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Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Recap: Expo


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On Saturday, after we finished up at the Feed the Children event, we loaded up with the other Rock ‘n’ Bloggers and headed over to the race expo, which is always lots of fun. We had been up since really early that morning but still wanted to make time to take a few pictures and see what the various vendors had to offer. I always enjoy the feeling of excitement that you can sense when you’re there the night before a big race. We also saw several familiar faces from back home while we were there!

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With my race bib and ready to run 26.2!

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Jason with his race bib at the expo.

After picking up our numbers and making a few rounds through the expo, we decided that even though it was a little early for dinner, we were ready to go eat and get back to our hotel. It’s always our tradition to eat at Dragos the night before the race, so of course, that’s where we went. (Their charbroiled oysters and seafood pasta are great!!!)

We headed back to our hotel – this time in a cab –  to rest up and prepare for the next day. I was in my pj’s by 6:30, which was absolutely the best feeling in the world! After we laid our gear and fuel out for the next morning, we settled in for one last inspiring movie before the race – Spirit of the Marathon. If you haven’t watched this movie before, you’re really missing out on some big time inspiration!! Oh, and if you can get through this movie without a lump in your throat or a couple of tears shed, well…then you’re a lot tougher than me, lol! 🙂

Here’s a sneak peak: 

It’s definitely a marathon eve movie! (By the way, Spirit of the Marathon 2 is also available now and it’s great too!) When the movie was over, we were ready to head off to sleep with dreams of PR’s dancing in our heads…and also a very early wake up call at 4:45am.

My marathon day recap is coming up in my next post and I can’t wait to tell you about it!! (Hint: I’ve been working really hard to redeem my horrible marathon finish time from last year. I made a lot of changes and they weren’t all easy ones – but, in the end, they were worth it! 😉 )

Do you have a pre-race night tradition (like watching a certain movie or eating at a particular restaurant) like we do? Share it with me!

If you’re thinking about signing up for one (or more!) of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon races, use SLOWISTHENEWFAST for $15 off ANY Rock ‘n’ Roll half or full marathon of 2015! (This includes Canadian races but doesn’t include Mexico events, 1-miles, 5k, 10k, Kids Rock, 2-Person Relay, or TourPass.) ‪#‎RocknBlog‬

Which races will you be signing up for?

 

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Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon New Orleans Recap and it’s My 4th Runniversary!


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On Sunday, February 2, 2014, I completed my 3rd marathon. Here’s the recap below!

A few weeks before the marathon, RnR Nola held a photo contest for King and Queen of RnR New Orleans and I was fortunate enough to win Queen!

We traveled down to New Orleans on Saturday and met up with my husband’s sister who was also running the marathon on Sunday. By the time we arrived, found somewhere to park and walked over, it was later in the afternoon and the Expo was getting close to shutting down.

I finally remembered to have my picture taken with my bib!

I finally remembered to have my picture taken with my bib!

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We made it in time to get a goofy picture taken at the Expo!

After checking out all the great booths at the Expo, we headed out to go eat an early dinner at one of our favorite restaurants in New Orleans, Dragos.

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We always like to get our picture taken outside with the big RnR Nola sign.

We headed back to our hotel after dinner and started prepping our gear and our minds for the next day. I was actually more nervous about speaking on stage in front of everyone than I was about running the marathon. We were, however, getting a little concerned about the forecast of rain and high humidity – not exactly ideal conditions but it is what it is. 

I was up at 4am (4AM!!) – not my typical wake up time on race mornings but since I had to be on stage by 6:15, I knew I’d better get started early. For someone that usually doesn’t head out to a race so early, I was really surprised at the tons of people that were already migrating towards the staging area. As soon as we got to the starting line/stage, I nervously made my way onto the stage and stood aside as they made their various announcements. I did remember to take a few pics from the stage while I waited!

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My view from the stage.

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Getting a quick picture made with the King, Tim Hinds.

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Interview time!

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Jason took this picture while waiting for me to speak.

Everything on stage went well and went by pretty fast. Before I knew it, I was gathering up my belongings and Jason and I were headed over to the VIP tent.

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A quick picture (via Instagram) before heading over to the gear check.

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Getting ready to check my gear and go to one last potty break before the race. (That weird looking concoction is Chia Fresca in my right hand.)

We made our way over to our corrals and got ready to tackle 26.2 miles for a 3rd time.

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My view on the front lines of Corral 15.

