Rouge Orleans Race Recap Part 1

 

In case you missed my last few posts over the weekend, I ran in my very first ultra-marathon relay this past weekend. For those of you familiar with Hood to Coast or Ragnar, Rouge Orleans is sort of along the same lines. Let’s start with saying I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into. I had seen Hood to Coast the movie, and read race recaps of others running relays, but honestly, nothing really prepares you.

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Let me explain how Rouge Orleans is a bit different. First of all, you can choose to run solo (!) or as a 2, 3, or 6 person team. You are allowed one support vehicle, and nothing bigger than a 15 passenger van. In Ragnar relays, for instance, you have 2 vans, 12 people. So when van one finishes the first set of 6 legs, that van goes and eats at a restaurant, sleeps on blow up mattresses on a church of school gym floor, etc. This is NOT the case with Rouge Orleans! Only one van, so the 6 runners rotate a lot faster. I was runner 3, so I ran legs 3, 9, 15, 21, and 27. I had about 4 hours in between each leg, but because the van was constantly moving from one exchange point to the next, and you are always swapping drivers…there isn’t a lot of time for sleeping.

Not to mention, six girls in a van = lots of over packing! I will discuss more about lessons I learned in another post, but there was barely room to sit let alone lay down. Our Journey started in Baton Rouge and we ran on top of the levee and ran along the Mississippi River all the way to New Orleans. There were 4 waves of runners, in hopes we would all end within a few hours of each other. Waves were at 8:00 pm Friday, 3 am Saturday, 8 am Saturday (our wave) and 1:00 pm Saturday.

A little more background on what we were dealing with terrain and weather-wise before I begin. We have had a very mild winter here in the south. The past three weeks the highs have been in the 70’s. The weekend of Rouge Orleans has been the coldest of the year, with wind chill dropping into the teens on Saturday night, and a lot of very strong wind. Also, running on gravel is no joke. It’s way harder than pavement, and I had quite the rude awakening when I tried to run at the same pace as I do for road runs. Lastly, some other things were encountered like cows…and attacking dogs…and well…interesting people at 2 am at the gas station.

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cows on my leg, of course…

So, with that, let us begin with Friday!

Friday morning, I drove to my parents house. That afternoon, Kristyn picked me up in the huge 15 passenger van we had rented from one of our sponsors, Enterprise.

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It was rainy and cold, but we were in good spirits as we drove to Baton Rouge. We met at Lindsey’s house and sorted through our stuff. We quickly realized we had WAY too much to take/fit in the van.

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We are giving sponsorship money we didn’t use to Girls on the Run of Baton Rouge. They made us the sweetest goody box to put in the van full of candy, medical supplies, and other fun things like puff painted bandanas!

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We packed up the van, hit a few snags trying to get the bike loaded in, and worked on some van decorations. This, my friends, is a ponytail for our van we affectionately named Rapunzel.

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We then went over to Erin’s house for dinner (amazing homemade pizza!) and then we were off to bed. But not before I did some organizing and picture taking!

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Our team shirts, thank you Graphic Prints! We were so blessed to have so many amazing sponsors!

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Our sweet new trail shoes, thank you Brooks Running!

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My super cute new Go Sport ID band courtesy of well…Go Sport ID!

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Amazing Nuun products…wearing my shirt now…so comfy! I wore my visor almost the entire race and loved it. They also gave us three HUGE boxes of individual samples that we handed out all during the race to other vans, which was really fun!

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Of course, our Rouge Orleans swag.

I was proud of our bedtime, 9:30 ish, and got ready for our 5:40 wake-up call.

The next morning, we sleepily got our things together and headed downtown. Of course a huge thanks to Running Skirts for providing the team with cute skirts to wear!

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While Katie checked us in, we started decorating the van. We had a rude awakening when we stepped outside next to the river and felt the cold and the crazy wind. Had we lost our MINDS?!? We quickly decorated, did some figuring out as far as where to put decorations, etc. and were pretty proud of how it all turned out.

Photos of the Girls on the Geaux running the Mississippi River levee during the Rouge-Orleans ultramarathon relay on Feb. 11-12, 2012.

Photos of the Girls on the Geaux running the Mississippi River levee during the Rouge-Orleans ultramarathon relay on Feb. 11-12, 2012.

deep concentration people.

Photos of the Girls on the Geaux running the Mississippi River levee during the Rouge-Orleans ultramarathon relay on Feb. 11-12, 2012.

