Happy Global Running Day!

Happy Global Running Day everyone!!!

I love, love, love this day each year. So many great posts and pictures of people in the running community doing what they love: RUNNING!! I love seeing all the group photos, individual runs, race re-caps, and wonderful running inspiration from all over the globe.

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I had the fun opportunity to run with the Varsity Sports Ladies Running Group early this morning and then they opened the shop early for us and had a catered breakfast waiting! Coffee, mimosas, bacon, eggs, fruit, bacon, biscuits and BACON. I was a happy, happy gal! (Did I mention there was bacon!??)

There are always some GREAT race discounts for National…err… Global Running Day. I’m not going to list them all but I thought I’d put down some good local race discounts for those of you in the area.

Gulf Coast Half Marathon Series

Save $13.10 with code RUNDAY today only

Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans (along with MANY others)

Save $20 off the race entry if you register today

Jazz Half Marathon

Save $20 off your registration fee with code NRD2016

The Louisiana Marathon

Get a Summer Fun Pack (koozie, croakies, and a logo sticker) along with the processing fee waved with code RUNDAY2016

Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon

Get a Summer Fun Pack (koozie, croakies, and a logo sticker) along with the processing fee waved with code RUNDAY2016

New Orleans Track Club Spillway Classic

Register by June 1st before price increase

 

Ok, that’s all I have for now. I’ll update this list as they roll in but there’s some pretty stellar incentives to sign up for ALL THE RACES!!

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Zensah Well Rounded Shorts Review

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Zensah Well Rounded Shorts to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I really like to run in tights. Capris length is usually my go-to but during the warmer spring and summer months it’s nice to have cooler options other than shorts. Zensah has released a mid-length workout short/tight cross in their Well Rounded Shorts.

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Here are the key features of the shorts from Zensah:

  • Ultra lightweight fabric provides soft, smooth and amazing feel.
  • Wide waistband for flattering fit without digging in
  • Moisture wicking and anti-odor proprietary fabric
  • Seamless Technology = no chafing
  • 4.5″ inseam

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I wore these shorts several times on both short and long runs to really try them out. As much as I wanted to love them, I’m not completely sold on them. There are some things about these shorts that I really like, and some things that I really do not like. I’ll break it down.

Things I really liked:

  • I love the 4.5″ inseam! It’s perfect. Goldilocks approved. Not too short. Not too long. This was really a great length to keep the shorts from riding up and keep my inner thighs chafe free. They were really, really comfortable.
  • They didn’t ride up on me. The legs stayed put during my runs and that was awesome.
  • The wide waistband was super comfortable and flattering. Zero muffin top. Zero.
  • Moisture wicking and anti-odor was on point. I got SUPER sweaty in these and they came out of the wash smelling fresh and clean every time. No lingering odors.
  • The ultra lightweight fabric was as promised – lightweight and cool.

Things I really did not like:

  • The ultra lightweight fabric is pretty darn see-through. I’m usually a small in tights and a medium in running shorts (mainly because I prefer them big and flowy). I’m a size 4 to 6 in dress clothes to put it in perspective. I got the small. They felt great when I put them on, but my behind seemed to stretch them out some (I’m pretty hippy). And when these shorts are stretched they become VERY see-through. Wearing underwear with them was pretty much impossible unless I wanted everyone to see the flowers and stripes I chose to wear that day. Now I’m not opposed to going commando in my running shorts/tights. These were apparently actually made for that. So I tried them out that way. You could totally see my butt crack. ToT-all-Ly. I’m not super modest, so I just wore a longish shirt and ran in them anyway. But I would not be going to any kind of yoga class in these unless I wanted everyone to know ALL my business. Some of the other girls reviewing these didn’t have this problem. Some got a different color and others ordered a size up. I think had I ordered a medium they might have been a little better.
  • There are actually a couple of seams in these along the inseam at the front and back of the shorts. They are made with flatlock seams so they’re very low profile but the placement of the front inseam seam near the crotch was a little uncomfortable for me. I had to really work on positioning them so that the seam didn’t sit on my lady business. I think a medium might have alleviated this some.

