Trying Something New While Rollin’ in the Deep (Trails)

Hey y’all! Update!

I have been consistent with running in the mornings, especially now that time has changed. I know a lot of people don’t like the time change, but I’m loving it! It has been very cold the past week and, of course, on my run days. I’m currently on week 10 of my training and I just wrapped up what Hal Higdon calls a “sorta-long run” with 7.8, then 4 miles. I have 15 miles scheduled for the weekend at some point when I’m ready to brave the cold. I have been using the 5:1 (Galloway) ratio and I like it. I have to remember on my long runs to take walk breaks because I’ll get in a groove and ignore my Garmin alerts. I’m definitely going to do a better job of staying on that!

Gear and Fueling

For the past few months I have been experimenting with different fuel, gear, etc. to see what will and will not be joining me on race day. I was using my CamelBak on my longs runs (which I love btw), but I wanted to try a different hydration system. This past spring, I found a 2-bottle hydration belt from TJMaxx, tried it out, but it didn’t quite work with these curves. Women with my kind of curves feel what I’m sayin’. I had my eye on the Nathan “Triangle”, but I really wanted the purple and pink. Since no one had the colors I wanted, I went to old-faithful, Amazon. I found it for $22.00 which was a lot less than in the stores. BAM!

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I also found out about Pickle Juice (PJ) Sports Drink through my running group’s recent educational series. I had pickle juice at mile 11 at the Magic City Half last year and loved it! Also, as a kid, I loved drinking pickle juice out of the jar before my Mom discarded it. I know I’m not the only one. According to the label, the sports drink has more electrolytes than regular sports drinks and it helps with muscle cramps. I rarely have cramps (thank God), but I know runners that swear by it. I’ll definitely keep it in my runner arsenal just in case.

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I ran into my friend, Leticia, a few mornings while getting my miles in! I enjoyed sharing the pavement with her, it made made those miles go by much faster.

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My first Long Run with Coach Lubbs! 

If you don’t know who Coach Lubbs is, he’s one of my friends. He’s from Kenya and I must mention, he’s an incredible runner. It’s in his blood. I admire and look up to him. I’m very appreciative of how encouraging and supportive he has been of me and my journey!

Now…let us take a selfie!

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 …and show off our Hoka One One’s! HOKA LOVE!

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Okay, now that we’re past the selfie, let me tell you about Coach Lubbs. He took me on a route with LOTS of rolling hills that I was NOT prepared for. So rude! lol I was pretty vocal about it too…and I will not dare type it on this post. I stopped complaining and looked at the brighter side—it was an opportunity to make me a better runner. Well…in this case, a better walker with those crazy hills! *side eyes*

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I have no idea how we got here! It was my understanding that Coach Lubbs knew exactly the route we were taking; but he actually made it up as we went. *side eyes again* However, I was happy that I found this trail. I frequent this trail from time to time, but from another entrance. We left the road to enter this beautiful portion of the sun-forest. I was happy to discover that it was one of the trails that I always wanted to explore, I just didn’t know where it led. I think I can grow to like this trail running thing.

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Then there’s this face. This is the face you make when your coach tries to take you more miles than what’s on your training for the day. I was supposed to run 13.1, but we ended up with 14 miles by the time we made it back to the start. That’s what happens when you go an unplanned route. *hmph* All I could think about was food!14 miler 2

 

After our long run we headed over to this cute, locally owned coffee shop called O’Henry’s (Coffees)! I have officially fallen in love with this place. It has a loft, country-rustic feel and it’s perfectly cozy for a post-run latte, relaxation, or just quiet time.  I had a bagel with a “skinny” Café Mocha…which was awesome by the way! If you’re in the Birmingham area or passing through, make sure you stop by one of their locations.

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Until next time…

 

 
 

Women’s Running Nashville Half Marathon Recap!

Hello Nashville!

I couldn’t wait to get to Nashville for the Women’s Running Series (WRS) Half Marathon! It was my fifth half marathon, excluding (2) virtual half marathons. My HB also wanted his first half marathon to have a sweet medal so he decided on the Women’s Running Half Marathon. *insert proud wife expression*  We found out about the WRS at the Disney Princess Half Marathon Expo last February. You can read my race recap here. My HB saw the medal and said…”I WANT that medal!” When I heard that the medal was going to be even sweeter than the year before…I was sold! You’ll see why in a minute.

 

On to the Expo!

I spy something shiny and big!

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If you are a runner/walker (especially distance) or into athletics…you MUST look for The Stick people. You can find them at most race Expos but just in case you haven’t seen them, you can visit them online here. The Stick has changed my life! It goes into abyss of every muscle and will make it hurt so good. Works that soreness right on out. It’s easy to carry with you and can tuck nicely into your suitcase. They have different sizes available too. Trust me you’ll want one!

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Of course Bondi Band was there!

