Crescent City Classic 2015 Expo

You can often judge the success of a race based on their expo and vendors. Usually for a 10k you don’t expect much of an expo, or even one at all. It’s usually pick up your race packet  and t-shirt and then “See ya at the start!” Let me tell you, NOT with the Crescent City Classic 10k expo. They have an expo that rivals most half and full marathon expos I’ve been to! The expo is held on the Thursday and Friday before the race at the Hyatt Regency in downtown New Orleans. It’s a gorgeous and HUMONGOUS hotel. Thankfully they have signs pointing everyone in the right direction of I would have been lost and attending some banker convention.

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I was already working downtown on Thursday, so I decided to just pop over that afternoon and walk through the expo and grab my bib. One of the things I love so much about this expo is that they really promote the local businesses and running community. As we were riding down the escalator to the expo there was a HUGE Community Coffee blow-up coffee cup. Ahhhh…coffee. That might just hold me over for the day. Ha!

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There were good signs directing you right where to go to pick up your race bib. It was so quick and easy. I even picked up two other bibs for friends by proxy. All they needed was my ID and the email print out from my friends so they could look up our names. They found our corrals (sorted by color) and issued me our bibs. (Yes, I was a dork and forgot to take off my work lanyard).

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Once I received by bib I turned the corner to the fun! Varsity Sports and Brooks Run Happy were there with all the fun Brooks games and SWAG. Community Coffee had a huge set-up with free coffee, a mega Keurig machine and coupons and free k-cups. I grabbed…well, let’s just say, a few. Blue Runner was there handing out samples of their red beans and rice and Michelob Ultra was there handing out BEER!! Yes. I said BEER!!!! Only in New Orleans….beer AT the expo.

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They strategically placed the t-shirts so you had to walk through all of the merchandise to get your shirt. Nice job guys. Ya got me for a pair of sunglasses and a couple of t-shirts! I got this super cute onesie and matching tee for me from Nola Girl.

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And I also got to meet Robin and snag one of her uber cute tanks from Fit By You. Isn’t she just adorable!!! So sweet too.

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Towards the end of the expo Winn-Dixie had a whole wall set up of freebies to try and you could even take a fun picture with the Easter Bunny! (Not exactly sure which camera I’m looking into but my friends look lovely).

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Some of the other local vendors there included Dirty South Running and CHRONOS Body, Health, & Wellness Spa (I want a Mother’s Day package there please!). Many of the local half and full marathon race organizers were present as well, often offering a discount for race sign-up at the expo.

I didn’t have time to stay and listen to any of the speakers they had scheduled but there were some great topics for runners. Sad to say, I missed the second line on Friday at the expo. It looked so fun!

All in all it was an excellent expo and just one more reason why I love the Crescent City Classic.

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Chick-fil-a Race Series 10k Race Recap

I first noticed the information for the Chick-fil-A Race Series race in our local Chick-fil-A. Having a picky eating 3 year old, we hit up Chick-fil-A at least once a week. He loves their nuggets and fruit and indoor play area. I thought it would be a fun event for the whole family. I signed us up for the 10k. And then I learned that on top of the normal age group awards there was a Spirit Award for best costume. I am ALLLLL about some fun race costumes. It. Was. On.

I made a bee line to JoAnn’s for a ton of bulk felt in Chick-fil-A colors and set about my plan. Mr. Z and I would be cows, Little Z a chicken nugget, and Baby Z-peat a waffle fry. I was even going to decorate the stroller as a take out bag. Friday afternoon I got to sewing and gluing (felt glue is amazing stuff). I stayed up until 11:00 the night before but I got it all done. We were one Chick-fil-A spirited family. I was determined to get that prize!

Even the jogging stroller got a makeover!

Even the jogging stroller got a makeover!

Our little waffle fry.

Our little waffle fry.

Our crazy weather meant, of course, a cold front moved in the night before. We got up at 6:00 a.m. to start getting dressed and it was 34*! Ack! So we layered upon layered up. We got the whole family dressed, the stroller loaded and we were ready to roll!

