Rock N Roll New Orleans Half Marathon 2012

 

Sunday, I ran the Rock n Roll New Orleans half marathon (formally Rock N Roll Mardi Gras) This is the third year I have run this race. (You can check out my recaps from 2010 and 2011 1 and 2)

Last years race was not the best experience. My IT band was VERY angry, and I ended up crying during the race and hobbling across the finish line. This year, I was determined to do well. Then I realized it was the weekend after the princess half, so I would be doing back to back races. crap. THEN, I ended up working the Running Skirts  booth at the expo. hhmm…not shaping up to be a PR race I would say! With the odds stacked against me, I signed up due to a super discount and an awesome New Orleans saints win. ($37 or so dollar entry fee!)

My already tired legs became exhausted (specifically my knees and heels) after a day of expo set up, and two long days of working the expo. We didn’t finish until almost 8 pm on Friday and after 6 on Saturday. Walking around for an hour looking for a place to eat, I was really feeling it and it was not looking good.

Sunday morning I woke up fairly easily and was ready to race. The start line wasn’t far from the hotel, so we waited to go down until 6:45 for a 7:00 start.

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We got into corral 12, and I heard a voice behind me say my name. It was Samantha!

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She was running the full, and I tried to fill her in a bit on the course. It was time to move up, and so we said our goodbyes and good luck.

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Before I knew it, I was running under the start sign, Garmin started, an running.

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Poor Bobby was getting over a nasty cold, so he knew he wasn’t going to PR. He decided to run with me and make it his goal to help me PR.

My first goal for this race was to not start out too fast. Mission accomplished, it was sooo crowded I couldn’t go fast even if I wanted to. Since I was running with Bobby, I didn’t do as much weaving so we could stay together. I immediately got annoyed though because we started in between some tall buildings and my Garmin was off from the start, so I had to keep subtracting from my distance the whole race.

I felt really good starting out, an since the course was different this year, I was distracted having new things to look at, and trying not to plow into the back of someone. We made a turn and I was able to jump up in the median on the street car tracks/grass. My knees were killing me and this felt so much better (plus I was able to pass without weaving.) We were sure to jump down when we needed to in order to cross all the timing mats.

We passed these guys about mine four and told them to keep it up and that they were awesome.

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Soon, I saw the first runner coming back the other way. NO WAY! but yes way, the lead car was right there with him. Unreal! Granted, I started twenty minutes after the gun, but still unreal. I kept trucking along, only stopping at water stops to drink. Bobby kept at my pace (I told him nothing over a 10:20 to PR) and we stayed pretty quiet.

About mile 5, we hit the sunshine and I instantly got very very hot. I was in a long sleeve shirt and felt like I was suffocating. I decided to pull it off and tie it around my waist. I didn’t care that my bib wouldn’t be on the front anymore, I needed to stay focused and didn’t want to stop and waste time re-pinning it.

About mile 7 I was still feeling really good, which almost made me nervous. I hadn’t even taken a single walk break except for water stops, and aside from tired legs, I felt great. We came back through towards the French Quarter and down Decatur street. We passed Café du Monde and the French market before turning onto esplanade. This is when it got hard.

I think I officially REALLY for the first time ever hit a wall at mile 10. It got MUCH harder to keep the same pace I was keeping  before, and I started to panic. I wanted to stay focused, so I tried to block out the pain and keep one foot in front of the other. The streets at this point had a LOT of pot holes so I literally just looked straight down and ahead, like I was in a tunnel. I was really feeling the fact that I had been on my feet and lifting heavy objects for the past three full days, and that I had run a half marathon a mere 7 days earlier.

Normally in races I look around and soak it all in, look at spectators, signs, etc. This race, I did not. I kept repeating things to myself like “if God brings you to it, He will bring you through it” and “you are stronger than you think” and “fight through the pain”. Bobby was a GREAT encourager telling me I was doing great, and my pace was good, and I had this, that I WOULD PR. I took one short walk break to catch my breath and my bearings, and took off again.

