Rock n Roll NOLA Style

To say I didn’t want to go to work today is an understatement.  When I showed up we had 8 patients total, 2 of which us students couldn’t see because they were either employees or other students and, initially, there were no patients in the afternoon (but that changed)- but that’s beside the point.  I spent this weekend in New Orleans.  You know, the Big Easy.  I was suppose to fly out at like 6 pm (from BWI no less), but changed it to earlier in the day (say, 1 pm).  I took the day of from work and drove into Baltimore after a quick run, because 3 hour flights do wonders to your legs.  I met up with my sister for a quick brunch and then bolted across town to the airport.  I parked my car at 12:08 pm.  I was in through security and had enough time to take a bathroom break by 12:36 PM.  I boarded my flight around 12:45.  Talk about timing!  I had a direct flight (so about 3 hrs of airtime on Southwest) and, even though we got in 10 minutes late or so, it worked out well for me.  A friend of mine from college came out from Shreveport, LA and picked me up, getting to the airport as I was deplaning.  We headed over to our hotel and checked in and made our way over to the Convention center (a 10 minute walk) so I could get my bib.  There was a cheerleading convention thing going on, so needless to say, I saw more than enough cheerleaders with way too much make up walking around town.  There was no one at the expo, so we were able to get my stuff pretty quickly.  After the bib picking up, I headed to get my shirt.  Now, they give you the option of getting a unisex cut or a women’s cut.  I hate women’s cut running gear with a passion.  Some of us, like me, have to worry about what’s going on in the chest area, so the women’s cut shirts never fit right.  When I told the volunteers I wanted a men’s shirt, they looked at me like I was crazy, even though it was on my shirt tag that it was what I ordered.  You’d think after close to 15 1/2 marathons and 3 marathons, I’d know what I want.  Miranda (my college friend) and I made a quick run through the expo to see if there was anything I couldn’t live without and headed back to the hotel for a bag drop off and a shoe change.

We headed off to Drago’s (a seafood restaurant), where we split some shrimp pasta and catfish.  A little bit of everything never hurt.  Miranda, being a native Louisianian, took me through the French Quarter, around Jackson Square, down Bourbon Street and to a few other areas of NOLA at night.  We headed back to the hotel to figure out what to do Saturday.  We had on some TLC and were making fun of people on Four Weddings while coming up with a game plan.  Saturday morning, we headed to Cafe du Monde for beignets.  This is the place to go if you want them, and of course, you have to go to the original.  This is what these yummy looking things look like:

Thankfully, there was a race to be run to work off some of these calories.  We also went to the Hard Rock so I could get some pins and then to the River Walk for some shopping.  The Aquarium is right next door to the River walk so we headed there for a bit.  After some RnR, me checking into my flight, dinner and some more walking, we called it a night.

Sunday morning, I was up bright and early at 6 am or so for the race.  Luckily, the start was right around the corner (literally) from the hotel.  I changed, did the obligatory bathroom duty, grabbed a gatorade and headed to the start.  I snuck forward 2 corrals and waited for the start.  we started moving a little after 7 and the closer I got to starting, I bailed on my long sleeved throw away shirt.  I had a long sleeved under armour shirt on under a short sleeved shirt, which I thought would be alright.  We crossed the start about 12 minutes into the race and headed towards Loyola New Orleans and Tulane for the first 4.5 miles or so.  At mile 3, there was a lady standing on one of the street corners holding a sign that read “I’m a 6 1/2 year ovarian cancer survivor”- if you didn’t give her a high 5 or at least a cheer, you were crazy (because that’s just straight up awesome).  Around mile 3.5, we saw the leader for the men’s half marathon on his way back with no one around him.  Bands were playing and people were out in full force.  Some of the signs included “Crap, I tripped over your awesomeness” and “Worse Mardi Gras Parade Ever”.  After I figured out how fast I was going, I was able to have some sort of idea what my time was and I thought I was doing alright (it’s hard to do math in your head while running).  One of my favorite aid stations (or right before/after it) had a group of people lined up in matching outfits.  It was a group of girls and one of their guy friends dressed in drag (wig, glasses and heels to boot)- it’s the little things that matter really).  At mile 8, I decided I wanted to lose the long sleeved Under Armour shirt.  Usually, I don’t over dress, but that happened today because it warmed up.  Of course, I had to stop, walk and get the long sleeve shirt out from under the short sleeved shirt.  After that was successful and we passed the next H2O station, we came up on to mile 9 and, hark, my hotel!!!  Needless to say, I hopped into the hotel and asked if I could leave my shirt and come back for it.  The clerk was a saint for even coming near it.  We kept running and hit some more water stations, ran through the French Quarters and eventually headed toward the main City Park.  At mile 12.5, we split from the marathoners and headed out on the last .6 miles.  It’s always refreshing to see the 13 mile mark because you’re pretty much done.  As I crossed the finish, I knew I had PR’d, but wasn’t sure by how much.  Turns out, it was close to 6 minutes off my previous best.  Officially, I ran at 2:03:01.  If only I hadn’t stopped for the shirt issue, I could have gotten under 2 hours!!!  I took a shuttle back to the Business District and showered

