2015 Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon Recap!

 Run the Bluegrass was truly an EXPERIENCE! It was held March 28, 2015 in beautiful Lexington, Kentucky. My HB signed us both up for this race–more so of a surprise to me. I’ll admit…I smiled when I received the confirmation in my inbox. The HB is a “Bling Chaser” (i.e., he runs for the shine, not the time–yes, that’s his mantra). When he saw the finishers’ medal then found out that Run the Bluegrass was part of the Kentucky Half Classic (Challenge), he was all in! Finishers of both Run the Bluegrass and the Kentucky Derby miniMarathon would receive the challenge medal. Recap coming soon. I was still somewhat on my hiatus after the Walt Disney World Marathon, but I decided to go for it. Little did I know, I was in for a BIG surprise. 

The Expo!

I always look forward to the Expo to purchase items I really don’t need. Our first stop was the Woodford Reserve Bourbon vendor. While he checked out the cool drinking glasses and such…I went to look for the hoodies they had at the expo from their online store. But guess what? SOLD OUT! I was happy to find out we were getting hoodies as part of our race  packet (swag).

Run The Bluegrass 2015

Someone is uber excited!

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Sloss Fest 2015!

loss Music & Arts Festival

Can you believe it’s almost August? This year is truly flying by! Over the weekend, I attended the inaugural Sloss Music & Arts Festival held at Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark. It was a two-day music event which brought music to Birmingham while showcasing some of the best food, Birmingham food trucks, craft beer, cocktails, and artists around! It was a hot, fun-filled weekend which included: vendors, poster makers, more than 30 bands, 3 stages and a look into the diverse culture of Birmingham! I only attended the Sunday showcase, but it was nothing short of energetic, fun, and amazing! 

It was so refreshing to see everyone relaxing in their hammocks, enjoying good music, good eats, and having a good time! This “Boho Bella” felt right at home!

Sloss Fest

I walked around for a bit and decided to grab a bite to eat. I kept seeing everyone with what looked to be some type of chicken dish. My discovery…Phat Daddy’s! They were serving up something serious with their Bourbon Chicken and Mac-and-Cheese combo! Goodness, I hope they will return next year!

loss Music & Arts Festival

loss Music & Arts Festival

As part of my 9-mile run recovery time, I sat in the the grassy area and watched the Manchester Orchestra set from a distance. They are an American Indie Rock band out of Atlanta, GA. This band is so dope, y’all! I know I have eclectic taste in music, but this band instantly became one of my new favorites. I “thought” I recorded an Insta vid of the band rockin’ it out on stage, but to my surprise I didn’t hit “send”. Womp! You can watch a short clip of them here. I heard the echoes of those instruments belting out across the grounds and I knew I had to be closer. I hurried to the stage to catch the song before it ended. “Where Have You Been?” is absolutely AMAZING live! 

loss Music & Arts Festival

 loss Music & Arts FestivalThe sun finally started to go down. Thank God because I was a hot, sweaty mess! Festival-goers even had on hydration backpacks…it was just that hot! After Manchester Orchestra performed, I headed to the other stage. I really loved the Sloss Fest set up—after one set finished it flowed into the next.

St. Paul & The Broken Bones is an amazing soul band based out of Birmingham. When I tell you…they had us swaying from side to side! The way Paul Janeway pulled notes from the belly of his soul, you would have thought we were at a hole-in-the wall Circa 1985! The band was awesome! Proud to know that they are a part of Birmingham.

I’m a sucker for black and white photos, so here are a few moments…




I headed towards the purple lights and third stage area to see Purity Ring, but the way the crowd was set up…it just did not happen. I love that it was a packed out show, but I wish I could have seen the performance. I watched heads bob through about four songs and decided it was time to call it a night. I was zapped! I missed Primus, Tyler–the Creator, and The Avett Brothers–but I know the rest of the shows were awesome! Too bad you can’t be everywhere at the same time. You can check out the full line-up here.

loss Music & Arts Festival

Next year, I definitely plan to attend and YOU don’t want to miss it!


DreamBig LJInspired

Let’s Talk Dreaming Big and Healthy Swaps! #LJInspired #1MillionMinutes

The amazing Lorna Jane just released a new book—INSPIRED! I decided to celebrate with Lorna Jane and Fit Approach by joining in on the #1MillionMinutes and #LJInspired Instagram Challenge!