We hit mile 12, and I knew I could do it. I kept thinking “You have busted your butt for over two hours, you CANNOT give up now!” we headed towards City Park and I kept ticking down the tenth’s in my head. At about mile 12.7, I saw a familiar face on the sidelines. Brandon from Claim Your Journey was there taking pictures. I got his attention and waved as he took my picture. I gave him a thumbs up, but really I felt like I would keel over at any second!

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We were SO CLOSE I could taste it. I told Bobby I could NOT go any faster and he told me I didn’t have to, that I was going to make it at this pace. I really needed to hear that, but, still kept asking periodically if I was going to make it. We hit mile 13 and rounded the last corner.

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I kicked with everything I had left (which wasn’t much!) and grabbed Bobby’s hand as we crossed the finish line.

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I looked down at my Garmin, and I had done it. Not only did I PR by over 2 minutes, but I met another small stepping stone goal of mine, to run a half in 2:15.

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We got our medals and funneled out of the way (more like shuffled, it was so crowded!) and headed into the after party area. We immediately put our mylar blankets on the ground and laid down. It was an absolutely gorgeous sunny day in the mid 60’s.

Number 11, in the books.

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As I was sitting there taking in everything, I happened to notice someone familiar. It was my sister! She is super speedy so I figured she would be gone by now and never would I have imagined I would pick her out of thousands of people. She, too PR’ed by about 5 minutes and was very happy with her time.

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We chatted for a few minutes and then she left, and we hung out on our blankets snacking and stretching before deciding to head to the busses and back to the hotel.

I would definitely say this years race was a BIG improvement over last year’s for me. Last year I was very injured, and hobbled across in about 2:26. Elven minutes faster even with back to back weekend halfs and being on expo legs? I’ll take it! Did you know I haven’t run a half NOT on expo legs since this race last year? Well except for Princess but we weren’t racing that one. I can’t wait to see what I can do on fresh legs!

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A huge thanks to my sweet husband who paced me, and to everyone else who has helped me along my journey. I am starting to feel strong, and determined. (My word of the year). I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year has in store!

QOTD: How are you doing on your goals for the year, now that we are three months into 2012?

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***I have been nominated for a Fitterati award for Fitness magazine in the category of best running blog! I would LOVE it if yall would vote for me!***

Disney Princess Half Marathon

So, I ran the Royal Family 5k on Saturday, and then had to get up at 2:45 Sunday for the Princess half marathon. After only four hours of sleep, I wasn’t too thrilled to hear my alarm. I got up anyway, and put on my tutu.  It was if the world was instantly more fun! I was so excited to wear it.

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All 3 of us ready to run

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We made our way to the start line

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and since I had a free pass to the race retreat (thanks runDisney and FitFluential!) I left my mom and Karen outside for a couple of minutes so I could go inside and take pictures. The race retreat isn’t cheap, but I can see why. It has a private bag check, potties, tables, food, couches, TV’s, computers, and character photo ops!

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I grabbed a banana and a half of a bagel and some hot chocolate to warm me up.

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I quickly spotted my blogger group of friends and sat with them for a few minutes. Me and my fellow Belle, Meghann.

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Of course we had to get a Belle picture! Meghann, me, and Callie.

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I definitely will consider the race retreat next time, especially if it’s really cold. It was nice to not have to stress about breakfast or the bathroom!

I headed out and wished them luck, and met up with my mom and Karen right at 5:00. We decided to join the masses of people heading to the corrals. We came to a standstill for a long time, and then realized the culprit. Disney did something I don’t remember them doing at the past two marathon weekends I participated in…they had a row of port o potties on the way to the corrals…so the lines for them were literally blocking the people trying to get to the corrals! It was a bit frustrating and poor planning in my opinion. (But hey if that’s the worst Disney does, then that’s not too shabby!)

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We made a quick bathroom break ourselves, then headed to our corral. We got in about five minutes before the start, and had plenty of room to move around and take pictures.

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People behind us

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Before long, the fireworks went off, and it as time to run! There was so much excitement in the air, and of course, lots of tutus!

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As we passed the start, I yelled to Carissa who gave me another shout out. One for each race, I’ll take it girl! The first couple of miles were pretty uneventful. We tried to keep a good pace to clear out from the crowds. Unfortunately, that never really happened.

