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I’m back for a reNUUNion!

26 Jun

So today is my big return to blogging! Woo hoo! I’ve wrestled for a long time with firing the old girl up again or not…or at least posting an explanation of my quick departure…but then the days started passing by so quickly…and life happened…and I was too busy out there living it rather than staying inside and writing about it.

Before I roll right into my next adventure, I’ll say a VERY few words about where I’ve been all this time. In short, the responsibilities at my full-time job swelled tremendously (but I’m okay with it, because I love my job and I find it very fulfilling), my baby turned into a toddler who never stops and never sleeps (no, really, he never sleeps…we’re seeing a specialist), and my husband and I have decided to spend more time out on our community as a family. All of that being said, I probably won’t get back to blogging with the frequency I had before (which was almost daily) but I definitely want to make more of an effort since I really have missed the community and the outlet. I’m sure I’ll talk more about things that happened during my hiatus, but that will get written about over time.

So, what’s happening today?
Today I am off to Salt Lake City by way off Dallas. I’m headed to UT to run Ragnar Relay Wasatch Back with Nuun Hydration! I was lucky enough to land a spot on one of Nuun’s 2012 Hood to Coast teams and I’m so excited to have a chance to reunite with a couple of my former teammates and meet some ones!

I get to run with these two cool kids again…

If you’ve been keeping up with me on Instagram or Twitter during my blogging vacay (and I certainly hope you have!), you’ll know that since January of this year I have been working really, really hard to get the baby weight off. YES, I KNOW MY CHILD IS NOW 2 1/2 YEARS OLD…but, hey, it takes some women longer than others to drop that weight. And, for some of us, it takes TWO YEARS. (C’mon, I’m not alone here, right Jen-nai?) Regardless, the extra 25-30 pounds are gone and I’m feeling stronger than ever going into this event. I know that when going into a team event like this that it isn’t all about being the speediest runner on the planet, but I still want to perform well and feel like I’m contributing my best to my team. Honestly, I’ve never hit the paces I’ve been hitting lately…and, honestly, I never thought I could hit those paces. I’m running faster now than I ever did before my kiddo. Old dogs really CAN learn new tricks! WHO KNEW!?

Anyway…back to Ragnar Relay Wasatch Back…

I’m super stoked to get out of dodge for a couple of days for a little runcation. Participating in a Ragnar Relay has been on my bucket list for a while and I’m so excited that my first one is their “home race.” That’s right, the first ever Ragnar Relay was Wasatch Back, so I’m heading to where it all began!

I’m hoping my travel to UT will be smooth and everything will go as planned. Who am I kidding? “Murphy’s Law” might as well be my middle name, so we know it’s not going to be that easy. More on this later… 🙂

Enough about me…let me introduce you to my fellow…(drum roll, please!) 2014 Ragnar Relay Wasatch Back #NUUNjas!

(I’ve linked to their Twitter accounts — if they have them — so you can follow the action in real-time starting tomorrow at 12:30PM)

RUNNER #1: Meggan Roth
RUNNER #2: Katie Key (Is this a Katie Sandwich or a Meggan/Megan Sandwich?)
RUNNER #3: Megan Fay
RUNNER #4: George Okinaka
RUNNER #5: Cameron Smith
RUNNER #6: Carmen Hui
RUNNER #7: Sanita Ly-Smith
RUNNER #8: Keri Branca Treasure
RUNNER #9: Lisa Roehm-Gensel
RUNNER #10: Steve Beyer
RUNNER #11: Kayla Moothart
RUNNER #12: Tiffany Henness

OCTOBER: Run, Work, Run, Work…

3 Oct

Well, it is only the 3rd of the month, but October is shaping up to be busy, busy, BUSY!

