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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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?

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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#100milesinMarch update

Well, we’ve reached the halfway point of March (a little over, but I was on travel the beginning of this week). I figured I’d better check in on my progress with the #100milesinMarch challenge.

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I am happy to report that I have logged 73 miles so far this month. SEVENTY-THREE MILES!! I’m averaging about 30 miles a week. That’s a huge step up for me. I’ve got some of the  normal aches and pains, mostly in the form of achy knees but I’m feeling pretty great for the most part. I’m taking care of my knees by foam rolling, stretching, and anti-inflammatory meds when needed. My endurance has greatly improved. I feel like a 6 miler is a warm up. Ha! And I’ve actually lost a couple of pounds as an added bonus. But, I’m also hungry ALL OF THE TIME. It’s difficult to not grab a huge hamburger and fries and shove it into my mouth every day (well, OK, I did that ONE day). I’m getting excited for my race on Saturday! I think this challenge has kept me focused and helped prepare me for my first post-baby half marathon.

Weekend Recap – Half training, DST & spring-like weather!

Hello Spring Weather!! It was such a gorgeous weekend. The sun was shining. The birds were singing. And I was running! I had to take advantage and get out there and enjoy the beautiful sunlight. We’re supposed to have rain ALL WEEK LONG. Ugh.

I am super proud of myself though. I got out and ran this week. I RAN! I logged 30 miles! That’s the longest run week I’ve had in a long, long, long time (like over a year I think). I’m sore and a little achy, but not too bad actually. I’m pleasantly surprised. I definitely need to stretch and have a date with the foam roller this afternoon. That’s 30 miles toward the #100milesinMarch so far!

I took Baby Z-peat out for a slow and easy 4 on Saturday afternoon to shake the legs out in preparation for my long run on Sunday.

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We took our time waking up on Sunday and were hurting a bit due to cranky baby (up every couple of hours) and Daylight Savings Time. I have a love/hate relationship with Daylight Savings Time. I love that I have an extra hour of daylight at the end of the day to play with the boys and run, but I hate the loss of an hour and the impact it has on our bodies. It always take us about a week to adjust to the new schedule. I wish we would honestly just pick one time and stick with it.

I was a nervous wreck going into the 10 on Sunday. I don’t know why. Well, I do. I put a lot of pressure on myself. I’m running the Blue Angels Rock N Fly Half in two weeks. I don’t want to embarrass myself and completely bonk it. I know I won’t. I know I’ll finish it just fine. But there’s still that little voice in my head that nags at me. I really have to work on that self deprecation.

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We started it out slow and easy. My goal was a negative split on this run. I wanted to take the first half very slow and easy and then pick up the pace on the second half. I knew I’d be running on tired legs and that’s just what I wanted. It actually went really well. It took a couple of miles for my legs to loosen up and feel warmed up but then I just kept plugging away. I was feeling really good at mile 6 and knew I could finish with ease. In fact, I easily had 3 more miles left in me. I needed this run to build my confidence for the race. I’m super excited about the race now. It won’t be my best, but it’s a great start to getting back into racing again.

wpid-img_20150308_141744.pngI’m hoping the rain will hold off enough today to allow me to get a 3 mile walk in with the boys. I don’t plan to run today. My legs need a rest. Then back to training on Tuesday. I’m going to try and get a 12 miler in sometime this week. Whew. No rest for the weary or anyone training for a race. 🙂

Make it a great week everyone!

Gonna Run #LikeAGirl because #ThisGirlCan!!

There’s a new sheriff in town and she’s called GIRL POWER!!

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably seen the Always “#LikeAGirl ad from the Superbowl this Sunday. It’s taken off like gangbusters all over the internet. I. Love. It. It’s message is to take back the negativity once associated with doing anything “like a girl” and redefine it in the truth that it is. Doing ANYTHING like a girl is an AMAZING thing. It’s a STRONG thing. IT’S A GIRL THING!

The BBC recently put out a video with a similar message. Their “This Girl Can” campaign video was designed to encourage all women of ALL shapes and sizes to get out and get moving. I absolutely love this campaign too. It shows amazing, powerful, REAL women working out and sweating like warriors. The message here is to quit worrying about what you look like and go do what you love. Run, walk, swim, dance. If I jiggle while I do it? So f’ing what! My jiggling skin, fat, and muscles mean I am moving. I am strong. I am fast. I am fit.

I too have fallen victim to both of these issues. I’ve forgone wearing a particular pair of running shorts because my thighs jiggled too much in them. I’ve shied away from swimming at the pool because I was too self conscious about my body in my swim suit. I’ve made excuses for not joining in on the softball team because I think I throw “like a girl”.