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We saw our first set of characters and had to stop. After all, our goals for this race were to have fun and get lots of pictures. The line was already really long, but we didn’t really care.

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As we were standing in line, look who I spotted in front of us! Dave Mari, who I ran Disney’s Wine and Dine with, Brandi, who I also ran with and who was my skirt helper for the booth at Wine and Dine, and Juli, who is a fellow Running Skirts sales rep!

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We took a picture with some of the men

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I had to take a picture with the Beauty and the Beast mile marker

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We then ran into these awesome ladies

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We finally made it to the Magic Kingdom and I started getting excited about running through the castle!

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We made it around to the TTC where these awesome drummers were playing.

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and then up the dreaded hill.

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During the full marathon, Bobby loved watching the tumble monkeys, and asked them if he could get on their trampoline, so I took this picture for him.

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We lost a lot of time stopping for pictures, and it was SO congested. I do not remember it being this bad for the half and full. I was constantly stopping, weaving, and bumping into people. It was impossible to even run two across, although some groups were walking 3 and 4 people across the road. oy.

I can see the castle!

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About to head into the Magic Kingdom

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About to turn onto Main Street USA!

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wwweeeee!

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I love love love this part of the race, but not going to lie, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I have in the past. When I turn onto Main street and see that castle I am bursting with emotion and I want to run…fast! There were sssooo many people I was basically at a walk the whole time, and spent my time going down the street a little frustrated that I couldn’t move.

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So I just took a bunch of pictures.

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We of course had to get the castle in the background

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We had to go to the bathroom, so we hit up the same one we used during the full marathon, the one in Tomorrowland. We were laughing because the women had taken over the men’s bathroom, too!

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Since mom was Cinderella I made her take her own picture with Prince Charming

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I’m ffllyyiinggg through Fantasyland!

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We made it to the back of the castle and this was actually one of I think three photo op’s we skipped. It was for Minnie and by time we realized it, we had missed the back of the line and didn’t dee it safe to swim upstream around all those people.

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We ran through the castle and out the other side and headed into Frontierland.

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Can you see me?

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and of course made a few stops along the way.

When we got to the backside of the Magic Kingdom, we saw a line for characters that was WAY long. My mom was getting tired and had a good idea. She said for us to stay in the line, and she would start walking and we would just catch her. Worked for us, so off she went. AAAAnnnddd we stood here for a long time.

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About this time, Jen texted me and I sent her this picture to show her how crazy long the lines were!

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We exited the Magic Kingdom and headed out on the skinniest portion of the race. The past two times I ran on the grass just so I could pass people. I think this part is dangerous and needs to be changed! We hit the halfway mark and the STRONGER sign with Kelly Clarkson’s song blaring. Loved it!

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We got to the Grand Floridian and I saw Belle! There was a cast member standing there telling me the line was closed. Huh? She said Belle had to go get ready for the day and go to the park. I got very frustrated. We pay a lot of money for this race and should have the characters there until everyone is done. I was about to burst into tears. After all, she was the only picture I really wanted! A sweet girl at the back of the line offered me her spot! I was so grateful! Just then, the cast member decided to let us in anyway.

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Belle told me I must have been rummaging around in her closet haha.

We caught up with my mom about mile 8.

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This is the boring part of the race (comparatively) but it was still full of people and we were still weaving around to pass. We did a few run walk intervals, and finally made it to the overpass heading to EPCOT. The skies were looking mighty dark and you guessed it..it started raining. hard. I stuck my camera and my phone under my tutu and we kept going.

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We could see the entrance to EPCOT, and knew we were getting close. Poor mom was wearing down, so I had to keep telling her to come on, and keep up. I wasn’t going to let her wimp out now!

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We made it over the last hill, and I could see the EPCOT ball!

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We made it into EPCOT and I told mom we were going to run the rest of the way. She didn’t seem to keen on the idea but I knew she could do it.

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People kept telling Karen “I like your frog!” No one seemed to get it was Pascal from Rapunzel!