I was really trying to think positive and focus but in the back of my mind, I knew how bad my Plantar Fasciitis was hurting. It had gotten better in the weeks before the marathon. In fact, I was convinced that I was on the upswing and was doing much better. I was running consecutive longer runs with no pain (and that was a huge deal).  But…the day before the marathon, my foot was in horrible pain. I tried to think positive. I tried to visualize myself running with no pain. I did everything I knew to do but it didn’t work.  My plan was to run 2:30 and walk for 1:00. Every step hurt whether I was running or walking and I knew I was in trouble after the first mile but I tried to keep a positive attitude. I really wanted to get a PR from the year before but I knew that the weather and my foot were working against me. I had a pace band on my wrist and was very excited to see that was I on pace for the first several miles of the race. As my foot began to hurt me more, I began to notice my pace slipping a little bit. First, it was only a minute, then 3 mins, then 5 and soon 10. After that, I knew my goal wasn’t a PR but a finish. I cried a lot during this marathon. Honestly, I think I cried more this time than during my 1st.  At about mile 18, I had the privilege of seeing my husband on the course. He was on mile 21 and was a sight for sore eyes!! I’m sure I ran a little faster when I had him in my sight. He reached out his hand and took mine and gave me a quick kiss. It definitely carried me through those difficult miles on the hilly bridges.

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I’ve never been more thrilled to see that I had a 10K left to run!

As I mentioned earlier, the weather was crazy that day! It was humid, rainy at times and super foggy out by the river. I’ve never run in thick fog like that and it was very cool! When we ran past Jackson Square, it was eery to see only silhouettes of the statue and cathedral.

This gives you an idea of how thick the fog was down by the river. We took this later on that afternoon after the race.

This gives you an idea of how thick the fog was down by the river. We took this later on that afternoon after the race.

Out of 3 marathons, this one was my slowest but I didn’t give up and I finished. My official time was 5:56:40. All things considered, I’ll take it.

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I was one happy girl crossing the finish line!

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After the race, looking for food and a place to sit down.

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As you can see, I found both! 🙂

Besides the weather and foot problems, RnR Nola lived up to our expectations, as always. You can count on a well-organized race, lots of great music, crowd support like crazy and of course, awesome medals!

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I probably don’t have to tell you that I wore my medal all day the next day too. 🙂

By the way, yesterday was my 4th Runniversary! (This post was supposed to have gone up then – along with a run of 4 miles but a stomach bug decided to ruin all the fun.) Last year, I posted a recap of my running story that you can read here, if I haven’t bored you to tears already. 🙂

I also have an awesome giveaway going on with some great pages that you definitely don’t want to miss out on!! Click the picture and make sure you get your name in there for a chance to win!!

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Good luck and Happy Running!

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Spotlight On: Meggan Franks – Winner of the New Orleans Rock N Roll Marathon 2012


This  feature is on New Orleans Rock n Roll Marathon winner, Canadian native, Mississippi State University Alumni, wife/mom and fellow Rod’s Racers teammate, Meggan Franks. I first heard Meggan’s name after I’d finished the Rock n Roll Marathon and had gone back to our hotel. (Meggan was probably already packed up and on her way home by that time, lol!) Imagine our excitement and how proud we were when we heard that someone from our state was the female winner?!

Crossing the finish line at the Rock N Roll Marathon in New Orleans.

Meggan was gracious enough to answer some questions so we could get to know more about her.

Slow is the New Fast (SITNF): How long have you been running?

Meggan: I have been running since about 1998, I think. One of my friends in high school ran hurdles and I thought she looked beautiful doing it. She was running club track at the time, so I decided to run club track too. I was so shy, it took me almost a month to ask if I could go to practice with her.

SITNF: Your thoughts on being the number 1 rated female marathoner from Canada?

Meggan: Well it was great while it lasted! I survived a few months in the #1 spot. Athletics Canada has me ranked 6th but unofficially, I am not ranked that high. It’s ok though, I’m running a Fall marathon and …if everything goes as planned.. .I will run much faster than I did in the Spring.

SITNF: What brought you to Mississippi from Canada?

Meggan: Running brought me here. I was terrible at running until about 12th grade when I decided I wanted to run in college. I ran twice a day for about a year and contacted Mississippi State University about joining the team. The offered me a scholarship. I packed my bags, jumped on a plane, and started class in August 2001. I have been here ever since.

SITNF: Biggest race to date?

Meggan: I’ve ran a lot of big races but the most memorable one for me was winning the Rock’n’Roll New Orleans Marathon this past February in 2:49:06. Frank Shorter gave me my award….I kept the finish line tape. Every time I drag it out I get excited about running another marathon.

