Rock’n’Roll New Orleans

On February 28, 2016 I ran the New Orleans Rock’n’Roll Half Marathon. I flew in on Friday and left on Sunday night. There is so much to tell you about this race, location and great general information. Let’s just get this party started!

Flights

I lucked out and found that Frontier Airlines had a killer deal on flights last minute. I was able to fly my boyfriend and I both out to New Orleans for  $240/RT.  Obviously with Frontier they will charge you for everything! $35 for carry on or $30 to check BUT if you are a light packer you can just take on a personal item. Drinks and snacks will cost money as well.

Transportation

No depending on where you are staying and what you plan on doing will determine best mode of transportation. We were staying 10 min from downtown and rented a car. The cost of the car was $60 for 3 days which wasn’t bad and let up explore. If you choose to take a cab, I HIGHLY suggest you have multiple people in your party because it is a flat rate of $36 each way to/from airport to downtown.

If you choose to rent a car there is various parking all around. The meters allow you to park for up to 2 hours either using a credit card or mobile app and must be paid between 6am-7pm. Outside those hours the parking is free. Just make sure to leave your receipt if using the machine in the window where it is visible. On Sundays, the street parking is free which was convenient for the race. The other thing that I highly recommend is if you choose to get a rental car to get the insurance as well since there are a lot of things that could happen and better to be safe than sorry.

Hotel

We chose to stay at a cheap hotel while in New Orleans and chose the Econo Lodge. This hotel was great and there was a ton around too. You have a Walmart, Walgreens, Fast Food and only 10 min from French Quarter. The rooms were basic similar to a motel6 but you did have a microwave, free internet and fridge to use in the room. They also provided a continental breakfast in the lobby.

Expo

One key thing to do if you can before you leave is to print your race confirmation sheet so that you don’t have to worry about filling one out at the expo which I feel takes the most time. This particular expo felt more cramped and small compared to the Phoenix one. As always you have the same vendors as well as few new ones but nothing to really brag about.

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THE RACE

Surprisingly enough, even though the first 6-7 miles was an out and back route it was fairly easy. The start of the race is a cluster F*** there were 26 corrals I believe maybe more but weren’t separated too well and people would just cram in as they feel. Once the race started you are running an out and back route BUT have gorgeous houses to look at as well as Jazz Bands, neighbors cheering you on and tons of people. The biggest thing you have to watch for are the roads which have potholes. Multiple people got injured from this and taken to the hospital for stitches or worse. The weather was perfect! Started off cool but when the sun came out it was GORGEOUS! After doing the out and back portion the remaining felt like a breeze and was a lot of fun! You end in the city park which was huge but awesome! Overall this was a great course to run but I personally would fly in day before and leave after the race.

After the race is over, there are busses provided that will take you back close to the start line but you will have to walk to the start line or your car so make sure you “pin” your location to make it easier.

ALL ABOUT THE BLING

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Attractions

With having a rental car, you are able to see a lot more that New Orleans has to offer besides French Quarter or Bourbon Street. We went to the Lower 9 Ward to see where Katrina hit. You are able to see the houses that Habitat for Humanity built along with how isolated it is now. The other cool part about seeing this the levee that broke and how its rebuilt now. Still an unreal site to see what happened here. Now to better understand the impact most of the homes in L9W were valued at $50k, so when Katrina happened that is all insurance gave them which made it unreal for people to rebuild their homes there. To get a better picture of how bad it was we drove to Lakeview which was another area hit but homes there are valued at least double what L9W was. Either way it was still a great history lesson up close.

WW2 Museum: This place is a history buff heaven. There is a ton of information and artifacts that people have donated to this museum. The cost for just museum is $24.50 but for Military or Students the price is $14.50. They have a few other attractions as well you can do but cost more money. (you run by this on the race).

Food

Since we had a car we were able to try some awesome food outside of the city. The BEST place we ate at was a place called THE JOINT.  This is some of the best BBQ that is so tender and melts in your mouth! Be prepared to wait in line as this place never has a break.

After the race there is no better place to celebrate or even celebrate along the race than stopping by Cafe Du Monde. This place one takes cash so be prepared. These powder sugar covered beignet are AMAZING!

For some real food we went to American Sports SaloonThis place has indoor and outdoor seating along with a balcony to eat out on with fire pits. Full bar with great drinks and the food is outstanding. Very simple but comfort food. Their Mac’n’Cheese is to DIE for! Absolutely loved it.

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Phoenix Rock’N’Roll

On January 16th & 17th, 2016, I participated in the Phoenix Rock’n’Roll 5k and Half Marathon. This would be my first race back since having a spinal fusion on August 28, 2015. I didn’t care about time or pace, all I wanted to do was to finish. Below is my review on the 5k and half marathon as well as overall suggestions for transportation, accommodations and general info. If you have any questions please feel free to ask.