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I kept telling my mom we were almost there, and to finish strong. I told her she is stronger than she thinks and that she was ALMOST DONE! We passed the gospel choir right as they started to sing “Joyful Joyful” and I ran by and slapped all their hands.

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We saw Karen’s mom as we made the last turn.

We could SEE the finish line. I told her we can’t stop now, we are so close! We picked up the pace and ran it in.

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My favorite race photo of me, ever.

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That is…until we saw Mickey mouse! We stopped dead in our tracks and I think my mom was about to kill me!

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We regrouped, and crossed the finish line together. I always get emotional when I cross the finish at a Disney race, and this one was no different.

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WE DID IT!

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Of course, my mom started crying, and I told her she DID it!

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Medals, and pictures all around

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Number 10, in the books.

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It started raining again, and we couldn’t find Karen’s mom. I was supposed to go back to the race retreat but everyone seemed a little stressed out so I didn’t say anything. Come to find out, they got breakfast, mimosa’s, and cute Princess flip flops. So sadly, I didn’t get any. Bummer, but it’s my fault.

We got on the monorail to go back to the resort and Princess was officially over.

This race gets two huge thumbs up from me. The organization is great, the characters are fun, and where else can you run in a tutu?!? I know for a lot of people, Princess was their first half. I was so proud of EVERYONE out there on that course, bettering their bodies, and becoming more healthy. That’s what it’s all about. PR’s are great, running your butt off is great, but you don’t HAVE to do those things to be a runner, or a half marathoner. It took us well over three hours to finish this race, and I don’t really care! I am strong, I am healthy, and I am happy. I never thought in my wildest dreams I would be working on half marathon number twelve. I feel so blessed to have the ability to run, and a healthy body to carry me through each and every race. I never dreamed it, but it is HAPPENING! If your goal is to run Princess next year, do it! Don’t put it off. Start your journey TODAY. We aren’t promised tomorrow. Start with a 5k, work your way up if a half marathon is your goal.  It will be tough but I know you can do it. Disney is a place where dreams come true, and I highly recommend all of the Disney races.

As a very wise man once said, If you can dream it, YOU CAN DO IT!

QOTD: What is something you have done that you never thought possible?

*If you love my tutu you can have one made of your very own! My friend Rachel makes them, check out her shop. She can personalize one for you!

I was always planning to go to the race, but a couple of weeks before I left, I was asked by runDisney and FitFluential to come as a part of a group of blogger media. Part of my expenses for the trip were covered. However, I am obsessed with Disney and their runDisney races, so all opinions are 100% my own.

Rouge Orleans Race Recap Part 3

 

Check out part 1 and part 2 before reading part 3!

I left off part 2 when it started to get dark. When Jennifer came back to finish off round 2 for us, Kristyn started round 3, and Jennifer started the first bike leg.

Photos of the Girls on the Geaux running the Mississippi River levee during the Rouge-Orleans ultramarathon relay on Feb. 11-12, 2012.

We drove to the next exchange point to wait for our first bike/run duo to see how it worked out, and we realized the temps were dropping fast. They made it back and the poor girls did not look good. We had some bike issues…the helmet strap was really wonky, and it took forever to get it on and off. Still, we soldiered on, with Erin running the  next leg and Kristyn biking next to her. We sent Erin on ahead while Kristyn got going on the bike which seemed to work out well for us.

I started to get nervous knowing I was next. I typically don’t run at night and have never worn a headlamp. When we got to the next exchange, I was outfitted with a headlamp, vest, butt light, and glow sticks and bracelets.

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Erin made it back with Kristyn, and I started out on my first night leg. This was my longest leg, at 4.88 miles, which actually ended up being right at 5 miles. I started running as Erin got on the bike, and I got a good 3-4 minutes ahead. Right when she showed up, I decided I REALLY had to pee. No one was around, so I literally squatted a foot off the levee path on the back side and went. Gotta do what you gotta do, right? I felt much better, and I kept going. Erin was SUCH a great bike partner. She talked to me, asked me questions about my family, how Bobby and I met, et. It really helped pass the long dark miles. To be honest, the only thing on me that was cold was my face. The constant motion and tons of layers kept my body pretty warm. I would estimate it was in the upper 30’s at this point.