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So, final thoughts on these shorts:

  • If you are between sizes, order a size up.
  • They are made to be worn commando, so modest people need not apply
  • They are SUPER comfortable to run in.

Here are reviews by some of the BibRave Pros who loved the shorts.

If you’re interested in trying these out, you can get 15% with the code ZENBIB15!

Streaking through April, Running into May

Another month has come and gone in 2016. I decided to #runstreak for the month of April. It’s something I’d been curious about for a while now and I have seen several other runners do it and make some really good strides. I had finished up my marathon and felt recovered enough to try it. I still can’t believe that I’ve made it through 30 days of running every single day! I’m working on writing a post on lessons learned and my experience starting this #runstreak.

Below are my stats for April (via my Garmin 910XT and Garmin Vivofit2):

April summary

I also ran two 5ks and 1 half marathon!

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New Orleans Track Club Bursting with Speed 5k

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New Orleans Track Club Big Easy, Big Heart 5k

My goals for May:

  • Keep up the #runstreak as long as I can
  • Work on adding some speed work at least once a week
  • Track my calories more consistently
  • We have 3, maybe 4 5k races on the calendar.
  • Keep enjoying running!

Did everyone else have a good April? What are your plans for May?

Fun in the sun with the new XX2i Bermuda1!

Disclaimer: I received a pair of xx2i Optics Bermuda1 sunglasses to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

If you follow any of my social media feeds you know I love my XX2i sunglasses. I wear those things all the time when I run. I have blue eyes and they are very sensitive to the bright sunlight. Because of this I’m a bit of a sunglass junky. I have a pair in each car, in drawers of the house, a back-up pair, a back-up to the back-up pair, etc., etc. I was excited to hear that XX2i is adding lifestyle, casual frames to their already amazing line-up of sport sunglasses.

Introducing the brand new Bermuda1 sunglasses!!

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The Bermuda1 comes in a very classic, everyday casual frame style. My pair came with the matte tortoiseshell finish and I couldn’t be happier. Because, tortoiseshell goes with EVERYTHING! They will also be available in matte black, black and white, and crystal black finishes.

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The Bermuda1 comes standard with polarized lenses that employ 4K optical technology, ensuring frame durability and lens clarity. Once you put them on you can immediately tell they are polarized. The lens clarity is exceptional and very soothing on the eyes. Mirrored lenses are really big right now so I was pleased to see the blue flash lenses that came in these.

Some other great things about any sunglasses you purchase from xx2i Optics:

  • Sunglasses come with a LIFETIME replacement warranty on the lenses and frames!
  • They have a 365 hassle free return policy. That’s right, you have a FULL YEAR to try them out and return them if you don’t like them for any reason.
  • Shipping is always free to the U.S.

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Each pair of  Bermuda1 sunglasses comes with a very nice zipper hard case and a second soft case that can also be used as a soft cloth to clean and polish the lenses.

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The frames are a little larger than I generally pick for myself because I have a very narrow face. But,they quickly grew on me. The larger eyepieces and frames mean more sun protection for my eyes and face. I recently wore them for a beach trip and loved how they performed. They were very comfortable, and didn’t slip off my face or fog up when I started to sweat. I even wore them on a run to test them out and they were very comparable to my normal running glasses! They didn’t budge!

If you’re interested in trying out a pair of the NEW Bermuda1 style or any other XX2i sunglasses you can get them for 50% right now with the Bibrave code XX2iRocks! To find out more about the Bermuda1 casual sunglasses or any of their other sport sunglasses, go to xx2i.com.

Also join us for #bibchat tonight at 8 p.m. CST on twitter for a chance to win a pair of the new Bermuda1 sunglasses!

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Stay Hydrated with the Orange Mud Hydraquiver

Disclaimer: I received a sample Orange Mud HydraQuiver to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I have several runner friends who have an Orange Mud Hydration Pack and they rave about them constantly. I had already been eyeballing them online. So I jumped at the chance to use and review The HydraQuiver when BibRave presented the opportunity!

