This Girl is Going to ShiftCon!

I know it’s a ways away, but I am super excited to tell you all that I will be attending ShiftCon in December! What is ShiftCon? It’s a conference for social media influencers that focuses on food, wellness, health, and the environment.

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This year, the conference is being held in my neck of the woods in New Orleans, LA!

*Dance party*

There will be workshops, parties, and lots of networking. This year, it will be held at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside and there is a special ShiftCon hotel rate available until October There are going to be tons of great speakers and great information. I can’t wait to get my nerd on and learn.

Want some even better news? You can use my special code at checkout to get $50 off of your ticket price.(Yes, five-zero, fifty dollars off!) Just enter FITLOOKINGGLASS to get your discount.

If you head over to the ShiftCon website, there is a great, short, video right there on the home page that will give you a glimpse inside the conference. I know it’s still several months away, but it has been awhile since I have been to a conference so I am excited! December is a great month to be in New Orleans. Not only will Christmas decorations be abundant, but the weather will be mild and perfect.

If anyone has any questions about the conference or about New Orleans let me know! I would love to meet up with some of you before, during, or after the conference in my old stomping grounds and show you my favorite parts of New Orleans. I hope to see you there, I would love to meet some of my blog readers.

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QOTD: Who wants to go to ShiftCon? Have you ever been to New Orleans?

Disclosure:  I receive a small commission if you purchase your ticket with my discount code and will be attending this event on behalf of ShiftCon.

Crescent City Classic 10K Recap 2016

Saturday morning, we woke up to our alarms at 6:15 (super late by race day standards!) and got ready to run the Crescent City Classic 10K in New Orleans for the fifth time.

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I had yet to decide on an outfit, but went with bright pink to go with the Easter theming, and of course my bunny ears, which I have worn for every CCC I have run!

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We were staying at the Hyatt, the host hotel and where the expo was located, so it was amazing to just walk downstairs and there was the start line! We were waiting for the other bloggers at the start line before heading to our corral.

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We weren’t able to get everyone, (that’s what happens when your race has over 20,000 registrants, but here are some of us!

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Bobby took this one, not too sure what was going on, apparently. So glad Jen wore her ears, too!

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We headed to Champions Square and up the Superdome steps to get into our corral.

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The corrals were color coded, and the first three were seeded corrals. They had big colored banners to help you figure out where to go, but since green was in front of purple and red, we had a hard time figuring out how to get past those two corrals and into ours.

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We weaved our way through, right as the race was starting and our corral took off! Poor Bobby had forgotten to get location on his GPS so he had no idea what his time/pace was for the first two miles. We were both running alone, and of course he took off at the start and I never saw him again. I put my headphones in and zoned out. I really wanted to PR but was nervous because it was 97% humidity and it was already had to breath just standing there.

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The first mile was very frustrating because there were so. many. people. and I had to do a lot of weaving (this would come back to bite me later, but I had no choice). I started out way too fast because I knew I needed to make up time from behind stuck behind people, walking, holding hands, etc. and my first mile beeped at 8:39. I knew that was a bit too fast for me for a 10k, but I was feeling good and kept going at that pace (foreshadowing…now). We ran down Decatur and through the French Quarter.

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I was sweating SO MUCH that I couldn’t get the camera on my phone to come on because every time I tried to swipe the screen it was soaked with my sweat from my hands. Hence why the above picture of the St. Louis Cathedral is blocked by a tree. We hit Café Du Monde and honestly, I snapped the below pic and then never even looked to the side. I was SO focused on not tripping or running into anyone and on keeping my pace.

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We made the familiar turn onto Esplanade and I decided to take a picture before I got too tired to do so. I saw a bunch of people running on the opposite side of the road where it was much less congested, so I eventually made my way over there and am so glad I did. I had way more room and just felt more relaxed not constantly having to change up my cadence to go around people.

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Miles four and five were rough for me. I ran a 9:30 pace for both of those. My body felt fine but I could not catch my breath with the humidity. I looked down for most of those miles and just told myself to keep going. I stopped twice to grab water and took two sips then poured the rest down my back, as I was getting really warm.

The course was new this year, so instead of running towards the art museum and around back, we went to the side, and kind of zig zagged our way to the front of the Museum. It was kind of a tease because you could SEE the finish line but weren’t quite there yet.

