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?

Reindeer Run 5k recap

This weekend the entire Z Family went out to Ponchatoula, LA for their annual Reindeer Run for Restoration House 5k and kids fun run. We did this race last year and loved it. Little Z ran the kids run and loved that he got a medal at the end. This year they were passing out the cutest reindeer medals for everyone. Coming back from a week at Disney we were exhausted but we HAD to do it. Little Z had been talking about running to get his medal for weeks.

Of course, our family had to go in costume. In fact, there are specific costume award categories for this race. Almost everyone was dressed up in Christmas gear.

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Little Z wanted to be Santa and wanted us to dress up as either elves or reindeer. Elves were much easier to do so elves we were!

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He was soooo excited to run with Daddy as they lined up at the race start.

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Annnnddd they’re off! Apparently the gun/horn went off by accident and everyone started running in the wrong direction. HA! So they had to run another block in the other direction.

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But Little Z and Mr. Z did GREAT and finished up strong.

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He was so proud of his medal.

After the kids race was done it was time for us to line up for the 5k. We were pushing both boys in the double stroller and it was cold so I wanted to get it done quickly. Last year when we did this race I was just a few months off having Baby Z-peat. I wanted to crush that time this year. We started out pretty quickly and Mr. Z asked me what time I was going for. I just told him, “get this done as quickly as possible”.  But I did have a goal in my head. I REALLY wanted to get a sub-9:00 pace.

Miles 1 & 2 ticked by pretty easily. I had pulled up the holiday channel on Pandora on my phone as we were blasting Christmas music as we ran. At the start of mile 3 I started to get tired. We were both getting tired. But we were almost there and we were on track for sub 9:00/mile pace. We pushed each other and ran it in at a sprint for a 26:37 finish time! Whoohoo!

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Shortly after we finished I check the official finisher results and saw that we had both placed in our age groups! I took 1st and Mr. Z took 2nd! SWEET!

The race starts and ends at a cute park in Ponchatoula. They have a cute backdrop to take race photos and Santa is even there for pictures.

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There was hot cocoa, Chic-fil-a chicken biscuits (YUMMY!), chicken quesadillas, jambalaya, fruit salad and a cookie decorating station.

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There’s even a nice playground for the kids to run around and burn off some energy too.

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We even took home the best group costume! The prize was a HUGE box of chocolates. All in all, it was a great morning. We had a blast and we will be back to run it again next year.

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You can check out my race report on bibrave.com here:

Reindeer Run for Restoration House 5k

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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Lost Reward: If you have seen my mojo please return to…

Yup. I’ve lost it. I just can’t seem to find it. My running mojo is missing. I need help! Where has it gone? Well, I can tell you: 3:00 a.m. feedings, juggling a 3 year old and a newborn, postpartum recovery, starting back my full time job and holiday preparation. My runs are few and far between. I just have not been feeling it. Meh. I have little desire. But funny thing is, I do. lost2

I read people’s race recaps. I see their “great run today!” tweets. And I get jealous. Jealous that I’m not out there. Jealous that I’m not running races. I want this kind of passion and fierceness toward running again. I WANT IT BACK!lost1

I think part of my problem is that the whole idea of starting over is so daunting. My mind remembers running 10 miles as a warm up. I want to be there again. Right. Now. I want to run 9:00/miles with ease. I can hardly run 3 without stopping for a walk break. The logical part of me knows that this is not going to happen overnight. I know that by NOT running, I’m not getting back to where I was any faster. I know this. But it still doesn’t resonate and push me out the door.

I need to set a goal, an easy attainable one that I can balance into my crazy life and schedule. Maybe just focus on 5ks? Or I was also thinking about doing a short trail race. The nice thing about a trail run is I won’t feel pressured on time. I just want to finish. It would also be something new. I’ve never done a trail race before. Maybe trying something new is just what I need to get out of this rut.

What advice do you guys have? How do you get out of a running funk and find your mojo again?

Race Review – Keeping Up With Jones 5k & Fun Run

The weekend before last we trekked out as a family and ran our first 5k race with the new addition Baby Z-peat. We ran the Keeping Up With Jones 5k and Fun Run put on by Jones Physical Therapy. I’ve always wanted to run this race but something has kept me from doing it each year. I’d heard it was a lot of fun with tons of great door prizes. The weather has been gorgeous here lately so I decided to sign us up online to get our butts out the door and get moving.

wpid-20141018_082641.jpgI signed Little Z up for his first one mile fun run. He loves to run around the house and he runs down to the pond and playground by our house to play and feed ducks. I thought this would be a fun introduction to racing for him.

We barely arrived in time on Saturday morning to get Little Z up to the starting line for the one mile run (it’s tough wrangling everyone). Mr. Z was running it with him to assist and carry him if need be. He was a little overwhelmed by the people and excitement and poor Mr. Z ended up carrying him for most of the mile. But he put him down toward the finish and told him to RUN! And he did! It was so stinking adorable watching the two of them run in together.

20141018_081938Immediately following was the 5k. We loaded Little Z into The Beast and got ready to roll. Smoothie King was there so he was super content to chill in the stroller with his strawberry smoothie.