Expo

The expo was held at their convention center downtown which was close to public transportation. I arrived to the expo on Friday since I was running the 5k and needed to get my bibs. When I arrived that morning around 10am, there was already a line forming that was curving everywhere which made it difficult to find where it started and ended on top of people trying to sign their waivers or find their bib number. When the doors actually opened as you can imagine, the line went out the window. Once inside, the bib pick up lines were fairly quick and the expo itself was evenly spaced throughout the space.

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5k Race

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona 5k presented by Brooks has a beautiful and flat looped course that starts on the iconic Mill Ave. Bridge, runs along Tempe Town Lake and finishes at Tempe Beach park with a Finish Line festival. With a start time in the morning, the weather was brisk and cool, however warmed up by the end of the race. This was a fast pace, nice warm up race to be a part of that had a pretty amazing turn out of participants.

Half Marathon

The half marathon is described as a flat and fast course with epic views of the valley of the sun, including Papago Park and Tempe town lake. As all Rock’n’Roll races participants will enjoy live bands, cheer teams, spirited water stations and other entertainment along the course. The weather started out cold but toward the end felt like the perfect temperature even with the sun out.  Best part was starting the race in the heart of ASU. Their campus is gorgeous and spacious. There are a few inclines you have to run and the view was either cities, towns or dessert. Overall, great race and area but don’t expect too much in sights.

Click HERE for map of the courses.

Transportation

Let me just say first and foremost I LOVED the light rail system in Phoenix. This is the BEST and MOST accommodating form of transportation to/from airport and races. A day pass cost a mere $4 but takes you everywhere (with some walking). Don’t waste you time on renting a car or paying for Uber/Taxi. If you are in town for the races, just take the light rail system. Details and schedule can be found HERE.

Accommodations

There are many places to stay when in Phoenix and honestly I found a hidden gem just outside of downtown. Last minute I had to find a new hotel since my original hotel I book cancelled my reservation for unknown reason upon my arrival. Luckily for me I scoured the internet and took a chance on Hotwire to see what I would get.  I ended up staying at the Phoenix Hotel and Suites. This place was 2 blocks from the light rail and Walgreens, walking distance to Starbucks, Jamba Juice and various other restaurants. The staff was outstanding and offered late check out of 2pm which was perfect for race day! There is a pool onsite as well as an all you can eat buffet. They were still renovating parts of the hotel but the rooms were spacious, clean, comfortable and each room had a microwave and fridge.

Food Suggestions

Oh Food! When in Phoenix there are a TON of great places to eat! I am going list just  few places that were walking distance to/from light rail that have amazing options.

Squid Ink!This is such a great sushi place downtown Phoenix. They offer both indoor and outdoor seating.

Ike’s Sandwich ShopThis is hands down one of the BEST sandwich shops I have ever been too. Originally started in San Francisco, Ike’s has a variety of sandwiches that will just melt in your stomach and feed that hunger. BONUS: They offer gluten bread as well!

Fractured Prune: Donuts! This place offers a variety of donuts with a twist.

Pretty much anywhere downtown has amazing options. It all comes down to what you are in the mood for. Next to Squid Ink! are various bars that offer great Happy Hours. The Palomar Hotel has a great outdoor pool and bar to enjoy as well!

2017 Rock’n’Roll Registration

HERE is the link to sign up for the 2017 Phoenix Rock’n’Roll. The pre-sale has closed however you can sign up to be notified once registration is opened.

WHAT ABOUT THE BLING??

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1st Round of MEDALS have ARRIVED

Looked what arrived today in the mail!!!! The first shipment of medals for the Guts & Glory 2014 Virtual Run! I am working on prepping to ship them out this weekend of Monday! Please bare with me. If you were hesitant on registering, well you are in luck there are still 25 spots available. Already as a group with 72 people submitting results we have ran 609 miles as a whole! There is still a week left to submit results.

Thus far our group is up to 125 people from all around the world! See for yourself here where people are running: http://wp.me/P4BzVC-4n

Register now via PayPal http://bit.ly/11ujmCw its only $20 and you get this AWESOME medal!

PS did I mention we have some AMAZING and AWESOME prizes we are raffling away.

For more info visit: https://crushcrohns.wordpress.com/

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Prizes KEEP coming in!!!

A few more prizes have come in for the Guts & Glory Virtual Run!