We have GOT TO STOP! Stop the negativity. Stop the self-sabotage. We need to be proud of our accomplishments!!

Years ago (2005 I believe) Nike ran an ad series praising the various parts of a woman’s body that we tend to pick apart: thunder thighs, big hips, broad shoulders, knobby knees, big booties. This ad has stuck with me all those years. It resonated with me. It has reminded me time and time again that it’s OK not to fit into popular media’s ideal of what an athletic woman should look like. We are magnificent just the way we are. Jiggly, muscular, fat, skinny, tall, short, gangly, bubble, broad, wide, slow, fast…it just does not matter. What matters is one word. Strong. We are so, very, strong.

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I have big hips. They helped me give birth to two beautiful children. I have thunder thighs. They got me across the finish line for four marathons and 20+ half marathons. I have broad shoulders. They allow me to push a double stroller while I’m running and then pick up both kids for hugs and kisses.

I love my body. I love my strong body. This girl will continue to love her body and all it has allowed her to do. This girl will continue to run like a girl, throw like a girl, dance like a girl, laugh like a girl and live like a girl. Because THIS GIRL CAN!

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New Orleans Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon 2014 Recap

This weekend I had a lot of running friends run the 2015 New Orleans Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and Half Marathon. I loved seeing all of their expo, “flat runner”, tweetup and finish line brag pics! I didn’t sign up to run it this year because I didn’t feel like I would be ready to run it in time and didn’t want to put that kind of pressure on myself after the arrival of Baby Z-peat. I really just wanted to soak up my time with his sweet little face. But, I ran it last year. I never did a race recap on it. I thought it’d be fun to post a race recap one year later. Let’s see how much I remember!

This race was just doomed for me from the start. Everything that could go wrong did. I had every intention of running the full marathon that year. I trained hard all fall and PR’d a couple of my half marathons leading up to the race. I was feeling strong late December with two 20 milers already under my belt. Things were looking good. And then Christmas happened and then I got the flu. Ugh. I was sick for over two weeks. When I finally started to feel better my body was so incredibly weak.

Two weeks before, my friend Nicole was running the full too. It was going to be her first. She wanted to come over to my ‘hood to run with me for her last long run for a change of scenery. It was going to be a test run for me to see how my body would do. If I could manage the whole 20, no matter how slow, I would run the full. If not, I would downgrade to the half.

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We started our run and 6 miles in I just was not feeling it. I knew then that this run would be a real struggle for me. I stuck it out for 12 miles and then had to call it quits. I felt so bad for having to leave her to finish out those last 10 miles but I just couldn’t go any longer. (She rocked those last 10 miles anyway!) My body was spent.

My dear friends Sarah and Ryan were coming in for the race and I was so excited to see them! Mr. Z, Little Z and I met up with them the Saturday of the expo and had lunch before heading over to the expo to pick up our packets and peruse the running goodies. Funny enough, this is where I bought my first FlipBelt and fell in love with it. I was nervous though. I was supposed to run the full with Sarah and I was still feeling pretty crummy.

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To add insult to injury, Mr. Z was supposed to run the half. That same week he started having severe nose bleeds…to the point he had to go to the ENT to have a blood vessel cauterized. The Dr. told him under no uncertain term was he to run for 4 weeks or he could risk hospital stay. So, he was out. I convinced my friend Kerrie to come run on his bib with me. She’d been having some calf and shin pain but I twisted her arm and she relented. Yay!

Sunday morning I got up, still feeling crappy and exhausted. I had NO energy. My body felt beat down and tired. I had decided that I was just going to shuffle through the half and get it done. I’d paid my entry. I was going to get a medal one way or the other dammit!

I walked out the door to my car and was greeted by crazy, thick-as-pea-soup fog. FOG! UGH! Seriously? Kerrie and I were following each other across the bridge. When I got to the toll booth, I saw that they were caravaning people across at 35 mph due to the thick fog. 24 miles at 35 mph. Seriously????? Ugh! Luckily we had given ourselves plenty of time to get across, get parked, catch the shuttle, and meet up with Sarah. We were doing good on time.

We finally got across the bridge and the fog had lifted a bit. We got parked and were gearing up to go catch the shuttle to downtown. I couldn’t find my headphones. I tore the car apart. No headphones. Damn. Not a huge issue since I run without headphones most of the time but I like to put them in if I start really struggling or hurting for an extra bit of motivation. Kerrie and I always talk our heads off while running so It was OK. We started to walk to the shuttle buses and I had a nagging feeling in my head that I was missing something. I felt for my car key and it was gone. GONE!! I started to freak out. Kerrie, (thank God for her level head) ran back to car and looked for the key using her iPhone light (it was still dark out). We were hoping I had just dropped it at the car. I began to backtrack behind her looking as well. No key. Anywhere. I thought maybe I had just locked it in the car while rummaging for my headphones. At this point I was feeling crappy, exhausted and freaked out over losing my car key. We decided to say “F it” and just run the damn race since we were so close.

