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SparkPeople Members Take on New Orleans Late last summer a few members on the Road Runners SparkTeam started chatting on the threads about doing the Mardi Gras Rock 'N Roll Half-Marathon and Marathon in New Orleans on February 28th. My co-leader of the team, Gail (AKA Rhynic) was one of the those members talking about making the trek from Nova Scotia to New Orleans. She and her dear friend Tammy (AKA TamTam64) made plans to run this race together with their husbands. Once I heard they would be doing this race-- and since this was probably the closest-distance wise-Gail and I would be (I live in Texas, she in Canada), I too, jumped at the opportunity to join my pals. Before Tammy and Gail knew The Unique Colors Air Jordan 5 3Lab5 Custom Black white New Shoes ID 8899623 it, they had members traveling from Alaska, California, New York, Toronto, Florida, Illinois, Nebraska, Colorado and Virginia. They even had a local Louisianan and a SparkPeople Member from Illinois make arrangements to come to New Orleans to cheer us all on.I have had the honor to meet a few of the SparkPeople Members at our conventions in San Diego and Cincinnati, but this will be the first time we will all be running/walking 13.1 miles or 26.2 together as a SparkTeam. Because this is about our team, I asked our members if they would be willing to share their thoughts about their trip. I hope you enjoy the journey.TamTam64 (AKA Tammy)-- I never dreamed that when I made my commitment to run my first full marathon in New Orleans that I would also be meeting some close SparkFriends. Coming back from an ankle injury, I was ready to train for a full. It was "now or never". I mentioned to Gail that I would be running the Rock & Roll Mardi Gras Marathon in New Orleans. She mentioned that she thought that would be a fun race to run. Before I know it, she and I made arrangements for her to come stay with me and run the marathon! Then one by one more running Sparkers decided to come. I remember seeing the thread on Road Runners "Would you like to join us" and literally got overwhelmed with emotion. It's hard to put it into words. The thought of them being there as I run my first marathon makes me feel part of a very special group - we are all different , but running and SparkPeople is our bond--and what a bond it is!FELIXC (AKA Rhonda) --I think it will be like meeting up with people at the SparkConvention in Cincinnati--so much fun putting faces with names/SparkNames! I can't wait to learn from the more experienced runners on the team on how they trained, what their plan for race day is, etc. And what a city to be in! Super Bowl champions, Mardi Gras last week and now the Sparkers descend upon the city!GLADGAD (AKA Carolyn)-- It’s amazing to me that people who have never met can connect based solely on a mutual interest. I think it speaks volumes for the power of the human spirit to be

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able to meet the people who have inspired and motivated me for the past two years is fantastic--something I didn’t think was possible. The people I am meeting this weekend have played a big part in my being a half marathoner and a triathlete, and I am grateful to all of those who worked so hard into organizing this weekend.APPLEPIEDREAMS (AKA Vanessa)-- I know from going to the SparkCovnention in Cincinnati, that it will be amazing to meet SparkPeople. I am so excited about it that I keep imagining myself as the Tasmanian Devil, spinning around and around and around and eating through trees (great source of fiber!) with all the excess enthusiasm I have for this trip! MBSHAZZER (AKA Sharon)-- I am really excited to meet this wonderful group of women (and one lone man!) and finally put a voice to the incredible support, advice and encouragement they have all given me over the years! There is nothing more

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special than running with friends, and I know that sharing a race experience with such a unique group of people will be the highlight of my year!COOPSM (AKA Beth)--I am finally going to meet some of my biggest motivators and teachers who showed me the way, have been with me for the ups and downs, the good runs and the not so good. I am going to meet my friends for the first time and have a chance to run with them in my first HM--what an experience this will be I can't wait to share this time with them--what a great trip this will be!MOM2ALEX2004 (AKA Jill)-- Take 1 part first half marathon nerves, 1 part travel to a new city, 1 part meeting 15-20 SparkFriends for the first time. Wow! The nerves & excitement have been jangling for weeks! The race would be an incredible experience to start with; sharing it with Sparkers makes it so much better! MISSJCISRUNNING (AKA Jackie)-- Being a long time SparkPeople member, I have met several other SparkPeople at various events and races in the past but New Orleans has taken on a new meaning for me. This is the first time I will be running with so many new people and sharing in so many firsts, like Tammy running her first marathon and Beth running her first half marathon! I remember when Dani and Vanessa first started running! Sharon has always been an inspiration to me-one day I would love to break a 2 hour 1/2 and she does it so effortlessly!!! I remember the day I ran my first 1/2 marathon, it was the same day Gail ran her first marathon! The best of all was sharing so many emotions with Nancy as we both became MARATHONERS on the same day over 2000 miles apart! These ladies have become more than names and icons on a page but real friends who have taken every step of this journey with me! I can't wait to meet these ladies face to face as we continue to reach milestones that just a few years ago were unthinkable!TIGGER622 (AKA Dani)--I never knew that I could be so close and depend so much on people that I have never even met. After the Ohio SparkPeople Convention, I couldn't wait to meet up with Spark buddies again. These people that are so important to me in virtual life are even MORE inspirational in person! It is so refreshing and so fulfilling to meet and share time with people who value a healthy lifestyle and set their sights high, and push me to do the same. They have inspired me to reach new goals and new limits and to share this race and this weekend with them has been the light I have been looking towards for months! FREEDOMSTAR (AKA John) Im excited to try my first destination race. New Orleans somewhere I've always wanted to visit, and right after they won first super bowl ever what timing. What's truly special about this trip is meeting SparkPeople face to face , after being a support for each other over the past 1 1/2 year. I've gone from no running to running running 1/2 marathon and coach Nancy and everyone on our SparkTeams were there every step of the way from having bad runs, or training set backs, injuries or personal or family struggles to celebrating our triumphs, personal records, or simply cheering each other on for getting back on track. Most of all we are thankful for Chris Downie for making it all possible. Im running with the big kids now New Orleans Rock and Roll Mardi Gras Marathon here we go Woo Hoo !So if you happen to live in the New Orleans area come on down on Sunday, February 28th and join us--as the old saying goes, "the more the merrier!"Have you met up with other members you met on SparkPeople? How was the experience? Has this inspired you to meet your fellow SparkPeople members?

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