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Groups Doing Good: Rocket Kidz Foundation

11 Jun


This morning I had the extreme pleasure of volunteering for the Rocket Kidz Rookies Triathlon! This triathlon was open to all kids ages 3-10.

The Rocket Kidz Foundation started in November 2006 to help raise money for kids’ programs in the Hurricane Katrina ravaged Mississippi Gulf Coast area, as well as the rest of Southeast Louisiana. The primary mission of the Rocket Kidz Foundation is to fight childhood obesity and encourage kids fitness through education, programs, facilities, and scholarship development. Many of their programs focus on multisport events, though any event that gets kids moving will be considered for support by the organization. In addition to setting a good example for our children, we all know that encouraging kids to stay active and eat healthy are the best ways to help reduce the instances of childhood obesity. I mean, really, who wants to live in a world like Wall-E?

Today’s big event was held at the ExxonMobil YMCA. I had never been to this YMCA and was built in the time while I had moved away. It is a REALLY nice facility and I am glad that area of the community has access to it. Brent and I arrived bright and early at 6:15AM. Before we knew it, our other #RunLAvolunteers showed up to keep us company! The more the merrier!

Beautiful morning!

Jeremy, Jamie, and Brent ready to volunteer!

Kids started arriving with their bikes and gear and starting getting it all set up in the transition area. Some of these bikes were TOO CUTE…we are talking handlebar streamers, baskets carrying little stuffed animals, flags, etc…the whole nine yards! And I loved the kids with fun helmets! Some were from the movie Cars, some had shark fins on top, and I think I even saw a few Toy Story helmets!

Transition!

Jeremy, Brent, and I were assigned to the bike route so around 7:45AM we went to our stations. The bike route for the older kids (ages 5-10) was a 1-mile out and back course so we basically had to just keep them going down the straightaway, turn them around, and get them to come back.

Here are a few of the best photos we got of the kids! I love it!

Cool recumbent bike!

Jeremy fixing a bike chain!

Too cute!

Overall, the morning was fantastic! The weather was a nice 90 degrees (hot, but a nice break from the ~104 degree temperatures we have been having) but clear. Even though I saw a couple kids fall off their bikes, a few chains got dropped, there were a few trips and falls, overall there were no massive meltdowns and all the kids seemed to have a really fun time! And who better to help the kids cool off than the one and only Ninja Snowballs! HELLO red cream soda snowball!

To see all of the photos that we have from today’s triathlon, click HERE!

The next events held by the Rocket Kidz Foundation will be the Rocket Chix Triathlon on Saturday, July 30th (this is the sprint triathlon that I am currently training for) and the Rocket Kidz Triathlon on Sunday, July 31st (for ages 6-14). And this coming January, the same great team behind Rocket Kidz will be presenting the inaugural Louisiana Marathon! It is going to be awesome!

I am eagerly looking forward to these fun events and hope that if you are in the Baton Rouge/South LA area that you would consider participating or volunteering. You won’t regret it!

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 - CancerRunner.org


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??

Black cloud over New Orleans triathlons?

16 May

As the water continues to flow down The Mighty Mississippi, I am concerned for the overall effect it will have on the triathlon season in New Orleans. Don’t get me wrong, I know good and well that the quality of Lake Pontchartrain wasn’t that of a bottle of Dasani, but the dirty Mississippi River water flowing in through the Bonnet Carre Spillway can’t be helping, can it?

The 5150 Olympic Distance Triathlon yesterday in New Orleans was turned into a 2mi run/40k bike/10k run duathlon after swimming conditions in Lake Pontchartrain were deemed unsafe. This comes right on the heels of the cancellation of the swim portion of the Ochsner IronMan New Orleans (technically making it a 69.1 event). From what I understand, a cool front that caused extensive wind and wave action coming in perpendicular to the Gulf of Mexico caused unsafe swimming conditions for both events.