The week started off with… “How do you dream BIG?” I love this prompt for Day 1. My Pastor, Chris Hodges, just started a new series called Dream Again. One of the things he said has stuck with me… “Dreams have a habit of coming true”. He also talked about the importance of writing our dreams (visions, ideas, etc.) down…perhaps in a journal. That’s something to think about.

DreamBig LJInspired

I love this blog prompt mad lib we were given. Something as simple as a mad lib gave me the opportunity to write some things down.

My mad lib reads:

I believe that the key to a happy life is love. Love inspires me to be the compassionate person that I am today. I am lucky/[grateful] to have God and my family (including friends, Highlands family, and virtual friends) in my life because they inspire me to live life to my fullest and to chase my dreams.

My dream is to one day meet all of my fitness goals while doing what I love, inspire masses of people on their fitness/running/wellness journey and even if it takes a while, I know I’ll get there because I’m not afraid to dream BIG!

While I dream big, I hope to inspire others by: never giving up on my dreams, remember perfection is not a requirement and failure is not an option, and being a testament that anything is possible. Yes, dreams do come true!

“Write this. Write what you see. Write it out in big block letters so that it can be read on the run. This vision-message is a witness pointing to what’s coming. It aches for the coming—it can hardly wait! And it doesn’t lie. If it seems slow in coming, wait. It’s on its way. It will come right on time.” – Habakkuk 2:2


 DAY 2

What’s my fave healthy swap? Me being the foodie that I am, I couldn’t pass up Day 2 of the #LJInspired Challenge!

 LJinspired + FitApproach | My Pretty Brown Blog

Baked Parsnip Chips

I absolutely love Baked Parsnip Chips! When you bake them until they are crispy, you wouldn’t miss the “other” ones! You know which ones I’m talking about. I know I’m not the only one that has had a bag of Lay’s potato chips and had a hard time putting it down. Well…with Baked Parsnip Chips, you CAN eat more than just one without the guilt! They make the perfect healthy swap! You can get the recipe here.

Healthy Swap - My Pretty Brown Blog - LJInspired  


Day 2 (Tuesday, July 14th): What’s your fave healthy swap? #LJInspired #SweatPink @FitApproach @LornaJaneActive

Day 3 (Wednesday, July 15th): Who inspires you? [Tag 2-3 friends!!] #LJInspired #SweatPink @lornajaneactive @fitapproach

Day 4 (Thursday, July 16th): What does happiness mean to you? #LJInspired #sweatpink @fitapproach @lornajaneactive

Day 5 (Friday, July 17th): What makes you an #LJInspired girl? #sweatpink @LornaJaneActive @FitApproach

So now I want to know…Do you dream BIG? What’s your favorite healthy swap?



Berry Cheesecake Trifle - My Pretty Brown Blog

Berry Cheesecake Trifle

Berry Cheesecake Trifle - My Pretty Brown BlogI couldn’t wait to sit outside on the patio and listen to Blues music while indulging in good eats, but the rain had another plan for the long weekend. We decided not to “BBQ” for the 4th this year, so we picked up takeout from our local barbecue spot, Uncle Sam’s. This was obviously the plan for most on this rainy 4th of July. As my HB, Mom, and I were finishing our southern spread, the rain finally stopped. We were happy that daylight was kind to us and so ready to go outside to relax on the back patio—and enjoy dessert!

I wanted to try something new and fun for summer! This Berry Cheesecake Trifle is absolutely divine! It’s low-calorie, but you would never know it because it is just that AH-mazing! It’s a beautiful blend of fresh strawberries, blueberries, angel food cake, and creamy blissfulness! It’s perfect for those watching their sugar intake or for those just wanting a lower-calorie alternative to a family favorite.

