laura headed out for her 56 mile bike ride.  She was going to get to bike through two states Georgia and South Carolina. How cool is that?!

bike

The weather was lenient to the race participants and spectators today with a temp of 80 for the high, 67% humidity and a good bit of cloud coverage through out the day which I hugely appreciated for the upcoming run portion. I made sure to snack on salted almonds, peanut butter crackers and Gatorade while I was waiting on Laura. I wanted just enough food for energy but not weigh me down. I applied some biofreeze and sunblock. Larisa helped me stretch out my hip flexors and IT band. Both she and Michelle (our race support for the weekend) kept me company while Laura was out for her ride. The plan originally was to go to the Finish area to go watch some of the Elites come in but unfortunately we discovered it was a 2 mile walk there and back. I just couldn’t do it. I was already sore and needed to save my legs. We could only check on Laura with the IM Tracker with the one split halfway through the course. We knew she was well prepared for the ride with adequate fluids and nutrition which would help her recover quickly after the race. About 45 minutes before she came in I headed to transition to prepare mentally for the run ahead. I had never ran a Half Marathon in the middle of the day on tired legs, without music and with the nutrition I had taken in so I was a bit concerned.

As it got closer to the time for Laura to come in and tag me I started to get anxious and was ready to head out and see what I could do. I knew today would not be a PR day but I wanted to do my team proud. Spotting Laura coming in to transition was awesome  I went out in force. The ride was more challenging for Laura then expected with all the steady inclines but she did a great job and came in at 4:14:38. The first loop of the two loop run course was easier than the first since there were more people but I knew most of the runners out there were actually on there second loop. Fluids and nutrition on the course were still found in abundance which was a relief since I didn’t start my run til about 2:30pm. The roads were flat as promised but many were at an angle as I fought to keep as straight of a path as possible for my cranky IT band. This weared on my pace badly. The 2nd loop was scarce with people as I expected. At that point I was anxious to get closer to that finish line. Soon I was at Mile 12 and spotted my crew who were there cheering for me and took a few pics.

ASICS sponsorship perhaps?

ASICS sponsorship perhaps?

That was the last push I needed to make it to that 13.1 finish line with a time of 2:12:37. Our total relay team time was 7:02:28. They announced relay team “Tag Your It” was in and I had did my job. I collected our three relay medals and hats, proudly gave them to Laura and Larisa. I thoroughly enjoyed being in the Ironman world for the weekend and the hospitality of Georgia. Sharing this experience with Laura and Larisa was awesome! They did amazing!

finsih

and what better way to end our journey but a dip in the cold Savannah river after the race!

Did I mention I cant swim? Fortunately Larisa stayed close!

epic

Laura and Larisa are already talking about coming back next year. 🙂

Check out  my teammate Larisa’s recap here Part 1 & Part 2

We also met Cynthia from “You Signed Up for WHAT?! during our weekend adventure. She did her first solo 70.3 in  a remarkable time of 6:18:48. Her thorough recap is up and can be found here.

I am thankful for the experience to come to a new place and partake in my first Relay with two amazing ladies. #IM703Augusta was incredible to see. Congratulations to all you inspiring athletes that have the courage to toe the line at the Start and the heart to carry you through the Finish.

#TeamTagYourIt