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I already have a bladder hydration vest that I’m pretty fond of. I love all the pockets it has for all my stuff. So, I was a little skeptical before receiving the HydraQuiver that it wouldn’t be able to hold my stuff. Boy, was I wrong! One of the first things I noticed was all the pockets designed into vest. There’s a large zipper pocket in the back, behind the water bottle storage. It has a key clasp which is a big plus for me. I’m paranoid about losing my keys after losing one at a race.

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There are two expandable, spandex pockets up front that secure with velcro. They expand quite a bit. One pocket will hold my huge phone easily. I put a couple of gels in the other pocket without any issue. I like that my phone is easily accessible on my shoulder. I can get to it quickly with the velcro release if I need it. But, the velcro secured it snugly in the pocket. I never had an issue with it falling out.

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The water bottle is BPA free and holds 25 oz. of liquid. I chose to use a NUUN tab in mine each time since I could easily clean the bottle. I loved having my NUUN on the run! It was also wonderfully simple to pull out the bottle and re-fill it when I found a nearby fountain. No pulling out the bladder and hassling with the cords. It was super, SUPER easy to reach while running and even easier to put back into the holster. Someone asked me if I heard the water sloshing around. Honestly I didn’t! I hear the water in my bladder vest all the time but I don’t remember ever being distracted by any sloshing with the Hydra Quiver.

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I was also concerned that the vest wouldn’t fit my frame or that it would bounce around. Neither of these were an issue. You simply put on the vest, and cinch it up until it’s snug and fits comfortably. I never had a problem with bounce or the vest shifting around on the run. Chafing was also not an issue for me. I’m assuming because it was secured well, and didn’t move around. I used it on several 10, 12, and 13 milers with zero issue.

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One of the other things I really liked about the vest was how lightweight it is! It’s 10 oz with the bottle. Also, the footprint of the vest is much smaller on my back than my bladder vest. That means less back sweat and more body cooling air flow.

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I used it during the Destin Half Marathon. I loved having it with me during the race!

My only complaint about The HydraQuiver is that I have used it so much this last month that it’s now a little stinky from running! Ha! But Orange Mud even has you covered there! They have a handy page on their website discussing the proper way to wash your hydration pack.

This is probably my favorite running item I’ve reviewed so far. Believe all the hype behind the Orange Mud Hydration Packs. They’re designed well, with runners in mind. Since getting my HyrdaQuiver my poor bladder vest has been sitting in the corner collecting dust. Sorry dude.

You don’t need no stinkin’ wires with Aftershokz

Disclaimer: I received a sample of Aftershokz Trekz Titanium wireless headphones review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

If I’m out on a training run by myself, I often carry music with me as a motivator and to offset the boredom if I’m running in a place with no scenery. I usually run with an iPod Shuffle and a pair of in-ear earbuds. The first 15 minutes before the run I am constantly untangling the wires for the headphones, no matter how much care I take to coil them up nicely. Then, I’m tucking the excess wire into my bra because I cannot stand wires flopping around as I run. Such is the life of a wired runner.

So, when I got the chance to try out a pair of Aftershokz bluetooth wireless headphones I jumped on it. I’ve been curious about trying out a pair, but was hesitant to switch to wireless for fear of losing sound quality.

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The interesting thing about the Trekz Titanium headphones is that they are completely open. They do not go IN your ears, but rather slightly above your ears. They use bone conduction technology which delivers the music through your cheekbones. This allows your ear to be open to ambient sounds around you, providing a much safer listening experience. wkyjmimjuk7pgwhzric3.jpg

The first time putting them on, it took a little adjustment until I got them where they needed to be and where they sat comfortably  above my ear. They immediately connected with my phone’s bluetooth (I have a Samsung Galaxy S5). And I started playing music from  one of my Pandora stations. I was shocked. The music quality was GREAT!! AND I could hear everything going on around me! As I ran around our old downtown area, I could easily hear people talking on their front porches. I heard cars approaching, dogs barking, birds chirping, without losing music sound quality from the headphones. It was amazing!

