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Lagniappe

5 Apr

In Louisiana, we use the word “lagniappe” (pronounced LAN-YAP) a lot. It means “a little something extra.” Today’s post is just that…here are bits and pieces of what has been going on this week…

I am working the expo for the Crescent City Classic in New Orleans today, but I wanted to leave you with a few blog goodies…

FAST FACTS
The Crescent City Classic is the 6th largest 10k in the United States. This year, they are expecting over 18,000 runners! Wow! This year is the 34th running of the Crescent City Classic. For runners in Louisiana, this is a “must-do” race!

BLOGS I’M LOVING THIS DAYS
I’ve been house-bound since Baby Key has been sick this week, so I have been catching up on the following blogs…
The Wannabe Athlete
Running With Sass
Black Girls RUN!
Garden Variety TRI
Pavement Runner
No Meat Athlete
Stories of a Slow Triathlete
Twelve in Twelve
Vanessa Runs

In light of all the news of pink slime (GROOOOOOOOOODIE!), I am really considering becoming a vegetarian/vegan. I know this will be a drastic lifestyle change and will be difficult for me, but I am so tired of being continuously grossed out by what is going on with the meat packing industry.

I have to get back to work, but here is a little motivation to boost your running mojo…

And lastly, don’t forget that it is not too late to get in on the sweet Couch to 10k running plan! We are only in Week 2! Come run with me!

What has been keeping YOU busy this week?

2011 Crescent City Classic 10k

25 Apr

Okay, so I’m not a slacker. I promise.

I left Tad Gormley Stadium in New Orleans on Saturday morning with every intention to immediately find a wi-fi hotspot, write my blog, and post my pics from the race. But, this pregnancy fatigue completely got the best of me. I’m really having a hard time getting used to it. Before, I could knock out a 10k and then go ride my bike, do some laundry, hit up the grocery store, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Apparently, by Sunday my pregnancy fatigue graduated to full-on pregnancy narcolepsy because I felt like a total ZOMBIE. Seriously, it was all I could do to make it through Sunday School and Easter service. I may have even caught a few zzz’s mid-service (please don’t tell on me). 

Alas, here is my race recap. Ready for it? It’s long. 🙂 Here we go, kids.

Brent and I started our morning at 5:00AM and (amazingly) managed to get dressed, car packed, and moving by 5:30AM. Mr. Key is not exactly an early morning person, so I was VERY impressed with his “up and at ‘em” spirit this morning.

We made it into the Crescent City around 7:00AM (we stopped for breakfast, of course) and parked near the finish of the race at Delgado Community College. This was the exact same set up as the Rock N Roll Mardi Gras Marathon back in February, so we were in familiar territory. After we parked, we started making our way toward the shuttles.

This is where I noticed all these people pulling out money. I thought, “Oh, this is going to suck because I KNOW we have no change on us.” And then I hear a guy standing on a bench yelling that the FREE shuttles were only a block farther down. Surprisingly, even after hearing this, people still stood in the PAY shuttle line. Hey people, I’m sorry, but in case no one clued you in, you’re here to run a 10k. Use the ol’ noggin and walk the extra block to hop on the FREE shuttle!

The line for the shuttle moved super fast and before I knew it, I was on the bus and headed to the Quarter. We got dropped off about half a mile from the start, which made for a nice little warm up. Right as I made my way to the starting line I realize I had to pee…BADLY. Perfect timing, right? I look over to the port-a-pottys and realize the line is practically around the block. Awesome. Thinking on my feet, I remembered walking past a bar that had people in the windows just up the street. (That’s right, a bar was open at 8:00AM. It’s New Orleans, no big deal.) I strolled down the street and was able to walk right on in and do my business. Not that it was all that much better than the port-a-potty, but it flushed and I could wash my hands (BONUS!). Back to the starting line.

The corral area was madness. Seriously, people were EVERYWHERE. I tried to find my other #RunLA peeps, but no one could get a signal. It was so hot while I was waiting, I ended up drinking all of my sports drink before the race even started. This sort of bummed me out because my doctor said its important that I drink a lot of sports drink during my races. I thought for sure my 12oz Amphipod would be enough, and I’m sure it would have been, had I not been standing around in temperatures hotter than the face of the sun for an hour.

Runners at the start line!

Runners at the start line!

Shortly after 8:30AM, me and my 22,000 new running buddies started making our shuffle to the start of the race. We started right in front of Jackson Square. Though this is a bad picture, I really love Jackson Square. This is where Mr. Key and I were married last year.