The whole race I thought I was going to run a 57:00, then realized that because of all the weaving I had to do, that I would be over a tenth long so my time on my GPS watch would not match the finish time. This was frustrating because I knew I could run a 57:00! However, I knew I could still PR (old PR was 59:04) so I gave it everything I had. That last mile was so mentally challenging, but thankfully it was faster than miles four and five. I barely even looked up as I approached the finish, and didn’t even smile for the cameras. I was just powering through with every ounce of energy I had left.

According to my watch, I ran 6.31 in 58:26. (That was my official time just not official distance!) While I am really happy to have PR’ed, I knew I could still go faster, and being the uber competitive person I am, wasn’t completely satisfied. After the race, all I wanted was water. They told us to keep walking and we would get to water and our medals. Well, we walked…and we walked…and we walked. I was about to fall out! I get why they did it, as to not bottle up the finish, but the water was REALLY far away. Then we had to keep walking more to get to the finish festival.

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I bee lined it for the VIP tent, and texted Bobby who said he was where the medals were. I assumed he was just waiting for me so I told him to come on to the VIP area. The tables were set so cute for Easter!

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I immediately grabbed chocolate milk, a sandwich, and a Mimosa (great combination, I know) and took a seat.

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Our two sided medal was really cute!

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Finally Bobby appeared and didn’t have a good race. He had worked out really had four days that week (including the day before) and his legs were dead. Apparently I passed him somewhere along the way but had no idea. I felt so bad for him, I thought he had long since finished. Sad smile

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We ate and met up with some blogger friends, and then it started POURING. Thankfully, we had the tent to get under and it only lasted about ten minutes, and then the sun came out.

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More friends arrived and we just hung out listening to the music and eating and having a good time.

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The race announcer, Mike spotted us and it was great to see him. He does a great job with so many races!

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Rockin’ Dopsie headlined the event and did an amazing job. Check out this video:

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After awhile we decided it was time to head back too the hotel, pack up, and head back to my parents house. Sweet Jen and her husband had their car at the finish and offered to give us a ride to our hotel.

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We made it back, showered, packed, and left NOLA once again. We had a blast and it went by way too quickly! A huge thanks to Crescent City Classic for an amazing race weekend that just gets better and better every year!

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Disclosure: I received race entries and VIP passes for this event, however all opinions are my own.

QOTD: What race has the best post race party that you been to? Do you like the 10K distance?

Crescent City Classic Expo 2016

Good morning friends! I hope you all had an amazing Easter weekend. We had a really good one in New Orleans with family and running the Crescent City Classic 10k. Today I wanted to tell you a little about the expo, but I feel like I must back up for you to fully understand why I needed to drink by the evening.

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That. See that? We left the house at 11:30, grabbed Chick-fil-A (duh) and headed south. Our 2.5 hour trip took 4.5 hours because. of. that. We got about 40 minutes south of our house on the interstate…and we came to a complete stop. For almost two hours. Baby girl was asleep until we came to a stop then was NOT happy. Eventually everyone was getting out of their cars to walk around (including many men like my husband going to relieve themselves in the woods, hey, you gotta do what you gotta so) and people walking their dogs. Poor Emma Kate hates the car seat as it is, so she wasn’t doing too well. I admittedly got VERY frustrated. We saw a couple ambulances go by as well as tow trucks and heard a car was on fire, but we knew nothing more. I was frantic because I had our day planned out perfectly so that we could spend a little time with my parents before driving into New Orleans for the night. At this point I was worried we wouldn’t even make it to the expo before it closed.

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We finally got moving again after making friends with the folks in the cars around us (hey, we are in the south, it’s what we do), and headed to my parents house where we encountered more traffic as well as a bridge being up to let boats through. It was just not a good driving day for us. I later found out a car was driving very slowly in the right lane and was rear ended by two other cars. The first car caught on fire and they were not able to save the person inside. I then felt really bad for being frustrated with the wait considering someone died in the accident. It really puts things into perspective. Sad smile

We finally made it to my parents house and dropped off the dog and the baby before heading into New Orleans for the night. Thankfully we were staying at the Hyatt, which is where the expo was and where our blogger dinner was being held. We quickly checked in and headed down to the expo.

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The Superdome was right outside the elevator bay.