I was so glad we decided to ride with each other at night, it was very dark and scary up there. We passed some shady areas that backed up to the levee, and a lot of the levee path was not well lit at all. My headlamp was pretty weak, so I literally could only see a foot or two in front of  me, so I had to look down pretty much the whole time. About mile 3 I was over it and wanted to be back in the van. That’s when I remembered I still had to get on the bike and ride five miles while Lindsey ran. Oh. my. gosh. I tried not to freak out. At this point I was getting hungry and very tired and started losing it mentally. We passed under some plants (like power, not green living kind) which were interesting but also menacing in their own way. We finally spotted the exchange point up ahead and I thought the worst was over. That’s when Erin mentioned that the bike seat was really small and very painful. I laughed thinking it couldn’t be that bad….boy was I wrong. I asked Erin to get me a tissue and some water from the van when she got off the bike and gave me the helmet. Lindsey took off running, and by time Erin came back I STILL couldn’t get the thing on! My fingers were so numb I couldn’t feel the clasp and neither could Erin. I think we were both about to cry. She held it down and I was finally able to snap it after literally about 6-7 minutes.

I quickly hopped on the bike and IMMEDIATELY knew what Erin meant about the seat. Oh my. It was going to be a long five miles. I pedaled hard trying to catch Limdsey but she was nowhere. I started to panic. At one point I had to get off the bike and drop down off the levee where a plant went across the path. I made it back up, kept going and FINALLY spotted her. I thought for sure we were at mile 2.5 or so. nope…just to mile 1. I didn’t know how I was going to be able to make it. The running had kept my body cold, but being on the bike where only your legs are moving…you get cold VERY quickly. I couldn’t feel my fingers out on the handle bars and wondered if I was even still holding on. I tried to make conversation with lindsey in between chattering teeth. She was in great spirits. We even ended up having another runner catch us and run with us the rest of the leg, so I hung about ten feet behind them. My butt was hurting SO BADLY when they stopped to walk I would hop off the bike to walk too for a break.

I think my lowest point of the whole race was about mile 3.5 or so, when I knew we still had 1.5 to go and I realized how hungry and thirsty I was. I was frozen, it was WINDY, dark, and I had been up since early that morning and already run two legs of the race. I ALMOST cried, but refused to let myself. I just kept praying that God would get me through it. There is a song in High school we would sing before volleyball games, and I kept repeating it over and over to myself on the stupid bike. It goes: “I’ve got confidence, my Lord is going to see me through, no matter what the case may be, my Lord, my Lord is going to fix it for me.” I knew I had to have faith God would get me back to the van or I would mentally break down. I have ever been so happy to see all the vans waiting for us. I got the helmet off, wished Lindsey luck, and hobbled back to the van. I immediately ate an entire plate of pasta salad a sandwich, and drank an entire powerade.  Them I laid down in one of the seats, still shivering. It took me about an hour for my body to finally be still. We were pretty miserable.

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We continued on like this, running and biking, all the way through round 3. We started round 4, and soon enough it was my turn to run again. Naturally, as soon as I started, I had to pee…again. So I pulled my little levee squat again, and off we went. this leg wasn’t as long, at 4 miles. It was still long…but I had to mentally tell myself it was a mile shorter than my last to make myself feel better. The run was ok, it was slow, and at several points I just wanted to sit down on the side of the levee and cry…but I didn’t. Temperatures were dropping into the low 20’s with wind chill in the teens now. the wind had picked up a lot and a few gusts almost knocked me off my feet. When my run ended I got back on that darn bike to ride about 3.3 miles with Lindsey. It wasn’t as bad (and I think my butt was numb) and I had some food in me. I was still freezing, but knowing it was my last bike leg helped me get through it.

When we got to the exchange point we had a little pow wow. We decided the bike is what was killing us, and so we decided to take a quick nap, then continue on without the bike. Dang it! I wish they would have decided this before I had gotten on it again! We drove to the next exchange and slept for about 1.5 hours. I know it hurt our time but it was necessary for our survival to get warm and get a nap. Dawn broke, and we set out again. I had one leg left, this time about 3.3 miles.

