Running and enjoying the Big Easy (New Orleans)

‘Everything in New Orleans is a good idea’.

(Anonymous)

New Orleans Canal Street Trolley

Made another trek over to New Orleans for the 2019 Rock and Roll Half Marathon.  This was race #2 in my 2019 goals for my running program.

Happy to report my training program has gained me additional time off my personal best for the half marathon distance.  Was able to clock 2:10:39 (official time) which took three minutes off my previous best time.  I’m learning more about training, lactic acid thresh holds and pain management.  Slowing but positively heading towards my goal of running a half marathon under 2 hours—it’s coming!

Was excited to get back over to New Orleans this year.  It’s a great place to visit—lots of food, drink and culture options available.

Decided to stay a little more central this year on Canal Street.  The hotel was far enough away from the hustle and noise of Bourbon Street but close enough to walk there for entertainment options.  Made it down to Bourbon Street to watch the street performers (singers, drummers, dancers, etc.) and experience the crowds who flock there to experience this New Orleans tradition.

What’s a trip to New Orleans without eating at The Original Cajun Restaurant, Mulate’s?  It has become a staple on the New Orleans trip because the food and atmosphere are that good.  Generous portions, plenty food options and cold beer are major draws for this restaurant.  Normally get there during the day so have never experienced the bands that play the main stage at night.  Will make it a point to get there for the bands on my next journey over.

A pleasant surprise and ‘new’ favorite place to eat in New Orleans is the Creole House Restaurant & Oyster Bar.  The Creole House is right on Canal Street and was next door to my hotel.  The convenience was great since I was doing a lot of running and walking while in New Orleans but beyond that the food was fantastic.  Got a chance to experience multiple meals at the Creole House and the menu selection was great.  I will warn you, the ‘house mayo’ they use on the Po Boys (sandwich) is good BUT spicy.  They don’t tell you that up front, so it was a surprise to me—I don’t do spicy. 😊

I would recommend the chicken and waffles they have on the breakfast menu.  Every meal I had at the Creole House was great, but the chicken and waffles took it to another level.  Best chicken I’ve had in a long time and the waffle was large and fluffy.  Wish they would have this all day long, but it is a great way to start the day.  Will get the chicken and waffles every time I’m back in New Orleans—it’s that good!

New Orleans is a great place—recommend you get there for a visit if you haven’t been yet.  Also, recommend experiencing the great food and culture available.  It’s more than a place to collect beads on Bourbon Street.

Creole House

Leading from the Front

We are all leaders!  The actual title you have is not as important as understanding your impact on others you interact with.  There are people in this world with the ‘title’ that implies they are the leader, but they don’t ‘move the crowd’.

Leading from the front can be done by everyone.

I continue to highlight the key to effective leadership is self-awareness.  Self-awareness is needed in order to lead from the front in your daily activities.   The self-aware leader understands strengths and weaknesses, have a fully developed self-view and demonstrate they understand how their interactions impact others (direct reports, clients, colleagues, etc.).

Things a leader can/should do:

  • Inspire people
  • Empower people
  • Lead change
  • Share a vision

So, if you can inspire people, empower people, lead change and share a vision, you are a leader.  Again, you don’t need a specific title to be viewed as a leader.  Don’t give away your influence because a specific title is not attached to you.

encouragement_leadership blog

We can all lead!  Look around your current work environment. Who do you inspire daily?  How do you inspire these people?  Your level of self-awareness within the work environment creates empowerment.

Do you need anyone’s permission to inspire your students, clients, colleagues or direct reports?  I don’t think so.  Now you need to identify/understand how you inspire others.  Are your actions positive and consistent?  Do you create an environment conducive for communicating new ideas?

I believe empowered leaders initiate, act, and adjust within the work environment.  These things are available to all of us.  I promote to direct reports, ‘Mistakes happen, just don’t make the same mistake twice’.  Use situations like this to create an environment where your people can learn and grow.

Leveraging your ‘Why’ can also impact how you lead from the front.  Identify why you show up every day and then ensure your leadership decisions are made to positively impact your ‘Why’.  Simple enough, huh?  It can be!

How do you lead from the front daily?  What adjustment are needed to ensure you lead from the front in your work environment?  Thanks!

Permission granted; Go ahead and free your mind

‘Freedom is a road seldom traveled by the multitude.’

(Fredrick Douglas)

I laughed a bit at myself when I did some actual research on this Fredrick Douglas quote.  Originally heard this in an old Public Enemy (PE) song, ‘Show em what you got’ from the late 1980’s.  Turns out PE was dropping knowledge as usual by integrating activism into their music to help listeners gain a new level of consciousness.

