Crescent Connection Bridge Run-AKA that time I ran to take a lot of photos

Happy Monday!

I hope your weekend was filled with lots of happy things and rest! Mine was! Now is the time I should let you know that this little post may be lengthy-so grab your chai latte and settle in.

As you may remember Char and I have been super excited about running the Crescent Connection Bridge Run! We were about to burst with excitement by 7 pm on Saturday.

Packet Pick-up:

So something you should know is that this race begins on the Westbank and ends on the Eastbank of New Orleans. On Thursday they had packet pick-up on the Eastbank and on Friday they hosted packet pick-up on the Westbank. I thought this was very considerate and fun! Bonus: When you were given your race bib you were able to select Westbank, Eastbank, or a regular bib to show what “Bank” you represented! How cute is that? I loved being able to see the different bibs and getting to know what neighborhood people were from at the race! Packet pick-up was a breeze. We went in at the lower level of the restaurant and received our shirts and bibs! It was a nice day out so we enjoyed parking and walking along the lakefront to get our items. They also had cute pink and blue “Crescent City Runner” tattoos at packet pick-up.

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Packet Pick-Up on the Eastbank!

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The shirts for this year’s race were designed to look like soccer kits. I really like the color of the shirts. The shirts are a nice tech tee. When I went to pick up shirts they were out of women’s sizes in my size-but no worries. I was still glad to get my new tee!

Pre-race:

Adrian and I parked at the convention center in downtown Nola and then boarded a school bus to take us to the Westbank. On the bus we chatted with a couple from Destin, FL who had come to run the race! We were all so excited to be running this race for the first time!

I was so excited to see my friend Courtney as soon as we arrived on the Westbank! This was her first race in New Orleans-so I could not wait to hear how she was feeling about everything. Soon after we found Courtney our friends Brandon and Lauren arrived, and then the Char, Andrew, and James arrived. The pre-race had plenty of water and porta potties. The water had ice in it and it was like manna from Heaven!

As you can see Char and I decided not to match. After all that fretting we just decided to run in something we each liked. That mean Char rocked her new Another Mother Runner visor and I got to feel sassy in my “Move Ya Brass” tank from Fit By You.

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Me, Courtney, Lauren, and Char.

Prior to the race they led the group through a warm up. This was the first race I have done that included a group warm up. I really enjoyed this part of the race. There was a nice grassy area for us to stretch in where the warm up took place. But I was a little embarrassed when Ms. Destin bent over. Yikes. IMG_4881

During the race:

Get ready for SO. MANY. PHOTOS. This is a group of the people in front of us! Needless to say, this race was bigger than I anticipated. Char and I looked for other bloggers-but we did not see them. But with this many people at the race, I understand it was hard to meet up with everyone! IMG_4886

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The race was fairly crowded at the beginning. And it really did not thin out until we were on the bridge. This was not a problem for us as our main goal for this race was to have fun. The race was very walker friendly, and there were several people with strollers.

Mile 1:

Mile 1 began at the West Jeff Fitness Center. From here you took a left turn to along a paved stretch of road prior to the on ramp. The first half a mile was flat and the second half of the mile began a slight uphill. At the first mile maker there was a much welcomed water stop. Thank you Kentwood Springs Water!
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The view prior to the on ramp.

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The last time we would be on flat land.

This was where we began our uphill ascent. It was such a beautiful race! Char and I made sure to take several Glamour Shots along the way! We knew y’all were depending on us!

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That’s our city right behind us!

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Mile 2:

At mile 2 there was another water station. God Bless those sweet volunteers-they were so kind and encouraging. By this time we were still going uphill, but the shade of the bridge was beginning to cover us. The sun was setting over the city and everyone was stopping to take photos.
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Char and Andrew being magically in love.

Mile 3 ish:

This mile was especially meaningful to me. A little back-story: My mother-in-law was diagnosed with ALS in the fall of 2013. She was an avid walker (prior to her diagnosis) and really enjoyed being outside. Since her diagnosis she has been limited on her ability to enjoy walking and other things she once enjoyed freely. When we mentioned to her that the race was 4 miles long she responded that she used to walk that many miles. We asked her which mile was her favorite when she walked, and committed to praying for her during that mile Saturday. It was really special to have that time to pray for my mother-in-law. Knowing this I was even more grateful to be doing something that I love so much with Char and her family on Saturday.