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I was trying to get all the vans lined up at the exchange point but got the writing instead. #fail.

It was overcast and still in the low 30’s with crazy winds. I ended up running alongside a guy on a 3 man team who was having a bit of a struggle. I decided to run with him and try to encourage him and keep his mind off of this crazy thing we were doing. It did make the time go by faster, and before I knew it I was DONE! Or so I thought haha. After this hand off, we headed to McDonalds where I got a hot coffee to help warm up. We did the final exchanges and drove in to Audobon park. We had some time before Jennifer got there so we unloaded the van into everyone’s cars and wiped off the shoe polish. Then, me, Erin, and Kristyn went to the corner of Magazine street to wait for Jennifer. We ran in with her to Audobon park where we met up with the rest of our group.

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We all ran in together and finished the hardest 26 hours of my life, as a team. One unit, start to finish, accomplishing an amazing goal, and finishing a crazy journey.

Photos of the Girls on the Geaux running the Mississippi River levee during the Rouge-Orleans ultramarathon relay on Feb. 11-12, 2012.

Girls on the Geaux, we made it.

Photos of the Girls on the Geaux running the Mississippi River levee during the Rouge-Orleans ultramarathon relay on Feb. 11-12, 2012.

I feel like I earned this medal more than any of my other race medals.

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126.2 miles. We. did. it.

Photos of the Girls on the Geaux running the Mississippi River levee during the Rouge-Orleans ultramarathon relay on Feb. 11-12, 2012.

Stay tuned, I plan to do one more Rouge Orleans post, a follow up of sorts…things I learned along the way…advice for those who want to run a relay.

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Not only did we finish (in style might I add) but I am so proud of myself for staying so strong. I didn’t breakdown. I didn’t shed a single tear. For once, I honestly felt strong. Determined. Ready.

Who’s in for 2013?

QOTD: Tell me about your WORST race experience?

RWS Features #12

 

Good morning! Last night was super fun at the Mardi Gras parade. I will be doing a post on the parade with pictures and such for you non-New Orleans folks out there. Fact: It wasn’t until 6th grade that I realized Mardi Gras was NOT a national thing? Growing up with it I just thought everyone got a week off of school!

Today I am hanging with my family and getting in my last long run before Princess. Speaking of which, did you catch my exciting Princess announcement yesterday? Can’t wait! I will be live tweeting and Facebooking (is that a word?) so be sure you are following along.

Today I am featuring a FitFluential Ambassador on RWS. Everyone, meet Dawn! Dawn blogs at Running at Dawn.

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1. How/Why did you start blogging?

I first started blogging about 10 years ago as a way to keep myself entertained during the day at my semi-boring desk job. I’ve found it to be a great way to connect with people with similar interests that I ordinarily would have never met.

2.) Sum up your blog in a couple of sentences

Running at Dawn is about my experiences as a physical therapy student and an athlete, interspersed with random cat pictures.

3.) What do you wish to achieve/accomplish by blogging?

I hope to inspire people who are getting started on their fitness journey, and connect with people from all over that are interested in fitness, sports, or just find my stories interesting.

4.) What is your biggest healthy living accomplishment?

Quitting my “day job” as an IT professional to go back to school to earn a physical therapy degree. It was a bit of a scary change, but it’s just been the best decision ever.

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Thank you Dawn! So glad you decided to go back to school to persue something you love! Good luck in your racing this year. Everyone be sure to visit Dawn and follow her on Twitter!

QOTD: Have you ever voluntarily made a scary change that turned out being amazing?

RWS Features #9

 

Good morning! Bobby and I are having fun at the beach. We really needed to get away and I am so glad we did. While we are busy hanging out on the beach. I leave you with some awesome awesome FitFluential ambassadors to read about. These folks are amazing, so please be sure to check out their blog and say hi!

Today meet Caitlin from Cait Plus Ate!

Caitlin has a fun blog, which I don’t know HOW she has time for since she is currently getting her MBA! She is quite the foodie and also is fashionable and friendly. Be sure to check out Cait Plus Ate!

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1.) How/Why did you start blogging?