October 3: International Walk to School Day
Did you know that today is International Walk to School Day? I didn’t either until my super awesome friend, Jil Littlejohn, who happens to be Greenville City Councilwoman, filled me in! Over the last several weeks, I have been coaching Jil to race her first 5k at the end of this month. We are currently in Week 5 of her 8-week training. Normally we run at Cleveland Park, near downtown Greenville, but today we ventured over to Nichol Town Green. The new route brought on lots of twists and turns and steep hills! After the run, we went over to the playground area where all of the children were gathering before heading off to school. Jil put on her City Councilwoman hat and helped present a check for $39,474 to the neighborhood. The money will go to making improvements to the trail so that the children will have a safe path to travel on to get to the school every day! Thanks, State Farm for helping to improve our community!
Walk to School Day
Walk to School Day
October 4 – 7: Chicago Marathon with Nuun Hydration (Chicago, IL)
I’ll be working the Nuun Hydration booth at the expo for the Chicago Marathon! If you will be there too, swing by Booth #584 and say hello! One of my best good friends, Valerie, will be running her very first marathon ever in Chicago and I cannot wait to cheer her on. Plus, I will get to see Jocelyn, one of my Nuun-mates from Hood to Coast, again! All around WIN!
Nuun Chicago Marathon
October 8 – 15: Ironman World Championships with Timex (Kona, HI)
If you missed the big announcement the other day, click here to find out all the details. Since then, I have received a sweet welcome kit from Timex! I received a pretty blue Timex Kona t-shirt, a commemorative Timex Ironman Kona watch, the promotional DVD from last year’s event, and a Visa gift card! I *love* the watch! This particular design/style is sold only at the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii and the social ambassadors are the first ones to receive them! AWESOME.
Timex Welcome Kit
October 18 – 21: Runner’s World Half Marathon (Bethlehem, PA)
I am so excited to be able to participate in this inaugural event! Again, I will get to reunite with a few of my Hood to Coast Nuun-mates…Elizabeth, Jess, and Laura! I will be going up a day ahead of time to participate in some blogger activities like a BBQ at the Runner’s World headquarters and a shakeout run with the editors of Runner’s World. This will be super fun! Plus, I will get to hang out with my boy, Bart Yasso again! Good times! If you have not signed up for this race, but want to register, use code BLOGGER23 to save 10%!
Runner's World Half Marathon Discount Code
October 27: Spinx Run Fest (Greenville, SC)
This is the big day for Jil and I! I will be pacing Jil during the Big Punkin 5k for the Spinx Run Fest. I have run the half marathon that is part of this running festival and I loved it! Maybe next year I will do the full marathon. Who knows, maybe next year I will be pacing Jil through the marathon! All of the races that are part of this running festival offer beautiful courses and I would highly recommend them if you are looking to run a race in SC! This is also the same weekend as the Marine Corps Marathon. My friend, Tess, will be running her first marathon there, so I will be cheering her on from afar!

October 31: Halloween!
This will be Baby Key’s first Halloween! Woo hoo! I am a total GEEK for Halloween, so we need to come up with a good costume for him! Should we do coordinating family costumes, or is that totally nerdy? What do YOU think?

WHEW! I’m exhausted just looking at all of this, so I better just take it one day at a time…


The Experience of a Lifetime

22 Aug

Note: For the next several days, I’ll be blogging from my iPad. Forgive me in advance for any weird formatting, wonky photos, etc. I’m doing the best I can. Promise!

ITS HERE. ITS REALLY HAPPENING. I AM NOT IN A DREAM. I AM REALLY GOING TO RUN HOOD TO COAST. Time to pull out the bucket list and scratch this one off!

As I am writing this, I am currently flying somewhere over the Midwest (I think) as I make my cross-country journey from South Carolina to Oregon for Hood to Coast! First of all, I have to say…and forgive me if this makes me sound a bit “country bumpkin come to town”-ish, but…IN-FLIGHT WI-FI ROCKS. And its free, which makes it rock even harder.

When I started packing yesterday, I felt like I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off. I was trying to find all my gear, work some serious magic to get it all into my carry-on bag, manage not to forget anything…oh, AND make 1,000 race bibs for the Mutt Strut 5k this weekend. Throw in the mix a fussy, teething 9 month old, and you have a seriously sleepless night. I think my head finally managed to hit the pillow at 11:30PM. A few hours later, my adventure began…

3:00AM: Alarm goes off. *yawnGRUMBLEstretchYAWN* I peeled myself out of bed.

3:15AM: Dressed, and bare minimal make-up on. Yes, I put on some make-up that early. Don’t hate.

3:30AM: Finished up last minute packing, sat on my suitcase to get it to close. That’s how I roll.

4:05AM: Arrive at Corey’s house. Her super nice husband, Brad, played chauffeur and drove us to the airport. Her super cute Schnoodles even came too!

4:30AM: Get in line to go through security at GSP. We were there so early that security was not even open yet! Was it naive of me to think that airports sort of didn’t close?? After we got through security, there still wasn’t anyone even at our gate!!



5:30AM: Corey and I take off! We head off to our first stop, CLT! I desperately tried to catch some winks on this flight, but it proved impossible as it was so short.

6:30AM: We land in CLT and we are on a mission to find food! Thank goodness for healthy (though mondo expensive) food options in the airport. Naked Strawberry Banana smoothie and a banana for the win!


7:15AM: We board our flight to Seattle-Tacoma Airport! We were worried that our other traveling buddy, Jess, was not going to make it in time.

7:30AM: Jess walks on to the plane just in time! WHEW! A few minutes later, we are OFF! Hood to Coast, here we come!!

7:45AM: Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. More glorious sleep. ZZZzzz…

11:00AM: Awake and feeling like a million bucks. It is amazing how much better I feel with just a few hours of extra sleep. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still going to need the biggest coffee I can find when we land, but at least I don’t feel like DEATH.

So, that brings me to now…and what’s coming up in the next few days! We have so many fun things plan that I can barely stand it!

When we land, all of the AfterNUUN Delight teammates that have arrived will all be going to a Seattle Mariners baseball game! I have never been to a professional baseball game, so this will be another first for me! After the game, we will just hang out and wait for more Nuun runners to arrive!

