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.

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!

Faint of Heart 4 Miler with Forge Racing

An adventure in the woods doesn’t even begin to describe this trail run at Clark Creek in Woodville,MS this past Saturday morning. I promised my daughter and stepkids a fun,challenging,scenic experience for them to get up early so we could make the 90min drive out and the fellas with Forge did not disappoint.
We arrived early to give us plenty of time to prep but all you needed was a water bottle, trail shoes and a good attitude for what is in store. A quick race meeting for the 70+ runners and a unicorn bell led the runners off (along with the trail of skittles on the ground).

Pre-race meeting

Pre-race meeting

This trail has a elevation gain/loss of nearly 2000 feet so the key was definitely to go at your own pace. There would be mud,creeks and plenty of hills to climb that made you feel like a kid again. Along with that was the sound of waterfalls in the distance which kept you pushing forward to find the next one in the distance.
I hung back with my daughter Alaina since this was a very challenging course for her as my older ones took the lead. The course was well marked and led the way well.
Alaina still trucking along.

Alaina still trucking along.

Very scenic course

Very scenic course

In the distance I could hear other runners as everyone was having a good time. It took us right at 2 hours to enjoy the nature filled route. Afterwards there was several choices of homebrew beer to choose from as well as corndogs, chips and a huge Strawberry birthday cake for Bobby one of the racers. Jeffrey Beck with Forge presented the awards for top 3 and gave out some fun raffle prizes then we headed home in desperate need of showers. Fantastic way to spend a Saturday morning.

When was the last time you did a race that made you feel like a kid again?

For more on Forge Racing see their website.
For more pictures and even a video from the race start of this race check them out on Facebook.

Finally got to do a Forge race. (Check) *This pic was "before" the race started because I clearly was not this clean and fresh afterwards lol!)

Finally got to do a Forge race. (Check)
This pic was “before” the race started because I clearly was not this clean and fresh afterwards lol!)

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!!!
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!
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 🙂

1st Trail Half Claimed! Q50 style

Finally the day arrived Saturday, March 8th. No rain, blue, sunny skies expected with race temps of 65-70 degrees. This was going to be partly a redemption run for me and part a test of strength. See last June I had signed up to do the Q50 Ultra race at the 5 mile distance but the drive there was an absolute fail read here. Plus the past few weeks I have been dealing with an IT band issue and only been able to run one day a week, no more than 3-4 miles before discomfort hits. I had no intention of canning this race. Pure determination was going to have to get me through those 13 miles and up those hills! Luckily I am pretty determined. My daughter agreed to come and volunteer which I was thrilled. I realized afterwards she had never seen me do a long race plus my only trails were back in 2012 and only 5k in distance. Nothing like what I was going to face today. We picked up my friend Betsy who seemed up for the challenge and we drove the 90+ minutes to the race, parked and started prepping. We got there a little after 8am and the race start would be at 9:30am. The 50 mile Ultra race already started at 7am. They would have to do the same loop we were doing 4 times!! I could not fathom. Our race would also be joined by the Marathoners doing the loop twice, again I did not envy them but I was in awe of both groups. My daughter Alaina quickly went to work as a volunteer helping out in the bag area in the meeting room. Francine and Stephen found us before the race meeting (they would be doing the Half as well). Cesar Torres the Q50 race director was a bundle of energy and excitement. He was making sure all the runners knew what to do and was well prepared for the day ahead. You had to carry a whistle for an emergency, no headphones were allowed, follow the pink & orange ribbons on the course to guide you, carry your own water, absolutely no littering and there would be a couple aid stations on the course. He introduced the inspirational Monique Koll and Arturo Barrios who were today’s guests for the race and then shortly after Cesar led off the kids race. He really likes to get EVERYONE involved and enjoy nature at his Q50 races no matter your level. It’s all about having a good time.