After all that, we were cutting it close for the race start. We caught one of the last shuttles to the start line and managed to still make it to our corral. Unfortunately I completely missed seeing Sarah at the start. We slowly meandered our way to the start line and I was still a stress ball and nervous wreck over losing my car key. We got to the start and began running. We were off! About a mile in I ran into Nicole and Karen! I snuck up behind her and goosed her. HA! She was looking strong and ready to tackle all 26.2 miles!

Our motto was to just keep moving/shuffling/walking until we crossed that finish line. The miles ticked by. I’m so grateful for Kerrie’s conversation and taking my mind off things. Before I knew it we were halfway done and in the French Quarter. It was CRAZY foggy in the Quarter as we got close to the river. It was very eerie and actually quite beautiful running through it.

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By mile 8 we were hurting. I still felt crappy. It was taking every bit of willpower to run and keep moving. I had zero energy. What was wrong with me? I was running 16 and 18 milers just a few weeks before with no issue! But we kept it fun and silly and just kept moving, moving, moving.

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The last few miles were a blur. I just remember entering City Park and wanting to be done so badly. Just keep moving. Just keep moving. I finally saw the finish line and it was such a wonderful site. We were almost there. Kerrie took off in a sprint. She wanted to be done. I didn’t have any gas left. I just kept moving slowly to the finish line. We. Were. Done.

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We got our finisher medals and walked back to the car hoping maybe we might see the key along the way or dropped right at the car. Nope. Nothing. Nada. Fuuuuddddggggeeeeee. I call Mr. Z and told him I had lost the key. He was so wonderful and drove across to bring me the spare key. We walked over to CC’s and had some warm coffee (I ALWAYS pack a credit card or a $20 in my belt for those “just in case” times thank God!). We waited there until he arrived with the key. Hallelujah! I drove home, got a hot shower and crawled into bed for a long nap.

All morning I was telling Kerrie that something was off. This was not me! I’m not this scatter brained! I just was not feeling well. No energy. Exhausted. Well, a week later I found out why!! I was pregnant with Baby Z-peat! No WONDER!

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I can honestly say this was one of the craziest, messed up races I have ever done. I have no idea how I made it through it but I did. Amazing what a little willpower and good friends can do!

Today’s Throwback Thursday

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On the left there’s a photo of the medal from my first race ever….EVER. Compared with the 2013 medal, you can see that race medals have come a loooonnnggg way. I got talked into doing the 2006 Chicago Half Marathon by some blogging, running friends. We all helped each other train online and then met up for the first time ever in Chicago. It was an amazing, wonderful experience and it lead me down the running addiction path that I’m on today. I have to laugh that I chose a HALF MARATHON as my first race. I’d never even run a little, local 5k. Dang, that was either just idiocy or ballsy.

And how cool, but my friend Nicole reminded me that 2016 will be the 20th anniversary of the Chicago Half Marathon and my 10th year Runniversary!! I’m smelling a RACE-cation Nicole. 🙂 How COOL is that???

What was your first race, distance, and when?

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Zydeco Marathon Race Review

Several months ago, fellow frunner (runner and friend) Fred posted an article on his blog (http://www.nolarunner.com/) showing the medal previews for several upcoming local races. This photo popped up on his page and I knew right then and there that I HAD TO HAVE THAT Z!! 1653594_10152229422199592_1261642856_n   Anyone who knows me or follows me on Twitter knows that I am about all things Z! My son is Baby Z. My husband is Mr. Z. I am Jennifer Z. So when I saw the medal for the Zydeco Marathon in Lafayette I knew, KNEW I had to have it. I had planned to train for this half a little better than I did. But after the fiasco that was the New Orleans Rock n Roll race in February (I may do a race recap on that one if I can get up out of the fetal position in the corner whenever I think about it), plus persistent hip issues, my race training fell to pretty much sitting on my butt on the couch catching up on the last season of “Homeland”.  As race weekend approached I knew this was just going to be a “go out there and have fun with it” race. I wasn’t going to worry at all about time since this was, for the most part, running 13.1 miles off the couch. The week before the race, I really had no intention of wearing a tutu. I’m a fan of the running tutu, but it just hadn’t even crossed my mind to wear one for this race. That is until THIS, now infamous, article came out about Self magazine and Glam Runner Monika Allen. If you haven’t heard about or read the article, it essentially called women who run in tutus “lame”. Huge PR nightmare later, Self apologizes (kinda) and donates to Monika’s charity…yadda, yadda, yadda. If anything positive could come out of that debacle at least Monika’s charity got a nice donation and awareness from all the publicity. Plus, I think it really united runners in showing their tutu love. So, to show my solidarity I decided to whip together a tutu the night before the race…to include bunny ears and a tail.

