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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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/

medal_actual final medal

National Running Safety Month – FREE RunSafe App

Recently I was contacted by the owners of a new app called RunSafe. You know I’m big on safety so this was a no brainer for me to say yes to. Here’s their message & Thanks RunSafe for extending this offer to all of us!

“In honor of National Running Safety Month and as a fellow runner, I would like to give you the gift of a free lifetime account with RunSafe, a safety app designed specifically for runners. Normally a $50/year value for a premium account, you will receive it for free. Visit the included link to sign up and download RunSafe for free. http://RunSafe.me/crushcrohns

RunSafe is a startup at a ground-floor stage. This is an opportunity to be an early adopter and shape the development of an amazing app designed specifically for runners. Please send suggestions and feedback to us via our Facebook page, twitter, etc.” ~ Violet Alexandre Co-Founder

Feel free to pass along and share! Safety is key!

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

Motivation Monday – Abby Walker

I’d like you to meet Abby Walker, a fellow crohnie that I met via social media during my fundraising for CCFA this past June. Abby found my posts on Instagram and we began chatting. Come to find out that she was living in Kona at the time and would be there during my first half marathon for CCFA, which was June 22, 2014.  Unfortunately due to conflicting schedules we were unable to meet but since then have kept in constant contact.  I’d like to take a moment to share Abby’s story with you and give you another reason why I am proud to run the Vegas Rock n Roll this November in her honor.

 

Abby Walker

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Abby Walker is 29 years old from Indiana.  She primarily works in ministry and missions. Currently she is working with a band and guard getting ready for the start of the season. She was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease September 2013.

The symptoms began around 2005. Abby was experiencing variety of intestinal pain and discomfort, frequenting the restroom, blood loss, lack of proper nutrition, loss of appetite, face pain, night sweats, eye swelling, joint pain, fatigue, dizziness, heartburn, and side effects caused from medications.  In September 2013 she was hospitalized for 4 days due to inflammation and ulcers, and found that she had formed scar tissue that resulted in a bowel obstruction, causing severe abdominal pain, vomiting, weight loss, and dehydration. The doctors have put Abby on various medications such as Humira, Budesonide 9 mg, Omeprazole, Zoloft, vitamin D, Vitamin C, Probiotic, Multi-Vitamin, and iron supplements as needed

Abby hospital 

Crohn’s has effected Abby in various ways. She was bed ridden for about 4 months, due to severe fatigue, and various other symptoms.  She had to re-learn how to eat, what to eat, and when to eat it, had to learn to manage stress as well as I could and was unable to work for a period of time. The diagnosis and ongoing symptoms has also caused periodic struggles with depression. Abby’s pain tolerance is higher than it was, because most pain meds would irritate her stomach or make her ill. She knows that she will have good days and bad days.  On days when I feel good, I dance, challenge the group with exercise routines, laugh, and enjoy the little things.  Recently though, she’s been flaring for a few weeks, she hasn’t been able to be as physically involved in practices with the group, but that won’t stop her.  She is still there everyday directing and giving instructions to the team.

Abby n Mom

Abby now has more hope for the future, and she appreciate so many more little things than she did before, even though she won’t ever have a “normal” health, and eating whatever she choose.  She has struggled with feeling isolated, because of the illness and has even gone down a pants size, but it fluctuates from time to time now. Because of her meds, her immune system is much weaker, therefore causing her to get sick from other things more often, or it takes longer to get rid of a cold, etc.

Advice she gives to fellow and newly diagnosed people with Crohn’s or Colitis is first, find a doctor that specializes, studies, and researches Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis. Get as many opinions and advice from friends and support groups formed of people who have IBD and know what you’re going through. Don’t let Crohn’s or Colitis win. Use the adversity as a chance to inspire people and to hope for better things to come. Appreciate and celebrate the little things.Don’t let yourself be consumed with the negatives. Don’t forget to laugh and live life. Find ways to focus on others. We might be facing a relentless illness that will come and go as it pleases, but that doesn’t mean that we are ‘victims’.  She also recommends using the GI buddy app. It’s a great place to document and monitor symptoms as well as a great resource to so much IBD related stuff.

Abby

She sees this struggle as an opportunity to grow stronger, keep the hope, celebrate the little things in life, and to be thankful. She also want her compassion for others who face chronic illnesses to be a place of encouragement that none of us are alone as we go through this. Keep living, and keep loving life.

Stay strong and Crohnie on!!!

#crohniesaretoughies (her fave hashtag)

Follow Abby on Instragram and her blog. (DearAbby789 on Instagram, dearabby789.wordpress.com)

If you would like to make a donation in honor of Abby Walker please click DONATE HERE! Donations made thru September 9th will be matched by CCFA.

Race Day Survival Kit

12 things every runner should have in their race-day survival kit

When you are heading to a race there are a lot of things on your mind: Did I train enough? Did I taper enough? Is it going to be too hot? Too cold? What pace should I run? Where can I park? A lot of factors can make, or break a race. Some things you cannot control, but many things you can.

Someone smarter than me once said, “The devil is in the details.” While any of the above, if not taken care of, could ruin your race, what about the smaller things? Many of us have been there, stressing out moments before the gun goes off because we don’t have safety pins to attach our bib. Wincing in pain the final miles, not because we are overextending ourselves, but because we forgot our Body Glide and our inner thighs are on fire.

The good news is that it is easy to take care of the details. You’ve done the training, so let’s not have a bad race day because you forgot something that seems small, but is ever so important. Alexander Graham Bell said, “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” What are we talking about here? In a few words: a race-day survival kit. A pre-packed  “go bag” that you grab every time that you are headed to a race. It should contain all of the essentials that you may not need, but you will be glad that you have them when you do.

Here are 12 suggestions to get you started on your personal survival kit. Let us know, in the comment section below, if we have forgotten anything.

Race-Day Survival Kit:

  1. Pain Reliever & Anti-Inflammatory – For post-race recovery
  2. Gel/Nutrition Bar – For energy before, during and after
  3. Body Glide/Vaseline – Anti-chafing
  4. Sun Screen/Lip Balm – Protection from the sun
  5. Band Aids – Protection from nipple chafing
  6. Blister Kit  – For protection/treatment (spenco.com)
  7. Safety Pins – For your bib, just in case the race runs out.
  8. Water Bottle – Pre-race and post-race hydration
  9. Hand Sanitizers – For use after the porta potty
  10. Toilet Paper/Tissues – For use in the porta potty (or woods)
  11. Road ID – Every runner should have one.
  12. Tampons – Because when you need them you really need them.

Author:   Bill Reifsnyder

Article Link: http://runhaven.com/2014/08/05/12-things-every-runner-race-day-survival-kit/

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