Tomorrow morning, we have the option of the following: open water swim, group shakeout run, tour of Oiselle headquarters, and chilling at Starbucks. I *had* planned on giving the open water swim a whirl and then checking out Oiselle headquarters, but I’ll have to see if I am feeling jetlagged or not. I certainly want to be on top of my game for Friday. After the swim/run/tour, we have a smoothie breakfast graciously provided by Jamba Juice! We will be on our own for lunch tomorrow, but in the afternoon, the cool kids at Nuun have created an Amazing Race: Seattle Style game for us all to play! Awards will be handed out in the early evening, followed by a group dinner at Nuun Headquarters! After that, we have to get creative and decorate our vans!

Friday and Saturday are running days and will be running, running, and then running some more! My team (#TeamNight <;– Twitter hashtag) is predicted to finish around 6PM on Saturday. After all the teams finish, we will make our way over to the Nike VIP tent for some post-race partying!

And then by Sunday morning, its all over (whomp, whomp)…but I don't want to think about that yet! My journey is just getting started!!

I have to give a serious shout out to Nuun. Without this team and their amazing and supportive staff, none of us would be able to have this experience. I know this will be a runcation that I will never forget!

And if you want to stalk…um, I mean follow…our journey, I will blogging here as often as I can, but you can also check out my Twitter (@katieRUNSthis) and follow me on Instagram (@katieRUNSthis)! To follow all the AfterNUUN Delight runners, check out the #nuunHTC hashtag on Twitter!

Race Recap: 2012 Rouge-Orleans 126.2 Ultramarathon Relay

16 Feb

This past Saturday morning at 4:30AM, I woke up to the sound of Baby Key crying. Normally, this would be a non-issue in my house, as that is his normal waking time, but this day was different. My alarm was not scheduled to go off until 5:15AM and Saturday, of all days, was a day that I would need every single second of extra sleep.

My team, Girls On The Geaux, was preparing to set out on a 24-hour ultramarathon relay adventure called the Rouge-Orleans! Our wave started at 8:00AM, but we had everyone picked up and at the start of the race by 7:00AM. Team captains had to be there an hour early in order to have our safety gear (headlamps, flashlights, safety vests, etc.) checked by the race director. After we got all checked in, we spent the next hour decorating our van. On Saturday morning, the temperature was about 40 degrees and there was pretty heavy wind. Oh, if we had only known what was to come!

Meet our van, Rapunzel.

Check out our sheVANigans at...#GirlsOnTheGeaux!

Me, Kristyn, Lindsey, Jenn, Erin, and Heather

Leg 1 of the 8:00AM wave got started promptly with a firing of the canon from the USS Kidd. The race website had mentioned this, but somehow I had forgotten. When it went off, I swear I almost peed my pants. Good thing I didn’t though…that would have been a looooooong day in pee-pants. 😀

Our 6-person relay team went like this…Kristyn –> Erin –> Heather –> Lindsey –> Katie –> Jenn. God bless my sweet friend Jenn for being the anchor leg. Seriously, that was some tough mileage.

Legs 1 – 6 (Mileage: 27.45 miles)
Time: 8:00AM Saturday – 1:12PM Saturday

As expected, this was the happiest round for us. As soon as the race got started, the fun began. The sun was out and it was shaping up to be a gorgeous day! Though still cold and windy, the weather was tolerable because there was not a cloud in the sky and we were running on the scenic Mississippi River Levee. At this point, all of us were still bouncing off the walls and excited to be there! At each exchange, we chatted with other runners, crews, and teams…discussing training, strategy, and, of course, food.

Doing what we do!

Highlights of Round 1: Our van got gnomed by Team Rolling with My Gnomies! They gave us the cutest antenna topper ever! We started tracking all of the other teams on Twitter by using the #RO12 hashtag! Watching their progress was really fun and a great interactive way to stay connected to other teams.

Lindsey coming in for the hand-off!

Best hand-off face EVER, Jenn!

We got GNOMED!

Legs 7 – 12 (Mileage: 27.50 miles)
Time: 1:12PM Saturday – 6:19PM Saturday

As we moved into the second half of the day, we were still having a ball! Once we figured out how much time we really needed at each exchange, we fell into a comfortable groove of getting to the next exchange, tagging our runner, and refueling with our Nuun and sandwiches. The temperatures crept up in the early part of the afternoon, and at one point we were even able to peel off some layers! After my leg of this round was done, I distinctly remember saying, “Man, I got hot out there.” (That would be the last time I would say that.) In this round, Erin had her longest run at 7.3 miles. On this leg, she passed the Carville Leper Colony…which was the site of the only hospital that treated leprosy in the United States. CRA-ZAY! She also passed a creepy cemetery and I am disappointed to report that she saw no ghosts. Bummer! Add to that the fact that on this leg the road diverts far away from the levee so we couldn’t even watch her run. Oh, and add to THAT the fact that she got chased by dogs about 0.6 miles into her leg, causing her to tire much too early in her run. Pushing the tiredness and overall creepiness of this leg aside, Erin finished like a champ! On Jenn’s run, the last leg of this round, the sun started going down and we had to break out the safety gear! C’mon, who doesn’t love a headlamp! We all posted good times on Round 2 and going into Round 3, we were about 30 minutes ahead of our anticipated pace.