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I saw a couple friends as we headed into the expo, and told them we would see them up at dinner, but had to go grab our race packets and shirts.

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The Crescent City Classic has over 20,000 runners and walkers. Thankfully, the expo wasn’t crowded since it was the second day and almost closing time! We got in line and got our bibs.

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We glanced at a couple booths as we walked by, and Bobby was sure to get free red beans and rice, while I was sure to grab some free beer.

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How adorable is this set up for photos at the expo?

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We got our shirts and unfortunately didn’t have time to do anymore looking around at the expo. There were lots of booths, local races, etc. but we just ran out of time. Sad smile We headed upstairs for our blogger dinner and had a great time with friends. The nice part about it was walking right upstairs to go to bed after it was over!

We got a picture with the chef and our waitress before we left. Because…why not?

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Bobby and I headed upstairs about 8:00 to get ready for bed. Staying at this hotel was the best decision ever, no driving around after dinner, and the race start was literally just outside! But more on that tomorrow.

QOTD: Have you ever been stuck behind a wreck on the interstate? Favorite part of a race expo?

Rock ‘N’ Roll New Orleans Recap 2016

At the end of February, I ran the Rock ‘N’ Roll New Orleans half marathon once again. This race would be a little different for me as I was running it by myself for the first time, and I was coming off of a challenge weekend (10k and half marathon) in Walt Disney World. I was still excited to run my hometown race, and the weather was looking perfect!

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What was it I said about the weather? It was COLD that morning. I much prefer to run in the cold though, and I knew it would be warming up quickly as soon as the sun came up. I left my hotel room and made my way to the VIP hotel. I went in and grabbed a little coffee and a bagel, and met a girl from new York who is running a half marathon in all 50 states! It  was really cool to hear her story.

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The best thing about the Rock ‘N’ Roll New Orleans VIP package that you can purchase is being able to use real bathrooms before the start, and being able to hang out in the warmth of a building and then just walk right out to your corral.

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I sat in the hall in my jacket and stretched for several minutes then used the restroom one last time (thanks, coffee, I guess I had too much liquid!) and then handed over my bag for private gear check before walking a block down to my corral only five minutes before the 7:30 start. I was in corral 7, so I knew I wouldn’t miss anything, but wanted to get out before the start so I could cross the street to get where I needed to go.

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Well, one thing I wasn’t expecting was utter chaos! There were still SO many people trying to get into their corrals, and since Rock ‘N’ Roll doesn’t enforce what corral you get into, all of the first corrals were so jam packed that people couldn’t even get into them. I finally found the sign for corral seven and jumped through the opening. As we were singing the national anthem, I looked around and realized I had accidentally jumped into the back of 6 instead of the front of 7. Dang it! I made my way to the very back of 6 as to not impede any runners, because there was no way I could get out onto the street and back a corral at this point, as you can see from the below photo.

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We made our way up to the start, and it was time to go! I was SO not mentally prepared for this race and had a moment of “oh, wait, I have to run 13.1 miles now!” right as our corral took off. Well, nothing I could do now but put in my headphones and run for a couple of hours!

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My first mile felt really good and I ran the pace I wanted to run the whole race in. It was a little crowded, but I have run in much worse so it didn’t really bother me too much. The course is very familiar to me, and I was most concerned with the road conditions so I kept my head down a lot.

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We were running on St. Charles where the beautiful old mansion are, and right after we hit mile two, I got a pain in my right hip. uh oh. This is what I was afraid of. When I ran the Glass Slipper Challenge the weekend before, I did fine in the 10k, but about midway through the half my hip started to hurt. It got worse and worse as the race went on, but I was able to finish. The whole week prior to this race, I didn’t work out at all, and just foam rolled and stretched in the hope of it getting better and not bothering me. No such luck apparently. I had taken Tylenol prior to the race start and it was already hurting me at mile two…this was going to be a long race.