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NEW Run/Walk Strategy from Jeff Galloway

I have used the Galloway method since I started distance running a few years ago. I used it while training for my second half marathon and absolutely loved it. Galloway Method is also known as Run Walk Run for those who are unfamiliar. The Run/Walk method would take your pace per mile and assign a specific run/walk ratio. I started with a 3:1 ratio (3 minute run, 1 minute walk) and even played around with 2:1 and 1:1. After talking to Jeff Galloway at the Princess Half marathon expo, he suggested that I try 30:30 (30 second run, 30 second walk or what I call 30-30’s). I did  make character stops at Disney, so I can’t share a PR story behind this ratio—but I did like how I felt. I also used 30-30’s during the early part of the Walt Disney World Marathon. I think by using them in the beginning, it helped me stay strong to the end to complete 26.2 miles!

Walt Disney World Marathon - My Pretty Brown Blog As a Jeff Galloway Blogger, I receive tips to share with my readers on ways to stay motivated and train for optimal performance. When I found out that Jeff Galloway introduced a NEW Run/Walk Strategy: The 30-second Walk Break, I was fascinated! I actually just started using 30 second walk breaks during training runs to get accustomed to taking shorter breaks. And then here comes Jeff Galloway and all of his running wisdom! This only confirmed that I was making the right decision. Below are details about the new Run/Walk strategy from Olympian Jeff Galloway!

Jeff Galloway Introduces New Run Walk Strategy - My Pretty Brown

Jeff Introduces a New Run/Walk Strategy 

The 30-second Walk Break


Jeff Galloway’s Run/Walk/Run method was revolutionary for three reasons:

1 Run/Walk/Runners felt better throughout the long run.

2 Run/Walk/Runners recovered faster and got injured less often.

3 Run/Walk/Runners went faster with the breaks than without.

Since his introduction of walk breaks in 1974, Jeff he has received feedback from hundreds of thousands of runners, allowing him to fine tune Run/Walk/Run to keep people feeling better, staying healthy, and running faster.

The greatest benefit of the walk break comes in the first 30 seconds. 

Our heart rates come down, the running muscles relax, we catch our breaths, and the fatigue melts away. After 30 seconds of walking, we tend to slow down.

Here is a typical example of what happens with a 1-minute walk break:

A run/walk/runner averaging 10-minute pace in a marathon using 3 min/1 min might walk at a 15-minute mile pace for the first part of the race.

As fatigue sets in, that walk gets slower, and by halfway, the runner may be walking at 18 min/mi. This means faster running is needed to stay on pace, which creates more fatigue at the end of each running segment, so the walk will get slower, and so goes the downward spiral at the end of the race.

Avoiding the Slow-down

Compared to running constantly, the 1-minute walk break still results in runners feeling better, staying healthier, and going faster, but it can get even better! Limiting walk breaks to 30 seconds, or in some cases even less, while cutting the run time accordingly, gives all the same benefits, with even less fatigue and even faster times.

 The Bottom Line

If you are in already using a 30-second walk break or less, you don’t need to adjust. If you are using an interval that takes a 1-minute walk break, keep the same ratio but cut your walk and run times in half. For example, a 1-minute/1-minute interval now becomes a 30-sec./30-sec. interval. It’s that simple.

In the past when I took walk breaks longer than 30 seconds, I did find that I slow my walking pace down…a lot! Taking shorter walk breaks keeps me in the game and focused. I’m grateful that I discovered the Run/Walk method because it has helped me achieve my goals and continue to set new ones! Also, did you know that Jeff Galloway and many others have qualified for Boston using his Run/Walk method? I may not desire to BQ (right now), but it’s great to know that walk breaks have been proven to work!

You can read the previous installments of my Jeff Galloway Blogger Motivation and Training Tips here. For more wisdom from Jeff, you can find him on Facebook and Twitter!



Jeff Galloway Introduces New Run Walk Strategy - My Pretty Brown Blog


America’s Best Places to Run enhances the running experience by offering access to very special running routes. This book gives a preview of the scenery with directions to the start and special instructions to enjoy the area.  In addition to the more than fifty trails and half dozen race venues reviewed in this book it also  includes tips on training for trail running, dealing with elevation, running uphill and downhill, terrain issues, endurance, and time-

Jeff Galloway Blogger Tips | My Pretty Brown BlogDon’t forget to register for the 2nd annual Jeff Galloway 13.1.  December 11-13, 2015 brings a fun-filled weekend with the 13.1 half marathon, Barb’s 5K and the new “Fit Kids” run.