Highlights of Round 2: We got to meet the awesome crew for Meredith Dolhare. Seriously, if you have a chance, check out her website and how badass she is! Also on these legs, we encountered lots of wildlife on the levee. Heather was fully prepared to handle any livestock she encountered by making sure she ran with her 1 million volt Tazer. No really, she did. That girl wasn’t messin’ around! At one of the exchanges, we got to meet the super fly girls from Team Hippie and A Ginger! Very cool girls! Oh, and Kristyn ran her fastest 2 miles ever!!

Waiting to see Kristyn!

A gorgeous afternoon!

"Imma Taze me a cow!" ~ Heather

Finishing up Leg 2! Sun starting to set!

Runners on the levee at sunset!

Jenn ready to take it from day to night!

Legs 13 – 18 (Mileage: 24.86 miles)
Time: 6:19PM Saturday – 11:55PM Saturday

Well, this is where all the fun stuff sort of ends. *sigh* It was on round 3 that things went from good to bad. As nightfall settled in, the temperatures quickly dropped from the 40’s down into the low 20’s. Considering the 20mph winds up on the levee, the “real feel” temperature was in the upper teens. In all honesty, it was awful. I mean, really, really terrible. Let’s put it this way, since I moved back to Louisiana in December 2010, this was the coldest overnight low it had been since then. IT. WAS. PAINFULLY. FRIGID. Once the sun went down, our plan was to run and then when your leg was done, you hop on the bike and pace the next runner. During daylight hours, running on the levee is quiet and relaxing. At night, when you can’t see anyone in front of your or behind you, the dark can be extremely disorienting…making every tenth of a mile feel like half a mile. We planned to have someone on the bike to assist the runner to help keep the runner motivated and moving along. This was a really, really bad idea. Going from running to riding really did a number on our legs. While running, we were able to keep our bodies warm. However, getting on the bike allowed the cold to sink deep into our bodies. Riding at the runner’s pace was not fast enough to keep the rider warm. By the time each of us got back in the van from our running leg, we were exhausted. It took each of us about an hour and a half to warm back up…which meant that right as we were warming up, it was almost time to get back out there again. These Louisiana and Mississippi girls were NOT built to handle these temperatures. Give me 100 degree weather with 90% humidity over cold and windy any day!

Really not a good look.

On a personal note, this is the leg where my cold-weather asthma really took a toll on me. Sadly, I forgot my inhaler. I wheezed and coughed the entire leg. When it was my turn to hand off to Jenn, I had an extremely hard time getting going on the bike. The helmet was too small and the bike seat was too high. My fingers were numb up to the second knuckle so adjusting both proved to be nearly impossible. I ran down the levee to the van and begged my teammates to loosen the helmet and help me lower the seat. Of course, my girls were there for me. However, by the time I finally got going on the van, Jenn had already started running and was well into her leg. I had to pedal overtime in order to catch up with her. By the time I got to her, I realized that hypothermia/asthma attack was taking over. When I caught up to her I wanted to ask her how many more miles she had to go before we could get back to the van. In my head, this questions was coming out of my mouth. In reality, I couldn’t the lower half of my face. My lips were literally freezing and my tongue felt thick and solid. The only words I could really get out were “mileage” and “I need help.” When Jenn saw what bad shape I was in, we stopped. I got off the bike and pushed my face into my shoulder, desperately trying to breath warmer, humid air. Jenn, seeing how bad off I was, said she would call the van to come and get me. I refused to leave my friend out there, on the levee, in the middle of the night. Thankfully, we were only about a 1.5 miles to the end of the leg. The whole situation was so scary and I have never felt anything like that before. I was seriously happy to see the van at the next exchange.

Lowlights of Round 3: Cold temperatures + Fatigue = VERY quiet Girls On The Geaux van. We tried our best to stay positive despite the cold, but quite frankly, there were A LOT of curse words thrown around the van during these miles. The question, “Wait, WHY did we want to do this again?” was said A LOT. Unfortunately, all the good pacing we had earlier in the day caught up to us. The nighttime cold meant we moved slower and breathed harder. It was rough.

Cold. Quiet. Dark. Still.