Jackson Square

Jackson Square

Let me just say this. The Crescent City Classic is NOT a race you run if you’re looking to set a PR. There are just too many people. Plus, it really is more of a booze cruise than a “race”. No matter how early you line up, you WILL find yourself behind a stroller-pushin’ soccer mom (or ten) who has never run a day in her life and doesn’t think to line up BEHIND the people who look like regular runners. However, I digress…

Since most people weren’t lined up properly, the whole first mile was the “start line shuffle”. With all those people, it took at least that long for the pack to sort of thin out and runners to settle into their grooves. I didn’t mind it though, as I was taking my time on this race anyway.

Overall, the route was really nice and I enjoyed that there were a lot of portions that were shaded. The first couple miles in the French Quarter was fun. I really liked the straight shot of mile 4 down Esplanade. Easy run and nice scenery!

At the Claiborne overpass, one of my fave New Orleans party bands, The Bucktown All-Stars, were cranking out some tunes for the runners. My friend, Ryan Thibodaux, plays the trumpet, and my brother, Mike, and sister-in-law, Mayda, are Hotsteppas! It was so fun seeing them and I visited with them for a few minutes before running on. I was tempted by one of those yummy looking Hubig’s pies (a NOLA staple), but the thought of downing a lemon pasty and then running another few miles wasn’t really appealing.

The Bucktown All-Stars

The Bucktown All-Stars


Hotsteppa Flag Girl

Hotsteppa Flag Girl

The last mile or so of the races was exactly the same as the Rock N Roll Mardi Gras Marathon, so once I made the turn and started heading down the mall area, I knew I was almost done. At this point, you should have seen how many people looked like they were about to just keel over! YIKES!

The finish line was big and there were lots of photographers from Marathon Foto taking pics. I’m sure mine will come out awful. I mean, really, who has a good “runners face?” The finishers area was packed and I really wish there had been better signage as to where the crowd was supposed to be going and where water was. Surprisingly, there really wasn’t much water right at the finish. Finally I found a lady handing out Gatorade and decided that would do the trick. Also, Brown’s Dairy was handing out chocolate milk, so I snagged one of those.

Recovering like a champ!

Recovering like a champ!

Normally, chocolate milk after a hot run would sound super nasty, but I recently read an article in Fitness Magazine that said it could actually help your body recover BETTER than a sports drink after exercise. So, I decided to give it a try. I haven’t had chocolate milk in years, and the jury is still out on if it helped me recover better, but it sure did taste good!

At the Finish Line Festival, I met up with my other #RunLA running peeps at the Varsity Sports banner. We ate (red beans and rice, jambalaya, Subway, etc.), we drank (water, Gatorade, chocolate milk, Abita beer, and champagne), and we partied. The band playing on the Times-Picayune stage was great and good times were had by all.

#RunLA

#RunLA

Overall, would I recommend this race for setting a PR? No way. However, would I recommend this race for having a crazy-good time with your running friends? HECK YES! Sign me up for next year! Especially if this dynamic duo promises to be there again… 😉

Awesome.

Awesome.

To see all of my pics from the 2011 Crescent City Classic, just click here!

Happy running, y’all!

Race Ettiquette

22 Apr

This morning I got a real treat! I got to get my daily run in this morning instead of the evening.  I’m so much better in the morning and I feel like I get so much more accomplished in my day with getting my workout over first.  I was able to get in 3.75mi in 41:41.  It’s funny, just a matter of months ago, this time would have seriously ticked me off.  But when you gain 15 pounds in a matter of weeks, the knees, calves, and ankles just don’t seem to move as fast.  Thanks a lot, Baby Key.  Thanks a whole heckuva lot.  *I kid, I kid…Totally worth the sacrifice.*

LSU Lakes

LSU Lakes

It was a quiet trip around the lake today.  I guess a lot of LSU students went home for the long Easter weekend.  I didn’t mind it though; it sort of gave me time to think about all the fun that tomorrow’s Crescent City Classic 10k in New Orleans is going to be.  And then I thought about ALL THE PEOPLE.

But, what I will have to prepare for are THE MASSES…which bring me to a few points on runners’ etiquette.  I have run a lot of races where I have encountered some super considerate runners, and then I have run races where there were some jerky runners.  Hands down, considerate runners make for the best possible experience for EVERYONE.

If you’re new to racing, here are a few things to keep in mind.

1.  Please, please, please…don’t be a race bandit.
See all those numbers pinned to runners’ shirts?  Those are race bibs.  Those people paid for those.  It’s not very nice to all the people who have put in effort into planning the race – race director, race committees, volunteers, etc. – if you just hop in for free.  Plus, when you pay, event organizers can keep track of how many people will actually be out on the course.  This helps them plan to have enough water, medical staff, and space for the expected number of runners.  I have never ever been a race bandit.  If you can’t afford the $20-$25 a typical 5k costs (and usually part of that goes to a charity or club), can’t you just run 3.1mi around your neighborhood?