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Char and I stopped for a photo! You can see sweet James is enjoying the race as well! We would run for a few feet and then be like “Oh, we must get a photo of this!” We enjoyed running and walking over the bridge.

We were having the best time-running, laughing, walking, having a photo shoot. Then we spotted one of the official photographers! We were like “We are best friends-take our picture!”

Downhill:

At this point int he race I remember Char saying, “Who knew the downhill would be so hard?” The off ramp was a little steep and curvy. But it made us feel really fast as we ran down to the road by the Convention Center. Soon after we saw the Convention Center we turned left and were greeted with the entrance to Mardi Gras World. One more left turn and we would be at the finish line.

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Well I think our smiles say it all. Char and I were beyond thrilled to have completed this race together. It’s not often someone  (sweet Larisa) asks you to do something you love with your BRF. And we had a sunset over the city to boot!

At the finish line I was so excited to see not only Adrian, but also our friends Richard and Josh in the chute when we were finishing the race! Adrian cheered “You’re winning!” at me! And I just laughed my way to the finish. At the finish line we were given light up necklaces with flowers on them to wear at the post race party.

Post-race:

New Orleans know how to do many things well. But we excel at eating and throwing a good party! This post-race was no exception to these truths! The post-race was abuzz of people, music, and food. Greeting runners to the party were Kentwood Springs water on both sides. They had baby swimming pools filled with ice and bottled water. To the right of the after party was the stage, Community Coffee, and multiple tents for food and local races. The left side of the party was lined with food trucks and other local race tents. Among them were La CocinitaCrepes A La Carte, and Dippin Dots. There was plenty room to sit and enjoy the evening. The view is pretty spectacular from under the bridge as well!

This race was also the final race in the Bridge Run Series. Participants who completed all of the Bridges were given a commemorative medal at this end of this race!

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Unique parts of the race:

Potties. The pre-race and post-race have lots of porta-potties. However, once your toes hit the incline there are no potties to be found. Take note of this for next year’s race.

Spectators. The whole city is your fan! Literally cars upon cars would honk, scream, and cheer their hearts out for you on the bridge. It was the most unique experience of any race I have ever ran! You really feel like such a celebrity running over the bridge and having people cheer for you! It was so much fun! The race takes place in the HOV lane and so the other lanes are still open to traffic. Fear not a large median keeps them from being in contact with you!

Sunset. Besides that fact that this race is so fun to run. You may should just participate in it for the fact that you get to see the WHOLE city at sunset. It is truly breathtaking and will make you glad to call Nola home.

Start and Finish Line. Where else can you begin on one bank and end on another? This race is perfect for those who claim that “Westbank is the best bank” and for all of us that call the neighborhoods of the Eastbank ours. It is so neat to look back at the photos to see all this point-to-point race covers.

Things I wished for regarding this race:

Really there are not many things I wished for this race. But one thing I thought might be nice is since the race ends near Mardi Gras World is if they would have a few floats or decorations out to make photos with. Or if our race bibs gave us a discount to go to the museum for the month following the race. These are just a few ideas I have in regard to the finish line.

All in all I had a wonderful time. I even told Char that I don’t think I would have had a better time if they told me that they put this race on just for me to enjoy myself! This race was just what I needed. I am happy to have ran/walked it with Char and her family. And running this race makes me excited for all of the running adventures this summer.

This week beings the New Orleans Track Club Summer Series at City Park. And it also kicks off mine and Adrian’s official training for the Chicago Marathon!

Thanks to the Crescent Connection Bridge Run and to Larisa for this experience. I am so grateful to have ran a new area of the city!

Go and be a light,

Leah

Did you run the Crescent Connection Bridge Run? If so, what did you think?

What’s next on your race calendar for summer?

Does your track club have a Summer Series?

Disclaimer: I was given a free race entry to blog and share about the race via social media. All opinions are my own. But you know me-I love running in Nola!

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