Armadillo Dash

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With the blazing Louisiana heat and humidity my summer race calendar has been scarce. Even though races are still held in the summer months there are fewer to choose from. I was determined to find a race to do last weekend since I was off of work and did not have much planned.

For those of you that know me, you know I am not a fan of trail runs….at all. Yes I ran cross-country in high school in college but those races were basically running in mowed grass and up and down levees. There is just something about the uneven surfaces and branches that makes me think I am going to sprain my ankle or trip and fall on my face.

I saw NOLA Running Systems was holding a 3 mile trail run at the Bonnet Carre Spillway Saturday. I have only run this course once but half of it was on top of a levee and it was about ten years ago. I decided to give a true trail run a try.

I was more than prepared Saturday morning. I wore my old trail shoes, bug repellant, and even brought a change of clothes just in case it was muddy.

The race was held at the Bonnet Carre boat launch in the actual Bonnet Carre Spillway. The heat index was already at 93 degrees at 7am but we were lucky enough to have a breeze. My “heat training,” consisting of ridding my yard of crab grass all week, seemed to pay off since I was not hot at all.

The race start was probably the most exciting I have experienced since the Rock N Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon. We were about to run in the woods so Guns N Roses “Welcome to the Jungle” played as we took off.

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We ran through a open field for the first quarter mile then entered the woods onto the trail. I was a little frustrated the first half mile because we were forced to run single file because of the width of the trail, it was crowded, I was desperately trying to not trip over a branch. I felt like I was running a lot faster but I was at an 8:20 pace.

I finally got comfortable after the first mile and got into a rhythm. I stuck with a pack of three males that were running my pace. I was in third for the females but the two lead females were way too far ahead for me to catch up. The strange thing about this trail run is that you could only see about 8 feet in front of you at all times because of the winding course and trees. So there was really no way to see who was in front or behind you.

The one thing I was not expecting from this course was hills. I guess technically these would not count as hills but to this southerner it sure did. For the first 2 miles we were up and down every few feet navigating branches and a few mud pits.

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The course flattened out a bit in the third mile. My pace slowed to almost a 10 minute mile. I was feeling the exhaustion in my legs from the constant turns and elevation changes.

I kept my third place spot and finished in 28:05. I was first in the 30-39 age group. All finishers were awarded custom steel cut medallions. This race was also the RRCA Louisiana State Cross-country championship and medals and plaques were awarded to the top finishers.

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The after party had fresh fruit, pasta salad, Chee-Weez, and plenty of ice cold beer.

Guess what? I surprised myself and actually enjoyed a trail run. I think if my schedule allows I will try the full trail run series next summer.

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Next up for me is the 15th Street Flyers Four on the Fourth Run this Saturday July 4. The four mile run promises lots of fun, competition, and a bikini beer mile. For more information visit www.15thstreetflyers.org

June and July Races

All Comers Track Meet
Various Distances
Friday June 26, 2015 6:00pm
Jefferson, LA

Lakeside Country Club Kids Triathlon
Triathlon
Saturday June 27, 2015 8:00am
Metairie, LA

Armadillo Dash
3 mile trail run
Saturday June 27, 2015 8:00am
Norco, LA

Woolmarket Duathlon #3
3m run, 11m bike, 1m run
Saturday June 27, 2015 8:00am
Woolmarket, MS

Wesson Memorial
2 mile run
Saturday July 4, 2015 8:00am
Ocean Springs, MS

Crab Festival 5K
3.1 miles
Saturday July 4, 2015 8:00am
Bay St. Louis, MS

Four on the Fourth
4 miles
Saturday July 4, 2015 7:00am
Covington, LA

Freedom Mile
1 mile
Saturday July 4, 2015 8:00am
Baton Rouge, LA

Hotter Than Hell Marathon
26.2 miles
Sunday July 5, 2015 12:00am
New Orleans, LA

NOTC Summer Series #3
2 miles
Wednesday July 8, 2015 6:00pm
New Orleans, LA

Coyote Chase
3 mile trail run
Saturday July 11, 2015 8:00am
New Orleans, LA

Running of the Bulls
Novelty Run
Saturday July 11, 2015 8:00am
New Orleans, LA

Varsity Sports Summer Series #3
2 miles “Rockstar Run”
Wednesday July 15, 2015 6:00pm
Mandeville, LA

In Hot Pursuit
4 mile run or 2m run/10.5m bike/2m run
Saturday July 18, 2015 8:00am
Bay St. Louis, MS

Kroc and Roll Sunset Run
10K, 5K
Saturday July 18, 2015 6:30pm
Biloxi, MS

St. Jude Run For the Kids
10K, 5K, 1 mile
Saturday July 18, 2015 8:00am
Hattiesburg, MS