ROAD ID has donated 3 gift certificates for us to raffle away.  Road ID is a durable, rugged, athletic, fashionable line of identification gear. Currently, we offer 6 different forms of ID: the FIXX ID, the Shoe ID, the Ankle ID, the Wrist ID Sport, the Wrist ID Elite, and the Shoe Pouch ID. They provide various forms of ID to allow a person to decide where they want to wear their vital Identification. We encourage active people who participate in outdoor activities to wear ID and not take the chance of being unidentified in the event of an accident. It is far better to wear ID and never need it than to need ID and not have it.

the Wrist ID Sport

ID should be as common and important as putting on a seat belt when getting into a car, or strapping on a bike helmet to go for a ride. Identification is important for people of all ages. If you are a runner, cyclist, jogger, walker, hiker, climber, skater, skier, boarder, or someone who doesn’t spend all of their time on the couch, then we encourage you to wear ID. Kids need ID too as they rarely have ID when they go out for a bike ride or walk to school.

Here are some stats for you: Each year over 450,000 of us are taken to hospitals unconscious and without ID. Year after year, over 122,000 runners, walkers, and cyclists are hit by cars. Thousands more suffer blackouts, concussions, heart attacks, heat strokes and other serious accidents. The National Safe Kids Campaign estimates that “every day, 39,000 children are injured seriously enough to require medical attention.”

“Not having ID while participating in outdoor activities is a serious risk — a risk that we no longer have to take. We shudder to think that we could be lying in a hospital and the medical staff would not know who to contact or even who we are — simply because we did not have ID. In the event of an accident, we want our family to be contacted immediately. We want them to be at our side as quickly as possible. We want to ensure that we receive proper medical treatment. We encourage everyone to wear ID and stop taking chances.” – Edward Wimmer & Mike Wimmer, Owners

Have you registered yet for the Virtual Run? If not, there is still 6 weeks left to register but why wait! Register now by visiting Active.com (http://www.active.com/denver-co/running/distance-running-races/guts-and-glory-virtual-race-2014?int=)

If you have any questions please ask!

18 Things Nobody Told Me About Running

1. It’s hard…like, really hard. But just like relationships, parenting and figuring out your new iPhone, it gets easier with time. You may even–gasp—start to like it!

2. Clipping your toenails will take precedence over plucking your eyebrows some days.

3. In spite of your childhood hatred of “weird food,” your pantry will be filled with running superfoods you’re not really sure how to pronounce, like quinoa, chia, spirulina and acai.

4. At some point, you will see other runners peeing in public. You will wrinkle your nose at them: EWWW, GROSS!

5. At some point, you, too, will pee in public. You will never judge again.

6. Ditto for snot rockets.

7. When you first start, four miles seems like a lot. One day, you’ll catch yourself telling someone “I only ran four miles today.” Try not to smile smugly when that happens.

8. You’ll wince at a pair of high heels with a $100 price tag, but declare it a bargain if that same tag is on your favorite running shoes.

9. Your laundry basket will smell like a boys’ locker room. You won’t really notice (or care).

10. You’ll geek out at the opportunity to run in the rain, because it’s just that awesome.

11. There will be stretches of days when you don’t feel like running at all. It’s perfectly normal, it’s not a failure, and a few days off does a body good.

12. Like Christmas, you will be wide awake at 2 a.m. on race morning, giggling. Also like Christmas, you will not be allowed to wake anyone in the house up until 5 a.m.

13. Without any prompting on your part, family members, friends and coworkers will take up running, too. They’ll ask all the same questions you had when you started—and this time, you’ll be the one with the answers.

14. The first thing you’ll do when you book a vacation or work travel is look for races and/or cool running routes in the area.

15. “Runger” is real, and it is marvelous. Only pregnant women and runners can truly understand strange cravings at strange times.

16. While running with your friends, you will talk about food, children, current events—everything but running. During cocktail hour with that same group, when you’re showered and wearing “real-world” clothes, all you will talk about, ever, is running.

17. The friends you make through running will become like family.

18. Anyone can do it. (Yes, you!) 

The full article can be found HERE

Wisdom Wednesday

10 Tips for Healthy and Injury-Free Running

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As someone who is accident-prone and tends to get sick and/or injured often, I’ve read a lot about how to keep running healthy. I have tried many different ways to train and tips to stay healthy and injury free, especially when I’m training for a big race.

Here are 10 tips I’ve picked up along the way to run healthier with fewer injuries. I am not a doctor or expert, just someone who has done a lot of trial and error (lots of error…) and found what works for me.

1) Get fitted and buy good running shoes.

Visit a specialty running store and have them look at your feet. A really good store will have a treadmill to actually watch how you run. Let them help you pick out the shoes that will work with your foot. Some feet turn in or out, and some people need extra cushioning. A lot of running stores will let you run in the shoes and bring them back if they aren’t exactly right.