I have been reading blogs for about three years now, and always thought it would be fun to do my own. I was always so nervous though! After I graduated college and started my full-time job, I decided to take the plunge and begin Cait Plus Ate to get my career plans moving. I consider it my walking/talking resume, but I also started the blog because I wanted to connect with the amazing people of the blogging community and have an outlet for my passions and also my frustrations that I sometimes struggle with when it comes to living less “rigidly” regarding food/fitness.

2.) Sum up your blog in a couple sentences

Cait Plus Ate is a place where I write about food, fitness, and all the fun it brings me each and every day!

3.)What do you wish to accomplish/achieve by blogging?

I hope to achieve a career in marketing/branding for the restaurant or fitness industry! I want to share my passions with as many people as possible and also experience as much as I can. Finally, I want to find the balance I have been seeking and learn that indulgence is OK.

4.)What is your biggest healthy living accomplishment?

Probably finally running an 8 minute mile, which I spent several years off-and-on trying to accomplish!

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QOTD: How do you balance healthy eating when there are things like parties, weekends, and special occasions?

Defy the Odds

 

When I was a baby, my family found out I had a heart murmur. At that point, I am sure many scary and devastating thoughts went through my parents minds. Would I ever be able to play sports, or run? How would this change their lives?

Thankfully, as a child, the murmur went away on it’s own, as they often times do, and I have never had issues with my heart. Of course, I was too young to know anything, or see this as something that could have potentially impacted my life in a negative way. It’s a good thing too, because I ended up being the epitome of the word “tomboy.”

I played sports, I got messy, and I RAN!

I played basketball since 3rd grade, soccer in 5th-6th grade, and volleyball and track since 7th. I was the mega athlete, the one who ate, slept, and breathed sports. I was inspired as a younger athlete by the older girls on the varsity teams. I wanted to be just like them.

When I got to High school, I continued with volleyball, basketball, and track. I had finally become on of those varsity girls I had looked up to, and I wanted the younger girls to look up to me. They did, and I competed with all my heart.

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My senior year, I found out I had scoliosis. I had a lot of back pain, but my curved spine wasn’t curved quite enough to justify surgery. I went to physical therapy, but I, of course, kept on competing., kept on playing, kept on running.

Now, as an adult, I no longer am a part of an athletic team. I have coaching varsity volleyball and middle school basketball in an effort to relive the glory days. I enjoyed my job, but I felt like I was missing something. I personally needed to be fit again.

As I think back on the physical and mental challenges I faced to become a well trained athlete in high school, I realize that I was pretty inspiring! As a teenager I didn’t really realize it at the time, but I had been a fighter, a champ, and a role model.

I decided that I would become a runner. I would compete, with myself, to become fit, and to become healthy again. When I ran track in high school, I ran the 100 meter dash. To me, a 400 was a long distance!

Now, at age 25, I have competed four half marathons, and am almost done training for my first full marathon.

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As we move into 2011, I believe a lot of strength, power, and self confidence will come in completing the marathon. I think it will be the boost I need to keep striving for a fit and healthy life. I believe I can be a role model to other runners, or just those looking to live a more active and full life.

Never in a million years would I have imagined that I would be doing this. I think the high school Heather would be very proud of the adult Heather, and if I could talk to high school Heather, I would tell her that she is my inspiration. Her (my) drive, determination, and heart made me the woman I am today, and I am forever grateful.

I think for these reasons I deserve a spot on the Team 4all roster. I am committed to health and fitness (and looking cute while doing it! Just look at the name of my blog!) I have jumped many hurdles to get where I am today, and I believe my story could be an inspiration to other people who need to look inside themselves, and find inspiration from within. Sometimes people need a boost of confidence and to remember that they are awesome! Or, as one of my favorite people once said (Walt Disney)…If you can dream it, YOU CAN DO IT! 

Marathon Inspiration

 

Tomorrow is the one month countdown to my first marathon. Since I missed 6 weeks of crucial training, I have been a little down/nervous about it. This morning, I watched last night’s episode of the Biggest Loser. I was excited about this episode because every year it is a great motivation. It was the episode where the final four contestants run a marathon.

