Warrior Dash Recap

I have been wanting to do a mud run for about a year and a half but it hasn’t worked out with my race schedule until now.  Saturday morning I woke up nice and early to get ready for my first mud run.  I did what I normally do when I first wake up on race morning and checked the weather.

weather

Say WHAT?! 39 degrees?! Temps like that are unheard of in Mississippi this time of year.  I grumbled a bit to my husband’s 17 year old cousin who was doing the race with me.  This was his first race ever and I was excited that he was such a good sport to go with me.  He doesn’t want to be on the blog so there won’t be any pictures but I just have to say that we made a great team! I seriously wouldn’t have been able to make it over some obstacles without him.

My wave didn’t start until 10 but we had to be bused into the event grounds so we left the house around 8.  On the bus ride into the Warrior Dash I noticed just how soggy everything was.  It had rained pretty hard in the days before the race so there was plenty of standing water.  Think swampland(ish).   Registration was a breeze as was our gear check so we had plenty of time to wander around and snap a few pictures.

warrior dash

I watched a couple waves go off and then lined up about 15 minutes prior to our wave time.  Unfortunately, people were getting into waves they didn’t sign up for so I ended up waiting an extra 45 minutes.  On the plus side, it warmed up into the 50’s by the time my wave started.

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3….2….1….And we’re off! 3.6 muddy miles of barbed wire, rope climbs, swimming and FUN.  Because of all the rain earlier in the week, most of the course was under at least  1″+ of water so my shoes were soaked before the first obstacle.  Also, because of the rain, it was hard to tell some of the pits that the Warrior Dash had dug out until you saw someone fall waist deep into what you previously thought was solid ground.

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This was the first & last picture my hubby took before the finish line. The course was completely out of the spectator’s view.

After 10ish minutes (no Garmin = no accurate time) I came to my first obstacle which was the barbed wired crawl.  The trick to this one is to keep your butt low to the ground which for some reason is hard for me. I got snagged a few times but made it out with my clothes in tact.

In the effort of NOT turning this post into a book, I’m just going to post pictures of the remaining obstacles.

These were the obstacles. (If you can't tell, it's from their post race survey.)

These were the obstacles. (If you can’t tell, it’s from their post race survey.)

Storming Normandy. Reeeeeeal barbed wire.

Storming Normandy.
Reeeeeeal barbed wire.

Trenches I wasn't a fan of this one. I couldn't see the end of the tunnel and felt incredibly claustrophobic.

Trenches
I wasn’t a fan of this one. I couldn’t see the end of the tunnel and felt incredibly claustrophobic with so much mud on top of me.

Vertical Cargo Climb. Super easy - thankfully!

Vertical Cargo Climb.
Super easy – thankfully!

Deadweight Drifter. Must know how to swim! (And be able to tolerate frigid water, too.)

Deadweight Drifter.
Must know how to swim! (And be able to tolerate frigid water, too.)

Giant Cliffhanger Should have been super easy but the mud makes it super slippery.

Giant Cliffhanger
Should have been super easy but the mud makes it super slippery.

Meeeeee on the  backside of the Clif Hanger.

Meeeeee on the backside of the Clif Hanger.

Warrior Roast Meh, highly overrated.

Warrior Roast
Meh, highly overrated.

MuddyMayhem_1

Muddy Mayhem
This was my absolute favorite obstacle! Right before you finished you had to crawl through a ton of sloshy mud.

Me crawling/sliding through Muddy Mahem.

Me crawling/sliding through Muddy Mahem.

There were a few obstacles that I couldn’t find pictures on but you get the idea.  After running, jumping, crawling and pulling myself over things, I had finally made it to the finish line.  Bruised, beaten but so pleased with myself.  I had totally underestimated the difficulty of the Warrior Dash; it was definitely a team effort (which included random strangers, too) because there were some obstacles that were impossible to do without help.

warrior dash

After collecting my medal I headed to the shower area (a large pond) to try to get some of the crud off before going home. I had mud in places I didn’t even know was possible…. All-in-all, this was a fantastic event that I would do again in a heartbeat.  It was difficult but not too difficult for a first time mud runner.

Awesome race shirt! We also got a fuzzy horned hat but I didn't think to take a picture of that.

Awesome race shirt! We also got a fuzzy horned hat but I didn’t think to take a picture of that.

Be prepared to have VERY attractive post race legs.

Be prepared to have VERY attractive post race legs.

Warrior Dash Do’s and Don’ts

Do:

  • Be a team player. Unless you are racing this event to win, stop and help your fellow mud runners when they’re struggling. Chances are there’s an obstacle up ahead that you’ll need help conquering.
  • Wear shoes you want to donate. ‘Nuff said.
  • Wear your hair in a braid (if you have long hair). Trust me on this one; it a lot easier to wash the muck out of your hair if it’s braided vs. loose in a ponytail.
  • Bring extra towels. And clothes…and shoes (preferably flip flops).
  • Take a before picture. This will be priceless when coupled with your after picture.
  • Look up the course obstacles in advance. It’s good to have a plan of attack before you get to the obstacle.
  • Get to your corral early so you can get in front. 
  • Be prepared for cuts, scratches and mega bruises.  Think of them as battle wounds.
  • Have fun! Embrace this event and all of it’s muddy gloriousness.

Don’t:

  • Bring your phone unless you want a new one.  You will be crawling through water and mud on your belly and sliding through water and mud on your back. Plus you will need both of your hands.
  • Race it for a certain time.  The running part is fine but be prepared to wait your turn at the obstacles. They get incredibly backed up.
  • Wear fashion tights or leggings. While fashion tights/leggings are very cute, they rip incredibly easily – especially on barbed wire. Wear athletic leggings/capris instead. They are made for more strenuous activity and are a bit thicker. There was a girl on Saturday that had to run the entire race with her bum hanging out because she went for the cute tights. 😦
  • Wear makeup. Unless it’s like extra waterproof and it’s in some awesomely warrior-like design. Otherwise, let the mud be your makeup. Some people pay top dollar in spas for the treatment you’re about to receive.
  • Jump right into the middle of the mud pit. Unless you have a strategy out. (And climbing over the poor person stuck next to you isn’t a strategy.)  If you jump into the middle, you will get stuck immediately and not be able to climb out.  Stick to the outside edges.
  • Be afraid. You knew what you were getting into when you signed up. Now is no time to be scared. It’s going to be hard but it’s going to be a blast. And the best part? You won’t get in trouble with your mom for getting your clothes dirty.

Don’t forget that today is the last day to enter my ViewSPORT sweat activated t-shirt giveaway!

Zombie Run Recap

I was a zombie…and I ran.  Quickest recap ever! You’re welcome.

Haha.  You didn’t actually think I would do that to you did you?  Of course not.  Brevity has never been my strong suit.  Just ask my parents.   Or my husband.  Or my friends…

From the minute I learned that Zombie Run, LLC, was coming to Mississippi, I knew I wanted in on the fun.  So when I was offered a bib in exchange for my opinion, I jumped on it! Free race?? OK!

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For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Zombie Run, the basic premise is that it pits zombies against runners in an epic apocalypse type event.  Runners try to ‘survive’ and zombies try to ‘kill’ the runners – think flag football style.  Runners also have to conquer obstacles throughout the 5k run which ups the survivability anty.  It’s all in good fun though and proceeds go to benefit the Smile Train.  Registrants have the option to choose whether they want to me a zombie (makeup provided) or a runner so it’s really a friendly event for all fitness levels.  My decision took about 2.5 seconds….ZOMBIE!! (Please, I’m a runner every other race.)

bib

Saturday morning I woke up and headed to the Harrison County Fairgrounds to meet some of my favorite Gulf Coast bloggers Larisa, Mindy, Holly, and Melanie to have a bloody good time playing zombies and chasing runners.  We all got to the event about 1.5 hours early to get zombiefied.  I went the whole Walking Dead route with my costume and tried to get some natural color realistic clothing. I found a drab dress at the Salvation Army for $3 – score! Larisa and Melanie did a whole Risky Business style.

Pre zombiefication

Larisa, me (and my $3 dress) and Melanie.

After picking up our packets and trying to figure out where to go we finally headed over to  the makeup area.  A super cute make-up artist named Megan did my makeup; I told her to just have fun.

makeup

Megan and Larisa

in progress

Wondering what I got myself into….

Ze final product.{I think I look more like I've been in a car wreck then a zombie}

Ze final product.
{I think I look more like I’ve been in a car wreck then a zombie}

What was really strange was that there were no mirrors which mean none of us could see what we really looked like.  That may have been a good thing.  After makeup we made sure to snap some pictures.

Zombie horde 1

Then a ‘zombie wrangler’ led us out to our part of the course.  It was really funny being in complete zombie makeup and walking past the runners.  I snarled at a few and gave others some pretty ‘hungry’ looks.

The zombie wrangler dropped us off at our area (we were at the end of the course) and explained what we were supposed to do.   As runners came into our area, they had a chance to earn flags (flags = life) back by running into our zombie horde and finding a nerf arrow.  They then had to climb this monstrosity and shoot a zombie.  For each zombie they hit, they got an extra flag.

This was part of the obstacle.  Runners had to climb up it and then shoot us.

This was part of the obstacle. Runners had to climb up it and then shoot us.

Quality control. I haaaaaaaaaaad to test it, right?

Quality control. I haaaaaaaaaaad to test it, right?

Since we were close to the end, we had a lot of time to kill (HA!) before the runners came.  So what did we do? Well, there was a little zombie yoga and also some Harlem Shaking, zombie style, going on.  Way too much fun!

What?? Zombies do yoga, too.

What?? Zombies do yoga, too.

Ready to rock-n-roll.  Bring on the brains!

Ready to rock-n-roll. Bring on the brains!
PS – We formally adopted ‘PJ Guy’ into our group. He was hilarious!

About 10:20 we started to get the first wave of fresh meat runners.  I was positioned between the arrow/shooting obstacle and some large palates they had to hurdle over.  Melanie and I teamed up to try to get the flags before they jumped the palates.  While my costume was very zombie authentic, wearing a dress and sandals wasn’t necessarily ideal for chasing runners.  I gave it my best shot and did snag a few flags.

Runners

Runners

I really had a great time egging on the runners and I surprised quite a few with my speed and agility in a dress.  There were a lot of ‘oh crap, she’s fast!’ Teach them to underestimate me. Pfft.  I also got a lot of ‘you’re too cute to be a zombie,’ ‘you’re the cutest zombie ever,’ ‘you have the best hair,’ and even ‘are you single?’  Apparently, I’m a lot cuter with zombie makeup on than I am in real life – lol!! If you ever want a confidence boost, be a zombie.

I had a blast chasing everyone but after about 2 hours of being in the direct sun (ZERO shade) we all started to wonder where our replacement shift was.  A lot of the other zombies had already left but there were still runners coming so I felt obligated to stay.  What fun is a zombie run without any zombies? This is one part of the race that definitely needs a bit of revamping for next year.   Another 15-20 minutes went by without any replacements and I was starting to get somewhat dizzy. Low blood sugar,& no food since breakfast 4 hours earlier led me and the rest of our group to walk back to the finisher’s area.  As we were walking back, we passed our replacements.  2 1/2 hours of running and lunging in the hot sun is way too long.  We grabbed our finisher’s medal and t-shirts.

-Finisher-This was supposed to be my mean face.  I look pitiful, not mean...

-Finisher-
This was supposed to be my mean face. I look pitiful, not mean…

Once we made it back to the finisher’s area, we ran into Heather who had come to run it.  Previously, we had all decided to run the race after we were done being zombies but the other girls were tired and had a half marathon in the morning so they headed home.

eating heather

Did someone say lunch?

They had great bands playing all day. I think a couple even got married - zombie style.

They had great bands playing all day. I think a couple even got married – zombie style.

I stayed to “run” it with Heather.  And I’m so glad I did.  We had a blast tackling obstacles together! It was all about teamwork and fun.  For a full recap on the run portion, check out Heather’s post.

Heather and I

Mid run photo op

I have to admit that after all the running and lunging earlier, I didn’t do much running during the 5k.  I was still in my zombie makeup and outfit and figured out pretty quickly that if you scream “You can’t touch me, it’s cannibalism” it confused the other zombies and they left my flags alone.  And yes, in case you’re wondering, I did do the run and obstacles in my dress.  I have no shame….Sorry, Mom.

obstacle

Heather and I finished and got our “Survivor” medal (I had previously gotten the “Infected” medal for being a zombie) and then we headed to the finisher’s fest to rehydrate.  Unfortunately all they had was beer.  It was pretty strange not to have any water or Gatorade or anything.

medals

Ok, so you weren’t supposed to get both medals. BUT I was one of the last waves of runners and they had tons of survivor medals left. Sorry…not sorry.

Overall, I adored this run! There were a few snafus (being on the course too long, lack of free drinks & food at the finisher’s fest) but I would sign up again in a flash. If you’re thinking of doing this run – go for it! If you’re a runner, I recommend that you get in the earliest wave possible since the zombies are fresh and ready for action.  We (the zombies) weren’t quite as active during the later waves.  And finally, if you’re going to do this run, talk everyone you know into going with you.  The more you have in your group, the more fun you’re going to have! Oh, and wear sunscreen.

My lovely new sunburn pattern...

My lovely new sunburn pattern…

Question:  Have you ever done a zombie run?

Disclaimer – I was given a free entry to this run in exchange for my opinion.

Weekend Fun

I almost hate writing this post because it means that the weekend is officially over. {insert pitiful trombone fanfare}  It was an absolutely gorgeous weekend; one of those weekend where you’re only inside your house at night.  Spring bliss, I tell ya.

Friday, my work had a St. Patrick’s Day luncheon complete with some afternoon fun so I really feel like I got an early jump on the weekend.

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Don’t ever ask me to decorate; this is what happens.

Saturday I woke up and got ready for my local St. Patrick’s Day 5k.  Since I have a 1/2 marathon in two weeks, I really wanted to get a little longer run than 3.1 miles so I parked my car a couple miles away from the race and ran to the start. I had previously decided not to race this 5k so I wasn’t worried about my legs being tired.  Originally, I was supposed to pace my stepsister but she ended up not being able to make it.

My semi-festive outfit.

My semi-festive outfit.

The race was scheduled to start at 9:30; I got there about 25 minutes before it started and found my running buddy Stacey.  She had already picked up my bib and had a bottle of water waiting for me. I tell ya, I have the best running friends!  This race has a bad reputation for being a bit disorganized and running out of things (t-shirts, water, etc.) so I wasn’t surprised to learn that they had run out of t-shirts for the 2nd year in a row. {start rant} Call me crazy, but if I pre-register for an event, that means there is a shirt in my size that was ordered for me.  Right? {end rant}  They’re supposed to order more and mail them out.

Gigantic clover on City Hall.  Classy, Biloxi, very classy.

Gigantic clover on City Hall. Classy, Biloxi, very classy.

Stacey and I lined up about 9:20ish and the temp was already in the upper 60s.  Perfect weather for enjoying the day, but hot for racing.  Shortly after 9:30 we started running.  It was super congested, according to the results page there were just under 800 runners/walkers.  This is just a little bitty local running club so there are no corals which means most of mile one was spent dodging and weaving between slower people.

The course was pretty, taking us through the downtown area.  Some of it was shaded, a lot of it wasn’t.  I was feeling pretty good until I got to mile 2.  This is where I started having a lot of issues with the remnants of my bronchitis.  My chest started aching when I took a deep breath and I was spitting up a lot of mucous (TMI, sorry).  I tried to keep my pace but ended up slowing down a bit.  I coasted into the finish at 27:23, an 8:49 pace according to my Garmin  The race wasn’t chip timed so I’m going with my Garmin.

I was pretty pitiful at the finish and I just wanted to find a spot to die; after a few minutes I felt better.  I’m so glad that I didn’t decide to race this 5k.  Honestly, even if I had tried to race it for a PR I wouldn’t have done much better.  That bronchitis and sinusitis really took me down for the count – but running the marathon was still worth it.

After the run, Stacey and I headed over to an event that was set up on the Town Green.  It was a barbeque cook off and there were tons of craft vendors.  So cute!  Then it was time for me to make head back to my car which was a couple miles away.  By that time it was almost 12 and 70 degrees out; it was definitely a hot run back to my car.  All-in-all, I logged 7.1 miles.

Then yesterday, the hubby and I took advantage of the amazing spring weather and drove up to our favorite trail.

Who says you need a fancy bike rack? Proof that two bikes can fit in a mid-size car.

Who says you need a fancy bike rack? Proof that two bikes can fit in a mid-size car.

It was 0% chance of rain with a high of 77; perfect weather for biking.  Apparently a lot of other people had the same idea.  There were so many people biking and running which absolutely made my day.  I love seeing people being active.

A few miles into the ride my hubby noticed some wild turkeys.  We pulled over to get a better look and I noticed this sign.  Take a look at the second to last line.  Yeah, I’d love to have them as my neighbors.  It was like something out of Deliverance and I kept listening for the creepy banjo music.  We didn’t linger long.

I guess they really have a problem with their neighbors.

I guess they really have a problem with their neighbors.

Sometime after that I noticed some random dark clouds and pointed them out to my husband who reassured me that it was 0% chance of rain.

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Well, around mile 10ish it started to sprinkle which then turned into an all out rain.  Now if we were in a Hollywood movie we would stumble across some abandoned barn and have a romantic tryst in the rain.  Well we live in the real world which means you seek shelter anywhere you can including sharing it with a family of four who is also trying to get out of the rain.

Yep, I'm soaked to the bone but still having a great time.

Yep, I’m soaked to the bone but still having a great time.

After a few minutes the rain stopped and we decided to head back.  The 2nd half of the ride was perfect.  The rain had cooled everything off and gotten rid of a lot of the bugs.  By the time we made it back to my car we had logged 22 miles.  Not bad for a Sunday.  Then we came home and took our dog for a walk; any excuse to be outside, right??  And now I’m officially starting the countdown until next weekend.  It’s going to be incredibly hot soon so I need to take advantage of it while I can.

Question:  Did you get to take advantage of being outside this weekend?  What about any St. Patrick’s Day races?

Rock-n-Roll Marathon: Part 2

Last week I mentioned that I wasn’t feeling well, thanks to the hubster, leading up to the race.  Saturday and Sunday I felt pretty good, not quite 100% but I’ve definitely felt worse.  Monday I woke up feeling like I had been hit by a Mack truck and then got progressively worse throughout the week.  I finally drug myself to the doctor yesterday when I started coughing up green stuff and it hurt to breathe.  Turns out that if you run a marathon while you’re sick, you can {and will} develop bronchitis and sinusitis.   Who knew?  My parting gift from the doc was a nice IM (intramuscular) shot of antibiotics in my rear (ugh!!), two prescriptions and a stern warning not to do anything physical. *facepalm*

I deserved a treat after that shot to the derriere.

I deserved a treat after that shot to the derriere.

Now, as promised, Part 2 of Rock-n-Roll NOLA.  The Finale:

Yesterday I left you hanging with part one of the recap right at the split between the marathoner and half marathoners.  It was so nice to go from being squished in like sardines to having room to move around without stepping on someone.  It was also at this point that the pavement leveled out; my feet and ankles couldn’t take the potholes and broken street much longer.

At mile 13 there were two guys running next to me and I told them, “Alright boys, this is where the race really starts.” They chuckled and told me not to beat them too badly with which I responded “You’ve got nothing to worry about.”  That statement was a bit of foreshadowing for what lied ahead.  Little did I know how much effort I was about to put forth to finish the next 13+ miles.

The second ½ of the race was an out and back.  Anybody who knows me know that I absolutely loathe courses like that.  Not only are they boring, but out and back courses are so psychologically damaging to me.   From the very first step I start looking for the turnaround point.

The purple at the bottom is where the 1/2 marathoners split; the red is the remaining full course.

The purple at the bottom is where the 1/2 marathoners split; the red is the remaining full course.

Mile 15 I started seeing the elites on their way back to finish the marathon; I cheered for the first few then realized they were all in the zone and I was probably annoying them.  The top male ran it in 2:28:23 and the top female 2:52:21.  I can’t even run a 5k at that fast of a pace!  I took another Huma Chia Energy Gel around this point to top off my glycogen levels.  {That stuff is the bomb, by the way.}

Mile 16 was where I first noticed the race really starting to wear on me.  It didn’t help that Mother Nature decided to play dirty and had us run straight into a horrible head wind which would last the next 6-7 miles.  I just kept thinking to myself, ‘you can’t be tired! You still have 10+ miles to go.’ I wasn’t expecting to have such negative thoughts so early in the race; when I ran the Marine Corps Marathon I didn’t experience any negative self-talk.

In the zone.{Side note: When I first saw this picture I freaked a bit because it looked like I had an extra finger}

In the zone.
{Side note: When I first saw this picture I freaked a bit because it looked like I had an extra finger.  I assure you, I only have 5.}

Then, as if the wind and negative self-talk weren’t bad enough, the “fast, flat course” that RnR had bragged became hilly.  The course took us over 4 overpasses (8 total since it was a bloody out and back) and while they weren’t super big hills they were still large hills that my already fatigued body had to over come.  On one of the bigger overpasses, I joked to a lady that ‘we had just made that hill our b*tch’; she wasn’t amused.

The next few miles all blur together.  I got a really awesome pick-me-up when I saw my friend Mel pass me on the back part of the course. I screamed and smiled like a crazy person.  FINALLY at mile 20 I made it to the turnaround. Yes!! Only a 10k left! My body was hurting pretty badly at this point but I was excited to know that I made it into the 20s.  I got another burst of energy from seeing my friends Stacey and then Lorena on their way to the turnaround.

After that I remembered passing the 35k mark (which would be mile 21.8ish) and I was crushed to know that I still had 15k left to go.  I couldn’t figure out how I was going to make it another 9.3 miles.  Apparently I had gone somewhat delirious with my math skills and thinking that a marathon was 50k (31 miles).  Thankfully it took me all of 30 seconds to figure out that I had just passed mile 22 which meant 4.2 miles NOT 9.3.  WHEW!  {Side note, this race really made me question my desire to run a 50k…..and my mathematical skills}

Taken after mile 22 right after I figured out that I only had 4ish miles left to run, not 9.3.

Taken after mile 22 right after I figured out that I only had 4ish miles left to run, not 9.3.  That’s the look of pure joy.

Mile 24 I opted for a potty stop.  I knew I was close to finishing but it was either stop or risk losing bladder control.  Let’s just say quickest potty break ever!  Right before mile 25 I passed my husband again; I managed to yell to him that I was really struggling.  He lied and told me I was looking good. ❤  Seeing him was really what I needed to finish.

After seeing my husband I knew that I had roughly 15 minutes left to run.  I tried to find any spare gas in my tank and crank out a strong finish.  And at exactly 4 hours, 18 minutes, and 50 seconds (a 9:50 overall pace) I hit 26.3 miles (yep, an extra tenth) and crossed that damn finish line!

Coming in for the finish.  Yeah, that's a forced smile...

Coming in for the finish. Yeah, that’s a forced smile…

I have never been so exhausted and happy to be done in my entire life.  I found my husband and promptly sat down.  Ouch.

Love this guy so much!{best husband ever}

Love this guy so much!
{best husband ever}

I can honestly say that this race took everything I had both physically and mentally.  It was a totally different experience from the Marine Corps Marathon where the race didn’t feel challenging at all.  I immediately found my husband and gave him the biggest hug and kiss.  Then we waited for my two running girls to finish.  Stacey rocked a 27 minute PR and Lorena can now call herself a marathoner.  So proud of these girls!

Finally, it was time for my favorite part of the race….leaving!  We waited in line to get bused back the to starting line.  I had to chuckle because you could totally tell the marathoners from the 1/2 marathoners by the length of time it took them to get up and off the bus.

Buses

Buses, buses and more buses.
You can tell from the picture that the weather had turned nasty, too.

And then it was time to get our grub on!  All that running left me with a huge appetite.  We ended up eating at Hard Rock Café and it was delicious. The food was delicious, not Hard Rock.  Although I was hungry enough I threatened to eat part of Hard Rock while waiting for my food.

Vest worn by Mick Jagger.

Vest worn by Mick Jagger.

Pulled pork, cole slaw and baked bean (I didn't eat much of the fries) made this girl very happy!

Pulled pork, cole slaw & baked bean (I was too full for the fries) made my tummy verrrrrrrry happy!

As far as races or race courses go, this wasn’t my favorite.  The ½ marathon course was amazing but the full course left a lot to be desired.  The bands were far and few between as were the spectators; it got pretty lonely out there.  Although, the first half of the course was amazing.  While the streets in New Orleans are incredibly hard on feet and ankles (as evidenced by rolling my left ankle three times) they do provide beautiful, historic sights.  I wouldn’t discourage anyone from doing this race.  New Orleans is a great racation city; so much to do…..and eat!  Just be prepared to be incredibly bored on the second half of the race, that is, if you’re doing the full.

I’ve had plenty of time over the past few days to look back and reflect on this race.  The positives and negatives, what I could have done differently, what I will do differently next time.  I can honestly say, with the exception of the pre-race potty fail adding 4 minutes, that I couldn’t have done anything differently during this run.

Usually when I finish a race I feel like I could have given more, pushed further, but I can say with complete confidence that I gave those 26.2 miles everything I had; I left it all on the course.  I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing that ‘all I had’ resulted in a 4:18:50 finish but I’m certainly not losing any sleep over it.  There will be other marathons in my future, ones that I will train harder for and run faster at but for this particular race, I’m happy with the result and proud of myself.  And I think that’s a lesson that I needed to learn; to respect and appreciate each race as it is.

My pretty new bling that will get put with the others behind my husbands ties.  I should really fix that.

My pretty new bling that will get put with the others on my hubby’s tie rack behind his ties. I should really fix that.

Question:  What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned during an endurance Furevent? 

Rock-n-Roll NOLA Expo

After writing about how disappointed I was with the Rock-n-Roll series being all about the money on Friday, my running girls and I headed over to the expo to pick up our bibs and shirts.  After driving around in circles for a bit (navigating New Orleans isn’t the easiest) we finally found a place to park and headed into the convention center.

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We snaked our way through the convention center, admist a muck (ok, maybe that word is a bit harsh) of pre-teen cheerleaders in WAY too heavy makeup; apparently there was a cheer competition or something going on, too.

The first stop at the expo was picking up the bibs and doing a last minute corral change.  When I had registered for this back in May I put 4:30 as my estimated finish time; however, my goal was to break 4:30 so I moved up two corrals.

Marathon #2 in less then 18 hours! EEEEP

Marathon #2 in less then 18 hours! EEEEP

After the last minute corral change, it was we headed to pick up our shirts.  I have to give RnR props because their expo is expertly executed.  Before you can enter the vendor booths you have to pick up your bib, swag bag and tee’s.

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Awesome participant tee. I looooove it!!

Then it was time for the FREEEEEBIES!! And the expo did not disappoint with the freebies.  We stopped at the Brooks store first where I won a free cotton tee and my friend Stacey won a pair of free shoes. HECK YES!!

We stopped at different booths and sample various products.  I headed to the Perform Pain Relief booth and was incredibly surprised to find that they were handing out full size products…Um, yes please!

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After taking some silly pictures, we headed over the the KT Tape booth.  My friend Lorena has been having some horrible IT band issues and her massage therapist recommended she get taped before the race.  I had decided to get taped too to see if it would help with my foot issues.  I was somewhat skeptical but knew I’d find out soon enough.  I figured that even if it failed, the KT Tape still looked cool.

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I have to admit, I felt slightly like a legit athlete with this stuff on…

Then it was time to take all of our freebies and bid adieu to the expo.  My running girls and I were starving and we still had to check into the hotel.

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Scccchhhhwaaaag!

After navigating the parking garage from hell we finally arrived at our hotel.  We ditched our race gear and headed to find some grub.  We had decided ahead of time to eat at Chef John Besh’s restaurant, Domenica.

Outside of Domenca.  It was gorgeous.

Outside of Domenica. It was gorgeous.