Join us in all the weekend events including the Race Expo with exciting vendors and speakers, a festive holiday mood and surprises at the finish line!

Register now at Jeff Galloway 13.1

Copyright © 2015* Galloway Productions All rights reserved.


Do you use the Galloway Method? What do you think of the new 30 second walk breaks? If you do use the Run/Walk method, what ratio do you use?




MCM 40th - My Pretty Brown Blog

MCM 40: The Countdown + Training Smart

Training for the Marine Corps Marathon kicked off this past Monday! Woo-hoo! Nervous and excited much, Artney? Why yes, I am! I will be Running with the Marines in less than 125 days! Cue “Eye of the Tiger”! I have also been working on Shredding weight over the past month and I will continue to focus on my diet. I am definitely going into this training cycle a lot smarter. I will follow the Dumbo Double Dare training plan as much as I can, while ensuring that I cover the prescribed miles for the marathon.


Marathon Training

I am using Hal Higdon’s Novice 1: 18-week training plan while incorporating the Jeff Galloway Method into my training runs. I will be using the same plan that I used for Walt Disney World Marathon, but I will be adding cross and  strength training. You can view it here. I am considering signing up for Training Peaks online training to help me stay focused. I like that it syncs with Garmin Connect too. I’ll know before the week is out whether or not I will use Higdon’s Training Peaks online plan. Long runs will be on a Saturday or Sunday, depending on what’s going on or what races I have planned. I am extremely focused when it comes to getting in the mileage. Respect the distance! My HB is so hilarious…he always says, “I don’t run for time, I run for the shine!” and I feel the same way, but I do have personal goals for this race.

MCM40 - My Pretty Brown Blog

Cross Training/Strength Training

When you know better, you do better. I did not cross train or strength train for my first marathon. Even if it’s your first marathon–I highly recommend that you do. My goal for this marathon is to finish strong with a smile on my face and with gas still left in the tank. I will cross train three days and take full advantage of my rest day(s). Days and times subject to change.

Charity Running

For those who are just following me, I am running for charity for the first time ever! E-X-C-I-T-E-D! I always wanted to run for something greater than myself, so I am thrilled that I will be running as an ambassador for Team Fisher House!

Fisher House Foundation is a wonderful organization that supports our military families when they need it the most—during hospitalization for unexpected injury, disease or illness. Fisher House provides a home away from home for families of patients receiving medical care at major military and VA medical centers. The homes provide free temporary lodging so military and veterans’ families can be close to their loved ones during a medical crisis. 

Team Fisher House for MCM - My Pretty Brown Blog

I’m not going to stop fundraising until September, so keep the donations coming! These sweet families would love and appreciate your support. You can visit my Team Fisher House for MCM Campaign page here: http://www.teamfisherhouse.org/goto/artwalker.

Have you ever used Training Peaks?



Disneyland Dumbo Double Dare

RunDisney: Dumbo Double Dare Challenge Training…In Progress!

Dumbo Double Dare - My Pretty Brown Blog

Training for the Run Disney Disneyland Half Marathon 10th Anniversary Weekend started at the beginning of May! I may be two months in, but I couldn’t help but share the deets and the theme for the weekend! I’ll go from Coast to Coast to run the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge presented by Cigna. I’m so excited because this is my first Run Disney challenge! I’ll run the Disneyland 10K and the Disneyland Half Marathon consecutively. I’ll earn a medal for each race completed, the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge medal, and I’ll earn my Coast to Coast race challenge medal for running the Walt Disney World Marathon and DDD Challenge all in the same year! That’s four beautiful medals y’all! Run all the races…earn ALL THE BLING! Medals haven’t been revealed yet, but I know Disney will not disappoint! I will share them once they are revealed!

MPBB Dumbo Double Dare Training Plan - My Pretty Brown Blog

View unmodified version online here.

This is the training schedule adding cross training days. Now that MCM training is underway, my schedule will change to accommodate the mileage for marathon training.

In the meantime, I’ll be counting down the days until I see my Sissy and nephews—and I’ll be deciding which characters I’m going to dress up as for the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend. Yes, you MUST dress the part when you run Disney!

What races are you planning to run this fall?