Legs 19 – 24 (Mileage: 22.37 miles)
Time: 11:55PM Saturday – 5:30AM Sunday

Round 4 was DIRTY. Team Girls On The Geaux was cold and tired and we fought for every single mile. The van stayed pretty quiet during these hours in hopes of giving some of us a chance to catch at least a few winks.
Lowlights of Round 4: Unable to find the port-a-potties in the dark, several members of the team may or may not have bare-butted it and peed right on the side of the levee. Just sayin’. Around 3:30AM, we had to make an executive decision. The cold was really doing a number on us and we felt that it was almost dangerous for us to be out there. We were having such a hard time warming up and knew that we needed a break. Although it was our goal to finish in 25 hours, we made the decision to stop and rest for an hour. We had to. It was either rest and let everyone warm up, or risk not finishing at all. We had come to far not to cross that finish line, so rest we did. I wish we would not have had to but it was the smart thing for us to do.

Legs 25 – 30 (Mileage: 24.19 miles)
Time: 5:30AM Sunday – 10:55AM Sunday

Round 5 brought better spirits to the van! As the sun came up, we all perked up a little, but it would be the understatement of the century to just say that we were ready to be done. We were all so close to the finish line and we were fighting tooth and nail to get there. This round brought lots of tears and a lot of walking. I am so proud of each of my teammates for getting back out there and fighting through to the end. Jenn’s IT band started to act up but she pushed through her entire last leg. The race ended in Audobon Park and as soon as we saw that big, blue inflatable finish line, we knew victory was ours.


I have LOTS of advice about what worked for our team, what did not work for our team, what we brought and did not need, items we wished we had, etc. That is an entire post in itself. I will get to all that this weekend, so be on the lookout!

Again, a massive huge epic THANK YOU to all of our sponsors. Without you, we would not have gotten this far.

To 110% Play Harder,
After Round 3 of running, there is nothing that felt better than pulling on my perfectly snug calf sleeves. Not only did they provide an extra layer of warmth while out on my run, but they also helped keep my calves feeling fresh and energized. I’m proud to say that after the event, I did not experience one iota of calf soreness! SUCCESS!

To Brooks Running,
The Cascadia 7s were the most perfect shoe for running this terrain. Normally I wear a more minimal shoe, but on the rocks and uneven levee, the Cascadias provided the ideal amount of support and cushion. The Cascadias are an amazing shoe!
(insert pic)

To GO Sport ID,
Thank you for keeping us safe. I had no idea how scary it would be up on that levee, out in the middle of nowhere, all alone. Our ID bands gave us the peace of mind to know that should anything happen to us, that our loved ones would be able to notified quickly.

To Nuun,
Thank you for keeping Team Girls On The Geaux hydrated. With the freezing temperatures, it was often hard to convince ourselves to keep hydrating but the tasty fizziness of Nuun made drinking freezing cold water much more palatable. By the end of the race, several teams were calling us the Nuun Girls!

To Running Skirts,
Thank you for the awesome purple plaid running skirts! When undertaking an adventure such as this, it is always easier when you are doing it in STYLE! We tried our best to put a running skirt on our van, which we appropriately named Rapunzel! The running skirt was super comfortable and the fabric, design, and fit are excellent. Thank you!

To Drink Chia!,
Thank you for the awesome chia drinks! After a couple of the legs, I was not really interested in eating heavy food, but the chia drinks helped give me much-needed calories and nutrition without making me feel too weighed down. The texture took a little getting used to, but the drinks were delicious!

To Barber & Mann, 1st Choice Real Estate, and Good Shepherd Christian Academy,
Thank you so much for your financial support of Team Girls On The Geaux. With your contributions, Team Girls On The Geaux was able to contribute $550 to the Girls On The Run of Greater Baton Rouge. GOTR provides incredible programs to the girls in our communities and we appreciate you helping us help them!

Thank you so much for all of the bars! The Old School PB&J is the best and was super tasty around 2:30AM! We were able to share with some of the runners in other vans and every said how delicious they were! Thank you for keeping our tummies full and our bodies fueled!

To Icelandic Glacial,
Thank you for all the water!! Runners could not do what we do without water and Icelandic Glacial tastes awesome! After leg 10, my teammate Lindsey took a swig and looked at me and said, “Man, this is REALLY good water!” It made me smile!

To Enterprise,
Thank you for the GIGANTIC Econoline van! It was massive and FANTASTIC! Even though we overpacked big time, we still had plenty enough room for all of us, our food, water, and medical gear. We even had enough room left on the seats to stretch out our legs and nap a little between legs. And, surprisingly, it was really great on gas too! Way better than I expected!

To Giraphic Prints,
Thank you for the most awesome team tech shirts! Having matching shirts made us feel like a real team and we were so proud to be able to display all of our sponsors on it! You did a great job!!

To my fellow Girls On The Geaux,
Thank you for this incredible experience. We laughed, we cried, we danced, and we ran. Boy, oh boy, did we run! We shared stories, we helped each other, we got aggravated with each other, and we hugged. I could not have imagined tackling this adventure with a better group of girls. We only barely knew each other when this trip began, but I feel like we are running buddies for life! Who knows what fun things might bring Team Girls On The Geaux later this year and into 2013!! Keep on running, ladies!

Photo Credits: Erin Parker Skinner, Krisytn Gunter, Heather Montgomery, Jenn Macha-Hebert, Lindsey deBlieux, and Evin Beck.

