Friday Favorites: Lip Color

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OK, this is totally girly and high maintenance, but there is something about having lip color on. I don’t wear makeup pretty much ever (unless it’s a special occasion or some big business meeting that I need to attend). I’m really just a brush my hair and go kind of girl, because I like sleep and training too much to care.

img_1366But yeah, the lip color. I’ve always had to have some sort of color on my lips, even when I’m out there running. I used the Cover Girl lip stain for years because it generally would hold up for most of the workout. But as I was standing in line waiting to swim at my first triathlon this year, a girl standing next to me noticed my lip stain and asked if it was LipSense and what color it was.

I gave her this really puzzled look because I had never heard of that stuff before, but like most things I don’t know about, I just smiled and made a note to look it up later. Flash forward to the end of the race and of course I couldn’t remember a stinking thing. Whatever…

But at a road race a few months later, there was a lady at a tent selling this stuff! It was like it was karma telling me I needed this lipstick. I blindly handed over my credit card after being told it wouldn’t ever come off until I wanted it to come off. Well, we’ll see.

img_6245She was right! I am completely hooked on this stuff and have eight different colors for all of my moods. AND THE GLOSS! I have PINK.GLITTER.GLOSS. The key is to use it exactly as the directions state. One coat, wait til it dries, another coat, wait til it dries, then a third coat and wait til it dries. Then go crazy with the gloss from the same company because it locks it in.

I have worn it for open water swims of an hour and it still looks like I just put it on. I have worn it for three hour long runs and all the water stops and eating that goes along with it, and it still looks like I just put it on. I have women make comments at the end of triathlons at the finish line about how I MUST have put lipstick on before I crossed the finish line and where the heck did I carry it.

I don’t sell this stuff, and you could likely find someone local for you, but if you want a really sweet gal who is a public school teacher looking to make a little extra cash, send me a message and I’ll introduce her to you!

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Favorites Friday: Running Skirts!

Whoooshhhhh…

Man, this poor little blog is a little dusty.

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Since the height of fall marathon season has kicked in here in Texas, I thought I’d start off my renewed commitment to the written word with (cue the music…) “a few of my favorite things.”

I will begin this particular post with the disclaimer that I am an Ambassador for Skirt Sports. I don’t get paid and I don’t get any sort of commission, but I get a little discount on the items I can’t live without as well as a discount for all of you in exchange for spreading the skirt love in my little world. Now that we have that out of the way…

When I first started on my journey to lose weight, oh sometime about six or seven years ago now, I began to walk. Walking turned to runs. It was pretty awesome. But I was genetically gifted with, dun dun dun…. CHUB RUB. Come on ladies, most of you don’t have that thigh gap, and YOU NOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT. First it begins with the thighs that kind of catch when you’re mid-run. But then the sweat starts to give it a little lubrication, and you think you’re out of the woods. But no. About a mile later, you’ve got a little heat that has built up and (sorry men, it’s not THAT kind of heat). Before you know it, there is a little stinging involved.

imageMy options included giving up the idea of wearing shorts and just resigning myself to those running capris. But I’ve got to tell you, it’s darn hot here in Texas and humid to boot. If I could run nekkid and get away with it, I would! So I began my quest for something better. A random post all those years ago on a weight loss message board was ultimately what introduced me to the running skirt, specifically, Skirt Sports. I was promised that those skirts would change my life.

I was all about changing my life at that point, so I took a look. Back then, the selection was just a couple of styles, so it was easy for me to grab a gym girl ultra skirt and be done with it. The company promised that the little compression shorts would hold all of me in there (yeah, that was a concern at the time) and were long enough to cover all the way down to that little piece of meat on the thigh that was causing all my angst. Verdict? Well, there is a reason I ONLY run in Skirt Sports running skirts.

But enough time in the old way-back machine… let’s talk about the here and now.

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My friends are as diverse as their favorite skirts!

The skirts have come a long way and there are so so many to choose from, it’s almost dizzying. So, the big question is… what features are important to you? Coverage of the leg? Length of the shorts underneath? Adjustability of the waistband with a drawcord? Pockets to fit your iPhone or run nutrition?

When my friends ask me which skirt to buy for their first, I almost always tell them “gym girl ultra” because it’s a tried and true classic. But I scoured through the website this morning and put together this little handy-dandy table of all the features of the various skirts being currently sold in the hopes that it helps all of you decide which skirt is your soulmate…

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Oh, and as I talked about earlier, my friends get a discount on their Skirt Sports order! This code (FWS20) is good only once per customer and expires 9/30/2017 and can be used at www.skirtsports.com. We get new codes every quarter, so you can place an order every quarter with discount codes!

So, do you have a favorite style? I’ve been challenged to break out of the old comfort zone (I mean, really, I have more than 30 gym girl ultra skirts alone!) and try a different style I didn’t think I would like. I’ve bought a Happy Girl, a Jette, a Peek-A-Boo and a Mod Quad. Which one should I try next?

Limiting Language: Or How I Learned to Fly…

“I am ONLY running a half marathon this week.”

“I am JUST a beginner.”

“It’s JUST a LITTLE sprint triathlon.”

“I would love to join, BUT I probably couldn’t keep up with you guys.”

“I don’t have one of those fancy bikes.”

“Thanks, but I have so much more to lose.”

“Have I reminded you lately that I’m not fast?”

 

I have heard it a million times from my husband, gently correcting me and telling me how proud he is of me; that I am “doing fantastic.” I hear it from my guy friends that I always worry only run with me to humor me; “you’re doing great.” But something about being called out by a coach you really respect hit me like a lightning bolt. He did it so perfectly, so respectfully, but in a way that told me that he was serious and not just humoring my lack of self-confidence.

“Let’s remove that limiting language. You’re going with the flow, so just enjoy the journey and see where it takes you.”

“Limiting language.” Wow, I hadn’t heard it that way before. It’s always been “don’t be so hard on yourself.” Which, let’s be real, is code for “stop it, you’re fine, insert gratuitous comment and eye roll here.”

I’m a slow learner and it’s take a few weeks for this to sink in, but I see it everywhere now. I have observed it in almost every interaction I have had. I am constantly limiting myself by subconsciously telling myself that I’m not enough. I see it in all of my friends, too. We are always putting ourselves down in that stealthy way and we shouldn’t be. We like to think that we are telling ourselves that we are enough, but then that little demon that sits on the left shoulder whispers in our ear the complete opposite. It whispers those stupid words: ONLY, JUST, BUT.

When we limit our language, we limit what we are capable of.

Enough! I am making the commitment to stop my limiting language NOW. I am proud of what I can accomplish. I am not in competition with anyone, not even myself. I am not who I was yesterday, three months ago, or three years ago. I am choosing to live in the present and find the joy and satisfaction in doing exactly what my body, and my mind, allows today. It doesn’t mean I don’t have goals. On the contrary! But by releasing myself from the chains of “not enough,” I will build a far better foundation with which to reach those goals because I will have the confidence that I CAN.

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So my challenge to all of my girlfriends – remove your limiting language and let your truths shine on their own merit. Own it all and be joyous in what your body can accomplish today, because seriously, we are all doing truly epic stuff.

“I am running 13.1 miles this week!”

“I am so excited to learn something new!”

“I am training to swim, bike and run – all in the same race!”

“Thanks for the run, guys!”

“I am squeezing every ounce of awesomeness out of this bike!”

“Thanks for the compliment, I’m working hard!”

“Hey Coach, watch me fly…”

 

When the run just finally feels right…

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My unassuming running trail…

Of course it would finally happen while I was out of town. I run with my peeps because I need the accountability. When I lost my long-time running partner a year ago, I was left like a boat adrift on the high seas. My running suffered because I just couldn’t bring myself to get out there. But new running partners came into my life and kept me out there for those group runs, thank goodness. I can’t say I have ever actually felt good on a solo run. My demons would always come along for the ride, reminding me that my shoelaces were a little too snug or that sports bra was chafing my shoulder. They would imagegive me an out, telling me it’s ok to turn back early and only get a few miles in, despite my training schedule requesting a 90 minute run.

But last night I was out of town and couldn’t find a group that I felt comfortable joining. What I did find was a popular running trail about six miles from my hotel. I’m not ashamed to say I totally ubered to the trail. The sun beat down and the humidity was a real treat. I saw a couple coming off the trail and asked them about the trail – very few water fountains, but it goes 14 miles, they said. Sounded perfect – so I set off with the intention of just getting maybe three miles in.

imageHalf a mile into the run, the sounds of the city were completely gone and all I heard were the squirrels rustling in the woods and a babbling brook. Who knew that little streams of water actually made the babbling sound?? By a mile, I saw two beautiful deer off to my left enjoying some foraging. I kid you not, they were no more than five feet from me. I just kept going, hoping to see something new and wonderful. No demons came to join me. I didn’t ever look at my watch to check my pace. I would occasionally come across a cyclist or another runner, but it was truly a peaceful run. I finally decided to turn around after just under three miles, mostly because I still wanted to get a swim in and knew that the sun would be setting soon enough, but I felt like I could have gone far longer.

I found myself sweaty and spent and so full of energy after my run. Exactly as it was meant to be. I may even try another solo run back home soon. Maybe – I like my running tribe…

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Medal Monday: Crescent City Classic 10K

Heading to Louisiana seems to now be a habit, as this was trip three in three months. A year ago, I bid on an auction at the RRCA National Convention that included two entries to the Crescent City Classic and a hotel room. My sister has never been to New Orleans before and was starting to do 5k races doing run-walk intervals, so she was excited to join in on the fun. I didn’t really know anything about the race other than it was huge and billed as one really long party. It sounded like you could walk it completely and still not be “last.” Spoiler alert: this race is phenomenal!!!

Expo

imageSo, this race actually has an expo! In a time when even a lot of half marathons don’t have expos, this little 10k put on a two day expo. And unlike some of the other race expos I have been to, no one tried to sell me replacement windows or a body massager that looked eerily like an orbital car waxer. It’s held at the Hyatt on Canal St and took up the entire Elite Hall. The only weird thing was that it didn’t flow really well. I had to walk halfway through the expo to go pick up my bib, then walk through the other half to do get my shirt and bag. It’s hard to stay focused on those two items before you start shopping and sampling.

imageI liked that there were booths for all of the charity partners for the race and you could register to run with one of them and get into the charity corral. There were a bunch of booths with fun apparel and a ton of regional race groups. To me, that really makes an expo special because as a visitor, you get the opportunity to see what the local running community looks like. And ummm, yeah, there was free food. In true Louisiana fashion, I could get a bowl of red beans and rice and a beer (or in my case, an iced tea) and just chill while the local physical therapist gave a talk on injury prevention.

Race Day

imageLet me first say, this race really is huge; more than 20,000 crazies committing to 6.2 miles early on the Saturday before Easter. It’s a money race (significant money), so it attracts a lot of elites from Kenya and Ethiopia. To keep the focus local, they have two sets of prizes – money for the overalls and separate prize money for the the local overall winners. That makes this race VERY fast. I think the winners covered the distances in 28 or so minutes. But not to fear if you aren’t a speedy. The race is also VERY slow. They have a separate corral just for walkers and a costume contest that I think gives away just as much prize money as the overall runners win.

The walk to the start line itself was festive. I felt like this is what Mardi Gras is like a little. So much excitement and so many smiles. Also, for there being nine corrals, the start went very fast. Sean started in a few corrals ahead of us, but we really only had to wait a few minutes. What was hysterical was that there was a water station inside of the start line, and people were actually taking the water! But I guess that gets you ready to go because less than a quarter mile into the race, there was a Jell-O shot stop. Oh dear! Note: I didn’t take one. Only bad things could happen if I pulled a stunt like that.

imageThere was a timing mat at every mile marker as well as water stops (really, they had water!). But every quarter mile there was something going on, like spectators hanging off their balconies throwing beads, a mimosa stop, firemen handing out beers, guys dressed up in marching band uniforms handing out hot dogs, men in tuxedos handing out red and white flowers to the ladies, and more Jell-O shots. The course was a great route that went down Canal to the river, onto Decatur, along Esplanade and finally into City Park. You spend at least a mile in the park over by a kids’ amusement park.

The participants also take their costumes very seriously. For real, there was a group of guys dressed up as Vikings pulling a huge “boat” filled with kegs with full intention of partying the whole six miles. And yes, they did move that boat the whole six miles, as did all the groups pulling wagons filled with beer. Other costumes I ran into included a crawfish, a sparkly unicorn princess, a herd of cows and what appeared to be the entire cast of the new Star Wars movie. But my favorite had to be the families pushing strollers of kids. They got all kinds of creative and turned the strollers into giant Pac Mans. The runners dressed as the ghosts from the game. But what made the costumes completely work was the sound effects. Yep, you could hear the chomping as they ran!

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I probably should have been the one to take the photo with Humpty

So, in true New Orleans fashion, the streets are not great. About mile 5.7, I caught a piece of the uneven pavement with my shoe and did only what my sister described as a “graceful swan dive.” I have fallen once before (see the Drake Half Marathon), but that was after the race and I was texting. I’m not a klutz. But that was embarrassing!! Within seconds I had a ton of people around me trying to help and really I just wanted to go crawl in a hole. But I jumped up and laughed it off, declaring that the iPhone was ok! Maybe a touch of road rash along my leg. And my arm. Yep, my shoulder too. But you’re not a runner until you’ve left a little of you on the course, right?

Post-Race Festival

We were given our medals and Erica and I met the boys to walk to the post-race festival as the rain began to pour down. It felt so awesome! I felt like a kid again. And there was so much food: fruit, cookies, jambalaya, beer, Gatorade, food trucks. The music was great too!

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Mary and I met up at the festival unexpectedly

I lost my sister and Geoff, but ran into Mary, a Skirt Sports Ambassador from Baton Rouge that I only knew from social media, so we had to get a photo together. (Shameless plug: if you are interested in trying out a running skirt, use this discount code to get 20% off – 20MWT20).

The race provides shuttle buses back to the start line, but if you don’t time it right, you could be in the line a while. I didn’t want to wait, so we Ubered it back to the hotel.

I had such a great time at this race and wish more races were as fun as this one. We are already planning on coming back next year. Come join us!!

Surprise! My Avenue A Box Arrived!

I don’t usually do the subscription boxes. Most don’t really look like something I’d be interested in and I am such a creature of habit. I did a subscription to RunnerBox a few years ago and I think I only last month threw away the last of the weird gels they threw in those boxes. There were a few fun things that I still use in those boxes, but I can’t say they were ever really worth my money overall. So, I don’t know why I initially decided to plunk down the money for Avenue A, but I figured I could give it a try just once.

Avenue A is a women’s subscription box from adidas sent quarterly that runs $150 and promises at least three premium items. Shipping is included. They don’t tell you what will be in the box, but they threw around a hint that their brand new shoe would be included and I wanted to try them out. Worst case scenario, I paid full-price for a shoe and a couple other items got thrown in.

So, I pulled the trigger and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

It was a month before my credit card was charged because this was their first box to ship.

Then I waited for it to ship.

And waited.

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It’s here!

Good lord, I stalked that poor profile page forever, hoping it would hurry and ship. I gave up after they updated it to show that they would be shipping in April. But, I got an email on March 22nd that it was on its way! Good thing because I was about to lose my mind.

Poor FedEx, I started stalking their tracking page. This seems to be a recurring theme with me, no?

The package came from South Carolina and most ground or priority shipping reaches me in two days because I am in Texas, in the middle of it all. I’m almost embarrassed to say that when it got delivered at the house, I didn’t want to wait any longer and asked hubby (who was at home) to drive it to my office. I’m definitely not good with waiting. LOL

So, here is the breakdown:

imageThe box is big. Five and a half pounds and looks like a boot box. Sliding the cover off, I immediately see THE SHOES. They are so pretty! I did a little research on them and learned that they are the only running shoe designed solely for a woman’s foot. The toe box is wider to accommodate our poor toes that get shoved into high heels and ultimately deformed. The heel is narrower because that is how a woman’s foot works. It has a floating arch (ok, I have no idea what the floating arch is supposed to accomplish but it looks cool) and fits like a sock with lots of stretchy material to allow for all the swelling my feet will do when I run long. I immediately put them on and the size was true, fitting just like all my other running shoes. They sent the “raw purple and shock red” shoes. I kind of even like the names of the colors and I’m itching to take these puppies out for a spin already.

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I am so in love with this bag!!