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They are extremely lightweight and flexible. There is a micro usb charging port right next to the volume buttons behind the earpiece. It didn’t take long to charge them fully and they’ve held a charge for weeks! Aftershokz says they’ll stay charged for up to 6 hours of continuous music play.

One of the other features I really liked was the connect and fast forward button. This button sits on the outside of your left earpiece. You hold it to connect and Audrey Says™ “Connected” in her lovely voice. If you’re not feeling a song while running, just hit that same button twice and it will fast forward you to the next song. This worked great with my playlists and Pandora. I couldn’t ever get it to work with Spotify.

Now they are IP55 certified to repel sweat and moisture but I, again, was reluctant to believe that. I sweat like crazy in our humidity and I’ve waterlogged a few headphones and electronic devices. These things performed great! Several sweaty, sweaty, SWEATY runs plus a rainshower run and they are no worse for the wear.

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I only had two issues with these headphones.

  1. The wraparound headband in the back sticks out quite a bit on my head. I have very thick hair and when I would wear it in a braid, the braid would knock the headband around and knock them off my ears. Aftershokz immediately replied (SUPER responsive people!) to my comment on this stating that they will be coming out with a smaller version for ladies like myself with smaller heads and big ole ponytails. The headband on the smaller one will be shorter.
  2. With these fitting over the ear, I would quickly run out of ear real-estate once I got my sunglasses and hat on (a necessity in our sun and heat). While I didn’t mind all this gear on my ears for a shorter run, it would start to get uncomfortable for the much longer runs and I would have to adjust everything periodically.

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All in all I was really impressed by these headphones. As a safety professional I applaud the open design. I feel so much better going on open roads with these things than I do with my earbuds (I usually have one in and one out – but lose a lot of sound quality that way!)  They’re lightweight, easy to use, great sound quality, and sweat/water resistant. You can definitely see where Aftershokz designed these with athletes in mind.

Join us for #Bibchat tonight on Twitter at 8:00 p.m. CST to discuss running aware and you could win a free pair of these Trekz Titanium wireless headphones!!

Say “Buh-bye” to runner chafe with Sport Shield!

Disclaimer: I received a sample of 2Toms Sport Shield to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

If you’ve ever run for any extended period of time and you have skin, it’s likely you’ve experienced the dreaded chafe. You know, that burning, red, screaming, patch of skin that you usually don’t even find until after the run or worse, when you jump into the shower and scream your head off after the hot water finds it for you. Chafing is caused by repeated friction on your skin with pressure points, most usually clothing or other skin. I am especially prone to chafing around my sport bra area. I have scars from my sport bra rubbing me raw, especially underneath my arms.

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My chafing “ouch” after a recent half marathon

So, I was excited when 2Toms sent me a sample of their Sport Shield Skin Guard and Chafing Prevention to try out.

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The first thing I noticed about the Sport Shield when I applied it was that it was NOT GREASY. I’ve tried a few other skin protectants and they usually go on really thick and have a greasy consistency. Not the Sport Shield. It was very light and it has no odor. I really like that it has a roller ball applicator too. Makes for really easy application and you don’t have to get your hands covered in the stuff to apply it.

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I’ve been using it for about 2 months now and let me tell you, this stuff works! I put it on my usual chafe points before a run and I’m good to go. I live in a very humid, wet Southern climate and the humidity and my buckets of sweat don’t even budge the Sport Shield. It is totally sweat proof and waterproof. I used it all during my marathon training and on race day and had zero chafing in my usual friction points.

2Toms also sent me a few samples of their single use packets. I love these for my purse or gym bag. I keep one in my purse for work, especially if I know I’m going to be walking around a lot in dress shoes. I just rub it all along my heel and Voila, no blisters! It works like a charm. And because it’s non-staining and non-greasy it doesn’t leave any kind of residue on my shoes or clothes.

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And 2Toms backs Sport Shield with a 100% guarantee! 2Toms also makes a whole like of Blister Shield and Butt Shield products for blister, chafing and rash prevention as well as a Stink Free Shoe and Gear Spray to help eliminate runner funk odor from your gear.