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We walked to the start and got at the back of the pack. I had no illusions of grandeur about running this whole thing. I just wanted to run some/walk some and have fun. The course was through old town and along the lakefront. We could not have asked for a prettier day.

wpid-20141018_082716.jpgI actually  managed to run the entire first mile! I was so proud of myself. We ran/walked the last two since I was getting a little winded and tired. I didn’t want to overdo it. We finished the race and headed to the finish area. There was a ton of great food. Another Broken Egg Cafe catered the race. There were Southern biscuits, bacon, scrambled eggs, Smoothie King smootihes, Starbucks coffee, and Starbucks pastries and bagels. Several of the local half marathon races were out promoting their races with discounts too!

wpid-20141018_092809.jpgWe met up with some of our friends after the race (my friend Claudia and me here). It was so great to see Amanda and Fred (NOLArunner) there too! Always a pleasure physically chatting with some of my social running network friends. Sorry I didn’t get a picture with Amanda though. Speedy Fred won his age division! Congrats Fred!

wpid-20141018_095136.jpgThey were calling out all the age division wins and they got to the “5 and under” division. They called the name of the fastest girl and then they were calling the winner for the fastest boy. It was Little Z!!! He won his age division in his first race! (now he was the only entrant, but that’s besides the point). He was SOOOO excited to get his prize. He kept asking all morning, “I was the winner Mama?” He won a very cool coffee mug with a packet of hot cocoa. He loves his winner mug.

20141018_094726After the age division awards and overall winner awards they started with the door prizes. There were a BUNCH of really cool door prizes! My friend Claudia won a $175 spa package! Mr. Z won a $20 gift certificate to Varsity Sports. There was local artwork, jewelry, gift baskets from local merchants and even a grill (as the grand door prize). It was really fun watching the prizes being handed out.

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All in all it was a GREAT race day. We had a blast and I will definitely be back to run it again next year.

Keeping Up With Jones 5k

Pros:

  • Small, local race – not crowded at all
  • Fun, scenic course along the lakefront
  • GREAT food and coffee after
  • HUGE amount of really good door prizes
  • Really good race t-shirt. It’s super soft and cute. Sorry – no pic.
  • Very family fun oriented

Cons:

  • I can’t think of one!

Monday Motivation – Virtual Run to Beat Cancer

I’m posting a bit late for some Monday motivation but I got caught up in all of the Boston excitement and I had, HAD to go for a run to celebrate it all!!

For this week’s Monday motivation I’m writing about a race and cause very near and dear to my heart – the race to Beat Cancer! I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been touched or impacted by the war with cancer. It is such a devastating disease that we need to conquer once and for all. One of my dear Twitter and Facebook friends Chris Wilno (@Run2SaveLives) has organized this location race to help raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) and We Will Find a Cure. And what’s even better, THERE’S A VIRTUAL OPTION!! For just $30 you get a race bib, a race medal (see pic below) and a chance to run for a cause. Run, walk, crawl, whatever!! No effort is too small. They still need participants to reach their fundraising goal. Please share this race with as many people as you know. Let’s all join in the fight to #BeatCancer!!

Sign up is EASY. Just click on the RunSignUp link here:

Beat Cancer 5k Fun Run & Virtual Run

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Super cool race bling you will get for signing up for the virtual race!!

Chris is a huge…no…GINORMOUS fund raiser for LLS and is such a motivating, inspiring person. You should follow him if you don’t already. If you don’t know Chris’ story, you can learn about it on his website We Will Find a Cure.

I had a chance to ask Chris a few questions on the race and their goals.

How did you come up with the idea for this race?

My story of loss led me to endurance sports.  Had my Dad not passed away, I may never have been introduced to the world of 26.2 and 50 and 140.6.  I always used a race to raise money to fight cancer.  This campaign is different.  No race, which is good timing since I can barely walk right now.  Endurance sports led me to coaching and my belief that running can change your life and change the lives of others.  What better way to bring this life lesson into the campaign than to do this.  Certainly my hope is that a lot of people sign up and we raise money but the reason it is a fun run and all ages are welcome is because I hope the informal setting allows someone that has been sitting on the couch wondering how to participate….the chance to give it a try. That is why I hope people build teams and become an ambassador for the race.  Use it certainly to fight cancer but also to inspire folks to change wherever they may be.

Explain a bit how the virtual race will work, for people who have never done one before.

The virtual aspect of the race is easy.  You simply sign up for our race the same way as if you live in Los Angeles.  We will mail you a bib and a medal.  Your job is to put in the mileage wherever it is that you reside or are traveling on that day.  If 3.1 miles is intimidating, do some mileage but push yourself beyond what you think you can do.  If 3.1 miles is not challenging enough, push yourself to run a half or a full or a 10K.  The point is to be out on the streets making a difference.

What are your goals for this race?

My goals for this race are 500 participants.  We would also like to have representation in as many states as possible. The name of the campaign is We Will Find a Cure and I would be thrilled knowing folks from all over the country/world were participating. It would do justice to our name.  My other hope is that somehow some way this race inspires someone along the way.

You inspire so many people daily with your coaching and encouragement. What inspires you to keep going?

A lot of things inspire me to keep going.  Too many to list here.

1) My story albeit sad provided me with more motivation than one should ever need.  It is one of the blessings from my story.  I promised my Dad before he passed that I would do my very best to fight back against the disease that took him.  I made the same promise to my wife and I promised Isabella I would lead a life that makes her proud.  When I am tired and don’t want to keep fighting…..I remember these promises and I move forward.

2) I hope by moving forward and fighting back and sharing my story that I can inspire others…..inspire them to do the same…..inspire them to stand up and fight when they would rather curl up in a ball……inspire them to push past their limits and what they think is possible.

3) Truthfully I give a lot but I get much more in return.  Over the years, being a part of changing lives…….I would not trade that except for more time with my Dad and Isabella.

4) There are people out there in the world in a dark place.  They find themselves where I once found myself.  They may read something I post. They may just be someone that watches me run all of the time. They need a spark in their life.  In the chance my life crosses with that life…..I want to know I did my part to make a difference.

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