     Every season I watch, I cry, I get inspired. BUT, this is the first season I have watched where I have been personally training for a marathon. I can say this really was the pick me up I needed today! My two favorite contestants, Patrick and Ada, are part of the final 4. Ada is awesome and so strong and competitive, and Patrick is a Mississippi boy from about an hour or so away from where I live. I have been rooting for those two the whole time!

A little background:

Patrick started the show at 400 pounds. He is 27 years old and married with two little boys.

before

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now, running the marathon with fellow contestant Frado.

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Also, we have awesome Ada before at 278 pounds:

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and now running the marathon:

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Patrick finished the marathon in 5 hours and 45 minutes (approx) and Ada finished in 4 hours 39 minutes, smashing the female record for the Biggest Loser marathon. Frado, the 3rd contestant finished just after Patrick, and Elizabeth, the 4th contestant, who had only run a long distance of 8 miles before the race (a stupid move) finished in 7 hours and something.

It was so inspiring hearing their stories and seeing their progress, I thought, if they can go from their previous weights to current weights, which is still not where they want to be, all in 3 months, then I can do it too.

Yes, I know I am undertrained, and coming back from an injury, but my goals do not revolve around time. I just want to FINISH and HAVE FUN. It is such a great accomplishment in itself to run a marathon, even if your time isn’t what you wanted it to be. I need to stop being so hard on myself and realize I have come so far in this past year of distance running, and I should be proud of myself.

As a blogger it’s easy to get caught up in PR’s and what other bloggers are running. Yes, I may be slow, but I have PR’ed in all of my half marathons (4 of them) and now I am a month out from my first marathon, all within a year. I think that is definitely something to be proud of! So, as Biggest Loser says…What have YOU done today to make you feel proud?

(by the way…that IS the questions of the day!)

 

Be sure to watch the finale next Tuesday!

-You can follow me on Twitter or join my FB fan pages on the right hand column of my blog.

Effort

I have this poster hanging up in my classroom. I am big on motivational kind of stuff like that, and a lot of those types of things really apply to school. I have looked at the poster 100 times but today I REALLY looked at it.

Effort. You can’t become a better runner, spouse, parent, employee, without effort. I tell my basketball girls all the time that they aren’t going to just wake up one day and be a good basketball player. They have to work at it, and put in the time and EFFORT to become great.
I think the hardest of the 4 on the poster for me is the last one. Making the most of every opportunity. I squander a lot of opportunities to be better at things but especially my running. Sometimes I can just be flat out lazy. I am really trying to work on this. I can’t let the small stuff get in my way of me running/working out. Yes there are days I literally just need a break and can’t do it, usually when I am so mentally tired. But, there re a lot of times I am just being lazy! Anyone with me? So. Imprint this poster in your mine. Give your best effort. don’t give up or give in. Make the most of every opportunity. Achieve your goals through commitment and hard work. You can do it!

I did however reward myself today with McAlister’s sweet tea. I have been so good lately with my liquid calories, so I thought I deserved it.

Bella said she wants some.

On a workout note, it is pouring rain and 45 degrees so no run for me, and I am achy from my good run yesterday. But I am about to hop on the elliptical, and put forth some EFFORT!

Spring Fever

Today is groundhog day. Sadly, the little guy decided it would be fun to torture us runners with 6 more weeks of winter! This excites me….not so much. I am SO TIRED of cold. It was “supposed” to get up to 60 today…but what is it? 49! Now, I know to some of you crazies that live above the mason dixon line, that is not cold, but to me, thats cold! Especially when its gloomy and overcast, and you have had a long day, a long meeting after work, and a headache.
I know it’s only February, but I so long for spring! Pretty green scenery, nice warm temps, and longer days. I LOVE when it gets dark late. I feel like I have so much more time to “play” outside. It’s my favorite. So in case you didn’t figure it out, that long day with the ehadache and meeting and stuff, well thats me today. So here I sit, watching super bowl media day on the NFL network.
I have done some abs and legs, but nothing to constitute an actual workout, so I guess I will go do a few more sets, and pack my gym bag for tomorrow, and dream of this: