Back To The Basics

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The last few month’s have been spent traveling around to different half marathons. With these longer runs, comes a longer recovery time. It’s the kind of time that adds up and eventually the days have went by so fast that you are staring right at Spring. How can it be April already? It feels like yesterday, we were celebrating the New Year. Needless to say between half marathons, sickness, and crazy weather, training hasn’t been my friend. I have come to accept that whatever happens will happen. One day, I may get under 30 and if I do, that will be awesome but I’m not going to beast myself up in the process. The days I can run, I will run and the days I can’t run, well I won’t worry about it. I just have to accept that I can only push myself so far. I always have to be on the go but sometimes I need to remind myself it’s ok to take a break. With all that said, I have a nice little break from half marathons. I don’t have another half scheduled until June in North Carolina. Therefore, I am back to the basics of training for 5K runs. The last two weekends have been 5Ks. We ran the Gwinnett Life Run and the Sunset Strut 5K on March 24th. I have been on the go since then and working on classes and side jobs that I haven’t had a chance to write about these races. Side note: I have been going back and forth trying to get my classes worked out so I can graduate with my degree this December. I finally got it all worked out and set to graduate on time. Back to runs, this past weekend we ran the Frank Baccus 5K in Monroe. The Frank Baccus is one of those runs that stick with you and you go back year after year.

The Frank Baccus has an awesome flat course with a few slight inclines that is ran out in the country. There is nothing but the road and some cows which is why I enjoy it so much. It’s also a race that so many of my friends come to so its great to see everyone in one place. I must say, I didn’t run good this year. I was expecting to be able to run like I did the previous weekend but that didn’t happen. I didn’t know I was so tired until the race started and I was out of breath before the first mile. Regardless of clock time, it was a great morning with wonderful people and I still placed 2nd in my age group. They have really cute pottery awards that are shaped as a cross. I think this was my third year in a row placing in my age group. There is no better way to kick off Spring then with this annual 5K.

This weekend, I will be traveling to Charleston, SC to the Cooper River Bridge Run. This will be my first time running this 10K and I am super excited. I am meeting up with a friend of mine and we are going to run the race together. I had to talk a friend in to coming with me and in order to do so, I had to bribe her with concert tickets for her birthday. So, we are going to Myrtle Beach Friday night for the concert and traveling back to Charleston that night so I can get right back up and get on the bus for the run. I know I will be dragging but it’s all for the fun. Some would call us crazy and maybe we are, but that’s ok! We are driving back home Saturday afternoon so I can attend Wanderlust with some friends on Sunday. Wanderlust is a 5K + Yoga on the lawn in Piedmont Park. Ok, now you can call me crazy. I should sleep well Sunday night, that is for sure.

Look for a post next week on my Charleston experience and Wanderlust. Hope everyone is enjoying this awesome weather. See you out on the road!

Disney Princess Half Marathon & 5K

“A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes!”

It’s been a few days since Disney and things are starting to settle down so I thought this would be the perfect time to write about my runDisney experience. First off, the whole runDisney experience was amazing and it’s something every Princess runner needs to experience. Best half marathon and 5K run I have ever done. There are a lot of Princes out there but most of them are not going to enjoy a Disney Princess run for the most part. I suggest all you Prince charming runners check out the Star Wars half and 5K in April. This was my first trip to Disney World and the one thing I learned, is Disney does it up big. Everything is magical and everything is spot on. Did I mention everywhere you look is clean? No trash anywhere. Being a technology guru by day, I was overwhelmed with the amount of technology that goes in to all of the productions that are put on there. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how they do it. I think it’s super cool the way Disney takes things to a whole new level. Anyways, enough about all of that, back to the runs.

EXPO:

IMG_8607We arrived at Disney World on Thursday to attend the expo. The expo is a huge event broken down in to 3 different buildings. There is so much to look at everywhere you turn. Here is some advice if anyone is looking to run there, go and pick up your bib number first. Make sure you print and sign your waiver. Then go and pick up your shirt in the next building before attending the actual expo. There are lines at every station so make time to get the important things checked off the list first. RunDisney has a huge expo and there are lots of people which makes it hard to look. I thought the expo was great but everything was pretty pricey and I felt like I was being rushed so I didn’t get to look all that much. RunDisney has another whole building dedicated to rundisney apparel and merchandise. I was so overwhelmed at the amount of stuff and yet this was the first expo where I didn’t buy anything. If you can go right when the expo opens and go alone if you have to. Trust me, more time to look and see things that way.

5K:

0C89A09C-2083-4E0E-B4F8-82BC732ED4D6 (1)3 AM comes very fast when you don’t get in the bed until after midnight. When we arrived Thursday, the hotel had given us the wrong room. No big deal, Disney is awesome and will fix any mistake like that right away. We changed rooms at midnight, hoped in to bed and was awaken at 3 AM to get ready for the 5K on Friday. You have to be at the buses at 3:30 AM to load up to head to the start. Another advice, pay more to stay inside the park so you can get transported everywhere by a Disney bus. So worth every penny. Disney buses will pick you up at any Disney resort, take you to the start, and pick you up at the finish. They also take you back and forth to every park throughout the day and night. We arrived at the start outside of Epcot around 4:00 AM and found our corral. I was supposed to be in B but I moved back to walk with one of my friends. The race started at 5:30 but we didn’t get started until after 6. The first mile of the race was roads outside of Epcot and not a whole lot to see. They had Rapunzel playing on a big screen about a half mile in which was cool. After mile 1, we came inside Epcot and ran around the entire loop of the park. The 5K was so much better than the half marathon because they had more music playing and characters throughout the race. The lines were so long, we didn’t stop to meet any of the characters along the 5K route. We were highly entertained by all of our favorite Disney songs along the way. There were also great photo opportunities without having to wait in line. Epcot is such a pretty park and all of the cultures seem so real that we ran past. I had a blast getting to dress up for these runs. I was Cinderella for the 5K and Belle from Beauty and the Beast for the half. I wasn’t running any of these races for a clock time, so I took the time to just enjoy the scenery. Talk about the best finisher medals in the land! RunDisney has the best medals you have ever seen. Rapunzel was on the 5K finisher medal. Tangled is one of my favorite movies and Beauty and The Beast is my all time favorite. The half marathon finishers medal was an apple from Snow White.

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Half Marathon:

IMG_8822Again, 3 AM comes way too fast especially when you are having fun. Sunday morning we ran the half marathon and the same schedule applied. Up at 3, bus at 3:30, start at 4, race begins at 5:30 yet it took us an hour to get to the start line since we were in corral H because I forgot to submit a time. Never again do I want to be in the last corral for any Disney race. It was like being on an interstate that is backed up because of a wreck. We were in “traffic” the entire 13.1 miles of the race. I will say, I was disappointed with how much time we spent on the actual interstate and not inside a park. We were inside Magic Kingdom for maybe a little over a mile before getting back on a highway. The highlight of the race was getting to run through the castle and of course I had to stop to get a pic. Plus it wasn’t like we could run a whole lot anyways because of all the people. There were 25,000 people running the half. Therefore, we walked the majority of the time which was fine because we were tired anyway from our time spent at the parks. The half marathon didn’t have as many characters along the way but we did stop for one character picture. I think RunDisney puts more effort in to their small distance races versus the longer distances. I did enjoy the start of the half more then the 5K because of the fireworks that went off with every corral start. I thought that was really cool.

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I don’t think this will be my last RunDisney experience. I plan to do this again at some point. I know this wont be my last trip to Disney World either, because we have already booked our next trip for Thanksgiving. I am taking my sister to Disney this time without having to get up early for runs. We can enjoy the parks more that way.

Frosty Owl 5K

It’s been two weeks since the Frosty Owl 5K and I am still in disbelief at how many came to support the 1st Annual 5K for Athens Technical College’s Alumni Association. Many of you were curious as to how I was involved with this. I realize now, I never really told the story behind the Frosty Owl. July of last year, I took office as President of the Alumni Association for Athens Tech. I was very active in leadership roles as a student while getting my degrees from the college and my first full-time job was at the college as well. I was called one evening last year and was asked to come back and sit on the board for the college. I didn’t want to turn down the opportunity so I accepted. As a technical college,  it’s very hard to get people involved in different roles because of the demographics that surrounds technical education. With low participation from alumni, I came up with this fundraiser hoping to increase our alumni membership. Therefore, the Frosty Owl idea was born and I took the role of race director.

27072312_10156047093779812_4263191964363746155_nPreparation: Months and months of planning paid off in the end. Not too many people realized, that I planned this 5K pretty much by myself. Like I said, it’s hard to get people active in these kind of roles. For months I went around to different businesses and friends asking for sponsorship money. In the beginning, I didn’t think I could pull off such an awesome event but slowly sponsorships starting pouring in. We had some amazing sponsors that helped make our event a success. See the list of sponsors below. Thank you to these amazing sponsors for supporting education! After securing sponsorship, it came time to promote. I pulled out all the stops for promotion. Apparently, I have an eye for marketing and it’s something I truly enjoy. Designing the t-shirt was one of my favorite things about this 5K. One evening, I sat down to design this shirt and within a couple of hours the little owl was born. At first, I was nervous about the design wondering if it was good enough to be published on shirts. I took a chance and put it out on social media. Little did I know, the majority of the people coming to the event was coming to get one of the shirts. It’s a cool feeling to know people will be wearing your design. I also had the opportunity to pick out the awards and design the medals. I decided it would be a cute and unique thing to do bobble head owls for the overall winners and medals for the age groups.

26992156_10204626289053799_1815374390473638807_nRace Day: January 20th came around very fast. I tried very hard to make this a fun event for all of my sweet friends who came to support me with this fundraiser. Therefore, I pulled out all the stops and made sure everything was as organized as it could be. My favorite part was seeing all of my friends there and watching them get excited over our owl mascot and overall just having a good time. It was fun to watch my friends enjoy the race in a different perspective. Hands down best feeling seeing them get excited over something you worked so hard for. I was very proud of this event. As with all things, there were a few things I wish I could have done differently but overall it was a huge success and something the college was shocked by. I wish I had taken the time to thank the volunteers ahead of time and our sponsors. I also wish our college administration had taken the time to help me with this. It would have been better coming from our administration but it seemed to go overlooked which was a bummer for me. Needless to say I have a few things to say about my amazing volunteers. Keep reading!

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Volunteers: Many of you don’t know this but all of my volunteers were coworkers of mine. I don’t know how or why I got so lucky with having amazing coworkers. Coworkers who I get to call my friends! It came down to a few weeks out with no volunteers what so ever. So I decided to ask the guys at work if they could help me. Needless to say they are all so sweet, that every single one of them on my team came to volunteer. Keep in mind, none of them have anything to do with the college or the alumni association. I can’t thank these guys enough for spending their Saturday off to help me. They all did an amazing job and I was am so proud to be able to work with an amazing group. These guys were supposed to only be course monitors but they ended up handing out race packets, setting up tables, and helping vendors setup tents. They went beyond what I asked of them which was such a blessing to me. I had so many of you comment about how great the volunteers were. Well these guys are the CCSD Tech Team and always go above and beyond on any tasks sent their way. Such a special group of guys that I can never ever thank enough!

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Assistant Race Director: The guy in the middle of the picture above was an important part of the Frosty Owl 5K! This guy spent hours among hours helping me put together this 5K. Again he has nothing to do with the college or the alumni association. Just a great friend of mine who has a big heart. I’m pretty sure there are not many guys in the world that will sit and listen to someone go on and on about 5K shirts, awards, sponsorships, spreadsheets, race numbers, etc. I’m also pretty sure there are not many guys who will help someone put together race packets and drive around trying to get stuff done for a 5K event. Also pretty darn sure there are not many who will wake up at 5 AM to get to someone’s house to load up boxes and get to a park before day light. Who else knows someone who will unload 4 different cars, setup tables and tents, and take a course map out of my hand and make sure course monitors get to the right location on time? While I was running around answering questions and making sure registration went smoothly, he was out driving monitors around and explaining the course so the monitors could point runners in the right direction. I am pretty sure I didn’t ask him to do it alone but he did anyway because he knew I was slammed. He did an amazing job and I am so proud that I get to be his friend! I could not have done this without him! Y’all the Frosty Owl wouldn’t have been half of what it was without this one! I can’t thank him enough! Y’all give him a hug the next time you see him! (The sweet person on the right is his momma! She walked her first 5K and placed second in her age group at 73 years old).