Christmas in July
5K, 1 mile
Saturday July 18, 2015 6:00pm
Hammond, LA

Spillway Classic Trail Run
3 miles
Sunday July 19, 2015 8:00am
Norco, LA

NOTC Summer Series #4
2 miles
Wednesday July 22, 2015 6:00pm
New Orleans, LA

Rivershack Run
2 miles
Friday July 24, 2015 7:00pm
Jefferson, LA

Rocketchix
Triathlon
Saturday July 25, 2015 7:00am
Baton Rouge, LA

Rocketkidz
Triathlon
Sunday July 26, 2015 7:00am
Baton Rouge, LA

Varsity Sports Summer Series #4
2 miles “Elvis Run”
Wednesday July 29, 2015 6:00pm
Mandeville, LA

CRRC Summer Series 1 mile and Sneaux Cones
1 mile
Wednesday July 29, 2015 6:00pm
Lafayette, LA

Varsity Sports Summer Series #2

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The second race of the annual Varsity Sports Summer Series was held Wednesday evening at Varsity Sports in Mandeville. The Summer Series consist of four 2 mile races, half mile for the kids, held over a two month period during the summer. The races have fun themes and are sponsored by running shoe and apparel companies.

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I had to miss the first race this year since I was cruising the Caribbean, awful, I know. I was excited for this race because of the “Superhero” theme. I already had a caped Batman shirt ready to go.

After last week’s not so great effort at the hot and humid Run to Remember I was determined to be…well…..faster. The first step was to hydrate appropriately because it was 93 degrees and sticky.

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The first mile of the race was smooth sailing for the most part. The course had shady trees and there was a slight breeze. I kept a sub 7 minute per mile pace. As we made the loop to turn around I began to pay the penalty for my all black costume ensemble. The heat wore me down but not as bad as last week.

I finished first female with a time of 14:50. I was pleased and it was a good start for the summer.

The post race festivities included plenty of costumed crusaders, smoothies by Live Fit Smoothies, Starbuck’s, Domino’s Pizza, Abita and Miller Lite Beer, and shoe demonstrations by the race sponsor New Balance.

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I won a really cool backpack from New Balance.

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Race #3 will be held Wednesday July 15 at 6:00pm.

My next race will be one of my favorite races of the year: Four on the Fourth. This July 4 four mile race will be Saturday July 4 at Hubie Gallagher Park in Covington, LA. Hope to see you in your red, white, and blue!

 

2015 Run to Remember

The second annual Dynamic Physical Therapy Run to Remember to benefit the Wounded Warriors Project was held Saturday at Terra Bella Village in Covington, LA.  The event included a 1 mile fun run and a 5K.

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I participated in this race last year with some co-workers and met some great people. We agreed to make this an annual event since it was so much fun and for a great cause.

I woke up bright and early Saturday morning and headed to the neighborhood of Terra Bella. I knew from the full parking lot that the race would have more participants than the year before.

This was my first race in over a month and my first official race of the summer. It was hot and I was already sweating before the start. On the bright side the course was changed from a partial trail course to a full road course. At least that would save me from being hot and muddy.

The new course took us to the front of the neighborhood to Hwy. 1085. At the half mile mark about ten of us were mistakenly directed off course. Luckily I could hear someone yelling at us over Britney blaring from my IPOD. We turned around and joined the pack but the lead runners were far gone.

I managed to regain first female position an the 1 mile turn around, even though I ran a little extra with the course mishap. I was at a 7:08 pace but quickly dropped to 7:40 when the heat started settling in.

It was HOT, really hot…..well not really but I have been running at night and did not get to experience a glorious humidity filled Louisiana morning yet this summer. The heat slowed me down but I hung on to first entering the final mile.

Mile 3 took us from shady trees to direct sun. My body was just not having it and I slowed down to an 8 minute per mile pace. I was passed with a half mile to go and I could care less. I was hot, cranky, and wanted to stop and walk. My legs were fatigued and apparently still on vacation.

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I pushed through and finished the 5K, well about 3.2 miles since I went off course, in 24:35. I was not thrilled with my time but I will be getting back to running in the heat and picking up my workouts.

The post race party was bigger than last year with more vendors such as Smoothie King, Chick-Fil-A, and Copeland’s. I had red beans and rice then headed to the Abita Beer tent.

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I had the opportunity to speak with uniformed soldiers that were present as well as a Wounded Warrior who completed the one mile race.

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The post race festival concluded with the awards ceremony and raffle. Even though the top runners were directed off course they were still recognized and had some impressive times. I won the 30-34 age group and received a challenge coin. A challenge coin is a coin traditionally carried by military personnel to challenge and enhance morale. It was a very cool and unique race prize.

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I met up with my running club, The 15th Street Flyers, who had several members win their age groups.

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I then met up with my co-worker and friends and we enjoyed a BBQ at their place. It was a great day for a great cause.

For more information about the Wounded Warrior Project please visit www.woundedwarriorproject.org