And you can receive 20% off your 2Toms order through the end of April with the code “2Toms20”!

I am now a 2Toms convert. This stuff is great! With Sport Shield you can totally say “Buh-bye!” to shower burn!

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2XU Compression Calf Sleeves and Socks Review

Disclaimer: I received a sample box of 2XU Performance Run Calf Sleeves and a pair of Racing VECTR socks to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

I love compression gear. Like LOVE, love it. I have several pair of compression calf sleeves and full long socks that I wear both during runs and after for recovery. I was so impressed with my 2XU Hyoptik Tights that I jumped at the chance to try and out review a pair of their calf sleeves and socks for BibRave.

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Out of the box, the first thing I noticed about both the sleeves and the socks was how lightweight they were. I have some compression sleeves and socks that are pretty thick material. But don’t let the lightweight material fool you. These things have a very good compressive feel. For most of my trials I wore both the sleeves and the socks together, overlapping the socks over the sleeves a bit to give me almost a seamless squeeze from my toes to my knees.

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The Training VECTR Socks feature the 2XU proprietary X:LOCK Support System designed to optimize footstrike and push off while preventing abrasion. I could definitely feel the added support around my arches. I also really liked the dry mesh panels in the socks. In our warmer climate my socks can get soaking wet with sweat after a good, hard run. The thinner material and dry mesh panels will help them dry out quicker. That plus the celliant yarns – a technical textile that thermoregulates body temperature make these a great sock for my warmer spring runs.

I was equally impressed with the Performance Run Calf Sleeves. I really liked the graduated compression around my calves and the integrated zoned breathability panels: again a huge plus for me in our warm, humid weather.

I wore the calf sleeves for my recent marathon where it got really warm and really humid quickly. I had zero issues with the sleeves during the race and was thankful that I wore them the next day when I was able to walk without too much pain or shuffling.

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2XU has a good video describing all of the technical details behind the Performance Run Calf Sleeves.

All in all I can see me using the socks and sleeves both together and separately repeatedly in the future. They provided very good compression, were lightweight enough for me to use them year-round, and did not rub or cause any blisters. Plus the sleeves come in a huge variety of colors. The brighter the better for me.:)

You can save 15% off your 2XU purchase right now with the code “TRAIN15” too!

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So you bonked your marathon…now what?

If you read my recent Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans marathon race recap you know that the race was a real struggle for me. I really wanted a time goal of 4:30 or 4:45 but I knew a little over halfway into the race that just finishing was my new goal. I had completely bonked. I still got in (barely) under 5 hours but it wasn’t the performance or race I had wanted. So, of course, for the past few days I’ve been beating myself up and beating myself up over it. Here’s what I think went wrong:

  1. It got hot quick. I don’t perform well in the heat to begin with and I’ve done ZERO heat training. I wasn’t ready mentally or physically for running in 70+ degree weather.
  2. I went out too fast on the first half. While I kept my pace 1 minute slower than my usual half time, I should have factored in the heat and slowed it down a little more.
  3. I was undertrained. I had run two 20 milers, but I think I was still undertrained for this race. I don’t think I had the weekly mileage I needed. Work, sickness, kids, life had sidelined several runs and I was barely finishing out 100 miles for February.
  4. I’m still working out fueling and hydration on those longer distances. I thought I was drinking enough water on the course but judging how I was feeling and the color of my pee after the race (sorry if that’s TMI) I was NOT. While I had trained with my hydration vest, it was in much, much cooler temps and I didn’t need to drink as much. During the race I was running through water stops and just sipping from my vest when I should have been DRINKING much, much more water. I got dehydrated.
  5. The marathon is just Not. My. Race. To be honest I don’t love it. I’ve done 5 now and I’ve struggled with each and every one. I love running, but it becomes a chore to me with those upper distances. I lose focus and lose motivation. All of the training is time consuming and tough on my family and my body.