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I had a quick moment of panic where I wanted to just sit on the curb and cry. I thought to myself…you have three choices here. One, you can quit now. Two, you can keep going at a run walk as to not be in pain and finish sometime tomorrow (haha) or three, you can SUCK IT UP, fight through the pain and finish as strong as possible and be proud of your effort. About that time, I saw a med tent. I grabbed some more Tylenol, and decided to just got for it. I picked a number, 10:00 pace, and decided to just try and hold that pace for as long as I could. About that time, the song “Fight Song” came on, and I started tearing up. I CAN do this, I WANT to do this. YES I was frustrated because I have been working really hard and despite running one day a week and running two races the last weekend, I was on track and had the ability to PR in that race, and now I knew it wasn’t going to happen, BUT, I knew I still had a lot of fight left in me, and I wanted to run to the best of the ability that I had for that day. So I pushed, and I pushed, and I struggled. I would run on the dirt street car tracks in the median, then jump down to the road, trying to figure out which felt better on my hip. I stopped occasionally to try to stretch out my hip. I took some GU. I counted down the miles. I gave myself a lot of pep talks. I started at the road, one foot in front of the other. I finally made it into the French quarter.

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I REALLY wanted to stop at Café du Monde, but I kept going Smile

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We made the turn onto Esplanade, and I knew I only had 3-4 miles left. This is where I was unable to hold onto my pace any longer. This is also when the pain started growing and moving from my hip to my glute, and would occasionally seize up the entire muscle group, which was super fun. I had to stop and walk more often and stop and stretch on stop signs. I was DETERMINED to finish as hard and strong as I possible could. It was starting to get hot outside, and I just kept staring at the ground in front of me (I nearly rolled an ankle a few times, yall, the roads in NOLA are BAD.) and kept glancing at my watch to see how far away I was.

When I made it to the museum of art, I knew I was close, but boy did that last half mile seem like the longest of my life. Normally this is where I would kick it in, but I had no kick in me. It was more of a hobble/limp to the finish, but I went as hard as I could. I didn’t even raise my hands when I crossed the finish, I was just so ready to stop running to stop the pain. I crossed in 2:14:59. Not exactly what I was expecting, but I also surprised myself considering all the things I had going against me.

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My watch said I ran 13.36 miles with average pace of 10:06 if I remember correctly. It’s not what I wanted but at least it’s encouraging that if I can do my PT/get stronger and run more than once a week I will PR. Here are my splits:

  • mile 1- 9:31
  • mile 2- 9:55 —> stopped at med tent
  • mile 3- 9:39
  • mile 4- 9:54
  • mile 5- 10:00
  • mile 6- 9:48
  • mile 7- 9:45
  • mile 8- 10:06
  • mile 9- 10:30 —> took a GU
  • mile 10- 10:06
  • mile 11- 10:54 —> took another GU
  • mile 12- 10:18 —> almost died
  • mile 13- 9:12

I made it out of the chute and ran into Mindy and Jenny. Was great to chat with them for a bit!RnR friends

I then walked over to the VIP tent and immediately put my name down for a massage, then got some food. The weather was wonderful, and it was nice to just sit and listen to the music and enjoy the day.

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I got a text from Megan and we met up for a quick hello. Great to see a fellow ASICS ambassador!

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Around 12:00 I knew it was time to head back to the hotel to checkout and drive back to my parents. I didn’t want to leave because I was just enjoying being still after such a stressful morning, but I also knew it was a trek back to the hotel. (Rock ‘N’ Roll has bus transportation back downtown for participants).

My struggles with this race were not the fault of Rock ‘N’ Roll, it truly is a great race and my favorite Rock ‘N’ Roll so far. My one qualm is the terrible roads which I am sure contributed to the early onset of hip pain I experienced. The after party, the bling, the bands, everything else was wonderful and I hope to always get to run this race.

Also, if you have the chance to purchase the VIP package for Rock ‘N’ Roll New Orleans I would recommend it! The pre race breakfast, bathrooms, private gear check are worth it to me, but then you also get the post race food, alcohol, massages, gear pick up, charging station, and VIP bus (no waiting in line) back downtown. Let me know if you have any questions about this event, I would be happy to answer!

PS: If you want to save $15 on Rock ‘N’ Roll half and full marathons, use my code at checkout! Some exclusions apply such as San Antonio, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and a couple of others.

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QOTD: Have you ever had to fight through pain to finish a race?

Disclosure: I received free entry and VIP package as a Rock ‘N’ Blog member, however I was not asked to write this post, and all opinions are my own.

Rock ‘N’ Roll New Orleans Expo 2016

Rock ‘N’ Roll New Orleans is one of my favorite races, and not just because I grew up in the area. The weather is usually nice, the course is flat, and the after party is so much fun. I have run this race about five times, and have some great memories from it. The New Orleans expo is always a lot of fun!

