Thursday, May 30, 2013

Please Pick Me!

What you see above is what stared me in the face for the majority of my Wednesday. You see, April 29th was the day of the 20913 ING New York City Marathon lottery. Twitter was up in one Outlook tab on my computer monitor, my credit card's recent transactions were on a separate tab, and the marathon's registration page were on yet another tab. I have never hit F5 on my keyboard more times in my life (thank you Katherine for informing me of that refresh shortcut).

Last year at this time, Abby and I had guaranteed entry to the NYC Marathon (her first full). I had failed to gain access through the lottery three years prior, so I had the golden ticket to run through the five boroughs of the Big Apple in November of 2012. She had run 9 of the NYRR races the previous year, plus volunteered for one.

As you may be aware, when I traveled through hell and high water (literally) to Manhattan to run the race with her, it was cancelled while we were in the expo picking up our numbers. The aftermath of a hurricane left the city unable to host the event and I returned home with fresh legs and lots of disappointment. I chose the option to get a full refund from my registration fee for the 2012 race because I couldn't justify forgoing it and paying an additional registration fee (not to mention double travel costs) for guaranteed entry this year.

Honestly, I've never so much wanted to see a random charge show up on my credit card statement. This was that one exception. But seeing as how I have once again been denied access to cross the finish line in Central Park, I take solace in knowing that the race will happen again next year. And come next May, I'll be sitting at a computer again anticipating a lucky strike in the random draw.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

New Orleans Triathlon: The 2013 Recap

I was laying in bed this past Friday morning, minding my own business, enjoying a day off  from work. The only thoughts that crossed my mind were in anticipation of the Memorial Day weekend  that included the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience, a seafood boil with my family, and much needed R&R.

Monday, May 20, 2013

A Tale of Two Halves

This past December I ran the Baton Rouge Beach Half Marathon and the Ole Man River Half Marathon. To sum it up, I quote Charles Dickens, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" (not specifically in that order).

The first race on my December 2012 calendar was the Baton Rouge Beach Marathon & Half
Marathon, which annually falls the first Saturday in December. Its a double loop course that starts on the LSU Lakes, travels around the university's campus, through scenic Baton Rouge neighborhoods back to the lake. I planned to do this race as a full marathon (it was my first marathon in December 2008) and anticipated no problems with running that loop twice. Race weekend arrived with temps that warmed up to the mid to high 70's early in the day. Once I was in the  middle of the race (roughly mile 4 or 5), I knew that a full marathon would be painful. Having done a  full the weekend before and knowing I had other races later in the month, I decided not to push myself too hard. I finished the first loop and decided to enjoy the remainder of the weekend with another half marathon completed. As always, the race was well supported for the size, and the finish line after party featured local touches (alligator gumbo!) that make it a great destination race for runners to come to from across the country.

Two weeks after the Baton Rouge Beach adventure, I participated in the New Orleans Track Club's annual Ole Man River Half Marathon. This race was the first half marathon in which I participated (also in December of 2008); however, this year's course changed. For 2012, the course started and ended in City Park and was once again an Out-and-Back, but the middle span was a loop that took runners along Bayou St. John to the shores of Lake Pontchartrain and back to the shade of the oaks of City Park. The temperatures were much cooler this weekend, although the lack of shade on the lakefront made for harsh glare. I felt much better for this race and better rested. The branding for the race had also been updated with new logos and medals, which I am quite excited about. They are well representative of the race locale, and highlight the Louisiana flavor.

I was disappointed that I didn't get to knock off another full marathon in December, but that "safe finish" ensured my health to finish the races I planned on executing the remainder of the month and in January. It also set me up to hit the "30 Marathon Mark" at my hometown race in New Orleans in March. I'll continue to run these races in the coming years, and will probably once again see varied success.

Races of this distance in South Louisiana are limited, but they are typically executed well when they do occur. They are also usually well attended. That leaves me to wonder, during what time of year would you like to see a distance race occur in South Louisiana and where would you like it to take place? Is there a community and calendar month that you think is under-served with distance races in the New Orleans / Baton Rouge area? To once again quote Mr. Dickens, distance racing in South Louisiana leads me to ask "Please sir, can I have some more?"

Friday, May 10, 2013

Dumbo Double Dare 2013 Medals

In case you haven't heard, runDisney has completely embraced the 10K distance and is in the process of unveiling details about several new events in the coming year. The first up is the brand new Disneyland 10K happening over Labor Day weekend in Anaheim, CA in conjunction with the Disneyland Half Marathon. When both races are run together, you've completed the Inaugural Dumbo Double Dare! Who doesn't love a race with fun alliteration?

Thanks to Abby, Karen and I enlisted early for the challenge  ... and we're thankful we did. It appears that a HUGE chunk of the running community wanted to be a part of this magical weekend in the Happiest Place on Earth, because the race sold out in less than a couple hours. The Disneyland Half Marathon is already a high-profile race that we've each wanted to do for years, but throw on top of that an extra 10K and the enticing runDisney bling? You have us swiping our credit cards faster than I can figure out what age division I'm in.

This week runDisney unveiled what we're running for during each of our races. They showed us the medals. In my opinion (and the Running Partners in Crime agree), the hardware lived up to the hype. The distinctive Disneyland D in the half marathon medal stuck around in this years design. The Dumbo Double Dare challenge medal also more than meets my approval.

I like the Alice in Wonderland theme for the 10K and 5K medals, although Abby did point out that there is a lot of action going on in that 10K design. I'm guessing it doesn't photograph as well as the others because of the intricacy, but it still looks great. The 5K design (and that pocket watch chain ribbon) almost make me want to find a way to add another race to my marching orders.

There's still plenty of news that I'm sure runDisney has yet to share with the race participants. Until that info starts to be unveiled, I'll be reading the blog and watching social media to see what's up next. Oh, and maybe I should start training for those 19.3 miles.
Photo credit to the runDisney Blog and Ruby Dee for use of the images in this post.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Marathon Maniac #7105

He's a maniac, maniac on the floor. And he's running like he's never run before.

Ok, so marathon running isn't anything like "Flashdance," but the song gets stuck in my head every time I have a discussion about the  Marathon Maniacs Club. The Maniacs are a group of die-hard marathoners that apply for admission and join after they achieve a certain criteria of marathon completions. This is a group of people who decided to embrace Einstein's theory that "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." However, they clearly don't want different results, and ultimately look forward to the same outcome.

I achieved my Maniac status a couple years ago when I ran 9 marathons in 9 different states in a 365 day period. It was only after Karen applied for her Half Fanatic status last week that I decided to claim my spot in the Maniac hierarchy. I'm so glad she spurned my decision to go ahead and join the asylum of crazies.

The group is well represented at marathons across the country with members wearing the bright yellow and red colors during the run, planned and unplanned meet-ups occur regularly before, during and after races, and a "reunion" race happens annually for Maniacs to meet others with the same mindset (or lack thereof). Its going to be fun to meet other maniacs at upcoming races as we attempt to improve our streak and climb the ranks of madness.

My Maniac membership number is #7105, and you can now refer to me as such. You never know, I may even respond!