Then it was time. I put my phone away and was ready for what was ahead. My farthest trail run ever and one I was completely unprepared for. Cesar again reminded me no worries, just enjoy. I started towards the back and let the more experienced runners lead the way. The course was well marked as promised and was actually drier than expected considering all of the rain we have had lately. I was told to walk most of the inclines but they seemed to be never ending. There was very few flat areas and some had sand, rocks and tree roots so you had to constantly watch your step. As I made my way mile by mile I was taking in the views and thankful for such a nice day as well as such a scenic route. Once again race adrenalin had kicked in and I was going at a decent pace. I wore my knee brace to keep it in place during this challenging run and took a pain pill at Mile 5. Fortunately Francine gave me some salt around Mile 9 since the temps were warming up a bit and I forgot to pack some. Mile 12 gave me quite a surprise and much needed to get my through to the end. Alaina was there cheering and directing runners. She said I was doing great and didn’t have much farther to go. That got me through the next couple of hills to get towards the finish which Cesar was there waiting. He said “Come on smiling princess, Looking Good!!” and gave me a high 5 as I crossed the Finish at 2:33. I received my finisher prize which was a custom frame (pic below). I retrieved my fresh clothes and shoes from my car to change into before heading to the meeting room for the provided snacks, jambalaya and drinks. Once again I accomplished something I didn’t think possible. I was quite relieved.
My friends did equally as well. Some of the Marathoners had come in by the time we were packing it up to leave around 2pm. I wanted to stay and wait for the Ultra’s to come in but that would be a few more hours. Later in the day I caught the updates and pictures on Facebook. For some it was their first Ultra. They picked a good one to do. Even my daughter said on the way home she would like to go back and do a Trail race there. She asked about their upcoming schedule. You can check it out here. We will definitely be back. I really enjoyed the camaraderie of the runners on the trail. Everyone was cordial and looked out for one another. It was different from what I had experienced with road races. It was a welcome change. The people involved with putting this race together are all remarkable and devoted to putting on a great event. I would highly recommend a Q50 race for anyone interested in trails and a good time.

For race results, photos from this Q50 Ultra race check out their website or on Facebook page under Q50 Races. You can also find pictures by Running Circles Photography on their Facebook page here.

Here are a few of pics from the day:

Such an inviting Start & Finish line

Such an inviting Start & Finish line

Had to get a quick pic with Cesar. "Looking Good, Baby!!"

Had to get a quick pic with Cesar before the race. “Looking Good, Baby!!

Two amazing people. Monique Koll and Arturo Barrios.

Two amazing people Monique Koll and Arturo Barrios.

Kids race complete!

Kids race complete!

op 3 prizes for the various races today.

Top 3 prizes for the various races today.

Thanks Mike Giacona for this pic!

Thanks Mike Giacona for this pic!

Just one of the many scenic paths caught by Melissa Beckley of Running Circles Photography. You really had to run it to see it all. There was so much beauty on this course. Cesar picked a great location to hold this Q50 Ultra race

Just one of the many scenic paths caught by Melissa Beckley of Running Circles Photography. You really had to run it to see it all. There was so much beauty on this course. Cesar picked a great location to hold this Q50 Ultra race

FINISHED!!!!!! Thanks for this AWESOME pic Melissa Beckley of Running Circles Photography. You made my day!

FINISHED!!!!!! Thanks for this AWESOME pic Melissa Beckley of Running Circles Photography. You made my day!

I did it!  I am a Trail Runner!!

I did it! I am a Trail Runner!!

The Half and Full received a  custom 5x7 frame with a map of Boque Chitto and Congratulations note at the bottom. The Ultras received hand carved wooden canes

The Half and Full received a custom 5×7 frame with a map of Boque Chitto and Congratulations note at the bottom. The Ultras received hand carved wooden canes

Now to recover 🙂
Do you prefer road or trail races and Why? I now have the Trail bug and can’t wait to do another.

IT Band strikes again

I last battled this in 2012 and since my Full marathon plus a muddy,challenging 4 miler run to prepare for this Saturday Trail Half Marathon its back with a vengeance.
I have been doing some research with the vast amount of posts on the internet and I went to a new sports doctor last week. Since my Trail half is within the two week window I was not a candidate for a steroid shot. He said I would need two weeks with NO running to get the shot and to start physical therapy. I have had PT before and the copays add up tremendously. I hate to say it but this one will have to be a DIY (do it yourself) recovery unless it gets worse. Even if you do PT and massage I have learned if you do not fix your weakness you will always be at risk for a reoccurence of this particular injury. It is not something you have to live with but you have to be smart about it.
Even though I probably should not be doing this weekends Trail Half (I cant even go 4 miles without being in pain) I have personal reasons as to why I can not bail out so I am going to use KT Tape on my IT Band, wear my knee brace and go Saturday at a slow pace. Even if I have to walk it my goal will just be to finish and not take myself out for the entire spring season. My daughter and step kids have even shown a recent interest in doing a small trail run so I need to be able to stay on the roads.