This year was a little different because I was heading over by myself, but I still hung out with friends and had a great time! I drove down from my house with Emma Kate on Friday and stayed the night with my parents (they live about 40 minutes from downtown) and then left the baby with them Saturday and headed into New Orleans. I first went to the hotel, ALOFT New Orleans, to check in. The room was ready, so I unloaded my stuff and waited on my roommates to arrive.

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The rooms at ALOFT are huge, and the beds are really comfortable. They have a pool and fitness center, and they are located right in between Canal street and Poydras Street, we just walked everywhere we needed to go!

Once Joe and Brooklyn arrived, we walked to the Convention Center. I was pleasantly surprised when we were not in Hall J per usual (a LONG walk) but in hall B or C if I remember correctly.

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My sister flew in from Houston for the race, and happened to be at the expo at the same time as me, so we were able to meet up for a few minutes.

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The expo was pretty crowded, so I just wandered around and went to a few booths where I knew the workers to say hello. Then I texted Jen and found her amongst the chaos. We had planned to meet up for dinner later, so I said goodbye and headed to the VIP booth to pick up my packet, and do a little more looking around.

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I love how Rock ‘N’ Roll has all of their heavy medals out!

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We were having a Rock ‘N’ Blogger meet up at the expo entrance at 3:30, so I made my way over to the front and met up with some old and new friends.

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We chatted for a bit, and then saw that there was a film crew out front. I’m not sure who approached who, but before I knew it I was signing a release form to be on camera.

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I still have no idea what the footage will be/was used for, but it was a lot of fun! They asked me questions about running in New Orleans, why I love this race, etc. I really can’t remember what I said, ha!

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A couple of other people were on camera, and then we all realized how hungry we were and decided to walk a couple of blocks over and get pizza, and apparently a Larisa photo bomb.

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We sat outside and ate, but sadly were at three different tables. We got really frustrated when we were told if there were more than 5 people eating together we had to put the food all on one bill. Huh? it really made no sense. How about just 3 separate checks even? No one wanted to put 9 people’s food on their credit card. New Orleans thrives on tourism, and this kind of thing is a major turn off, and if I wasn’t so hungry I would have just walked away. We decided to just sit near each other at 3 different tables and get some food in our bellies.

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Love that girl. She was running the full the next day!

The pizza was decent but the beer I had (NOLA Blonde) was really good. The weather was perfect for sitting outside, and we had a lot of fun.

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Since we are all boring old people, we decided to call it a night and head back to the hotel and go to bed.

As we were walking back to our hotel, we heard some music and saw a wedding party coming down the street doing the second line dance! We may have stopped to do a little jig and do some yelling and cheering.

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When we got back to our hotel, we noticed the Oscar Mayer Weenie mobile was sitting outside of out hotel. Umm…ok? Still have no idea why, but of COURSE we had to document the occasion.

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It was off to bed, it was going to be an early morning. I had a great day in New Orleans seeing friends, hanging out, and getting ready for the race.

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QOTD: What do you eat the night before a race?

My Go-To Look for Game Day

I am a die hard football fan (shocker, I know). I have posted many times in the past about my love for the game, even when my team isn’t doing so well….like right now. But I think that is what makes a TRUE fan right? My parents both grew up in New Orleans, and I was raised in the area as well. As you can very well guess, I am a tried and true, in my blood, New Orleans Saints fan. Oh, we have had some bad years, but that doesn’t stop me from cheering for my boys in black and gold, or from wearing my favorite Saints gear all over town.

Believe it or not, I don’t always wear running clothes and yoga pants, and that is particularly true on game day.

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I remember in the not so distant past when women were forced to wear men’s game day gear, or be forced to shop in the kids section (guilty!) Adorable women’s football gear did not exist, but thankfully that isn’t the case anymore! NFLshop.com has a great selection of fan gear, from dressed down, to heading out on the town, to going to a game day party or tailgate. They have a huge stylish women’s selection which I loved browsing through.

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Sometimes we watch the game alone at home (I think I embarrass my husband in public with my screaming and ranting), and sometimes we go to a family members home, a party, or a sports bar. We have been on vacation many times and had to seek out the nearest sports bar just so I could watch the game.