If you already have any sort of foot or leg injury, running stores can also fit you with an insert for your shoe that may be able to keep that injury from recurring. You will probably spend a little more for your shoes, but it’s worth it. Doing this is the best money I ever spent on my running.

2) Do more than just run.

Don’t run every day. Switch it up by cross training: bike, elliptical, swim or do a workout DVD. Do something you enjoy and have easy access to! Switching it up reduces the impact on your body and makes sure you use different muscles. You will be more likely to look forward to your running days.

3) Don’t run too much too soon.

You have to ease into it! Start out by running two miles three days a week. Once you feel comfortable with that, increase one run to three miles a week… then four. Don’t ever increase your total weekly mileage by more than 10 percent. You may feel like you can run more, but in my experience, breaking this rule is an easy way to end up hurt.

4) YOGA!

I have mentioned before that yoga is the best thing that has happened to my running. Running causes your body to really tighten up. Most running injuries are caused by muscle imbalances in the body. Yoga stretches those imbalances and keeps you limber.

I had bad shin splint problems until I took up yoga. The backs of my legs were basically too tight, causing pulling in my shins. I realized I couldn’t even touch my toes! As a former dancer, this was ridiculous. Yoga immediately helped my sore shins and legs. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Take a class at the gym, or buy a 20-minute yoga DVD to try. I really like Rodney Lee DVDs. I was skeptical too, but I promise it will help!

5) After a hard run, ICE!

Even if I’m not injured, I ice my ankles and shins after a hard run. It keeps everything from getting swollen and sore. I either fill zip baggies with ice or stick my feet in an ice bucket for 10 minutes. For the marathon, I’ve graduated to ice baths for anything longer than 13 miles (which I now refer to as my “stupid long” runs).

6) If it feels off or hurts, take a day off.

Sometimes your body needs a short break to recover. If something hurts (more than just “good” sore) and you just aren’t sure what’s going on, take the day off. It may seem like it will ruin your training program or your race, but it will be fine. This is one tip I have a hard time actually following. I’m all about following the plan, and it is hard to convince me that it’s a good idea to take the day off. Usually someone talks some sense into me – thanks Hubby….

Running on an injury is more likely to kill your program than just taking a day off. Often, that is all your body needs to repair the problem. If it still hurts after a couple days, have a doctor check it out. If you keep running on an injury, it will never get better. Really.

7) Take vitamin C.

Exercising regularly is great for your immune system, but training really hard for a longer race can be taxing on your body. Take extra vitamin C to get some increased immunity.

8) Warm up and cool down.

Don’t just jump into your run. Walk briskly for 10 minutes before you run to warm up your muscles, then stretch some. Avoid stretching cold muscles. After your run, cool down by continuing to walk another 10 minutes. This transition lets your heart rate slow back down at a nice pace. Take the time to do a long stretch after you run. Use some of those fancy yoga moves you learned. Downward dog, anyone? Your body will thank you.

9) Use a foam roller.

This simple little device can save your legs. Roll out your calves and thighs after a long run. It massages the muscles and keeps them loose. It’s awesome. Just try it – you’ll love it.

10) Eat protein after a hard workout.

You have to be careful with this. You don’t want to negate your run by eating more calories than you burned; however, if you are really using your muscles and working hard, you want to either eat food with protein or take a protein supplement within a half hour of your workout. The protein goes to your muscles and helps them recover faster.

Do you have any tricks to run and train healthy and injury-free?

Article Link: http://runhaven.com/2014/08/01/10-tips-healthy-injury-free-running/

Author: Julie Wunder

Motivation Monday

Awhile back Runner’s World posted this question to their Facebook followers: If you could give one piece of advice to a newbie runner, what would it be? Whether you’re a 20-year-old trying to train for your first 5K or a 60-year-old trying to run one mile without stopping, here are 11 great tips for beginners that you can follow to help you start pounding the pavement in no time:

  1. Invest in the right pair of running shoes.
  2. Go for distance rather than time – slow it down, be patient, and don’t worry about your pace.
  3. Remember that rest days are training days, too.
  4. Join a running group.
  5. Make running a habit, even if that means getting out for a few minutes per day.
  6. Build mileage gradually.
  7. Don’t dread taking walk breaks.
  8. Keep a training log.
  9. Mix in cross training to supplement your running.
  10. Set small, achievable goals.
  11. Remember that you are a runner. Whenever you’re in doubt, remember these wise words from our Chief Running Officer (and Mayor of Running) Bart Yasso: “I often hear someone say I’m not a real runner. We are all runners, some just run faster than others. I never met a fake runner.”

– See more at: http://www.womensrunningcommunity.com/training/beginners/11-key-running-tips-for-beginner-runners/#sthash.1igJtn91.dpuf