Miranda and I headed out to brunch and then to the Nation WWII museum on Magazine street.  That took us till 1:30 or so and by the time we got back to the hotel for our stuff, it was nearly 2 and I had a major caffeine headache.

Overall, a good, FLAT race.  The weather cooperated and it wasn’t pouring down rain, snowing, mansooning or flooding. Definitely worth the $35 I paid for it (not the $90+ others paid for it) and definitely a good time.  Can officially cross Louisiana off the Half Marathon states list!

January Savings

Let’s face it, it’s January and everyone is in the New Year’s Resolution phase. I’m guessing people will give up on the LA Fitness pool by mid February and the treadmills by the end of the month or February. I’m in the ‘sign up for race’ mode and found a few decent deals

  1.  Active is giving active advantage members $20 if they sign up for races by the end of January.
  2. Schwaggle deal for the Crossroads of NW Indiana Marathon and 1/2 Marathon. The half marathon deal is sold out, but there are limited slots available for 40% off the marathon price.  Pay $27 instead of $45 ($18 savings!)
  3. Rock n Roll is offering $10 off with the code GEARBUZZ through 1/31/12. With as many deals as competitor is handing out, you’d think they get the hint that they might be overpriced?
  4.  Schwaggle is offering a deal for those in the Columbus/Canton OH area. On 2/5/12, there’s going to be The Big Game 10k at The Pro Football Hall of Fame. $29 gets you into the race and the Hall of Fame! You save $26- this ends tomorrow night!

Discount Friday! Who Loves Free Shipping??

I admit it, I’m cheap. I hate paying full price if I don’t have to, especially for things that should be less than what the full price is.  Needless to say, I was happy the other day when said that the $50 nike gift cards were 1000 points instead of 2000 points.  Want to guess who had just over 1000 points?  This girl!  Anyways, I always find good deals so here you go!

  1. Nike: Free shipping for a limited time.  code: SWOOSH and it saves you $8! If you ran the Chicago or the NYC Marathon, they have some clothing that’s going for at least $10 off to boot.
  2. Rock n Roll Arizona Marathon and Half Marathon: Save $10 with the code AZRETREAT. You would think that Rock n Roll would just decrease their prices all together with the amount of promotional stuff they’ve been having recently.  Found this one through the one and only Bart Yasso!
  3. Rock n Roll has invaded Dublin, Ireland for a half marathon.  Currently, price is 33 euros ($44.61) through November 19th, 11:59 PST
  4. Gone For a Run: 20% off Rockbands (headbands) for runners with the code ROK11.  They’re also offering 50% off their portable water bottles for athletes.  Ends November 21 11:59 EST
  5. Schwaggle: The Ultimate Mud Run *Night Ops* which is April 21-22, 2012 in Millville, NJ.  Typically, $99- the schwaggle deal will get you the race for $54 for a 5-7 mile course with 20-25 obstacles and free beer at the end if you’re 21+.  Starts at 6 pm.  Have an membership? Take another 15% off and pay $45.90.


Race Discounts!

If anyone is looking for easy $$ off races, here are some I’ve come across:

  1. Capital City Half Marathon and Quarter Marathon: $5 off with CHAMPION promo code.  Race is May 5, 2012
  2. Palm Beaches Marathon Festival: $15 off the full marathon with PALM15, $8 off the half marathon with PALM8. Race is December 5, 2011
  3. Rock n Roll Series: $10 off with the PHILLYROX11 code

11/11/11 Deals- ACT FAST!

Don’t forget to take advantage of some online deals going on or ending today!