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We got to the race and found our way to the start area. They had water and bananas available for everyone at the start. We filled out the spirit cards with our bib numbers at the Spirit tent and made our way to the start line. We met up with our friend Denise and her family there. The 10k racers were going first with the 5k folks starting about 10 minutes after us. We made sure the kids were super bundled up and we were off.

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The course took us on the back roads around several neighborhoods and rural parts in the area. It was actually very pretty. There were wonderful race volunteers at the turns pointing us in the right direction along with well marked signs. They cheered us on at each turn. We got a mile in and were feeling good when Little Z’s iPad app got stuck and he wanted something to drink. I got the iPad fixed, got him his water, and we were able to start running again. We were in this race for the fun of it, so I wasn’t too concerned with pace.

Around mile 4 the course took us by some construction they were doing on a back road. And the crew was actually working on a Saturday. Oh no. Two huge dump trucks were trying to maneuver out of the construction site onto the nearby road. Luckily it was a small race and the trucks didn’t have to go far before they were clear of runners.

We were feeling really good and actually keeping a pretty good pace. We were on pace to knock off several minutes from last weekend’s 10k! We rounded the corner and saw the police lights signaling the turn into the finish line. Little Z loved the police lights! We sprinted it in to the finish and the Chick-fil-A cows were there giving everyone high fives and handing out little cows. It was so cute!

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Little Z LOVED his little cow.

They had warm coffee and chicken biscuits waiting for all the runners. Ohh they tasted so, so good on that cold, cold day.

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They also had bouncy houses set up for the kids across the parking lot. But it was so cold that Little Z really wanted nothing to do with them. They weren’t handing out medals at this race except for the overall and age group awards. They had medals for each of these categories three deep. I’m not fast by any means, so I had no expectation of getting one but I can still ogle the bling!

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They had a cute finishers backdrop set up across the finish line for people to take pictures after the race. We were able to snap a Z Family picture in all of our costumed fabulousness.

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And Little Z was infatuated with the big cows. He was following them around, wanted pictures with them, giving them high fives.

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He even wanted to “shake his booty” with the cows. He got his dance on with the big one. It was hilarious. He had everyone in stitches.

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It was time to start calling the awards. They got to each of our age groups and shocker upon shocker we each won third place in our age group! Whohoo!

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Everyone was starting to leave and they still hadn’t called the Spirit Awards. I walked up to the award tent to ask if they were going to do those today or if it worked differently. She looked at me, grinned and said, “We’re just about to announce them. DO NOT LEAVE!” Ummm…OK.

They announced the third place winner. Then the second place winner. Then the overall Spirit Award winner….ME!! OMG! OMG! I was so excited!! She said it was the cow ears that put me over the top. HA!

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I won a huge stuffed Chick-fil-A cow and a coffee mug filled with free Chick-fil-A vouchers. I’m going to be a Chick-fil-A eating fool!! We had such a fun time at the race. Ok, here’s the break down:

Pros:

  • GREAT food after the race
  • Nice race distances for everyone and every ability: 1 mile, 5k, and 10k
  • Course was fun
  • Bouncy houses were a nice touch for kids – just wish it were warmer
  • Good age group medals, three deep for each race.
  • The Spirit Award contest added an extra element of fun to the race.
  • The race shirts were really nice – red tech t-shirts.

Cons:

  • I wish, wish, wish races would hand out medals for everyone in the 1 mile fun run. You don’t know how much it makes these kids light up to get a medal (no matter how cheap and chintzy) when they cross that finish line.
  • They were handing out Chick-fil-A biscuits, coffee, water and bananas but then wanted to charge $1.50 for a cookie. It was kind of odd to me.

Overall it was a great race and we had a really good time. We would definitely be back to run this one again if it’s offered near us.

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Monday Motivation – Official CCC10k Blogger!

I am so stinking excited you guys! I have been selected as one of the official Crescent City Connection 10k bloggers this year! The CCC10k is a huge race here in New Orleans that always falls on Easter weekend. Thousands of people of all abilities come out for this race to run and walk it and celebrate at the huge after party.

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This year’s race was actually my first time doing it. I usually had family commitments around Easter and couldn’t run it. We ran it as a family: a little one in the oven, another little one in the stroller, and a big one running beside me. We had such a blast! You can read about the 2014 race recap and watch the race video here.

This is such a huge honor to be included with a great group of bloggers and people I call running friends for this event. If you get a chance, go check out their blogs. They are phenomenal, inspiring people to know.

I chose this as my Monday Motivation because I want to be able to RUN this race in the spring. I had to mostly run/walk it last time because of uncomfortable hip and bladder issues due to my pregnancy. I want to be fit and back in full running mode by the time this race rolls around. I’m thinking of shooting for a 10k PR if my training goes well.

I was so motivated I got out the door this morning and ran a decent 2.75 miles. I actually ran, ran this time. I only had to take a couple of short walk breaks, and that was while pushing the single jogging stroller and being VERY sleep deprived (cranky, gassy baby last night). It’s a good start!

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Crescent City Classic 2014 Race Recap

2014 Crescent City Classic 10k Race Recap from Jennifer Zenuch on Vimeo.

I am almost ashamed to say that this is the first year I have ever run the Classic. Easter is a big holiday for us and we almost always either have family in town or we’re out of town. It’s a hard race for us to coordinate and run. But this year we were free of family commitments. We were free to run the race! I was excited. My friend Nicole won two free tickets and she allowed me to use one of them! I registered Mr. Z earlier in the week and we were ready to go.

I hit the expo on Thursday afternoon. I had to run through pretty quickly because I was working downtown but, “Wow!”. What a great expo for a 10k race. Packet pickup was fast and easy to maneuver. I quickly walked through the vendor area to see what they had. There were so many great vendors there. I purchased some really cute running tanks from Dirty South Running and Geaux Run and talked a bit with Craig Watson, the race director for Baton Rouge Beach Marathon (SUCH a great race – one of my faves).

Saturday morning we woke up at 5:00 a.m. (EEP!) and got ready. We drove to meet up with Nicole and picked her up to combine bodies into one car. We decided to park at City Park and catch the shuttle to downtown. I was worried the shuttle bus lines would be slow so we gave ourselves plenty of time. The buses ran very quickly and efficiently though. There was no need to worry. We got to the Superdome about 7:30 and met up with Heather and Larisa, two other social media runners from the Gulf Coast.

Before we knew it, it was time for the race to start. We were pushing Baby Z in the stroller so we were waiting to jump into the last corral at the very back (as we were supposed to do). By the time we got to the start line the race had been going for 30 minutes. I knew this was a big, crowded race and I had no illusions of grandeur of racing it with a jogging stroller. We just set out to run/walk and weave in and out of the walkers as best we could. And we also just set out to have fun.

It was rough going getting the jogging stroller through the mob of walkers in the back. We were running a pretty good pace for the first several miles and we were STILL passing walkers and strollers at mile 3. I don’t think those people went to the back of the corrals. O_o The race support and water stations were great all along the route. There were plenty of bands, music speakers blasting, crazy costumes, dancers, cheering squads and free alcohol to keep you entertained the entire time.

Baby Z became REALLY unhappy around mile 5. I don’t think he was feeling well and at that point he just wanted OUT of the stroller. So we took him out and walked a little over half a mile taking turns holding and playing with him. Suddenly as we approached City Park he said he wanted back into the stroller. THANK YOU LORD!! We managed to bang out that last half mile and finish the race. It was a huge cluster of people at the end. The crowd mostly kept moving well until it was time to enter the festival area. They had corralled that down to about five lanes of single file people. It bottle-necked terribly and it was almost impossible to get the jogging stroller through the barriers they had set up. There was no way that was handicap accessible and I had seen several wheelchairs on the race route. That was a bit disappointing to me.

Once we (FINALLY) got into the festival area we managed to meet back up with Nicole and several more friends that we knew were running the race. We saw Heather and Larisa and even Mindy  one more time. While the food lines were long, I did pawn some yummy red beans and rice off of a friend. The weather was absolutely gorgeous. You could have not asked for a better day. All in all it was a fun race and a fun way to get out and spend a Saturday morning.

Song Title: Spring to Come
Artist: John Butler Trio
Album: Flesh & Blood