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FLOWERS! Fellow Flowers is a movement that was created by two amazing women to uplift, encourage, and connect us (women) through our passions…and to show the world, “We run simply because we get to.” Find out more about the amazing movement here.

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I had the opportunity to meet, Tori, one of the core gems behind Fellow Flowers! She was super sweet!

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  Swag

 

This was my first race as a Half Fanatic! I also wore my first “Flower”. What it stands for is perfect as I prepare for my race in January. I BELIEVE and know that I CAN!

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“Believe. To look within, to overcome. Loving myself enough. I have the will, the determination and the courage to defy the odds…and inspire. My challenges have made me a fighter – a survivor. They will not define me or confine me. I will run my own race. Different, beautiful and all my own. I believe in me and my potential. And I’m going to succeed because I’m brave enough to think I can.” fellowflowerbw

 

Race Day!

My socks were getting all the love. They are by Bondi Band and you can find them here!

Before

It was my first time meeting Half Fanatics from around the globe! They are absolutely amazing and they provide great support and energy while you’re on the course! So happy to be a part of this group! #HF 6579

Half Fanatics WRSNash!

 

 Mama, I made it!!!

Mile 13 yay!

 

Can you tell where I’m headed?

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Mimosas at the finish line waiting for us! How awesome is that?!

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The lawn relaxing

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Had to make a pit stop at the Smoothie King Truck—compliments of Women’s Running!  And look at that smile…someone is happy to rock their FIRST half marathon medal/bling! I’m so proud!!! :) SK

 

Another half marathon in the books! I am absolutely in LOVE with this medal! The charm keepsake is adorable! This photo doesn’t do it ANY justice. It’s huge!WRNFinisherMedal

This is one of the best races and post-race party experiences I’ve ever had. Women’s Running Nashville was so much fun and the support and camaraderie was amazing! Even though the hills were alive…it was such a beautiful course. I can’t wait to return again next year! I have fallen in love with this city!

 

 A little fun on Broadway and Nashville Eats!

I found this placed called Fresh To Order (fine. fresh.food.) and loved it! For my pre-race meal, I ordered the Chopped Wedge and the manager was kind to give me a complimentary Raspberry Mojito Lemonade while I waited. Ah-mazingly refreshing! The Wedge was enough for 3-4 people to share…so yummy! No, I didn’t eat it all. I had it along with half of my Jet’s Pizza, Grilled Chicken “Boat”.

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The day after the race we wanted to try out some of Nashville’s delicious barbeque! We weren’t sure of where to go so we asked a few people and went to the Yelp app to check out some reviews. Jack’s Bar-B-Que kept coming up so we decided to try it out! Broadway was clearly where all of the happenings were. There was a motorcade with hundreds and hundreds of bikers riding through Broadway along with a benefit concert by Dierks Bentley!

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Jacksons

 

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 I’m sorry, but you don’t go to a good BBQ place and order green beans! Just sayin’. The food was great!

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If you go to Nashville with running shoes, you MUST leave with new cowboy boots!

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Until next time, Nashville!

 

 

 

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Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Medals Revealed!

Look at those sweet medals! I promise within the next three years, I WILL be going after three of the medals at the same time. That would be the 5K, 10K, and Half Marathon (yes, all in one weekend, 22.4 miles). I haven’t wrapped my mind around Goofy Challenge (39.3 miles) or Dopey  Challenge (48.6 miles)…HECK-to-the-NO! Not saying I won’t ever either. I must admit the bling is quite enticing! Maybe once I’ve completed my first full marathon I’ll think about it. Until then…I’ll just drool over them and vicariously live through my friends who will be participating in Dopey Challenge 2015! As for the medals, even the kids have the Cutest-Bling-Ever! The Mickey ears are just too precious! I am not going to lie, everyone loves Mickey but I absolutely adore the Donald Duck Half Marathon Medal! I can’t wait to add it along with the other runDisney medals to my medal rack!

 

 

Sweat With Your Sole 5K/15K Recap!

Marriott PeachtreeLast weekend my HB and I took a road trip over to the A (Atlanta) for the Black Girls RUN! Sweat With Your Sole 5K/15K! I won a contest for a free registration of my choice (5K or 15K). I registered for the 15K. For those who don’t know, 15K = 9.3 miles. Since the Women’s Running Series—Nashville and Walt Disney World Marathon was coming up, this would be a part of my training schedule.

 

welcome! We stayed downtown and our hotel was perfectly placed in the midst of restaurants, quick stores, etc. I’m so glad because parking was $20/per day (no in or out)—so we weren’t driving anywhere. It helped that the race start line was a few blocks away. After checking in and getting a few items from the expo, it was time to get some nourishment. The rain had stopped and the sun was out. Boy…was it HOT and humid! We walked a few blocks and found the Hard Rock Café. We were being greeted by chants of “Who Dat” from fans that were in town for the New Orleans Saints vs. the Atlanta Falcons game. WHO DAT! Yes, I’m a part of the Who Dat Nation. Not die hard, but I love the team and the city!