And like the true non-city dwellers we are, none of us thought to call ahead for reservations.  We got there just before 7 and they said they wouldn’t have a table until 10. Whaaaaaaaaat? My tummy needed food ASAP.  So we ended up ordering at the bar and then heading back to the hotel.  I ordered the Calabrese pizza which was thin crust topped with spicy salami, fresh mozzarella, capers & olives.  Maybe not the smartest pre-race meal (sodium wise) but it ’twas yummy.

mmmmmmmmmmm Get in mah bellay

mmmmmmmmmmm
Get in mah bellay

And then it was time for bed.  I knew those 26.2 miles weren’t going to run themselves in the morning.  After all was said and done, I had finally started to get excited about running my 2nd marathon.

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Ready to Rock-n-Roll!

Question:  What do you do at expos? Do you take advantage of the freebies or just get your race stuff and go?

Looking Ahead

I hope y’all had a lovely Valentine’s Day! Hubby and I aren’t really into such a commercialized holiday so we kept it low key and enjoyed some wine and fantastic steaks.  I married a man that can throw down on the grill.

I did get some really beautiful roses. <3

I did get some really beautiful roses. ❤

I can’t believe it but tomorrow is my last long(ish) run before Rock-n-Roll New Orleans – EEK!  I say long(ish) because it’s only 10 miles.  I know the people who came up with tapering know what they’re talking about but I get a bit nervous that my legs are going to go dumb and forget how to run.

Also, during taper, I find myself with lots of extra time which leads to looking to the future and planning more things to do.  {side note: There are a TON of cool races out there.}  I’m what I like to call a spontaneous planner.  I really love having races on my calendar (gives me something to look ahead to) but I also am guilty of spur of the moment or impulse registering.

Case in point, last week I added two new events to my race calendar and have a third event in the works.  To remind myself that money doesn’t grow on trees, I thought it would be good to look at what I have coming up next month and also what I goals I plan to conquer.

These are the two major goals I want to accomplish in March & April:

  1. Go to an actual crossfit class.
  2. Take swimming lessons.

I have been wanting to try crossfit for awhile now but didn’t want to risk injury during marathon training.  Now that I don’t have that excuse, bring on the pain!

My newest fitness items.  Weight lifting gloves and a jump rope.

My newest fitness items. Weight lifting gloves and a jump rope.

As for the swimming lessons, in order to even consider a triathlon I need to be able to do more then doggie paddle or float while holding a drink with a little umbrella in it.  I can swim, but not proficiently.  I have a small, very small, triathlon that I’ve been eyeballing for May but I’m not registered for it yet.

And these are the events that I’m looking forward to:

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2/24 Rock-n-Roll Marathon (full), New Orleans, LA.   This will be my last marathon until November.  Apparently I’m a masochist because I’m really going to miss training.

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3/30 Viking 1/2 Marathon, Greenwood, MS.  The same event company that put on last week’s half in Greenville is doing this one.  I have high hope for this half to be just as amazing!

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4/6 Zombie Run, Gulfport, MS.  Oooooooh yes! I will be in full zombie costume (clothes & makeup) chasing runners.  This is just going to be way too much fun! Proceeds go to benefit the smile train which helps children with cleft paletes.

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4/13 Yoga for Nonviolence, Ocean Springs, MS.  It will be interesting going from being a violent zombie one weekend to a peaceful yogi the next.  I will be doing 108 Sun Salutations (YIKES!) in observation of nonviolence.

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4/20 Warrior Dash, Jackson, MS.  This is the last event I’m registered for and most likely will be the last big event until fall.  By the beginning of May, the heat is already so hot in South Mississippi that racing season is basically over.  I know I’ll want to move to Antarctica.  Call me crazy but I’m looking forward to jumping over fire and getting my fuzzy, horned hat.

So that’s everything, minus a few local races that I’m undecided about.  I’m hoping that I can just pull this post up whenever I get the itch to register for something new…Here’s hoping my logic works.

Oh, and I just have to show you one picture from the half marathon last week.  (Of course the professional pictures came out the day that I released my post…)  The picture was taken right before crossing the finish line and I think my smile says it all.  I rarely buy a professional race pic but this was such a special race that I think I might just get this one.

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Question:  What events do you have coming up that you’re excited about?

Mississippi River Inaugural Marathon (1/2) Recap

This past Saturday I ran the Inaugural Mississippi River {half} Marathon in Greenville, Mississippi.  I had decided to run the race in honor of my stepmom Starla’s ongoing battle with breast cancer.  She’s actually going back this morning for more surgery.  They thought they got everything with the double mastectomy last week but found a small amount of cancer in one of her lymph nodes.  We’re all praying that this will be the final surgery.539568_582279051800520_2118421503_n

Friday afternoon my running buddy Stacey and I made the 5 ½ hour drive up to Greenville.  We arrived at packet pickup and were greeted by amazing friendly volunteers.  In just a matter of minutes we got our bibs, shirt and some freebies (GU chomps and a cowbell) then headed to find some last minute cold weather gear.