Ultramarathon dreams really DO come true!

5 Jan

Some little girls grow up wanting to be like this…

I, however, want to be like this when I grow up…
Catra Corbett
…and, no, even at 29 years old, I still do not feel like a grown up. By the way, that is Catra Corbett. If you do not know who she is, look her up. She is amazing and is a total inspiration! Also check her out on Twitter…@dirtdiva33!

While my goal one day is to complete an ultramarathon all on my own, for now, I think it is safer to stick with a relay team. I certainly will not have the time to devote to ultra training this year with Baby Key being so young and demanding so much of my attention, but I can still participate in the fun with a team!

A few weeks ago, I was recruited by a team called the Krewe of the Slow and Chatty to run the Rouge-Orleans with them. I was stoked! As I have mentioned before, I wanted to run this race last year, but we had just moved back to Baton Rouge and I did not have a chance to find a team. This was going to be my year! HEYO!

Then I got the e-mail…

My team captain sent me an e-mail saying that for various reasons (injuries, other commitments, etc.) several team members had to pull out of the team and we would no longer be able to participate. Sad face! I was so disappointed. With the race now only being a month away, I thought the idea of getting a new team together was impossible. But alas, it was not!

I immediately sent out a call to arms across the interwebs! Twitter! Facebook!

Within one day, I had formed a new all-girl powerhouse team…with members from all of the Gulf Coast…from Baton Rouge, LA on over to Biloxi, MS! I guess I am now the team captain of the Girls On The Geaux! We are PUMPED!!! Meet my new team…

Jenn Macha (@jmacha)
I met Jenn this past summer at the Rocketchix Triathlon. I volunteered for the one in May and she stood out to me. At the time, I was pregnant and Jenn had the only other baby bump I saw! I had to say hello! Then, it turns out that we were both selected as bloggers for Woman’s Hospital!

Erin Parker Skinner (@erinparker)
I originally met Erin at the Sunday Runday group run but more recently we connected over some photos for 225 Magazine. Erin was my photographer! You can see her photos in the magazine every month.

Lindsey DeBlieux (@ldeblieux)
Lindsey and I went to the same high school but only sort of knew each other. When Brent and I moved back to Baton Rouge, we made some new friends and Lindsey just happened to be in that group! Yay for coming full circle! Over the past year, Lindsey has been working really hard to improve her fitness and has competed in races of varying distances and has also done a couple of triathlons!

Heather Montgomery (@runningwithsass)
Heather and I were Twitter friends first and then became “in real life” friends. She is an avid distance runner and routinely visits Disney World. When she’s not running or visiting/planning trips to Disney, she is repping the Gulf Coast area for Running Skirts!

Kristyn Gunter (@KristynKG)
So far, Kristyn and I are only Twitter friends, but I am anxious to meet her in real life! Heather and Kristyn are a tag team and will be joining us all the way from the MS Gulf Coast! Yay! What better way to get to know someone than by spending 24 stinky hours with them in a van!? Am I right or am I right?

And you know what is even awesomer than awesome? We have sponsors! These generous folks have stepped up to help us out with registration, transportation, fuel, gear, and raising money for Girls On The Run! Team Girls On The Geaux is so excited to have these companies supporting them as well! We are so fortunate and appreciative!

The Rouge-Orleans is coming up quickly with only one month left! I will be Tweeting and blogging in real-time so you will not miss any of the action. It is going to be an adventure!

Have you ever run an ultramarathon or ultramarathon relay? Did you have fun? Would you do it again?

Traveling the Distance

18 Jul

How far have you or would you go for the race of a lifetime? You know what I am talking about…that one race that, for you, would be the pinnacle of all of your race experiences. Whether that race means a PR, a fancy medal, finishing with a best friend, or accomplishing some other goal, this race would be the one that all other experiences just could never measure up to.

For me, that race is 6,107 miles away. That is how far it is to Athens, Greece.

2010 Athens Marathon Finishers Medal

The Athens Marathon (not Athens, GA, silly!), to me, would be the ultimate marathon experience. I probably would not run this with the intention of setting a PR. While it would be awesome if I did, I think my goal would just be to enjoy the experience and soak up all that Greece has to offer.

It would be a total DREAM for me to do the whole 11 day/10 night tour they offer. For the bargain basement price of $2,700 (not including airfare!) you get the following:
• Hotel
• Daily morning group runs
• City tour of Athens and the Acropolis, shopping at the Plaka, tour of the Temple of Posseidon
• Day cruise to three Aegean Islands – Hydra, Poros, and Aegina
• Tour of Delphi, Epidavros, and Mycenae
• Question/Answer session with Chris Twiggs (Jeff Galloway’s National Program Director)
• Running clinic with Jeff Galloway (Yes, THE Jeff Galloway)
• Race entry, runner tracking, race finish photographs
• Marathon Expo
• After-party with Greek dancers and DJs
• The bragging rights to say you ran the original historic marathon course!