I recently found a great video demonstrating various hip/glute strengthening exercises. This helps greatly because I have found when you read articles on stretching and strengthening certain points get missed such as to ENGAGE your glutes,do not let your hip pivot, keep your heels together when doing the clamshell excersize etc.
Check it out here: The ITB Rehab Routine – Video Demonstration

I also found a helpful video on YouTube: Hip Openers: Yoga For Runners

Several things have me at a disadvantage such as having a desk job that all you do is sit for hours on end. This is not going to do anything to strengthen your core. Try to take daily mid day walks or utilize the stairs during a break in the day. Warm up those muscles! Watch your posture. Another good point is doing squats, lunges and dead lifts for days wont do anything unless you are engaging the correct muscle groups. Form is everything! Just when you think you are doing everything you can do (foam rolling, icing, cross training) yet again I have learned I have lots to learn. It is quite frustrating but once again I have another finish line to cross this weekend run, walk or crawl!

Q50 Start & Finish Line at Bogue Chitto State Park

Q50 Start & Finish Line at Bogue Chitto State Park this Saturday. Ready for an adventure in the woods.

Wish me luck and feel free to add any advice you may have.

Last hurdle before the home stretch #roadto26.2

As I look at my Countdown the days are getting closer.
My chest tightens with anxiety; my concern grows over my eating regimen.
My legs immediately get sore with the thought of my last long run ahead next weekend.
“Breathe” I tell myself.
I look at my running schedule and I see that this is the 9th week of 12th. It will be the last hard week. “You got this,” I tell myself. Your not injured. Training is going well.
I realize I followed the training thus far without fail and I am actually quite proud of myself.
I just have to get through this last week and then I have three easier weeks ahead before the Marathon.
If you look at my event list I even added something new to it recently.
My first ‘Trail’ Half Marathon. I have been wanting to do a Q50 race but hoped it would be a 5 or 10miler. Well this option came up and its 5 weeks after my Full. My endurance will still be good from training. It will actually be the shortest race distance of the options that day. (It coincides with a 50 & 25 mile Ultra.) Part of me was going to play it safe and sign up after I run my Full to make sure I make it through injury free but I went for it anyway. Have you heard of Race Blues? It is the let down after a big race goal is completed. It’s the “What now?” complex. I had it after Disney Princess. The fix is to find another goal to focus on afterwards. So my first Trail Half sounded like a good option. Trails are no joke. You have to run them at a slower pace, music is not allowed, you carry your own water plus your calves and ankles will not be happy with you the next day. You will work them a completely different way but it is challenging and thrilling. I have only done a couple 5k Trail races so this is a bit of a jump for me but I am excited and for me to be excited is a good thing. I will have to dust off my trail shoes and go to Comite to prepare.
Check it out here: http://q50races.com/q50-races-marathon-and-half-marathon-2013/

First thing first. I have to get through this next week. Mother Nature has been quite fussy lately as you may know. Warm one day, cold the next plus very rainy. I have a 5 and 10 miler training run this coming week that I may have to go to the gym and fight over a treadmill to get it done then my long run next weekend. I really need to get it in. I feel good that I did get one 20 in but my friend and Coach Stephen says it would be good for me to get another. So I must trust in the training to get me through to that Finish line which is the ultimate goal. I have come this far. People are dropping like flies with colds and flu also. I am taking my vitamins every day and hoping I have this shield of protection to save me this next month ahead. I must stay Healthy and Strong.

Wish me luck! What big races do you have coming up? How do you stay focused?

Sidenote: My personal blog hit over 6k views this week. Thank you for following along on my journey and for all of the encouragement. These past couples of posts have been very therapeutic to my Marathon training. Something that I hope to be able to look back on if I decide to do it again. I have surprised myself already several times since I started this blog in January 2013 with the challenges I have taken on. Even this post from last April proves I am lot stronger than I gave myself credit for: https://ndeckerrunner.wordpress.com/2013/04/11/to-go-the-distance-or-not/

What have you done lately to prove your strength?