Slow, but fit!

Got great news at my annual checkup this week. My good cholesterol is higher than my bad cholesterol! I didn’t expect a bad cholesterol report; in fact my 2012 checkup showed the two numbers only a couple of points apart. It was a nice treat this year and proves this whole working out regularly and (mostly) watching what I eat is working! Although I’m a little heavier than I’d like to be (only because it’s more weight to carry around during a race), I’m very healthy and happy!

I’m 1.5 weeks out from Rock and Roll New Orleans. I completed my longest training run planned before the race Sunday. It was a warm, muggy, drizzly 10-miler a day after the biggest party in Baton Rouge – the Spanish Town Mardi Gras parade. Although I didn’t overdo it during the parade, it was definitely way more beer than I usually drink and a lot of walking around and being on my feet. Despite a hectic Saturday, my run Sunday turned out well and I feel confident going into RnRNOLA. Even better is that my shortened and intense training program so far hasn’t brought on any injuries! ::fingers crossed::

490x275-nor13-online-reg-closing-v2If you are still thinking about signing up for Rock’n’Roll New Orleans, it’s not too late. AND my $10 discount code still works! Use ROCKNOLA1 when you register.*

Online registration ends Sunday, February 17th, at 11:59pm PST, for all distances including the kids race After that, Expo registration is available for only the Full, ½ Marathon, and Kids Rock, not the relay.

As my running season comes to a close with Mardi Gras Mambo 10k this Saturday and RnRNOLA next week, I’m thinking hard about which triathlons I’d like to do this year. So far, Louisiana Triathlon on May 18th is a front runner. It’s an 800 meter open water swim, 18.6 mile bike and 5k run in New Roads. It would be first open water swim and longest tri to date (my other sprints have been shorter, on average a 300 meter swim, 12 mile bike and 2 mile run). I think it could be a great way to confirm that I’m ready for an Olympic tri this year. And the early date will hopefully get me back on my bike soon. I haven’t ridden since Yam City Tri!

Quick update on swimming: I love the Tiger Aquatics group! Having a coach prescribe a workout is such a treat. I’m working harder than ever in the pool and I already feel myself getting stronger and better. It’s been a month and I haven’t hit snooze on my alarm once!

*I blogging about my training experience for Rock and Roll New Orleans half marathon and in return, I’ve been compensated for my registration.
Posted in Half Marathon, New Orleans, Races, Running, Swimming, Triathlon | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

I’ve lost that running feeling, but I think it’s coming back!

This time last year I was furiously prepping for the Rouge Orleans Ultra Marathon relay and checking the course map for Rock’n’Roll New Orleans half marathon. This year, instead of being a running beast, I’m focused on my new masters swimming classes and thinking about triathlon season.

I think I’ve lost some of my running mojo. Although I’m still planning on doing the 2013 RnRNOLA half, it’s been a struggle to get up and run. I’m happy to report that I had my best run of the year last night – a four miler around LSU campus “with” the Varsity Sports running group. I use quotation marks around “with” because less than three miles into the four mile run, I couldn’t see anyone I had started with and finished the route alone.

The sweet Rock'N'Roll New Orleans training tee I scored from Varsity Sports BR!

The sweet Rock’N’Roll New Orleans training tee I scored from Varsity Sports BR!

But I did join the RnRNOLA after party and picked up an awesome training tee! I think this will be my race day shirt. It was a good run, certainly slower than my best, but not bad to getting back into it after basically two+ months off. My goal for the next four weeks before the half is to build up my runs. I’d like to get in five miles this weekend, seven miles next weekend and nine miles the weekend of Feb. 9-10. I’m running the Mardi Gras Mambo 10k (my favorite race of the year) on Feb. 16th, the day after my 32nd birthday, which will be a great taper leading in to RnRNOLA. I feel like a couple of runs a week, plus at least two swim classes a week and the occasional bike ride will have me in decent half marathon shape.

Back to race day, I just booked for race weekend a great little rental house a couple of blocks off Esplanade and just a mile from the finish line. One of my best friends is coming to New Orleans from Dallas for the trip and I can’t wait to spend the weekend and run with her!

nor13_115x115If you are still thinking about signing up for Rock’n’Roll New Orleans, it’s not too late, AND my $10 discount code still works! Use ROCKNOLA1 when you register.

