Monday, February 23, 2015

1st Event of 2015: Rock n Roll New Orleans Full Marathon

Rock'n'Roll New Orleans Full Marathon

Please note: These posts for events occurring between October 2014 and February 2015 are overdue but I wanted to finish each of them to start fresh once again. Starting in May of last year I began to struggle with extreme fatigue, which I first thought was simply the result of a very strenuous travel-work-running schedule. I worked hard to get “adequate rest” before launching into my busiest season at the start of September but by then I knew something more serious must be involved. In between road trips I scheduled consults, tests and medical procedures all the while trying to keep up with my events and obligations through the fall and winter. I’m happy to say I was able to manage this…but just barely. For each meeting, race, event, appearance, meal, speaking engagement or celebration you see in my blog photos, the reality was that I would go immediately back to my rental car or hotel and collapse with exhaustion. Although writing a blog requires little physical exertion I found myself feeling lethargic and unable to focus so instead I took advantage of the private moments to rest and conserve as much of my energy as possible.  When I finish updating the missing events I will provide a detailed explanation of my health issues as I hope my doctors have finally determined the cause and likely solution to the fatigue. Thank you for your understanding and patience!

December 9-January 22nd:

The bulk of my December was full of more medical exams, procedures and minor surgeries. With each one I learned a bit more and I was finally hopeful that with my latest surgery my health could be restored to normal. Through it all I remained so grateful that I was able to keep up with my training, and because I had saved most of my vacation days I didn't have to do as much work during all of this. These were my best gifts from Santa! 
Feeling optimistic.
I had work meetings out of the country from January 4th-7th where I experienced a small setback in my health. I wasn't sure how serious it was but in order to take the best care of myself I requested a 3-to-4-week hiatus from my job once I returned home. My physician said we should wait a few more weeks before deciding upon a definite course of action and in the meantime I was allowed to resume my training. Being home meant I could also focus on good nutrition and quality rest.

Friday, January 23rd:

About 6 months ago my cousin Sandy told me she wanted to tackle her first marathon and asked me to run it with her. At the time I had absolutely no hope that I could run the full 26.2 miles, it was all I could do to survive the half marathons. However, I was so proud of her for becoming such an enthusiastic runner that I told her "Yes" and hoped for the best. If she could get through the training miles without injury I was confident that she could run on her own if I had to back out. She chose New Orleans because she wanted to run a fun event in an interesting city with a flat race course. Check, check and check.

Another plus to being in NOLA this week is that we're staying with a great friend of mine from Greensboro, Ashley Graham, who's been living down here since right after Hurricane Katrina. She's offered us lodging at her house for the weekend, then I plan to stick around a few days after the race to visit with her when her work priorities are lighter.

I sure hope the weather is better in NOLA.

And I really hope the de-icing works.

Ahhh, much better here in The Big Easy.
First stop upon arrival was the race Expo. We wanted to get our packets and maps so that we were fully ready come marathon day.
Merle, we miss you here in NOLA but you got Sandy hooked on
Sweaty Bands so there's no stopping her now.

No, my last surgery was not a boob job.

Our good friend and fellow Rock 'n' Roll Gypsy, George Melichar, is
hosting a Game Night to raise money for "Imagine a World Without Hunger".

Sandy and I are ready for the fun!

Al Hernandez, Susan and Ron Carino were bingo champs and won some great prizes.

This was our team table and we later took the prize for Pictionary.
Two of our bingo prizes were XXXL Hard Rock Cafe Hoodies and
we definitely made the most of them. Thank you George for a great night,
for a great cause!
Saturday, January 24th:

I was up at 5:00am to prepare for a morning-show interview. I hadn't done this in awhile with the 6-week stretch of no racing events so I had a slight case of nerves. Luckily Sandy and Jim wanted to come with me--even at such an early hour--so I had support in the effort. Plus, I always try to remember that this isn't about me, it's about the Get Back UP message and helping others to regain their quality of life. This makes me feel more determined rather than nervous.

Sandy slowly waking up in the green room.

Jim's wondering if I'm buying breakfast after the show.

I'll be sharing the spotlight with a local nutritionist, Meme Inge.

I've done this more than a few times so I got miked and ready to roll while
Meme was setting up her props. They positioned me right next to the
anchor in case they had to start with me then move to Meme's presentation once
she was ready.

Thanks to WWLTV4 for sharing our message with your viewers in NOLA! Here's the link to the clip:

(As of 2/23/15 this link was still active but I'm not sure how long they will keep it )

As promised, I treated Sandy and Jim to breakfast at Satsuma's after the TV interview...

From Satusuma's we made our way to Magazine street; I wanted to show Sandy some of our favorite shops along that corridor. We were really just killing time because Ashley had a late night last night and we wanted to let her sleep in and have her home to herself for a bit. She has another birthday gala to attend this evening--we'll be fast asleep by the time she gets home--but then she plans to spend the day with us tomorrow.

Sunday, January 25th: RACE DAY!

We tried to be as quiet as we could getting out of Ashley's house before sunup. She plans to sleep for a few hours then walk the 3 blocks from her house to meet us at the 3- and 6-mile marks on the course.

At this point I'm planning to attempt the full marathon but if I feel bad at the split I can switch gears and head to the 13.1 finish line rather than keep going.

Sandy doesn't look too nervous as we board the shuttle to the starting line.

Rock n' Roll gypsy friends at the pre-race VIP lounge.

Jim and I ham it up with Ted and Michelle before we head to the start.

Laurie Lasky, this is for you!

Jim's thinking "These ladies are crazy running 26.2 miles when there's a
perfectly good finish line at the 13.1 mile mark."

It's a brisk morning here in NOLA but it should be ideal
weather once we get going.

Almost ready to tackle the challenge...
WE DID IT! We didn't run together after the 3 mile mark but Sandy and I each ran our own race today, and both of us finished upright and with smiles at the end.

So proud of Sandy!

Sporting our new Marathon Finisher jackets and our medals.

Ashley was great support today--we saw her at mile 3, mile 6 and here at the finish.
Thanks Ashley, at least Jim had someone to hang with while Sandy and I were
still out on the course. (Jim had a great Half Marathon performance today, congrats to him!)

Sandy's new post-marathon quote: "Beignets for days!"
Finally, Sandy treats herself to the famous French Quarter Beignets after a great first marathon.

Before leaving NOLA I got to visit with Ashley and George in his apartment in the French Quarter.
Goodbye to The Big Easy, I'll miss you!

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