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Athena The Owl: Athens Tech has this cute little owl mascot named Athena. I knew in the beginning stages of planning, Athena had to make an appearance at the 5K. Like I guessed, Athena was the life of the party. Little did you know, the person rocking the owl costume was another one of my awesome coworkers walking around for your entertainment. You are probably wondering how in the world did I talk him in to being an owl. It was easy, I promised him Mexican food. This guy has the best personality and one of the happiest/nicest people you will meet who you guessed it loves Mexican food. I think he had just as much fun as y’all did taking pictures.

Running Family: THANK YOU to every single person in my running family who came to support me and this 5K! I have the sweetest friends in the world. It meant more then you will ever know to see all of your sweet faces cross the finish line. Love you all! Overall we had 236 people register and 200 of those people crossed the finish line. A few did not know to turn their cards in. Results can be found here.

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Sponsors: All of our sponsors were an important part of the Frosty Owl 5K and I cannot thank each of these businesses enough for their support of our Alumni Association. It is people like them that make the community such a great place. Thank you so much! I am working on sending out thank you letters to all the sponsors but I wanted to say a few things here about a few of our sponsors.

  • Peach State Federal Credit Union: I had the opportunity to work with Develon from Peach State who was our gold sponsor. Peach State does amazing things supporting education not only in the Athens community but throughout the state of Georgia. Athens Technical College is proud to have a partnership with such a great organization. In need of a loan or looking to switch banks, go see my friend Develon at Peach State in Athens. Tell him I sent you!
  • Misty’s Pawperties: Two of the best people you will ever meet. These people are great friends of mine who flip and rent houses. They have a love for Huskies and have the biggest hearts that care for these sweet loving dogs. Thank you for everything you do for me! Your support means more then I can ever tell you!
  • Yoga And You: If you are ever near Madison County and in the market to try Yoga, this is the place for you. The owner, Cheryl’s classes are filled with laughter, relaxation, and love! She is a great Yoga instructor and really cares about her student’s. Now that I am a Yoga instructor, I still get to learn from one of the best. I feel like I have learned more from watching her teach then I did in my six month’s of training. Thank you for supporting me and the 5K! Also thank you for being the best volunteer and taking the best pictures of the 5K!
  • TEAM DLK: These guys are true examples of great people! They have a love for running, obstacle races, and trail races. It’s amazing to see what they do every weekend. No matter if they are running a 5K or jumping over obstacles on a Spartan Beast course, they absolutely kill it! I am so thankful I get to be friends with this awesome group of guys! Thank you for supporting me and the 5K! You will never know how much it meant to have TEAM DLK representing at the 5K.

And a HUGE Thank you to our other sponsors:

  • PPI
  • Stare Granite & Bronze
  • CoxMedia Group
  • VEND Food Services
  • Zaxby’s
  • TKS
  • Jackson Pharmacy
  • Get Fit & Pretty Mama
  • Heyward Allen
  • Ingles
  • Barberitos
  • Dr. Al Shakleford
  • Terry Wingfield
  • Athens Orthopedic Clinic
  • First Madison Bank & Trust

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Cold Never Bothered Us Anyway

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It has been a cold start to 2018 for the world of running. I guess most people are at home enjoying their hot chocolate by the fire, while a select few of us are lacing up our running shoes and putting on our jackets to brave the cold. I guess that’s why I always get weird looks when I tell people I ran this weekend. “Don’t you know it’s 17 degrees outside?!” I always hear the word crazy, I  just like to think that we the runners have super powers! That sounds better!

IMG_80202018 may be nothing but cold but it’s off to a great start. Two races already down for the year. We ran New Years @ Noon in Athens on New Years day. It’s become a tradition to run this race. I don’t think we have missed it since we have started running. New Years @ Noon is known for the Dam hill. The hill that seems to capture your breathing and makes you question yourself. I’m somewhat being dramatic but I can never make it up it without walking. This year, we ran the hill first when in years past, it was always right before the finish. I finished my first race for the year in 33:52 and placed third in my age group. I use to never place in this race, but over the years I have gotten faster and able to snag a pottery award.