Meggan accepting her award from Frank Shorter and Rod Dixon

SITNF: Favorite running distance?

Meggan: 26.2 glorious miles!

SITNF: Most exciting running experience?

Meggan: Oh wow….this one is hard. I guess when I won my first marathon – Niagara Falls Marathon in 2011 (2:52:16). I couldn’t believe I was going to win, I was hyperventilating the last mile because I was so excited. There is a picture of me screaming as I crossed the finish line. I couldn’t help it!

Meggan crossing the finish line at the Niagara Falls Marathon

SITNF: I’ve only been running since 2010 but I have really struggled with being a faster runner. (Hence the blog name, Slow is the New Fast, lol) Do you have any suggestions for runners wanting to get better/faster?

Meggan: Congrats on sticking with it! I would try to incorporate some speed work, like tempos and intervals. I rarely run on the track, you don’t need a track to get fast. Find a marked loop and run intervals workouts, start short with 4X800m at goal 5k pace, and tempos of 3 miles. Work up to 8x800m and 6-8 miles of tempo. Tempo should be run at 10k-marathon pace depending on the length of the run. Also incorporate strides at the end of your regular distance runs, 4-6X100m at a pace you could hold for about 1 mile.

SITNF: What do you do as a part of Rod’s Racers?

Meggan: I run races as part of the Rod’s Racers team and I try to win as many as I can (haha, kidding). I also take pictures for the Rod’s Racers facebook when I get the chance. I have started the new Rod’s Racers blog. You can visit it at rodsracers.wordpress.com it is a work in progress but it’s going!

Meggan, representing Rod’s Racers at a local event.

SITNF: I know I have certain things I always do before a race and if I don’t, I feel very thrown off. Do you have any pre-race rituals?

Meggan: I usually start my warm-up about 50 minutes before the start. I usually run about 3 miles then stretch, take a GU and some water, then I go to the start line and do strides for about 15 minutes before the race starts. I always eat something the morning of a race, maybe a Luna bar and a banana or something like that.

SITNF: What you eat during the marathon?

Meggan: I am big on GU. I will take about 6-7 Gus during a marathon, I figure we only have 20 miles worth of glycogen so I am not going to hit the wall because I didn’t take in enough fuel! I like Blackberry and Tri-Berry Gu. I take fluid at every stop, too. I also take SaltStick, I take one every 30 minutes or so because I have dealt with cramping in the past. Take the SaltStick with water or you will throw up – just to warn anyone reading this!

Meggan running the Atlanta Half Marathon

SITNF: I have found that it can be hard to train like I need to (especially long distances) and juggle the responsibilities of being a mom. Do you have any difficulties in training for a marathon with a young child/how do you do it?

Meggan: Well, I have a treadmill and I have logged a lot of miles on it…last Saturday I did a 20 miler. It is very hard to balance being a mom and running 80-90 miles a week and working 40+ hours and some weeks I struggle. Running helps me prioritize and I really don’t have any other hobbies…and I love my job. My husband is a track coach at MSU so he travels a lot during the year making it even harder (me and my treadmill get along pretty well). I have a regular sitter on Saturday for my long runs, and I have a group I run with during the week…very early. I sometimes start my runs as early as 4:30am, most of the time at 4:45am. If I have to add miles in the evening I usually take the baby jogger out around the neighborhood. I will say that none of this would be possible if I didn’t have an extremely supportive husband who is also a fabulous father..and coach!

SITNF: Did you run while you were expecting?

Meggan: Yes I ran till the very end…except for the week 40 (I was overdue). I think it helped keep me strong and I was able to get back to running PRs in about 6 months. I was very careful not to run in hot weather and I took a lot of walking breaks. I also tried to keep things interesting by riding the trainer and power walking. I made sure I got an hour of activity every day.

Marathon mama, Meggan with her baby girl, Maddy.

SITNF: What are your goals/aspirations?

Meggan: I would like to run under 2:40 for the marathon someday. I want to run a big marathon like Chicago or Boston, too.

SITNF: Little known facts about you that you’d like to share?

Meggan: I have an addiction to Dove chocolate. When I am logging lots of miles I can go through 3-4 bags in a week. I can’t help it!

SITNF: What shoes do you wear for training and are they the same ones you race in?

MF: I wear the Brooks Launch for Training. I wear the Brooks Green Silence for racing.

SITNF: You are an inspiration to many of us runners. Do you have someone that you look to as your inspiration?