  1. Running Warehouse has 20% off gift cards that ends today.  Free Shipping to boot!!
  2. Road Runner Sports- $11 off an order of $111 or more (VIPs save $22) and free shipping until 6 PM EST! (Hurry, less than 2 hours left!)
  3. The Rock n Roll Series (half marathons and marathons) are celebrating 11/11/11 with $20 off most of their races until 11 PM PST (2 AM 11/12/11) tonight
  4. For the Coloradoans, $11 off $50 spent at Colorado Running Company

Feel free to add any if you find more!

What Does 7000 Registrations, 12 hrs and the New Orleans Saints Have in Common?

On Monday, my friend Jay posted posted a link involving the Rock n Roll Marathon and Half Marathon in New Orleans, LA.  If you know anything about Jay and I, we both aren’t fans of the Rock n Roll series and the Competitor group.  Why, you might ask?  They’ve been increasing prices of their marathons and half marathons (something that is next April or May is already $80-$90 just for the half marathon!) and they’ve been taking over local races that have been doing perfectly fine on their own.  So the fact that Jay posted anything made me laugh and take a look.  The link took me to this page:

Why might this be of interest to any of Jay’s running friends?  Rock n Roll New Orleans was running a promotion from noon until midnight CST. $55 off registration into the half and full marathons.  FIFTY FIVE DOLLARS!!  Instead of paying a $90 (half marathon) or $95 (full marathon) registration fee, you could get in for $35 and $40 respectively.  That is absolutely insane!!  I remember telling my mom how much I felt like a traitor since after the Philadelphia Rock n Roll Half, I vowed never to run another Rock n Roll event because of the prices.  I can’t beat $35 though.  How did the discount come to be $55?  Enter the New Orleans Saints. Yes, those Saints who play in the NFL.  They happen to beat the Colts 62-7 on Sunday.  Point difference: 55.

Last night, I came across an article in one of the local New Orleans newspapers. 7000 people signed up for the race in twelve hours.  7000!!!  Organizers are convinced that it’s due to the increasing popularity of the event. I’m convinced it’s due to the price being slashed by over half.  I mean, a half marathon for $90 more than 5 months out?  You have got to be kidding me!  All in all, Rock n Roll lost $385,000 on this promotion alone ($55 x 7000 people).  I fell less of a traitor since they lost a huge chunk of money.  And guess what??  They’re using the SAINTSWIN promotion again this monday!  Only catch?  They’ll cap the discount at $21 (ie 3 touchdowns scored by the Saints).  Hmmm, I wonder why???

To you, New Orleans Saints, I thank you.  You saved me a huge chunk of money and allow me to laugh at a series that thinks $90 for a half marathon is an appropriate amount to be charging people.  I hope you win big next week so more people can take advantage!!

Philadelphia Rock n Roll 1/2 Marathon

Another half marathon in the books! This is 1/2 Marathon number 12 for me (lots of bling there!).  I took a trip downtown on Friday to pick up my packet and volunteer at the expo in the afternoon.  Volunteers got free parking at one of the garages around the corner from the Convention Center which meant I stayed a little longer afterwards to go to Reading Terminal Market and pick up dinner.  At the expo, if you were picking up for other people, you could only pick up for 1 other person and you had to have their confirmation sheet signed by them (understandable) and that person’s photo ID.  If you picked up your packet and more than one other person’s packet, you had to pay $20 per extra packet. Really? Let’s see how much you can nickel and dime runners Rock n Roll.  I felt bad for one guy who was picking up for his brother in sister in law (all with the same really uncommon last name) who had written notes from them that he could pick up their material since they were coming from out of the country.  The people at the expo told him they’d have to pick it up Sunday before the race.  Needless to say, after the people paid by RnR left, I gave him the packets for his family.  You could also register at the expo for the low, low price of $125!!  I only really ran this race because I signed up last year for $60 (next year’s race price at the expo? $70).  Anyways, the expo was your pretty standard expo only missing some of the smaller local running places or businesses. Why you ask? Apparently the cost to have a booth went up too :-/.