Also, I’m giving away RnRNOLA tees on Twitter. Tweet me what motivates you to run (something I’m in need of) and you have a good chance of winning a tee!

I’ll be back soon with more details about my masters swim class. I’ve been twice now and LOVE being in the water. Here’s hoping I don’t get chlorine overload.

*I blogging about my training experience for Rock and Roll New Orleans half marathon and in return, I’ve been compensated for my registration.
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Confession Time

Josh and I before the Kent, OH, Tree City Turkey Trot. It was a great morning for a run.

Josh and I before the Kent, OH, Tree City Turkey Trot. It was a great morning for a run.

Confession – It’s been nearly a month since my last good run. I finished the Tree City Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day in Kent, OH, but have barely run since. And I haven’t run at all in the past nearly three weeks.

Most of this is due to illness and injury, with a little bit of work craziness thrown in. I even skipped my December 9 half marathon, thanks to the worst migraine of my life. It attacked the Friday morning before the Sunday race, and by Saturday afternoon I was still out of it and tired (pain is exhausting). So I decided not to run, which was definitely the best decision to make at the time.

My head no longer hurts, so why haven’t I run since then? Well, the Sunday I was supposed to be running the half, I instead hung out with Josh. He picked me up in a bear hug, tried to carry me across the room and ended up bruising one of my ribs! In his defense, it was the site of a previous rib injury about 18 months prior, which I guess made it a touch delicate.

So a week of serious pain has led into a week of healing, during which I didn’t run a lick.

I finally started to feel like myself again, just in time for busy family time for Christmas. For New Years, an out of town trip to see my favorite LSU Tigers beat Clemson in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl means runs will still be few and far between.

Maybe it’s time to start making my New Years resolutions? I’m signed up for one of my favorite races, Baton Rouge’s Mardi Gras Mambo 10k, on February 16th. It was the first longer-than-a-5k race I ever ran and it’s still a great time.

Save $10 on the 2013 Rock and Roll New Orleans half or full marathon with code ROCKNOLA1!

Save $10 on the 2013 Rock and Roll New Orleans half or full marathon with code ROCKNOLA1!

Also on the list for sure – Rock and Roll New Orleans half marathon on February 24th. I’ll have 7.5 weeks to train once January begins and I better get to it.

(It’s not too late for you to sign up and start training for #RnRNOLA. You can save $10 when you register for the RnRNOLA half or full with code ROCKNOLA1.*)

The plan right now is simply to get out there and run in January… I’ll do at least one eight mile run that month. During the first two weekends in February I’ll get up to 10 and 11 miles before tapering with the Mardi Gras Mambo 10k a week before the half.

I officially can’t wait! Even just making this plan has me feeling better about the situation. Seriously, too much food and not enough movement has this slow trier feeling even more turtle-ish than normal. Not good, but nothing that can’t be overcome.

*I am blogging about my training experience for Rock and Roll New Orleans half marathon and in return, I’ve been compensated for my registration.
Posted in Half Marathon, Life, Races, Rest, Running | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Seen on my run: Turkey Trot

Beautiful scenery in Kent, OH, during today’s Turkey Trot 5k. But, woe the hills!

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Posted in Races, Running | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Cajun Cup 10k PR! (or How Terrible Singing Kept Me Running)

Post race. My face matches my shirt.

Vital Stats:
Race: Cajun Cup 10k
Date: November 10, 2012
Place: Lafayette, LA
Total Time: 1:05:11 (PR!)

Saturday morning, I was up early for the Cajun Cup 10k in Lafayette. A week earlier, Josh’s mom asked me to come along to this popular race. It sounded like fun and matched my running group training schedule, so I said yes.

Josh and his dad came along too and a few minutes after 8:00 a.m. we were off. Barbara, Josh’s mom, walks, but at a 13:30-ish/mile pace, she’s faster than several runners I know. We separated and I started running, keeping my 10k PR in mind (1:06 and change from this year’s Mardi Gras Mambo), but also wondering if that speedy time was a fluke. On training runs, I average around 11:00 – 12:00/mile, so running another race around 10:45/mile seemed a little impossible.

The course takes you down several major Lafayette streets, past ULL’s Cajundome, though a cute residential area and back downtown. Thankfully, this race is in November. There’s very little shade and I fear what that course would feel like in summer with sun beating down. Even in November, temperatures were still in the 60s when we got started and only got warmer.