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Photos of the Girls on the Geaux running the Mississippi River levee during the Rouge-Orleans ultramarathon relay on Feb. 11-12, 2012.

We felt we needed to clarify the above 2 pictures…

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Photos of the Girls on the Geaux running the Mississippi River levee during the Rouge-Orleans ultramarathon relay on Feb. 11-12, 2012.

at 8:00. we gathered up for final instructions, and the headed up the levee for our wave start, and tried to keep warm.

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A few minutes later, the cannons blasted from the battleship, and the runners were off on leg one of thirty of a long and crazy journey.

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QOTD: Would you consider doing an ultra relay like this one?

*a lot of these photos were taken by the awesome Erin. If it’s a good picture….it was taken by her, not me!

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26 Responses to Rouge Orleans Race Recap Part 1

  1. 1
    Amy B. says:

    Congratulations to you and your team! You guys looked super cute and did great! Loved all your sponsors and swag too! After my first full marathon this year (Country Music Marathon, April 28, 2012), a relay race like this is next on my running-to-do-list! I would really love to run the TN Ragnar with some old friends this November because I could not run with them last year. The Palmetto 200 is much closer to where I live and is the other relay race I would love to run–from Columbia, SC to Folly Beach/Charleston, SC. Loved this recap and anxiously awaiting the next! :-)

  2. 2

    Hi. Were you at Fitbloggin’ last year… if so, I think we met there, but for some reason, I didn’t connect with your blog until recently.

    I’ve considered doing a Radnor relay… one goes within 10 miles of my house… so maybe someday.

    This looks like fun… exhausting, but fun.
    So with the four legs you did, how many miles did you run?

  3. 3
    Kristin says:

    I loved reading Part 1 of your recap! You had some amazing ideas as far as decorating and such. I am running Ragnar in September in the Adirondack Mtns. (New York) which is sure to be a challenging and hilly course. I am SO excited and reading about your experience has only intensified my excitement. Thank you!

  4. 4
    Amy Lauren says:

    All the pictures turned out great. It sounds like you had quite the experience being in the van with all those girls but I bet it was good for bonding. The decorations are good too.

    I hate running in gravel! Even with those sweet shoes you got (and tons of other really nice gear), it’s gotta be hard. It always gets stuck in my Mizuno’s really bad :(.

  5. 5
    chris D says:

    Awesome run and great write up.. looks like you had a blast.

  6. 6
    Jen says:

    I feel so bad about your weather luck! So excited for the rest of the recap and to hear your lessons learned about relays! And i need those arm warmers! SO cute :)

  7. 7
    Caroline says:

    Wow! This race sounds crazy and like so much fun! Was it hard to not be able to stretch and foam roll the way people usually do since you were in the van?

  8. 8
    Rach says:

    I love your new shoes!

  9. 9

    That looks like SO MUCH fun!! <-the words I just said out loud to Travis. He's really confused.

  10. 10
    Ricole Runs says:

    Those skirts are so ragingly cute! AND you had matching arm warmers? I LOVE THEM!! Aren’t relays THE BEST?!

  11. 11
    Ricole Runs says:

    I LOVE THOSE SKIRTS!!! AND you had matching arm warmers? Aren’t relays THE BEST?

  12. 12
    MCM Mama says:

    i really want to run a relay at some point! I can’t wait to read the rest of your report!

  13. 13
    Emily says:

    Day 1 outfits are super cute! And I really like the ponytail clarifying picture! :) Can’t wait to hear about the rest of the relay.

  14. 14
    Anne P says:

    This looks SO cool. I’m even more excited for my relay now!

    p.s. Love those plaid running skirts :)

  15. 15
    Casey Jo says:

    I would love to do an Ultra Marathon, though I can’t even imagine how you would train, or how it would be to spend a day in a van with a bunch of other women :)

  16. 16

    […] We watched movies and cleaned the house yesterday, and last night we ate pizza and watched the Endymion parade on TV. For those unfamiliar, it’s a HUGE Mardi Gras parade with 2600 riders and I think 24 or so floats. I would love to go to the ball one day, it always looks so amazing on television. Speaking of which, my parade recap should be up tomorrow, then Tuesday the next part of my Rouge Orleans recap. […]

  17. 17

    […] left off recap part one with the start of the race.  We were so excited after the cannons blasted and the runners took […]

  18. 18

    […] out part 1 and part 2 before reading part […]

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    […] Rouge Orleans Part 1 […]

  21. 21

    All the pictures turned out great. It sounds like you had quite the experience being in the van with all those girls but I bet it was good for bonding!

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