But let’s leverage this quote into a bit of ‘mind magic’ to help with your Walk into The Future.

How many times have you talked yourself out of accepting a new challenge?  How often do you stay stuck because you can’t free yourself (mind, body, soul)?

It may be time for the multitude to travel down the road.

Give yourself the freedom to accept and then conquer new challenges.  Most times people view challenges with dread and then go into negative self-talk mode.  Why is that?  You haven’t freed your mind enough to let yourself move forward with the challenge.

You may want to view potential challenges as opportunities available to you.

Go ahead and give yourself permission to release your ‘preconceived’ thought formations and leverage the clean slate available once you free your thought process.

A free mind allows you to:

  • Start with a clean slate
  • Concentrate
  • Eliminates stress
  • Jump start positive self-talk
  • Strategize for the task at hand

There will be other benefits of allowing yourself the freedom to clear your head from time to time.  We all carry mental clutter throughout the day.  How often do you make the time to clear this clutter to enhance your day?  A meditation practice could be leveraged to help with this process.

Go ahead and give yourself the permission to experience the mental freedom you need to soar.  It’s okay to get out of your own head for a bit.

What things do you need to ‘clear’ out of your head to experience a new level of freedom?  Write them down to help you Walk into The Future!

 

Happy Trails—Running and enjoying new sights!

My current Walk into The Future has allowed me to grow in multiple areas.  I have put an emphasis on my running program to expand my mental and physical capacities.

This extra attention to running provides me with an outlet to explore new places to run, stimulate my mind and to a degree get some sightseeing in.  I have been creative when identifying locations to run to combat the concept of boredom.  I rarely run the same route twice in a week—I’m able to leverage my neighborhood and parks to keep my route from getting stale.  I’ve recently discovered and added local trails to my running routine in my efforts to get faster at the half marathon distance.

St. Marks Trail

My goal to run a half marathon under two hours provides an additional level of motivation to my runs.  My old running routine did not incorporate a ‘true’ long run as part of my training.  I would routinely get a couple 6-mile, or 7-mile runs in before a race but that was the longest distance I put in.  Most running programs identify long runs in the 10-mile to 12-mile distance.  I was introduced to the St. Marks Trail by friends who know this trail would provide me mile options to get a true long run in to help with my training.

The St. Marks Trail is a converted railway that runs from Tallahassee, Florida to the Gulf of Mexico.  The trail is listed as 20 miles long and is extremely flat.  It provides an ideal place to build up mileage and is well marked to keep track of distances.  The trail is maintained by state trail rangers and there are facilities (bathroom, water fountains, rest areas) along the trail which makes it a popular choice for bicycle enthusiasts, runners and walkers.

My longest run to date on the St. Marks Trail is 12 miles…6 out and 6 back.  Enjoyed the concept of not having to ‘map’ out a course and hope it meets the distance I needed for the specific day.  I have designated the St. Marks Trail as my go to location now for my long run days.  The long runs concept was instrumental in getting me ready for the New Orleans Rock and Roll Half Marathon in early February.  Putting additional effort into my long run process prepared me better to perform during the actual race.  I was able to reduce my personal best time down to 2:10:39 (two hours, ten minutes and 39 seconds) official.  Believe my mid-race and late race endurance was enhanced because I now have the capability to incorporate long runs into my training program.

Projecting to incorporate 15-mile runs on the St. Marks Trail to continue to build my endurance, speed and mental approach for the other races I’m registered for later in the year.

Lafayette Heritage_Alford Greenway

The Lafayette Heritage_Alford Greenway (LHAG) trail provides a different challenge from the St. Marks Trail.  I can access the LHAG trail from home so don’t need to get into a car.  I simply lock my door and walk a little less than half a mile and I’m off and running on the trail.  The LHAG trail provides a lot of scenic views as you run through a neighborhood and public park to access the dirt portion of the trail.  This trail then allows you to run dirt trails next to lakes and ponds, so it is a great way to experience nature during a run.  I occasionally see rabbits, hawks and alligators as I work my way deeper into the run.  The terrain changes multiple times which makes it challenging and fun all at the same time.  There are inclines to climb on the trail which makes it a bit harder than the St. Marks Trail.  I normally can get a good 6-mile run in (out and back) for this trail but feel it more because the inclines are very steep.  This is good for building my endurance but does nothing for my speed. 😊  It also helps when I’m in a time crunch—I don’t have to drive anywhere to run—just go out and back and I’m done.

There are other trails nearby to add to my running program.  Will do some additional scouting to identify distances available on these other trails and start running them soon.

Will leverage trail running more as I expand my Walk into The Future!  More to come!

Trail Running