And now I sound like a whiny little baby. I totally applaud those people who can run marathon after marathon and love it. They are amazing. I just can’t. I have yet to love one. I LOVE half marathons. I love training for them. I love running them. But I just cannot get on board with 26.2 miles. I’ve tried…five times! So, I think I’m giving them up for a while. I need to get back to what I love, just running the shorter distances for fun. Will I run a full again? Sure. If it’s the right one. If I get into NYC I’ll run it. I’d run Disney and maybe the Houston or Oklahoma City fulls. If it’s the right race and right time I’d totally do it, but now’s not the right time. I want to enjoy my two littles while they are still little. Training for the full was taking that away from me.

In the midst of wallowing in self-loathing on Sunday night and Monday morning, my husband and several running friends gave me a good wake up call and runner smack to the head though. “Look at all you’ve accomplished this year!”

  • I essentially started over running early in 2015 after having Baby Z-peat. I forget this. A lot. I didn’t even start running again until late January 2015 and I slowly eased into it.
  • I went from a 2:24 half in March 2015 to a 1:58 in January 2016. That’s a 26 minute reduction in less than 10 months.
  • I set a half marathon and 10k PR in late 2015.
  • I ran 5 half marathons in 2015.
  • I’m running consistent 100+ miles a month.
  • I’m running injury free.
  • I ran 26.2 miles in under 5 hours.
  • I’ve met some amazing and wonderful people who have become dear friends through running.

So I’m going to stop beating myself up. I had a bad race, but that doesn’t mean I’m any less of a runner. I’ve had a GREAT come back running year and that’s what I’m going to focus on. I’m going to rejoice in these victories.

But right now I’m going to go play Leggos with my son.

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Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans marathon recap

Well I did it. I crazily signed up for, trained, and ran my 5th marathon on Sunday. I ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans full marathon and finished all 26.2 miles of that beast. This was kind of a bucket list race for me. I had signed up for the full two times before and had to defer to the half both times. The first time I had the flu the week before. The second time I was pregnant with Baby Z-peat. So, third time was the charm. I was GOING to cross that finish line if it killed me (and it almost did!! or felt like it).

I had trained with two wonderful frunners Sarah and Denise for this marathon. It was going to be their first and since coming back to running after having Baby Z-peat it felt like I was totally starting over and re-training for my first. They helped me so much with motivating me to keep going on those long runs. My amazing ultra-running friend Kerrie kicked my butt and kept me going when I was whining daily to her that I just wanted to quit. My husband was a huge support, helping juggle the kids while I trained. I could not have done any of this without these people.

The Saturday before the race we left around mid-day to head down the expo and pick up our race packets. I usually hit up the expo on Fridays so it’s not very crowded when I get there. Ummm..Saturday at 2:00 is a CRAZY time to go. Let me just tell you. It was pretty crowded. Booths felt a little smooshed together and it was hard to walk around and just look. We picked up our race packets, ran into several people we knew, and looked at some of the race merchandise.

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I didn’t really find anything I had to have at the expo (shocker, I know!) but it’s always fun to browse and window shop for new products.

I loved that I was able to visit with my dear friend Heather. She’d just come back from Disney Princess weekend and was going to run the half on Sunday on a cranky IT band. I don’t know how she does it!

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We ate dinner at a little pizza place down the street early and then decided to call it a night at the hotel…after raiding the lounge at the Marriot for cookies and deserts.:)

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Race morning we woke up around 5:30 to get dressed and eat a little breakfast before our walk over to the race start a few blocks away. I checked the weather again for the 1,000th time and it hadn’t changed. It was going to be a warm one. Ugh. I don’t run well at all in the warm weather. In fact, I’m terrible in it. I was worried.

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But I put on my big girl panties, my shoe bling, my great Move Ya Brass shirt, and my 2XU compression socks and tights. We were suited up and ready to run!

It took us about 22 minutes to get to the start line in our corral but we finally snailed our way there and it was time to go. My race strategy was to initially run a slow and steady 10:00/mile pace for the first half and then slow down as needed to 11:00/mile on the second half.