Saturday, I was able to get some good pasta and water in me.  The water kept me up going to the bathroom all night long. The race started at 8AM in front of the Art Museum, so I was up at 6AM and left around 640.  It took about 5-10 minutes to find an open lot once I got into the city since we had to deal with road closures.  I was about 6/10 of a mile from the start and was able to hit the bathroom before getting my bag checked and set in my corral.  When the gun went off at 8, the elite runners were off, including Kara Goucher‘s husband Adam who was returning to competition after 2 years off due to injury.  It took me 19 minutes to get to the start (which by that point, the elite athletes were already coming past us in the the other direction at mile 4).  I was going by my watch time and by mile 2, I was able to duck into the McDonald’s at 9th and Market for a bathroom break.  Huge shout out to the older gentleman who let me go in front of him (but they were also using the women’s bathroom as a unisex stall).  After a quick break, I was back on the streets of Center Philadelphia.  Come mile 4, we were heading back towards the starting area, just in time to see the elite men’s winner cross the finish line.  Yes, with a time of 58 minutes and change, the leading male runner finished the half marathon in the fastest time on US Soil. EVER.  That’s a shot to your ego right there.  I was doing a 10 minute pace or so the entire race.  Since the last 8.5 miles or so were around the Kelly Drive loop, I pretty much knew where I was mile wise.  It was nice crossing the East Falls Bridge because I knew there was only 4 miles to go.  After I passed the 9 mile mark, I was nearly clothes lined by another runner.  I was trying to pass 2 women in front of me (2 friends) and the one was pointing out something to the other and stuck her arm out just as I was coming by.  Very scary since I slowed down to avoid it right as her arm was across my neck.  I made my way through the familiar territory and began seeing more fans closer to the 12 mile mark.  I have never seen such a quite crowd!!  People were there, but not cheering.  You could hear other runners joking they wanted more cow bells or more noise from the crowd!!  I finished with a time of 2:14:18.  Take off my bathroom break at mile 2 and it was more like 2:12:30. Not too shabby since I ran a 2:25 last weekend.

As always, you have your favorite signs that you see on course.  This time around we got:

  1. You’re almost done. For real! (held by a lady around mile 12.5 when we had .6 miles to go)
  2. Hurry up, they’re almost out of beer! (there was a MG64 beer garden at the end of the race for those over 21 yrs old)

Unfortunately, this will probably be my last Rock n Roll Race.  $10 price increase to sign up at the expo for next year’s race?  The fact they’ve taken over at least 4 races that previously were run by people in those cities (Philadelphia, Chicago, St. Louis, DC that I know of)?  That and I can go run this route on my own or find a race that’s locally operated for a better price.  Not sure I agree with the way they run things on the management end.  I hope people who were first timers enjoyed their experience! It’s always a good thing to get the first out of the way 🙂

You’re charging how much? To run how many miles?!

Dear Rock n Roll Series,

I have run in quite a few of your events.  I’ve done the Philadelphia Half Marathon (better known as the Philadelphia Distance Run to those of us in Philly) in 2009, 2010 and will be participating again this weekend.  I’ve also run the Rock n Roll Chicago Half Marathon in 2010 as well as the P.F. Chang Phoenix Arizona Marathon in 2010.  However, you find ways to increase your prices.  What gives? I paid $60 at LAST YEAR’S Philly Half Marathon expo to run this year’s race.  On facebook, you’re telling me that to run the Philadelphia Half Marathon in 2012, you’re giving us the low, expo rate of $70.  $70?!?! For what?

Each race I’ve participated in, I’ve gotten a shirt, a medal and gear check should I decide to use it.  There’s also food at the end, which every long distance race has.  What gives that you’re increasing the price every year?  To make things worse, if you register race weekend, you’re charging $125. $125 if you sign up today or tomorrow to run 13.1 miles on Sunday. Are you kidding me?  You have taken over races in cities across the country (Philadelphia, Chicago, and St. Louis just to name a few) for your ‘series’ in which people can get a few more medals if they do multiple races.

You’re pushing me away my friend.  I’m not buying into paying more for a race where there isn’t more offered to the runner.  I paid $36 for a 10 mile race I ran earlier this year (read Broad Street Run) and even paid $70 (online, with a coupon code) 4 days before running the Chicago Half Marathon this past weekend on 9/11.  You’re losing me as a runner for increasing prices for no good reason and for not explaining why.

I guarantee many people agree with me so just consider not charging an arm and a leg for a route that I can pretty much run on my own in Philadelphia, with a friend in Chicago or could map out on my own or come up with a better route in another city.  I hope you hear me on this as I’m probably speaking for quite a few people.

Yours in running,


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