Of course, no girl wants to wear the same outfits over and over, so having a closet full of gear to wear no matter the weather or how dressed up or dressed down the occasion is very important. For instance, the year the Saints won the Super bowl everyone wore their game day gear to church. It was hysterical but also so much fun. I of course dressed up my outfit that day! It’s fun to take things up a notch instead of just wearing jeans and a t-shirt on game day. I love to pair a typically dressed-down shirt with a skirt and heels to jazz things up a bit.

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Another fun thing to do is to take a more decorative or “statement” shirt, and pair it with jeans and heels. I am all about cute wedges! In New Orleans, bling, glitter, and gold are all very important and can be found on a lot of clothing, so an adorable shirt like the one below doesn’t need something fancy on bottom to take away from it, so skinny jeans work great to dress it down a bit.

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I LOVE the laces on the v-neck of the this shirt, it’s so fun and perfect for game day. What, you don’t think I can grill?

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We still have a lot more football to play my friends. So what if the Saints are 0-3, we can still come back, right?

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If you are looking for great gear to support your favorite team, be sure to check out the stylish selection for the next game day at NFLshop.com.

QOTD: What is your favorite thing to wear to watch football? How is your team doing?

Hurricane Katrina, 10 Years Ago

This weekend marks the ten year anniversary of when hurricane Katrina slammed into the shores of the Mississippi gulf coast, effectively flooding many areas, destroying homes, lives, and property. All of my family lives in the New Orleans area, and I grew up about 30 minutes north of the city. This time ten years ago was a very scary and uncertain time for my family.

We had six people, a dog, and a cat in my one bedroom apartment at college in Jackson, Mississippi, and we had no idea if the business my parents owned in Kenner (right next to the New Orleans airport) was going to be there when they got back, or if their house would be standing. I have told my story here on the blog before, so instead of retelling, I am just going to share a couple of links with you at the bottom of this post.

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Trying to look happy and like we were having fun all hanging out together…but we were very scared of what was going to happen.

While New Orleans and the Mississippi gulf coast look much better now than they did right after the awful storm, I can assure you, that for the people that still live there, things are not “the same” or “back to normal” and probably never will be. We are so thankful that damage my family sustained was in property and not lost lives, but many were not so lucky. Let’s all keep those family members in our prayers this weekend as they are having to re-live this awful time during the 10 year anniversary.

My Katrina Story

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QOTD: Where were you during hurricane Katrina?

Crescent City Classic 10k Race Recap 2015

On Saturday, I ran in my fourth Crescent City Classic 10k in New Orleans. It is a super huge, super flat and fast road race that the city of New Orleans has embraced and turned into a not-to-miss event. It is always held on Saturday, the day before Easter. I have worn the same bunny ears for the past four years of this race!

Bobby and I were up before 6:00. We were staying at Aloft New Orleans, a hotel just a few blocks from the starting line near the Superdome (more on the hotel later). We got dressed and ready and headed to the start line around 7:00.

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The weather forecast said early morning rain, but that it should be moved out before the race, and that is would be partly sunny the rest of the day. When we stepped out of the hotel, I knew that wasn’t going to happen! It was cold and very windy. We walked to the start and took a blogger picture with the other #CCC10kblogger folks, then headed to Champion’s Square.

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On my way into the square I ran into Mindy! We chatted for a minute then I went into the square to find Mrs. Z.

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There were so many people milling about, but she texted me and we found each other near the free smoothies and coffee.

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Hi friend! Fun fact: At this race, in this exact same square last year is when she told me she was pregnant! Her due date was a few weeks after mine but she ended up delivering before me!

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We decided to head to our corral early because last year it was a bit chaotic. They had the short fences up and people were jumping them, and there was no one guarding corrals to make sure people went into the proper one. However, this year was MUCH much better! The corrals were much more clearly marked, and they had volunteers standing at the front of each corral checking bibs. They also had the tall fences around the corrals, but sadly I still saw MANY people lift up the fences and sneak into different corrals.

All of the sudden, it felt like it was getting colder…and then it started raining! So we stood in our corrals like a bunch of cattle, getting rained on. It was kind of a miserable way to start the race, but what can ya do?

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I was very pleased with the corral organization this year though! We made it up to the start line, and after a shout out from my race director buddy Mike, we were off!