 

Race Day!

The race start time was 7 a.m. so BGR! Birmingham met in front of the hotel around 6:15-ish to walk over to Centennial Park where the race would start. We took our group photos, warmed up, and headed to the start line! By the way, Atlanta is a VERY hilly place to run (in my opinion and many others). I experienced it for myself back in 2013 when I ran the BGR! Inaugural 10K. You can read that recap here. This was the first year for the 15K, so I don’t think I really grasped what the course would feel like. It was so hilly, humid, and HOT! I see why most races are held during the cooler months. I started off strong with my long run pace, but before approaching mile 3, it was so hot and I couldn’t breathe. I was seriously thinking…I can just finish (not strong like I wanted to, but finish) the 5K. I kept pushing. It was a very hard course for me—so hard, I decided to walk the last 2 miles. I wasn’t worried about my pride, my ego…I just couldn’t do it and I wasn’t. I had given all I had at that moment. I was done. This was probably one of the HARDEST courses I’ve run to date.

I’m happy to say that I made it to the finish line! Had there not been any hills, I’m pretty sure it would have been a PB (Personal Best). I am happy that I stayed the course and did not give up. I know for the most part, running is mental. When you can keep pushing through the doubts, fears, humidity, leg cramps, the smell of BBQ, and everything else running through your head (there goes that mental thing again)…you’ve accomplished something.

  flat runnerI was excited to find a new Bondi Band to match my Sparkle Athletic shwings and shirt! My armband matched perfectly too! You can find them here.

 BTR1 BGR! Birmingham (Just a few of us)

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 swys3One more to go!

 wpid-img_20140907_151230.jpgI did that!!!

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BGR15K!!! Yes, I clean up pretty good. I EARNED this medal!!! And you know who else did too?!

 

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Instagram: heartbeat4many

This great woman (pictured above, R) completed the 15K with a smile on her face! If you could have seen the outpour of love and support as she crossed the finish line…it was beyond amazing! I cried like a baby because she showed me and everyone else witnessing that great moment that ANYTHING is possible! #TeamNoExcuses

 

And We’re Off…

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A little bit of “blurred lines”

It was a short stay, but it was fun while it lasted! Glad I had my HB with me to carry my bags while I was in recovery mode!

 swys1Time for some grub! We headed over to one of our favorite spots in Atlanta called, Gladys Knight and Ron Winans Chicken & Waffles! I’m pretty sure you’ve heard both of their names before. They are music legends! You can’t go to ATL and not stop there. We prepared to wait. I’m so glad I wore my compression socks!

 Gladys KnightsI had my usual…the “Midnight Train” + Mac!

 

GK Sweet Potato Cheesecake Dessert to go, please! Even though I felt like I earned it and wanted one all by myself…moderation = 1, Artney = 0. My HB and I decided to share a slice of Sweet Potato Cheesecake. One word…DIVINE!

 

Inspirational Moment!

If you didn’t know, Oprah Winfrey was in Atlanta for her The Life You Want Tour!  Then this happened…

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Instagram: officialblackgirlsrun

Co-founders Ashley Hicks and Toni Carey of Black Girls RUN! were honored at Oprah’s The Life You Want Tour! They were presented with the Toyota Standing O-vation Award by Amy Purdy (Paralympic bronze medalist snowboarder/Toyota brand ambassador)! What an honor!!! Congratulations Ashley and Toni on such a remarkable accomplishment! Being presented with an award by Mother O? It can’t get any better than that!

Thank you again, Black Girls RUN! for my registration and for creating such an awesome space for women to come together and celebrate each other! Also, congratulations to everyone who participated in SWYS14 Festival weekend and race! I love my BGR!

 

About Black Girls Run!

Many people have comments and/or questions about BGR’s name and how it came about…

The mission of Black Girls RUN! is to encourage African-American women to make fitness and healthy living a priority. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 80 percent of African-American women are overweight. BGR! wants to create a movement to lower that percentage and subsequently lower the number of women with chronic diseases associated with an unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle.

In March 2011, Black Girls RUN! launched more than 60 Black Girls RUN! running groups across the nation. The groups range from the most novice to the most experienced runner in hopes to educate African-American women about health and fitness and provide a support system to help them reach their goals. The movement has been extremely successful with thousands of women joining in and making a commitment to defy the odds and take charge of their own health.

Black Girls RUN! is open to women of ALL races and all levels (runners, joggers, sloggers, and walkers). This movement was created to change the statistics of African-American women by combating diseases, to get AA women active and moving, to provide education regarding fitness and health, and to show that black girls run! We would love for you to join us in helping put an end to the statistics.

You want to know more? Learn about Black Girls RUN! here AND join the movement!