The marathon course is based on true events from which the race gained its name: Pheidippides, a messenger in Ancient Greece, ran from the Battle of Marathon to Athens to announce the Greeks’ victory over the Persians and he died after the delivery of the message. In addition to the amazing history, it is considered one of the most difficult major marathons. The course is uphill from the 10k mark to the 31k mark (13.05mi uphill!). This uphill climb is the toughest of any major marathon! (This is where those bragging rights come in!) After running the scenic route from Marathon, Greece to Athens, Greece, participants finish in Panathinaiko Stadium, a site for athletic competitions in ancient times and for both the 1896 and 2004 Olympic marathons.

Panathinaiko Stadium

According to Expedia, if I booked the flight now for the November 9-19 trip, it would run me about $1,040 (plus any other sort of fees they tack on). Let’s say I budget $75 per day for food/drinks/snacks (I have no idea if this is too much/too little for Greece), that’s another $825. So, for about $5,000 I can make all my little runner dreams come true!
Looking at the numbers now, at 6,107 miles…and almost as many dollars…I may never be able to make this happen. I am certain that, to me, there is no race that could be more awe-inspiring and motivational than running the original marathon course. But, you never know right? We all gotta have dreams! And I dream BIG! 🙂

How far would YOU go for the race of your dreams?

Cancer Runner, Tchoupitoulas Barathon, Athleta IronGirl, and Weight Watchers Walk-It Day Challenge!

23 May

Friday morning started early, at 6:00AM. Okay, okay…I know that for some of you, you’re already done with your run by then, but that’s early for me. I was there to see Paul Sibley (@CancerRunner) get started on his 50-mile run around the LSU lakes. Paul undertook this journey in order to raise money for Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center. In 2006, Paul was diagnosed with a rare form of squamous cell skin cancer. Though he has faced many invasive surgeries and radiation, Paul was finally declared to be cancer-free. Within 6 months of his return to running, Paul completed the HURT 100-mile trail race in Oahu, HI. In addition, he has gone on to compete in IronMan competitions, ultramarathons, and multiple other adventures. Paul Sibley is an incredible man and I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet him. If you are interested in supporting his efforts, you aren’t too late! Please visit his website for more information about his running and fundraising!

Paul Sibley -

Wear your sunscreen, kids!

On a side note, while Paul was out on his first lap around the LSU lakes, I got the chance to visit with his sister Wanda. We got to talking and it just so happens that she has a Baby Jogger stroller that she is looking to get rid of. HEYO! Granted, its not brand new, but its FREE and we’ll take it! Yay!

I wanted to run a lap or two around the LSU lakes with Paul, but 1) even his warm-up was faster than my comfortable pace, and 2) I didn’t want to be too worn out for the Tchoupitoulas Barathon. Since I was up and itching to get my sweat on, I opted for the bike. I went out for 16 miles (which I did in a little over an hour). I wanted to do a little more, but we had to pack and get down to New Orleans.

We got into New Orleans just in time for a riveting game of Lego Star Wars on Wii with my nephew. Talk about a kid who takes his Wii games seriously? (Was I ever like that with my Nintendo? Probably.) We visited the family for a little while and then headed over to Le Bon Temps Roule on Magazine Street.

The Tchoupitoulas Barathon has been on my list for years as one of those “must do” fun runs. 6 miles…6 bars…6 beers. Sound fun? IT WAS!! Although I couldn’t partake in the 6 beers, Brent picked up my slack and we had a great time. For runners in Louisiana, I would highly recommend this run. A totally fun, out of the ordinary way to spend a Friday night!

Tchoupitoulas Barathon - Beer Stop 2

Saturday I had originally planned to run in the Academy of the Sacred Heart Heart and Sole 5k. However, Baby Key decided it would be fun to give mama some wicked heart burn around 2:30AM. We were staying in a smaller bed at my brother’s house and I just could NOT get comfortable. I moved to the couch where I couldn’t really get back to sleep because the only thing that seemed to help was sitting straight up. There was no way I could get up and run a 5k with any level of seriousness with 4 hours of sleep. Instead, I played with my niece and nephew, ate pancakes as a family, and took a trip to Lowe’s with Brent. Kind of a slow morning, but sometimes that is just what I need.

In the afternoon, I went over to UNO Technology and Research Park to volunteer for the Athleta Iron Girl New Orleans. I worked packet pick-up and had a FANTASTIC time! Seeing the excitement on all of the participants’ faces made me REALLY wish I was going to be competing. I know my swim isn’t strong enough, and that doing an open water swim while pregnant could be unsafe, but my competitive nature still made me wish my name was on that roster. I tried my best to give out high fives and encouraging words to everyone who came through my packet pick-up line…especially for the triathlon virgins. Overall though, everyone seemed really excited and the fact that the Lake Pontchartrain swim was still going on as planned made all the ladies happy!

All the ladies' gear! Ready for Sunday!