IMG_8053For the second year in a row, we ran the Twilight Stroll by the Granite Bowl in Elberton. I have yet to see this Granite Bowl. We run right past it, but it’s never lit and it’s dark out so I never get to see it. It was another cold night this year with everyone in gloves and hats. At least it was not raining mixed with snow like it was last year. Last year the rain was hitting you right in the face along with being freezing cold. Much better conditions this year. I had an awesome run at this race! It’s a hilly course, not a PR kind of race. However, I could tell all this training I am doing is paying off. I ran a 32:50, knocking almost two minutes off of my time from last year. I placed first in my age group! I will say I was very disappointed once I saw the awards. Last year the awards were a piece of granite with a nice gold plate on top. This year it was a .99 cent medal. Only reason we had come to run the race was for the granite. I know so many other people were disappointed as well. I guess I will have to mark this one off of my list for next year.

Training is going very well. I am back to my normal schedule. Wednesday’s have become my tough training days with the other days being just normal runs. Next weekend I will be running my 6th half marathon and we are one month away from the Disney Princess Half. Starting to get really excited. My outfits have arrived for Disney! Since I am running the half and 5K, I have two different outfits. Can you guess which Princesses I will be? Stay tuned to find out!

Go Dawgs!!

 

A Few Of My Favorite Things From 2017

2017 has been a very busy year for me but full of so many wonderful things! I had no idea I would meet so many great people this past year. People who have since become like family. In the beginning of 2017, I struggled to be the very best I could be and wanted nothing more then to be fast. I wanted an awesome clock time every time I raced. When I didn’t get the clock time I wanted, I would try harder. Along the way I realized that’s not so important as I once made myself think it was. I still have the goal of under 30 for 2018 and I will keep working until I get it, but I have also realized how great it is to be able to run with the people I love most! Best thing about 2017 has been all of the friendships I have made and I will take those over any PR or first place win any day! Here’s a list of all of my favorite things that happened in 2017.

My Favorite Pictures of 2017:

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January 2017: I ran my first half marathon in Warner Robins. 2018 is going to be another year filled with half marathons. I am currently registered for 4 already including the one at Warner Robins on the air force base.

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February 2017: Had my first big PR at the Spartan 5K in Watkinsville. To this day, I remember the time 30:13. I was so close, I even saw 29 on the clock as I was coming down the hill. I will be back in 2018 to try the course once again for the 29. For those of you that don’t know the Spartan 5K has the best course to try to set a PR.

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March 2017: Completed my first Spartan race. I was dead set on never doing a Spartan. I gave every excuse in the book as to why I didn’t want to do it. I even mentioned the fact I didn’t want to die. However, I’m glad I was talked in to it. It was a great experience and who knows what I will do in 2018. Maybe a Spartan Super…

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April: We ran the Chick-Fil-A half marathon in Athens. This was my third half marathon and one of my favorites. Anyone who knows me, knows I love Chick-Fil-A. I could eat there every day of the week. Here we are, hanging out with our favorite cows:

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July 2017: Ran my first Peachtree Road Race. It was the best experience and I can’t wait to do it again. I was in awe the entire race. I didn’t even notice the famous hill everyone talks about. This was hands down, the best race of 2017!

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September 2017: Finished a 5K on the 50 Yard Line of the new Mercedes Benz stadium home to the Atlanta Falcons. Such a cool experience crossing the finish line on the field. I ran this race with my sister and we crossed the finish line together.

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October 2017: Ran my 5th half marathon, the AthHalf. It was a love hate kind of relationship for this race. I love my hometown, so getting to run through downtown Athens was awesome. Therefore it made up for having to run every hill Athens has to offer.

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December 2017: Ran the coolest races with the best folks in the world! Take a look at how much fun we had in December. Thank you to everyone who made this year the best year yet. It’s been a very fun year and I can’t wait to see what 2018 brings. I have had a blast getting to know so many wonderful people. My favorite part of 2017 was spending time with the running family! You all mean so much! Thanks for all the support and encouragement you all have shown and given me! Goodbye 2017, hello 2018!

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ELF TROT 5K WINDER, GA

 

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Santa Stroll 8K Bishop, GA

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Christmas Eve 5K – Dacula

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Santa Fun Run 5K- Johns Creek