2.  If you are running with a dog, small child or stroller, please do NOT get in the very front of the starting line. This isn’t usually a problem in larger races where there are waves based on estimated finish times, but I’ve seen it happen.  Please do not commit this faux pas, you will practically get run over.  It will only serve to anger the faster runner behind you and then you will be end up being the one thinking THEY are being rude.

3.  Don’t wear an ensemble that makes weird noises. No really, please don’t.  Where I used to run, there was an all-girl running group (that seemed to be at EVERY event I was) that would wear those jingly belly-dancing wraps around their waists.  It annoyed EVERYONE.  I couldn’t turn up my iPod loud enough to drown out the jingle-jangle of those skirts. Even worse, their cadence wasn’t the same as mine, but their pace was, so it always threw me off my game.

4.  If you are running a trail run or road race with a narrower path and you are running with a friend, please don’t feel the need to run next to them the ENTIRE time.  Faster runners may be coming up behind you and will be left with no way to get around you.  Going around you could cause them to be put in a dangerous or unsafe position.

5. When going into the finish chute or crossing the finish line, please just keep on moving.  Do not stop right in the finish area to chat with your friends, brag about your finish time, etc. I realize that sometimes you are asked to immediately stop and remove your chip.  If this is the case, please do so by stepping to the side.  Please don’t bend down smack dab in the middle.  You could easily be missed by another runner coming in and they could trip on you and injure themselves.  Or, if you are a runner like me, you push it a little harder when you get to the end.  And I’ll be honest, when I get into the finish, I HAVE to keep on walking to cool down properly.  If I don’t, I will barf on you I promise.  So unless you don’t mind vomit on your back, please keep moving forward.

6. In the hospitality area at the end of the race, please always thank the volunteers handing you water, bananas, oranges, etc.  They don’t have to be there and just taking something out of their hands without really acknowledging them is just rude.  It doesn’t take any time to smile and show your appreciation.

Just a few basic things, but I think they are good reminders for newbie runners and seasoned racers alike!  Let’s keep it fun and friendly, folks!

Happy running, y’all!

2011 Crescent City Classic 10k Expo

22 Apr

The 2011 Crescent City Classic 10k Expo this afternoon was TONS of fun! I’ll be the first to admit that I am a total running expo geek. I love love love checking out the booths of upcoming races in my area and seeing all booths with new gear for me to drool over.

The 2011 Crescent City Classic 10k Expo definitely did not disappoint! Granted, it wasn’t nearly as big as the expo for the Rock N Roll Mardi Gras Marathon, but the event isn’t as big, so that was expected.

My first stop was at The Louisiana Marathon booth where I got to chat with Craig Sweeney and Pat Fellows. They were super nice and really got me excited about The LA Marathon on January 15, 2012. I’m not sure I’ll be in full marathon racing mode by then with Baby Key arriving in November, but I’m might be able to squeak out the half marathon. *fingerscrossed*

Craig Sweeney and Pat Fellows

Next up was the Gulf Coast Half Marathon booth. I ran the Gulf Coast Half Marathon in Pensacola, FL just a few weeks ago and loved it. The medals are beer bottle openers! Super fun! There is a sister half marathon coming up in October on the Louisiana Northshore. Again, not sure that I’ll be up for it at 8 months pregnant, but hey, I’m not counting it out yet! Ha!

Gulf Coast Half Marathon

After that, I visited with Cesar Torres from Q50 Ultras and Jennifer Radecker from Louisiana Running Company. Cesar got me all jazzed up about the Q50 USA 2011 Bogue Chitto State Park. There will be 1mi, 5mi, and 10mi options, and with the June heat, I’m pretty sure I’ll be maxing out with the 5mi route. Jennifer and I chatted about KSwiss running shoes and about the cool KSwiss truck that visited the Happy’s Running Group in Baton Rouge on Tuesday night!

My last stop was a the One More Mile booth where I spied this jewel of a t-shirt:

One More Mile

I laughed because this shirt is SO me! What would I do without my Garmin Forerunner 405??

I was in a bit of a hurry, so I didn’t have a chance to swing by a lot of the booths…especially the one that smelled the best…the Blue Runner bean booth. Yes, I know it sounds weird to have a booth about red beans at a running expo, but this is South Louisiana, so its definitely not out of place here. Those red beans smelled DELICIOUS but my parking meter was running out of time and I had to boogie!

Overall, the expo was a lot of fun and I got to meet a lot of great people and put a lot of faces with names! Now I’m looking forward to the main event on Saturday morning!

Happy running, y’all!