And now we have the wide-open Bonnet Carre Spillway to be worried about. Will the influx of water bring more pollution or alter the water quality? Even worse, will it bring more critters to the lake? Swimming with snakes? No, thank you.

The IronGirl New Orleans is set to take place this coming Sunday and I really hope it is able to go ahead as scheduled. If for some reason (wind, whitecaps, lake zombies, etc.), it doesn’t, I fear that New Orleans will unjustly have a black cloud over it and the triathlon season will be finished. Competitors who travel from far away will be gun-shy for events this year and maybe even next year. This saddens me…especially for the two inaugural events…the 5150 and the IronGirl New Orleans. New Orleans is really making a name for itself on the competitive racing circuit and I hope that momentum continues to build. However, I can understand hesitation on behalf of the participants…why train and spend all the money on traveling when Lake Pontchartrain is so unpredictable? After all, they have trained for a triathlon, not a biathlon and not a duathlon.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the Athleta IronGirl New Orleans.

What do you think the fate of this weekend’s triathlon is? How do you think it will affect future triathlons in New Orleans? Would YOU swim in Lake Pontchartrain right now??

Swim class #2 and Athleta IronGirl NOLA!

12 May

Swim class went well today. I feel like I understand a little bit better what I am supposed to be doing with my body. Now whether or not I’m actually doing what I am supposed to be doing is an entirely different story. But hey, I can honestly say I’m trying.

Today we learned more about how we should be moving our arms through the water. It felt VERY awkward and uncomfortable…so that probably means I was doing it more correctly than incorrectly. We used the kickboards again, and today we added the pull buoys. Technically, I didn’t use a “real” pull buoy because we ran out, so I used an aqua fitness barbell between my legs instead. This was pretty uncomfortable, so I ordered my own Speedo Pull Buoy to use next time. While I was feeling frisky, I went ahead and ordered my own Speedo Kickboard as well. I figure this would be a good idea since I need a lot of help on my kicking. In addition to adding the pull buoys, we also added a couple new drills called the catch-up and the 12+3.

I am also still having a hard time keeping my head down and face in the water. Coach Anne said the 12+3 drill would help this, so I better get used to doing a lot of those. Because I can’t seem to keep my head down, I just can’t get my breathing figured out. I am just so afraid of running out of air or something. I know I’ll get this, I just have to keep practicing.

Coach Anne says she’d like us to get in at least one other swim outside of the two times we meet each week. I’m going to shoot for two other times. Hopefully swimming four times a week will get me on the path to improving. Oh, and she also said the swimming will improve my running and cycling (BONUS!), but unfortunately, the reverse is not the case. Oh well…

In other news, I have signed up to volunteer at the Athleta Iron Girl New Orleans! I am really excited about this event. Last fall, I set my sights on competing in this event, but because of the holidays, moving states, starting a new job, and the surprise of Baby Key, I just haven’t had the chance to obtain the gear I need and train properly. Besides, a mass start open water swim (even if I was at that swimming ability) is probably a bad idea for a pregnant lady. Getting kicked in the stomach in Lake Pontchartrain isn’t real high on my priority list these days. I figured that this year, if I couldn’t get in on the action, I could at least be near the action. So until then, I’m working up my best high fives and “good luck” cheers to give the competitors on the big day!

Iron Girl couldn’t have gotten a better sponsor than Athleta. Their clothing rocks and ranks super high on my Gear Love Affair list. C’mon, have you seen how awesome their running skorts are?? (This pregnant lady has officially retired her running shorts until her pre-pregnancy, trim, toned legs return. Until then, I am loving me some running skorts! Don’t worry, I am sure a future post will be dedicated to them entirely.)

Swim class is back ON!

9 May

Okay, I know. I’m a drama queen. I swear I’m usually not, but last week, when I thought my chance at getting good decent at swimming before Rocketchix was shot, I had a total “moment”.