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The first mile or two was pretty crowded, but it evened out a lot once we got past Café du Monde and the French Market on Decatur.

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We made the turn onto Esplanade, and I stopped to get water for the first (and only) time at mile 3. It was nice and cool, and the huge oak trees on Esplanade provided great cover from the rain.

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There weren’t as many spectators out as there has been in years past, however there were still a couple of fun beer/mimosa/margarita “aid stations” out on the course.

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We turned left as the museum of Art was in front of us, and went around and then inside the park. Usually I hate this park of the race when it’s sunny because that’s when you realize just how hot it is without the shade of the trees. Luckily the rain had stopped, and we kept on trucking. At mile 5 we saw a guy take a nasty fall on some uneven roads (which are everywhere in NOLA!) He hit his FACE, I felt so bad for him. Luckily a lot of folks had already stopped to help him. I took one quick 10 second walk break, and we made it back into front of the museum of art. Aaannnddd that’s when the heavens let loose! I was already dying/out of breath being just a half mile from the finish line, and the torrential rain on top of that was not pleasant. You can see just how dark it got all of the sudden in the next photo!

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We made another familiar turn, and I could see the finish line in the distance! For some weird reason I didn’t do an all out kick like I usually do, I just kind of trotted through to the finish. Not sure what I was thinking? Anyway, we finished in a respectable 1:03:30, which is around 4 minutes shy of a PR. Considering I have only been running long slow miles since having the baby, I’ll take that.

We got our medals and made our way to the VIP tent. It was time to EAT! Jambalaya, red beans and rice, mimosas, and sandwiches were plentiful.

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Oh, and wings form Hooters.

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We met up with some of the other bloggers and had our own little table where we chatted about the race and such. It was fun to get to relax and hang out with everyone.

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Of course we had to take another group picture!

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It was pretty chilly, especially because I was sweating, and sadly not as many people stayed for the after party because of the weather. It was a bummer because the day before the race and the day after the race were beautiful and sunny.

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When I felt like I couldn’t take the shivering anymore (hello isn’t it Easter weekend in New Orleans? Why so cold?!?)

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We headed to the bus line to get back downtown. I had my fingers crossed as we made our way over to the bus line, because this was my big complaint from last year. They were only loading one bus at a time last year even though they had 10 buses waiting to be filled, and we stood around forever. Sadly, it was the same story this year. I timed it, we waited in line exactly 30 minutes to get on a dang bus. They thankfully had someone “directing traffic” and putting people on the buses, but were only loading buses two at a time. I wish they would count off 40 people, send them to bus 1, then count off 40 more, send them to bus two, so on and so forth and load 5 or 6 buses at a time. Maybe next year? Or maybe I should volunteer to man the bus line? I would have that line moving in no time!

We made it back downtown and had to walk a few blocks back to the hotel, but since it was just a 10k I wasn’t sore or tired so we weren’t hobbling back to the hotel like we have been for other races!

Overall, we had a great experience and I can’t wait for next year! Here is my pro/con list:

PROS:

-very low entry fee

-expo (with free food and beer!)

– everyone gets a shirt and finishers medal

– amazing after party with food, beer, bands, things for the kids to do, booths for other races, etc. (Open to the public for $10, runners get in free).

-free shuttle downtown before and after the race

-fast, flat course

-timing chips for all runners

CONS:

-Lots of people so it can get crowded and congested

– waiting in line for bus back downtown for 30 minutes

-uneven streets/I almost fell a few times

The pro’s HEAVILY outweigh the cons, and this race has improved year after year. I wouldn’t miss it! If you have any questions about the race feel free to ask, I would love to have you join me next year!

QOTD: Have you ever run a race in the rain?

**Winners of my Airborne everyday giveaway are Elle Pink and Vunda Vall. Please email heatherslookingglass@gmail.com to claim your prize!

DISCLOSURE: I was provided a free race entry, pasta dinner, and VIP

Crescent City Classic Race Expo 2015

On Saturday, Bobby and I ran in the New Orleans Crescent City Classic 10k. This is a HUGE race with around 20,000 runners, that winds through the French Quarter and ends at city park with a big post race party! This was my fourth classic, but oddly my first time at the expo! In years past I have always had people picking up my bib for me.