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The Z Family in front of the big Z at the race expo.

We got into Lafayette on Saturday and we hit the Expo, picked up our race bibs, and then headed out for some delicious po’ boys at Old Tyme Grocery. They seriously have the best shrimp po’ boy around in my humble opinion. The Expo was actually pretty decent for an inaugural, local race. Packet pickup was very smooth and quick. There were several local vendors there as well that I hadn’t seen at other race expos. I even picked up a box of Zydeco Energy Bars – sweetened naturally with sweet potato! I will be doing a product review on those later.

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What’s left of the yummy po’ boy from Old Tyme Grocery. Gotta carb fuel!

Race morning the alarm clock went off at 5:30. Sitting up in bed I thought, “Why in the crap do I do this to myself, on the weekend,…for fun!!???”. We rolled out of bed, got dressed and jumped into the car to head to the Cajundome. Parking was abundant and easy to find. The weather was perfect (upper 40s race start – 60s race finish). We made our way to the race start and waited the 15-20 minutes until 7:00 for the start gun. I started to run to the porta-potty in that time, just in case, but the lines were so massively long that I said forget it. Almost race time. We made our way to the back of the pack (stroller pushing) and counted down the minutes to run. I must say, the lady who sang the national anthem before the race did an AMAZING job. She was simply phenomenal.

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Ready to roll!!

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Baby Z all bundled up with his iPad and Superman sweater on.

7:00 and we are off!!

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Running selfie!

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Downtown Lafayette. So cute!

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Mile markers and race course marked with Z’s!!!!!!

The course took you through some really great parts of Lafayette, both residential and retail. It was pretty narrow in spots and  in one area we had to run single file. It was a bit hard to maneuver with a stroller but the narrow parts were very short and few and far between. One of the coolest things was the entire course was marked with Z’s!! Z course markers were spray painted on the roads and even all of the mile markers had big Z’s on them. Every mile made me smile. The course support was amazing. Between the volunteers, the police and the family and friends just out cheering, everything was top notch. And let me tell you, I was so glad I wore that bunny tutu for the race. I cannot tell you how many little kids (and adults) lit up, waved, and shouted, “Go Easter Bunny!!!” at me. To see the smile on their faces made my day and made the miles go by that much faster. So NOT lame if you ask me. Mile 10 hit and my legs were getting tired. My body and joints didn’t hurt, which is odd because they usually do at that point. But, my legs were just dead. Jelly. We ran/walked it in from that point and finished strong with a (small) sprint to the finish.

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We got our Z’s!

The post race festival was full of food, beer and fun. They had vendors cooking and serving everything from andouille gumbo, to pasta jambalaya, to fried catfish, to shrimp tacos, to funnel cakes, to cotton candy, to cookies, to snowcones!! The food was non-stop and so, so good. I think I managed to eat every calorie I had just burned in a matter of 15 minutes. I met up with Fred to give him a bit sweaty hug and say howdy. We stuck around a bit longer, ate a bit more food, and then had to get back to the hotel to get our sweaty bods showered and packed before check-out time.20140330_101029

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So tired. Thank goodness Baby Z wanted to push the stroller back to the car.

All in all it was a fantastic race. I will definitely be back to run this one again. It was very well done. Here’s a quick break down of the pros and cons:

PROS:

  • Packet pickup and expo parking were easy to find and maneuver
  • Very good race communication via email
  • Decent expo with some local vendors I hadn’t seen at previous races
  • Race day parking was abundant and again EASY to maneuver
  • Good, scenic course highlighting some nice sights of Lafayette
  • GREAT course marking (loved those Z’s!!)
  • GREAT course support. Thanks to all the volunteers and police.
  • Excellent water station placements and very good staffing of water stations
  • Really good food at the finish festival. Plus they give you plenty of food voucher tickets on your bib to eat and drink yourself silly.

CONS:

  • Not enough porta-potties at the beginning. The lines were really long and they stayed long at all the potties until about mile 6.
  • Narrow course in places made it difficult to run with a partner and stroller. We had to run single file in a couple of places.
  • The finish line was a bit of a cluster. They need some people there to direct finishers to keep moving to the finish festival. People were loitering after the finish and it turned into a big mess of a bottle neck. After 13 miles of pushing a stroller I do not want to maneuver around even MORE mobs of people standing still right after the cross.

IMG-20140330-00084 Great job Zydeco Marathon on a wonderful inaugural race. You guys were Super!