The next thing that caught my eye was a bag. Because every girl needs another bag, I’m never going to turn it down, but this bag is sweet!! It’s a Stella McCartney black gym bag. It zips at the top and has two zip pockets on the outside that would be perfect for the small stuff that usually gets lost, like extra hair ties or my phone. The inside has a huge zip pocket, three open pockets and two open mesh pockets, perfect for stashing sweaty stuff. There is also a longer, detachable shoulder strap. This is a beautiful bag and it is HUGE. I could throw all my stuff in there and still have room for more. With a retail price of $190, I would have never plunked down that much for a bag on my own, so this was a real treat.

The box also comes with some apparel. When I ordered the box, I had to complete my profile with my size for all sorts of stuff. This is where things could get dicey. I haven’t bought Adidas apparel before and stuff just sometimes doesn’t fit the same from brand to brand. Right?? Luckily, Avenue A allows you to try it on and, if you need a different size, you can send parts back and exchange for the right size. So, I grabbed all the apparel, stuffed it in the most beautiful and likely most expensive gym bag I’ve ever owned, and ran to the gym in my office building to try it all on.

imageThe box came with a pair of capris, a bra and a jacket. The Capri pants are the Adistar Three-Quarter Tight in black. Thank goodness for black. I am so self-conscious about how I look in Capri pants that if my tush doesn’t look good, it finds a new home in the bottom of a bin in my closet. So, I tried them on and I really like them. They fit like a glove and have a drawstring cord for the waistband. I’m thankful for that, because otherwise I would think they were a touch large on me. The leg hits just where I like them to hit, kind of mid-calf. I’m 5’1″, so that is generally where I find most capris ending on me.

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All packed up

The jacket is a Kanoi Rucpack Dye Jacket in a brilliant emerald green. It’s kind of tie-dyed for a natural, uneven look. It is so phenomenally thin and light. I could wad it up into a ball and shove it into the back zip pocket of the jacket and go out. The fit was larger than I expected, but I am ok with it because I tend to layer if I have a jacket on and I would rather it be bigger than smaller. It is made of UPF 25+ sun-protection fabric. I’m not sure about water resistance, so I’ll let you know if I find myself in a rainstorm how it holds up!

The final item in the box was a sports bra. I’m on the fence about this bra. It’s the Supernova Bra in a beautiful melon color. It’s got plenty of padding and provides a lot of support for high-impact running. I’m embarrassed to say I danced around a bit in the changing room tying to get this thing off of me. The material isn’t so stretchy that it just comes right off. Good for when you don’t want things moving around, but fighting with a sweaty bra might make me crazy. I have to remember that this one only gets worn when I know I have help to get it off! Hahaha

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Ready for an impromptu run!

All in all, this was a really great deal! I got the following items, including their retail price:

  • Adidas Pure Boost X shoes, $120
  • Kanoi Rucpack Dye Jacket, green, $90
  • Supernova Bra,  $40
  • Adistar Three-Quarter Tight, $90
  • Adidas by Stella McCartney Big Sport Bag, black, $190

The total retail value of the box was $530 and I paid $150. More importantly, I will totally use every single thing in the box. Will I continue the subscription? Yes! This was a fun little surprise box. Hopefully the next one is just as awesome.

Rock n Roll New Orleans Race Recap

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Oh, Rock n Roll, how you tempt us. A year ago, friends convinced hubby and I to take advantage of the deep-discounted registration fee for Rock’n’Roll New Orleans and join all the cool kids. Never mind that I knew full well last January that 2016 would be completely crazy with Alex’s final semester of high school. Never mind that planning a year out for me is completely dumb. The only smart thing I did was register for the half marathon instead of the full.

Fast forward a year, NOLA was looming. A hotel was booked, although I didn’t know anything about the hotel. All I had to go on was that “it was on the list” of host hotels. I looked at the hotel’s site and the sparse photos. I just went for it. I had no idea how far away the hotel would be from the start line or the finish line or how any of this would work. We booked airfare and made sure my parents could watch our little girl. I figured my boy would be ok on his own.

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French Quarter shenanigans before our weekend went from adult to family

 

Two weeks before race weekend, my life (as expected) took a turn for the crazy. Alex was scheduled for an audition with the LSU marching band director for that following Monday. Oh, did I tell you, my sweet boy decided on LSU for college??? Hubby got a bad strain of the flu that knocked him completely out of running. I battled turf toe from mountain climbers. That is a whole-nother story!