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Apparently Stacey and I both missed the memo that it was going to be FREEZING race morning.  Whoops.  We found some adorable gloves on clearance at JCPenney but no head gear.  Then it was time to grab some grub.  We went to a restaurant, Garfields, in the mall (where packet pickup was) and waited….and waited…and waited for our food.  It finally came but wasn’t anything special.  However, it was food which I guess is all that really mattered.

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My turkey avocado sandwich with very little turkey and basically no avocado.
And french fries I didn’t want…

Stacey and I headed to the hotel to get ready for an early morning wakeup call.  Since this was a point-to-point race the runners had to be bused to the starting line.  We had been cautioned several times through e-mails to make sure to be at the buses no later then 6:30 or risk being left Saturday morning.  We made it to the bus area by 6 and hopped on.  I have never been so happy to be on a school bus in my life; it was 35* degrees outside and I was in a skirt.  Fantastic planning, Gina.

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We made the 13ish mile trek to the starting line in Arkansas and were treated to a beautiful sunrise.

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herding area

I enjoy the irony of the picture. The check out the sign.
The way the buses lined up, it really felt like herding area for the runners.

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The downfall of being bused in was that we had roughly 1.5 hours of waiting time before the start.  I snapped some pictures and tried not to freeze.

Brrrr

Before I knew it we were lining up for the start.  I had my sub 2 hour goal in mind but I really doubted that I was going to be able to do it; especially since I would be squaring off against an incredibly strong {and cold} headwind.  See the thing about running in the Delta is that it’s all open plains; no trees or buildings to block the wind.  On the plus side, the Delta is incredibly flat.  The only incline was the bridge and that was basically flat, too.

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Ready to run but I can’t feel my legs…or my toes…or my nose…

3…..2….1….. And we were off.  I knew that I would need to maintain around a 9:10 pace to get my sub 2 goal but I wanted to give myself a bit of wiggle room so I planned to keep it around 9.  The first 2 ½ miles took us over the Mississippi River; the bridge was absolutely gorgeous.  Looking up and seeing the suspension beams was so cool.

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Miles 3-6 were the absolute toughest for me.  My toes were numb and I was having fairly bad calf pain, most likely from not stretching / warming up properly.  Coupled with the headwind I really thought about ditching my sub 2 goal and just using this race as the training run for the marathon in 2 weeks.  Then I thought about my stepmom and how she couldn’t give up with her fight.  I felt terrible having even considered backing down.

Mile 7 was where I put my big girl panties on and stopped internally whining. I had been watching my splits and knew that I could still pull off a sub 2.  I decided to lose myself in the run and just have fun.  The crowd support was amazing and I was having a blast high-fiving any poor soul that happened to put their hand out in my direction.  I thanked the volunteers at the water stops and shook a few of the police officers hands for directing traffic.  The next time you’re running, thank the people who are helping out, race volunteers are seriously amazing!

Mile 10 came and I knew that there was only a 5k left.  I remember actually feeling a bit disappointed knowing I only had 27ish minutes left to run; however I was also excited because I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was going to get the sub 2.  I wasn’t fatigued at all and knew I could pick it up a bit. {side note: When you’re just getting into a groove by mile 10, you know you’re made for marathons.}

Mile 13 came and I finally caught a glimpse of the finish line.  Sweetness.  I kicked the speed up and coasted to the finish line at a 7:53 pace for a finish time of 1:58:24.  I’m not usually an emotional runner (I didn’t even tear up after I finished the MCM in memory of my brother) but I actually got a bit choked up thinking about Starla and everything she had just gone through with the double mastectomy.  She is such an amazingly strong and courageous woman and inspired me throughout the entire run.  I was proud of my sub 2 finish but even more proud of Starla.

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splits

My {negative} splits.
You can see where I was having trouble with the early miles.

Stacey also finished very strong (especially for being sick all week) at 2:06.  After the race, a friend of ours that lives in Greenville surprised us.  It was so great seeing her and getting a quick hug.  Then we all headed over to get some food and chocolate milk.

Laura

Donuts

My overall impression with this race is that it was amazing.  With inaugural events you never really know what to expect but the event staff did a great job building hype and then living up to that hype.  From packet pickup, to the finish line, and everything in between, this race was exceptional.  There were plentiful aid stations, volunteers, and phenomenal crowd support with lots of cheers for the runners.  You could tell that the entire town really took pride in this race.  I think this inaugural event was just the tip of the iceberg and that it’s going to become a ‘must-do’ race in this area.  I can’t wait to see how awesome it is next year!

Question:  Have you ever fought hard for a goal? How did you feel once you reached it?