But, at the very last minute, I got a call from Woman’s Fitness Center saying they were starting a new class today!! Swim training is officially back ON! The new swim course will be 4 weeks instead of 8 weeks and everyone at the gym said that the swim coach, Anne Shawhan, ain’t no joke. I was a little nervous about it, but I decided to press on anyway!

My classes will be on Mondays and Thursdays, from 5:30AM to 7:00AM. I’ll have to alter my work schedule a little to make it happen, but I’ve been given the green light by my boss! Woot!

(This is me at 5:30AM. Be kind. I know I look like terrible, but whatevs. I was excited to get my swim on!)

Didn't you know that baby bumpin' in a lifeguard red swimsuit is the coolest?

I fully intended on being the worst and slowest swimmer in the class, but I was surprised to learn that I was a little bit (and I mean a VERY little bit) better than I expected! And if nothing else, I wasn’t so discouraged that I didn’t want to do it again. This is a really big hurdle to conquer for me. I don’t like continuing to do things that I feel I’m not good at, but I know this is something I have to learn to do well at Rocketchix.

Today we learned the very basics about kicking, rotating the body side to side during the freestyle, and breathing. The first half of the class was mostly assessing our skill level and what each of us needed to work on. I know I need to work on everything, so I just have to remember to be patient with myself. I didn’t train for a marathon overnight, and I won’t learn to swim in one day either.

We don’t meet again until Thursday, but I plan on going to swim again at some point before then to work on my kicking with the kickboard. Coach Anne said some of us (me) were still kicking like a runner/cyclist (at the knee with a flexed foot) instead of like a swimmer (at the hip then the knee with a pointed foot), so I really want to work on that and improve. I’d also like to work more on my breathing. I need A LOT of help in that area. I just need to trust that I’m not going to drown and to remember not to hold my breath until I feel like I’m about to die.

So, lots to work on, and LOTS to remember…but I’m still motivated! I’m determined to be patient with myself and learn all that Coach Anne has to teach me!

No swimming. Not any time soon, at least.

6 May

Today was supposed to be my first swim class to get me ready for the Rocketchix Triathlon in July.  Today was supposed to be the day I added that third leg, completing the trifecta, and starting my journey toward officially becoming a triathlete. No more duathlons for this girl!

Ugh.  Unfortunately, it was not to be.

When I signed up for the swim course, I was super excited because it was the PERFECT opportunity for me to get small group lessons (each lesson is 1.5 hours) AND have access to the pool on other days of the week for added practice for 8 weeks for only around $200.  Other gyms or aquatic clubs in my area cost at least that and then you have to pay for one-on-one lessons in addition to that price.  One-on-one lessons get pricey FAST and with Baby Key on the way, we just cannot afford it.  Plus, I am already stuck in a membership at another gym (that does NOT have a pool) and we can’t afford family memberships at two different gyms.  And sadly, Baton Rouge doesn’t have anywhere where you can swim on a pay-as-you-go basis.  All of the aquatic centers require some sort of membership or you have to go with a member…and none of my friends swim. 😦 But even if they did have a place where I could pay per visit, the point is, I still need instruction on technique.

When the lady called to tell me that my class was canceled, she did say that they were trying to start up another class on Monday and Thursday mornings from 5:30AM – 7:00AM.  Getting up early isn’t the problem.  The problem is that I have to be at work…an hour away…at 7:00AM. *sigh*

So, it seems I’m sort of stuck between a rock and a hard place.  I’m trying to BEG my current gym to let me out of my contract, but this gym in particular is known for not being that considerate about this sort of thing.

I’m trying really, really hard to not let this ruin my day.  I feel like the fact that I even got a little teary about it makes me a complete and total drama queen.  But I just wanted it THAT badly.  I’m sure to some people this may not be a big deal, but I was REALLY excited.  I have wanted to get in the pool and start tri-ing for a couple of years now and I thought that this would be my year.  But, it seems like I will have to put it off and wait…again.  I’m going to be honest, its really hard to not look at this as just one more setback. 😦