So, I registered Alex on the very last day of on-line registration for the RnR NOLA half marathon. It was oh-my-god expensive, but worth it. But then came the next chapter of crazy: boy had a track meet for his high school the day before the race. No big deal, I’d just shuffle around flights so that he could fly to NOLA after he ran. It would be tight, but we’ve done stupid stuff like this before. Flights had to be changed and a rental car had to be booked because we would now fly home from Baton Rouge on Monday. Hindsight being twenty-twenty, I should have just cancelled the trip and eaten the $50 race fees paid a year ago.

Race Recap

Expo: Well, it was just hubby and I at the expo. Boy wasn’t able to make it because of

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RRCA RoadRunner at the Expo

his track meet. The volunteers and race director were dead-set that I would not be able to pick up my son’s bib without him with me. While I understand policy, there is always room for a race director to show a small amount of compassion and reasonableness on a one-off situation. Not even a quick facetime with the boy would have swayed them. Instead I was given the “show up at 5:30 am on race day and add a little more stupid to the day.” The expo was smaller than I had expected, considering there were so many registrants. Even worse, they shoved all the vendors they did have in an extremely tight part of the convention center. It was worse than Manhattan at rush hour. You couldn’t move and the effect was beyond claustrophobic. I was able to register for a couple of races I already planned to run in the coming months while I was there and save a little money, but after the debacle with the bib for my son, I was pissed off and not really in the mood to be there so we didn’t stay long. (For the record, no volunteers were harmed in the making of this blog post. For real, it wasn’t their call on whether or not to be completely unreasonable, so I let it be.)

 

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How is it that this kid still needs help pinning his bib?

Pre-Race: 5:30am came pretty damn early. There were something like 25 or 30 corrals and they were completely open with no one to ensure that we were going into the right ones.  I can only call the process “stupid.” For a race director that purports to take the rules pretty seriously, one would think they would enforce people going into the correct corrals. But being the rule follower I am, I went dutifully into my assigned area. It was chilly enough to need a ditch shirt or jacket at the start line. I elected to just go with my tank, a pair of arm warmers, ditch gloves and my favorite running skirt and shiver until the race started. My 2:30ish estimated finish time landed me in corral 19 which resulted in not even beginning my race until 47 minutes after the start of the race. It’s always a little disappointing to think that the first place winner would likely cross the half finish line before the last runner crosses the start line. Insert eye roll and pursed lips here – whatever…

 

Mile 1: The race began along Poydras and made a couple of turns to make it over to St. Charles Ave. I was a little faster than my target pace for the race, but I always give myself the first mile to settle in to the race and it wasn’t so fast that I would tire.

Mile 2-almost 8: This is an out-and-back along St. Charles through some really pretty old homes. I feel like I missed a lot of the course because the road was so crummy that a lot of people chose to jump into the median and run on the trolley tracks. I remember seeing a band early on and they were not bad. I think the balance of the music was mostly piped in, which is kind of a bummer. My pace was just about what I was looking to target, considering I didn’t really have much of a goal time. The temperature was really climbing fast, so I ditched my gloves and arm warmers early on and made a conscious effort to stop at the water stops and ensure I was staying hydrated.

Mile 8-10:This stretch was through the streets where all the hotels were at. I had to giggle a little as we passed right by our hotel and I “offered” myself an out to just go back to bed. It was at this point I was getting a little hungry and craving a taco. My pace was picking up and I felt really strong. I remember distinctly hitting the 10 mile mat and looking at my watch. I had never run ten miles that fast (ok, we’re talking about only shaving off a couple of minutes here, but it was faster!) and I actually pulled out my phone to text hubby about it! Yep, this is what it’s like to run with me – be ready for texting and selfies! But then I got to thinking, that’s only a 5K left and I know how fast I have been able to run that distance lately. A PR was possible! Are you kidding me??? That poor little half marathon PR has stood for years! The phone immediately went back into my skirt and I began to focus.