After the volunteering, Brent and I went to eat at Zoe’s Kitchen on Old Metairie Road. We had never been there, but I would definitely go back! It was super delicious and food tasted really fresh! Highly recommended!

In my efforts to encourage my mom to walk/jog (eventually run) more, I signed us up for the Weight Watchers Walk-It Day Challenge (sponsored by Fleet Feet Baton Rouge) on Sunday afternoon. This was my mom’s 4th 5k ever and she did really well. I’m really proud of her. She walked the first 5 minutes as a warm up and then did 60 seconds jog/90 seconds walk for the next mile and half. She then said she felt a headache coming on, and as hot as it was (94 degrees!), I didn’t want to push her too hard and we walked the rest of the way. I’m still proud of her! That’s more than she’s ever run at one time before! Baby steps! Wehe then said she felt a headache coming on, and as hot as it was (94 degrees!), I didn’t want to push her too hard and we walked the rest of the way. I’m still proud of her! That’s more than she’s ever run at one time before! Baby steps! We also saw my running buddy, Theresa, out there, so that was fun!

Our post-walk/jog victory was followed by a delicious Muscle Punch Plus (no turbinado) from Smoothie King! Once home, I was thrown back into the “real world” and had to pack for my work trip to Nashville.

I HATE packing…especially when getting dressed these days is a battle with the wardrobe. I never know what is going to fit day-to-day so I packed enough for at least three weeks! Oh well, at least I won’t be nekkid!

Despite having a crazy busy last few days, I actually made it to the airport (showered, dressed, and made up!) by 5:15AM! Woot! I made it to Nashville about noon today and have been in engineering meetings all afternoon. Let me just say, it’s been a thrill a minute. Mechanical reliability? Grounding and bonding? I mean, c’mon, how much more exciting can it get!? I have another meeting this evening, and then after that, I’m hitting up the hotel fitness center DREADMILL. Wish me luck!

So, what have YOU been up to??

Running Bucket List, Part I

17 May

Oh, the bucket list.  Every runner has one.  When you are just starting out, the list consists of 5k’s and fun runs, then 8k and 10k races, then half marathons, and then marathons.  And if you’re really hardcore, you take it to the next level, the ultramarathon!

I’m still in the half marathon/marathon stage so that’s mostly what’s on my list.  I’m not sure an ultramarathon will ever be in my future…not sure if I’m woman enough for that.  🙂

For now, here’s what’s topping my list.  I could name a few dozen, but here are a few of my top favorites. Disclaimer: I am NOT signed up for these, these are just races I plan to do…one day.

Athens Marathon (26.2mi)
November 13, 2011
Athens, Greece

The Athens Marathon tops my list because this is basically where it all began.  In 490 BC, Phaedippides ran the twenty-four miles from Marathon to Athens announcing the victory of the Greek soldiers over the invading Persian Army.  This defeat allowed the first democracy to be established and preserved the classical Greek way of life.  Um, COOL!

Boston Marathon (26.2mi)
April 16, 2012
Boston, MA

I think it’s pretty obvious why this on is on the list.  This race is like the Mecca of all marathons.  Trust me, it comes in a CLOSE second.  At the pace I run now, I need to shave a whole HOUR off my marathon time.  Piece of cake, right? **groan** But hey, on the bright side, if I maintain the pace I’m at, by the time I’m 60, I’ll qualify! Woot!

Disney Princess Half Marathon (13.1mi)
February 26, 2012
Lake Buena Vista, FL

Okay, I’ll admit it, I just want to be a princess for a day.  But at $140 registration fee (which does NOT include entry to the park, parking, a tiara, wand, OR my very own Disney princess), I might have to wait on this one a while.

Pikes Peak Marathon (26.2mi)
August 21, 2011
Colorado Springs, CO

Really, why would someone think running 13.1 miles UP Pikes Peak (above 12,000 feet!) and then 13.1 miles DOWN Pike’s Peak would be a good idea??  For the challenge!  I’m not sure how I’d ever train for the thinner air and change in altitude in the Louisiana heat, but I bet I could enlist some of my #RunLA Tweeps to help me figure it out.  Besides, the website describes that on the way down, the rocks are “waiting to send you crashing to the ground mangling flesh and only temporarily masking the pain of blood-filled blisters.” Who could resist THAT sweet talk?

Blue Ridge Relay (208mi relay)
September 9-10, 2011
Fleetwood, NC

The biggest appeal of this event is the scenery.  When I lived in South Carolina, I had the privilege of driving a part of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  The scenery is unbelievable. I can only imagine how perfect the weather would be for running at that time of year. To run through the mountains and see all the colors of the autumn leaves, well that sounds just about perfect to me!

There are only about 50 more races/runs on my running bucket list.  I’ll post a few more next time. Have a list of “must do” runs helps keep me motivated. It keeps me striving for the next big thing!

What race/event sits at the top of your bucket list?  What race/event would make you feel like you have “arrived” as a runner/cyclist/triathlete?