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Friday Bobby and I arrived in New Orleans and parked at the Hyatt where the expo was being held. In true New Orleans fashion, they had free beer and red beans and rice. I also heard earlier in the day there was a second line that came through the expo.

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We got our bibs and wandered around a bit.

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We took a look at the course map to see what side of the street we needed to be on (last year was a bit of a mess trying to get into the corrals so I had high hopes for this year).

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Of course the husband smelled food and was at the table before I could even say anything to him.

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Free beer! When in New Orleans, right?

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They had several booths for other races at the expo, as well as some apparel and gear booths. I thought it was pretty good for a 10k, and am glad we went this year! You also could get a picture with the Easter bunny! I passed, but did get a picture with my bib.

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After the expo we headed to a pasta dinner put on by the race at the hotel the expo was in. It was a buffet and had a pretty good selection! Great job with the expo CCC, we will be back!

QOTD: Do you like when expo’s have free food and samples?

Disclosure: I was provided with free race entry and pasta dinner tickets, however I was not required to write this post and all opinions are my own.

Weekend Fun in New Orleans

When Bobby and I were in New Orleans a couple of weeks ago, not only did we have a great time running, but we also got to experience some new things I wanted to share with you. Since I am from the area, I don’t get to experience New Orleans hotels very often, we simply just would drive home, so I was stoked to be staying at Hotel Monteleone for two nights. We dropped off the baby with my parents Friday afternoon then drove into the city.

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We found the hotel and valet parked. (Please note if you plan to stay here, valet parking is the only option and it’s $40 a night plus tax).

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The lobby was absolutely gorgeous, and had a very Victorian vibe to it.

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Hotel  Monteleone also houses a rare oddity, it’s called the Carousel Bar. It’s the only moving/rotating bar around, how cool is that?

It was late so obviously our room was ready. We requested a king which is always nice to have but one thing I have learned when requesting a king bed is that the room itself is usually smaller hence why they can only fit one bed in it. While our room was very fancy, it was by far the smallest hotel room I have ever stayed in.

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In the above photo, the left wall is right at the edge of the photo, and on the right side you can see the curtain for the window.

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The bathroom was nice but really small, too. Oh well, we weren’t planning to be in the room much, we had lots to do! But not before a glorious night of sleep not listening for the baby monitor. We slept 9.5 hours! It was amazing.

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robes in the closet

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view from our room

Saturday was beautiful but very chilly in the morning. We knew we were getting breakfast at Café du Monde so we bundled up and walked towards Jackson square.

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We wandered around the French Market before the Rock ‘n Roll Tweet Up

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After the Tweet Up and charity event, we headed to the expo then walked over to the Riverwalk for lunch.

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We both wanted different things so we hit up the food court before walking back to our hotel. We were having an early dinner with Megan and her husband Gabe, so we just chilled in the room until dinner time. Bobby actually took a nap while I read over the final event information for the half marathon the next day. The restaurant we were eating at, Mr. B’s Bistro, was literally right across the street from our hotel so we headed down when Megan said they had arrived.

Yes we had a half marathon the next day, but we all knew none of us were in shape to do our very best, so we decided to have a drink. I tried out the Mardi Gras martini and WOW it was delicious!

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We had good food and great company, it was a blast!

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We said our goodbyes fairly early so we could get to bed. It was nice just walking back across the street to our hotel!

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One thing I forgot about when staying in the French Quarter: it’s loud at night. Not to mention, we forgot the fan we always sleep with! Luckily I had a white noise app, but we heard non stop honking and had an ambulance parked outside our window for awhile at one point (we were on the 7th floor).

The next morning was of course the race, and we had just enough time to come back and shower before our late check out. While we wish the room was bigger at the hotel, the service was excellent and everything was beautiful. I hope we get to come back and stay again sometime!

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Our weekend in New Orleans couldn’t have been much more perfect. I am so thankful for the beautiful weather, and a weekend just the two of us was just what we needed. Also I am glad I got to do some of my favorite things: race, hang out with friends, and hang out with my husband. I can’t wait until next year!

QOTD: What is your favorite spot for a racecation?

Disclosure: Our room was paid for by Rock ‘n Roll, but no further compensation was received. All opinions are my own and I was not asked to write about my hotel experience, I just like to share about my travels and great places to stay!