Meggan: I have a high school friend from Canada that I follow, she is my inspiration! I also follow most of the top Americans, and I have many friends through blogging that are much faster than I am, they help keep me training hard!

SITNF: I have to have music when I run. Do you ever use an Ipod? If so, what do you listen to?

Meggan: I have a Sony MP3 player that is wireless. I love it, I only paid $49 for it. I can’t stand cords. I need music too when I am running on the treadmill. I usually just listen to pop music or anything with a nice beat.

SITNF: What do you do when you aren’t running? (ex: family, church, work, volunteer work)

Meggan: Well I oversee the Maroon Volunteer Center at Mississippi State University, so yes you can say I take part in a lot of volunteering and volunteer projects! I also support my Track and Field Dawgs whenever I can!

SITNF: I clearly remember my first real run. (Mainly because it wasn’t that long ago, lol) What was your first running experience?

Meggan: I ran in my schools cross-country race in 5th grade without shoes. I ran without shoes when we ran during gym class in Elementary School. I think the race was 1 kilometer.

SITNF: What got you into running?

Meggan: When I started running club track in high school I was last in a lot of track races. I was determined to get faster and to stick with it.

SITNF: Where do you train (indoor/outdoors) and how often?

Meggan: I try to vary my hard sessions between the treadmill and a few hilly road loops. I only run inside if I don’t have a sitter or my husband is traveling. I run between 80-90 miles a week, mostly in 1 run per day. That means most mornings I log about 12 miles. My long run is usually between 16-21 miles. I also run with Boardtown runners (boardtownrunners.org) on Saturday…which is good because after my long runs I am hungry!

SITNF: Personally, I have a horrible time running here in the summer. I feel like I can’t breathe, so the winter is my favorite time to train. How has the Mississippi heat affected your training, if it has?

Meggan: Oh gosh, I know what you mean! It took me years to get used to it and I will always struggle, too. On long runs I usually take fluid every 3 miles and I take SaltStick too. These things help! I try not to run between the hours of 8:00AM and 6:00PM. My husband runs in the heat of the day and I tell him he is crazy!

SITNF: Do you have any suggestions for new runners?

Meggan: Keep running, no matter how slow you are or how out of shape you think you are. Join a running group if you can so that you have others to push you and share in your pain and suffering on the hard days.

Here are some of Meggan’s stats:

Life Time Bests

-1/2 Marathon: 1:19:01 (2012)-Marathon: 2:49:06 (2012)-3000m Steeple Chase: 10:46 (2005)-5000m: 16:59 (2003)-5k road: 17:26 (2012)

Recent Achievements:
-Niagara Falls International Marathon Women’s Champion 2011 (2:52:16)
-Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Marathon Women’s Champion 2012 (2:49:06)
-6th at Canadian Half-Marathon Championships, 2012 (1:19:01)
-State of Mississippi Record Holder in the 5KM, 10KM, and Half-Marathon

2012

1.) UAB Invite 5k: 17:51 (1st)
2.)Frostbite Half-Marathon: 1:20:07 (1st) CR
3.) Mercedes Half-Marathon: 1:19:38 (2nd)
4.) Rock ‘n’ Rock New Orleans Marathon (1st) 2:49:06
5.) Killer Kudzo 5km: 18:01 (1st)
6.) Canadian Half-Marathon Champs: 1:19:01 (6th)
7.) Gum Tree 10k: 37:10 (8th)
8.) Red Hills Festival 5km: 17:26 (1st)
2011
1.)Frostbite Half Marathon: 1:27:29 (1st) (14 weeks postpartum)
2.) Germantown Half Marathon: 1:23:40 (1st) (5 months p.p.)

3.) Renaissance at Colony Park Half Marathon: 1:23:12 (1st)CR, SR, PR, (6 1/2 months p.p.)
4.) 2nd Annual Red Hills 5k, Louisville, MS: 17:48 (1st) (7 1/2 months p.p.)
5.) Manitoba Marathon, Winnipeg, Man.: 2:58.09 (2nd) (8 months p.p.)
6.) Oxford Endurance Weekend 3.3miler (1st) 18:44 (9 1/2 months p.p.)
7.) Ridgeland Run for St. Jude (1st) 18:10 (10 1/2 m p.p.)
8.) Atlanta 13.1 (3rd) 1:20:37 (11 1/2 m p.p.)
9.) Niagara Falls International Marathon (1st) 2:52:16 (1 year P.P)

Thanks again to Meggan for taking time to answer these questions for us!

If you’d like to keep up with what’s going on with Meggan and racing, you can follow her blog – Mom Against the Marathon.

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