Mile 10-12.5: This portion of the race was all down Esplanade Ave. and the French Quarter area. It is probably my favorite part of the race because there is so much activity. This is where I remember hearing the bagpipes. For real, I’m a sucker for a drum line or bagpipes. I realized that I had watered down my Tailwind over the last six miles through refills to the point where I absolutely had to stop and refill my water bottle at the final water stop. I was sweating pretty badly and fading fast, and I don’t use any other nutrition than my trusty Tailwind. It took a little more time than I would like to deal with my little Ziploc baggies of white powder (LOL), but it was a must. Note to self, I must figure out a better way to deal with this stuff on my road races… Up til now, the marathon and half marathon course was shared, but I was never so happy about my decision to run the half as when the branch off occurred. My pace was good, but not good enough for that PR. No biggie since I hadn’t aimed for a PR in the first place.

Final 3/4 mile: Yep, so this is where we enter City Park. It’s really big and pretty. It might officially qualify as the longest “finisher chute” ever. After such a strong race, I almost cried when, with more than a quarter mile to go, I took a step and my leg wouldn’t move. Yep, calf cramps! Are you kidding me??? I must have looked like a complete lunatic shaking my leg like a wet dog out there mid stride. This was just going to be one of those races that I couldn’t speed up at the end or give that little extra kick. The one thing Rock n Roll generally does well is the finish line. Plenty of water and Gatorade, bananas and salty snacks. I got one of the coveted finishers medals with the Mardi Gras beads. Some of the later finishers got a printed ribbon instead.

Finish: The tough part about a point-to-point race is the travel back to the start line. As in most cases, the race used school buses to transport everyone back. I feel bad for the kids on Monday, because we sure were a stinky bunch! The bus ride was a very long thirty minutes that we shared with an extremely loud guy that had far more energy than the rest of us. My son and husband said they enjoyed the concert put on by Preservation Hall Jazz Band, but I was tired

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You know you’re in NOLA when a girl is willing to run 26 miles with a veil and a bouquet.

and really just wanted a shower, so we didn’t stay for the party after the race. I felt like I had run a trail race, I was so beat up. Overall, I didn’t remember a whole lot of bands on the course (mostly it was just music being played like a DJ) and the water stops felt sporadic at best.

 

Hotel

We stayed at the Old No. 77 Hotel on Tchoupitoulas St. It was listed as a race hotel on the site and looked pretty modern and edgy. I was able to get two queen beds at the last minute when my adult weekend went family. It was fairly spendy for my taste. If I spend $250 a night, I better be treated well. We weren’t. Check-in was delayed because rooms weren’t ready. We were exhausted from an early morning flight and being on our feet all day and the best they could do was say they were sorry. Ironically, I saw plenty of people checking in quite early, so I’m not sure why they couldn’t just find us an available room if the original one was still dirty. The hard wood floors were sticky and we didn’t have enough towels. Thank goodness we were able to run down a poor housekeeper on another floor and beg for a few more. The walls were a bit thin, but at least the beds were comfortable. Or I was too exhausted that I could have slept on cement. Who knows.

Travel from the airport

OK, so this is what you need to know about traveling to New Orleans for races. Parking at the hotels is stupid expensive and it is a solid eight hour drive, so it just didn’t make a ton of sense to drive for a short weekend trip. But, airfare is fairly pricey from Dallas if you don’t get it on a deep-discount sale that Southwest does periodically. And even with the sale, the best you can do is about $73 each way. However, I was able to secure airfare on American Airlines from Baton Rouge to Dallas for less than $100 per person a week out! I’m not a great planner when it comes to travel and really just fly by the seat of my pants. I figured we would use Uber from the airport. However, know that it is a minimum trip of $75 from the airport to the French Quarter and surrounding areas. A cab is about $45 each way. There is a shuttle that you can book online with 24 hours minimum advance notice that is $24 per person.

Would I do this race again? Well, that’s a big question. I felt like everyone I knew from Dallas was in New Orleans for this race. So it’s no surprise that the group is already planning their trip for next year and taking advantage of the $50 race entry. Sure, it’s a flat course. But it wasn’t anything to write home about. The cost of the race wasn’t bad but all the rest of the costs really add up. Ultimately, I won’t run this race again. It wasn’t as great as it should have been. But every race teaches us something about ourselves. This race taught me that running a smaller, local, more personal race is what I crave. I prefer to be a runner and not just another damn bib number.

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Yep, could have slept anywhere after this weekend