The race is actually pretty boring. I loved the residential area, but Johnston and Congress were just a bit boring. I wasn’t feeling my best, after a late-ish night with friends (Skyfall is awesome, btw) and a 5:00 a.m. wake up to drive to Lafayette, so I didn’t expect much… and then I heard her. Just behind me, starting around mile 2, was a woman singing along to her iPod. Very loudly. And very badly. Songs I didn’t know, which made it worse.

So I ran a bit faster to get ahead of her…That worked for about two miles. When she caught up, I ran a bit faster again, throwing a couple of dirty looks over my shoulder. (What’s protocol for this situation?) So the last two miles, even though I wasn’t feeling it, I kept up a good pace to stay a bit ahead this lady. I walked through water stops (at 1.5 miles, 3 miles, 4 miles and 5 miles), along with a couple other 30 second walking breaks.

Woot! New 10k PR!

The last 0.2 miles of the race were brutal. I was sure the finish line wouldn’t come. The final half mile or so takes you around a couple of turns and when I finally saw the finish line, I went for it. Finally, I crossed the finish line. The clock time was 1:06 and change, which I knew meant I probably had a new PR.

Once I finally caught my breath and said hello to Josh and Jim, I checked my results on the race website and discovered the Mardi Gras Mambo wasn’t a fluke! My chip time was 1:05:11, a full 1:35 faster than my previous 10k time! Woot! A couple of differences in the Cajun Cup might have helped, like a single, tiny hill and that crazy singing lady, but I’m pretty pleased none the less.

After a great race experience, I’m getting really pumped about December’s Woman’s Half Marathon. It definitely  has a few more hills (and that extra seven miles), but I know I can do it. And I can’t wait to see how I do in February’s Rock and Roll New Orleans Half Marathon! No hills and a great course. Don’t  forget: you can save $10 when you register for the RnRNOLA half or full with code ROCKNOLA1.*

Back to the Cajun Cup, Josh, Jim and I cheered in more runners while waiting for Barb. Weird event of the day: I was sitting on the ground when a woman came barging down the line and threw her cell at me. I amazingly caught it, despite my surprise and she came back a few minutes later after making it down the finish chute. I still have no idea why she chunked the phone.

Barb and Pierre crossing the Cajun Cup finish line.

Barbara finished about 20 minutes after me. She walks all her races AND was fighting back pain Saturday. She STILL averaged 13:41 a mile. She is a beast!

My sweet nephew and I after LSU’s win over Mississippi State.

After cooling down and cleaning up, we walked across the street to my favorite Lafayette eatery, The French Press. It definitely get bonus points for serving delicious, classy food (and drinks) at 9:30 in the morning. I celebrated my PR with amazing cream cheese and banana stuffed french toast with a blueberry champagne compote. It hit the spot and I napped on the hour+ drive home from Lafayette.

After a shower and another nap, Josh and I headed to the LSU game and watched the Tigers trounce Mississippi State. We met up with my brother and nephew at the end of the game. My nephew is just shy of eight, but he knows his football. It’s fun to watch and talk sports with him.

*I blogging about my training experience for Rock and Roll New Orleans half marathon and in return, I’ve been compensated for my registration.
Posted in Life, Races, Running | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Taking the thinking out of half marathon training

Happy Halloween! You have less than 12 hours to save on Rock’n’Roll New Orleans marathon and half marathon entry! Register before midnight and don’t forget to use code ROCKNOLA1 to save an extra $10. Prices go up on November 1st. Now that’s scary!*

Who needs to think to run?

Saturday, I ran eight miles of trails and suburban streets I had never ventured to before. Monday, I ran five miles in downtown Baton Rouge, complete with pick-ups and a scary run up and over of a bridge I will tackle during my next half marathon. Last week, I did a circuit workout complete with planks (ouch) and high jumps (double ouch) at a local school.

I can take no credit for all this awesomeness, though…

Varsity SportsI’m not the most adventurous runner, but my training group is helping to change that. The group is organized by a local Baton Rouge running store, Varsity Sports. It prepares novice and experienced runners for their first or fourteenth half marathon. The best part, especially during an exceptionally busy Fall I’m having, is that there is no thinking involved!