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The race route sent us down St. Charles for the initial few miles. I’m very familiar with this route as we run it for many New Orleans races. The roads are bad. I knew this. But, now the roads were bad plus add 10,000 additional people plus add heat and humidity plus add construction. Yes. Construction. It was a crazy, crowded, hot, humid, and then they had to shut the roads down to single lane in one section. Every time I found I good pace I would get bottle-necked and have to slow down. It was a mess.

My 10:00/mile pace actually felt really good and easy. I wasn’t struggling with it and I was doing really well dodging pot holes and trolley car lines and walkers. Before I knew it we were turning back into the CBD. We ran through the Quarter and up Esplanade to head towards City Park. I was still feeling good and was finding a better groove now that we were on the wider parts of Esplanade. I saw that mile 12 split – full marathoners to the left and half marathoners to the right. Whaaa. I wanted to go to the right but I put my head down and veered left.

Then the sun came out in full force. At mile 14 I started to get tired and decided to slow down. At mile 15 I started to get hot. At mile 16 I started to get nauseated. At mile 17 I started to get miserable. Luckily I saw Sarah and Denise’s entire family waiting at mile 15. They were cheering us on and giving high fives, shouting, “You can do it!” as I passed. It was so great to see them!

I texted my husband at mile 15 letting him know I was struggling and that I was really slowing down. I knew he was waiting for me with the boys at mile 18. That’s honestly one of the few things that kept me going. I stopped and walked a bit and ate some Honey Stinger chews and pretzels. I tried to consciously drink water from my hydration vest to make sure I was hydrating with the heat.

The race volunteers were handing out salt with the water and Gatorade and I took one, feeling the salt crusted up on my face from all the sweat. That and the solid food on my stomach helped a little bit with the nausea.

I turned the corner up to Lakeshore drive and started looking for my husband and boys. I see them a little down the road and I cannot wait to see their smiling faces. Then I see another person with them. Wait a second! That looks like my mom. That IS my mom!! She had snuck in the night before to surprise me on the course. It was so wonderful to have her out there cheering me on too!

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The bottom right picture is me realizing that she was there with everyone!! My husband had special t-shirts printed up that said “My mommy rocks 26.2” and “My wife rocks 26.2”. HOW AMAZING IS THAT!!???!

I gave them all big, sweaty, runner hugs and kisses and told them I’d see them at the finish line. Whimpering, I slowly trudged my way back out onto the course to finish up those last 7 miles.

The back half of this course is pretty desolate and there are a few bridges to go over. Not much shade and not much race support out there so having my family at mile 18 was a huge uplift.

By mile 20 I had resigned myself to run/walking it in the rest of the way. Time be damned, I just wanted to be DONE. I was hurting, I was tired, I was hot, and I wanted to throw up. Ugh. But I pushed and kept going one step at a time. Right around then is when Sarah caught up with me. THANK GOD she did! She and I ran in those last 5 miles together pushing each other up those bridges and  around the corners. I’m not sure I would have made it without her.

It’s all pretty much a blur until mile 26 when I knew we were ALMOST DONE! We entered the chute for the final stretch and we were powering it in to finish. Sarah got my attention and pointed to my family cheering off to the left. My husband dropped my son over the fence and he grabbed my hand and ran in the last part of the race with me. He was beaming from ear to ear and we ran down the finish and everyone was cheering. He loved it, and honestly, I did too. It was a special  moment.

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We crossed the finish line and got my medal. One of the best things they were doing immediately after you crossed was they were handing out icy cold, wet, towels. It felt amazing to wash the salt and sweat off of my neck and face and arms. I chugged a cold chocolate milk and more water and found the rest of my family. We cheered Denise in not long after our finish and all hugged her neck after she crossed the finish line. We did it! We did it! We finished 26.2 mile in some pretty rough conditions! These girls powered through a tough, tough course for their first and they made it look easy. I was so, very proud of them!

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Not long after our finish we made a bee-line for our finishers jacket. I wanted that damn jacket! I’d earned that baby!

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Now I think I may never take it off again.

You can also see my race write up on Bibrave.com here: Rock N Roll New Orleans Race Recap