We run every Monday and Thursday at 5:30 p.m. and Saturday mornings at 7:30. At the beginning of the week, I check the calendar to find out where we are meeting and what the run looks like. There is usually a map, which is sometimes helpful to print out. I show up, run with the group and then I’m done.

It’s not all perfect. The speedy runners blow by me and frequently lap me. I’m always in the slowest 10% of the group and sometime I’m anxious I’ll get left behind in unfamiliar territory. That hasn’t happened yet, but I do run with my phone just in case I need the map feature to figure out where I am and how to get back. Our leaders are great and the speed demons are supportive, too.

Mostly, the Varsity run group is fun. I’ve met new people and there are fun event runs, like last week’s Halloween costume run and Monday’s post-run yoga session. More importantly, I’m running more, getting stronger and faster and feeling great. And isn’t that the point in the first place?

Halloween run

I spy Waldo and a binder of women.

The Varsity group focuses on December and January halves. I’ll definitely keep running with them until the Woman’s Half Marathon in Baton Rouge on December 9th. My goal is to keep it up until Rock’n’Roll New Orleans on February 24th, but I may have to turn my brain back on and think about training again in mid-January… In the meantime, autopilot it is!

*I am being compensated with a free race entry for blogging about my Rock’n’Roll New Orleans training and race experiences.
Posted in Life | 2 Comments

Let’s get social

Did you watch the Presidential debate Wednesday with one eye on Twitter like I did? As many news outlets have pointed out, the 2012 debates are the first to include a large Twitter audience. It got me thinking about the impact of social media on my life, especially the running, swimming, biking side of things.

I Run Louisiana

In fact, I know social media played a big part in getting me where I am now. Just three years ago, I was pretty sedentary and significantly overweight. I started walking and then running after about a year, with help from the Couch to 5K app on my smart phone. On Facebook, I let a friend talk me into running my first 10k in February 2011. That race wasn’t that long ago, just 18 months actually.

It was around the same time that I got into Twitter (@ldeblieux) and found the #RunLA community. #RunLA, or Run Louisiana, describes itself as:

“a group of like-minded individuals who share in the daily ups and downs of training. We also discuss upcoming races, new products, and almost anything else that pertains to being active. To join the discussion, use the hashtag #RunLA.”

Since then, I’ve met cool people online and in person. I’ve talked myself into races and tweeted about it to hold myself accountable (Rocketchix 2011, my first triathlon) and done things I never would have dreamed of. In October 2011, Twitter and Facebook alerted me to a major discount for the Rock and Roll New Orleans half marathon and I decided it was too good of a deal to pass up.

Social media bullied me into signing up for my first half marathon.

I didn’t plan to do a half marathon in 2012, but I’m so glad I did. It was another case of social media convincing me I could do something that I otherwise would not have felt ready for. Social media has continued to play that role. I joined a team for the 2012 Rouge Orleans ultramarathon relay after a tweet from @KatieRunsThis, who I met on Twitter first and then in real life before my first triathlon.

The Tweets that started my journey from Baton Rouge to New Orleans along the levee on a February night.

In short, my entire adult athletic career has been dominated by social media. From yesterday’s four mile run, when I wanted to stop at three miles, but ran a bit extra knowing I wanted to post my run on Twitter, and new product reviews, to lots of blogs by other slow wannabe athletes giving it their all and race encouragement, social media plays a huge role in this Slow Trier’s life.

Don’t forget: I’ve got a discount to offer for the 2013 Rock’n’Roll New Orleans marathon and half marathon. Use code ROCKNOLA1 when you register to save $10. The half marathon is $90 and the full is $95 (before discount) until October 31st. Talk about a social media hook up!*

*I am being compensated with a free race entry for blogging about my Rock’n’Roll New Orleans training and race experiences.
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It’s Running Season!

It’s officially Fall and definitely getting cooler here in south Louisiana. That means lots more running! I found myself dreading running at the height of summer and sticking to the bike as much as possible. But now, it is running season and every day with cooler temperatures is good running weather.

Race Schedule

The Woman’s Half Marathon is sponsored by the local “women and babies” hospital.

I’m incredibly excited about what I so far have planned through February. I’m definitely doing the inaugural Woman’s Half Marathon on December 9th.

While I hear that a few guys have signed up, it will be 13.1 miles through Baton Rouge surrounded by hundreds of female runners. I know from Rocketchix Triathlon how incredible and positive these gender-centric races can be, so I’m pretty pumped.

I’m also signed up for the Rock’n’Roll New Orleans half marathon on February 24th. #RnRNOLA was my first half marathon ever (check out my recap from 2012) and I knew I wanted to run it again.

Wow! I was chosen as a Rock’n’Blogger!

It’s an amazing 13.1 miles through beautiful New Orleans streets. Even more fun is that I was selected to be a Rock’n’Blogger for the Competitor Group, which puts on the Rock’n’Roll marathon series. A friend recommended me after Competitor Group’s PR team reached out to her.*

I’m incredibly excited about this opportunity to promote a race I really loved running last year (it inspired my blog, actually), as well as share my training experience with everyone (which I would have done anyway; let’s be serious). In return for blogging, tweeting and Facebooking about my training experience over the next few months, I receive compensated entry into the race, and more importantly, a discount code to offer to readers.  (Use code ROCKNOLA1 when you register to save $10.) The half marathon is $90 and the full is $95 (before discount) until October 31st.

I have not yet decided on other, shorter races this season. I’ll definitely be doing some kind of Thanksgiving week race, but my plans aren’t in stone yet as to which state I’ll be in for T-Day, so I definitely haven’t narrowed down races. If you are in Baton Rouge on Saturday, November 24, I recommend Goldenfliers, a 5 or 10 mile race around the LSU lakes. (Here’s my 2011 recap.)

I’m sure I’ll do the Mardi Gras Mambo 10K here in Baton Rouge again on February 13th.  I seriously love that race, as evidenced by my 2012 recap. The 2013 race will be eight days before #RnRNOLA and a great taper.

Training

As for training for all this running? I’ve been attending a free Varsity Sports half marathon training group three times a week for the past couple of weeks. With my first half marathon, I concentrated on distance; I hope that my experience with the Varsity group will add speed as well as endurance (which, frankly, I need to rebuild).

It’s a great group so far. The runs are broken into beginner, intermediate and advanced groups. I ran for about a week with the beginner group and have since moved myself into the intermediate group. I’m by far one of the slowest people, which is only a problem when we run routes I’m not used to, which happens a lot. A really cool thing about the Varsity group is that every run is different and many are in places I’ve never run, or at least a few streets I’ve never run. There is also a lot of tempo training, pickups and etc., that is all new to me too.

More updates on the run group as it progresses. I’m also still cycling as a great cross training tool and need to get back to some kind of weights routine.

*Thanks Erin!

Posted in Life | 1 Comment

Hiking in Mississippi

Posing for a portrait at Clark Creek.

A last minute invitation led to adventure this weekend. Meghan and Frank invited Josh and me to go hiking at Clark Creek Natural Area in Pond, MS, about ten miles north of the Louisiana border.

Clark Creek is a rugged hike. You can stay on the gravel improved trails, but still encounter lots of hills. Or you can climb (literally) down to the creek bed and explore waterfalls, climb over rocks and fallen trees and navigate the shallow creek. And at the end, there is a series of massive hills to climb to get back to the parking lot. Oy! Our adventure, in pictures, is below.

On top of the first waterfall we encountered. We then climbed down and started to hike the creek bed.

Josh at the top of our first waterfall, easily the largest waterfall on the trail.

Climbing is definitely required. This is not a hike for the non-physically fit.

After climbing there is goofing off. The pic is funnier if you knew there is a two-inch deep creek separating us.

More climbing… There was more water than I’ve ever seen at Clark Creek, so the rocks were slippery and there was a lot of mud!

Frank, Meghan, Rocky the wonder Cocker Spaniel and Josh on top of another waterfall. The topography is really amazing, considering we were just 60 miles north of flat Baton Rouge.

Rocky was in his element!

We had a fabulous time and will definitely be back. We’re also talking about other adventures (more hiking, canoeing, etc) we can try out now that the worst summer heat is over.

Oh, and something really cool happened this week, too. I’ll have details next week, but here’s a hint:

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Seen on my ride…

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The Mississippi River never disappoints when it comes to beautiful or just plain interesting scenery. Tonight – an amazing cotton candy blue and pink sunset. And this picture in no way captures the full beauty of this evening.

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