If you follow me on Instagram (or even in blog posts), you probably notice that my hair is always in a bun on top of my head or in a long braid when when running. There is a very good reason for that....
Yes, my hair comes all the way down to my hips. Yes, it is hot. Yes, it is heavy. Over the past few years, I have now gone through 2 hair donation cycles and it is now time for number 3! In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month and in memory of my Aunt and Grandmother, I decided it was time to go ahead and let the shears go to my head for another donation.
While I have always had longer hair most of my life, I started growing my hair out for donation purposes back in 2010. My hair grows pretty quickly and I have always enjoyed watching it grow and getting ready for my next donation cut. There are many different organizations that accept hair donations. After doing my research before my first donation, I decided that I wanted to work with Pantene Beautiful Lengths for my donation. There are a number of reasons that I selected this organization, but the one that stood out the most is that they work with the American Cancer Society to provide their hairpieces free of charge to those who have lost their hair during cancer treatments. The patients and their families have gone through enough emotionally and financially, why should they have to pay to have a wig and help them feel better about themselves. After a family friend received a wig from Beautiful Lengths while undergoing chemotherapy during her battle with breast cancer, my decision was even more special to me.
Since 2006, Pantene Beautiful Lengths has provided over 42,000 wigs with over 800,000 ponytails donated (source: Pantene). In a quest to make the program even better and bigger than ever, they recently started their #8or8 campaign which encourages donating 8+ inches of hair or donating $8 to the Beautiful Lengths organization. While Pantene provides their wigs free of charge, there are still costs associated with making this all possible, so those who cannot donate hair can still help support the organization. As more hair donations come in, the costs to keep everything operating goes up as well. To learn more about #8or8, make a monetary donation, or to learn more about how you can make a hair donation, go to their website.
I hope the first few weeks of autumn are treating you well! With fall comes a lot of races and great mornings for training runs. I am beyond excited to take advantage of cooler temperatures for some long runs on the weekends.
If it weren't for the Jeff Galloway run/walk method, I probably wouldn't be the runner that I am today without it. Momma K has successfully trained for and completed 4 half marathons now all on the Galloway method (with 2 more in the next 5 weeks).
If you follow my running journey, you know how much I am a fan of Jeff Galloway. He is an absolutely amazing athlete and a wonderful person as well. His run-walk-run method has revolutionized running for many people. Whether you are a new runner or a seasoned runner looking to help improve your pace, the Galloway method is definitely worth looking into.
Earlier this year I had the honor of joining the Jeff Galloway blogger team. I cannot thank Jeff Galloway enough for not only sharing his running, training, and race tips with me but giving me the opportunity to share them with you. From utilizing his run-walk-run method to training plans, he has proved so many great pieces of advice that even seasoned runners can learn from.
In case you missed any of my Jeff Galloway Tips posts, here are a few of my favorite tips:
Importance of a Training Plan
5 Ways To Get Faster
Power of the Group Run
The 30 Second Walk Break
Are you not able to get to Atlanta on December 12-13th but still want to take part in this event? No fear! There is a virtual race option available for both the 5K and half marathon! That's right, you can run wherever and whenever you can before December 31st and still score the same great shirt and medal as those running in Atlanta. Be sure to check out the Jeff Galloway 13.1 website for more information on both the virtual race option as well as the awesome beneficiaries of the race weekend.
Did you know that Jeff Galloway has his own race weekend? In December 2014, the Jeff Galloway 1/2 Marathon had its inaugural race weekend in Atlanta, GA. Jeff Galloway 13.1 weekend returns to Atlanta December 12-13, 2015. The race weekend includes a wonderful variety of events including a race expo, Fit Kids Run/Walk and Barb's 5K on Saturday, and featuring the half marathon on Sunday (December 13).
For more information on the Jeff Galloway 13.1 weekend, check out their website and social media:
Thank you to my friends at Jeff Galloway Productions for providing me with a free entry to the Barb's 5K for one of my lucky readers! To enter, click here to go to my Rafflecopter page to register.
Contest ends on Sunday, October 18, 2015 at 11:59pm EST.
Winner will be contacted via email on Monday, October 19, 2015 as well as announced via social media.
Question of the Day: With a lot of fall races coming up, what is your favorite training or race moment?
In 2011, after a hiatus from the half marathon distance for a few years, I decided to give 13.1 miles another go. My "redemption half marathon" was the All State 13.1 Half Marathon (now branded as Michelob Ultra 13.1). Despite race name changes and even a few location changes, this race has always held a special place in my heart as it was the half marathon that made me embrace the half marathon and eventually grow to love it.
As with a lot of larger races, you had to pick up your race packet prior to race day (unless you opted for Will Call on race day morning for an extra fee. Packet pick-up was held at Atlanta area Road Runner Sports stores over several days leading up to the race. There were a lot of different options of dates and locations for pick-up which is very nice and accommodating to a lot of different schedules.
Leading up to race day, there was a lot of confusion on social media about where exactly to park on race morning. The race website only directed runners to parking via a statement on their website of "Parking for athletes and spectators is accessible via Cobb Galleria Parkway and Akers Mill Road west of I-75." The directions on the website gave turn by turn directions to Akers Mill Road, but nothing more. When it was asked on Facebook about where to park, the race's response was "We will have a variety of highly accessible options, there are parking decks, surface lots, and a large strip mall that are all available to 13.1 runners. Hope this helps!" Even being from Atlanta, these directions did not help at all. There are a lot of different lots, decks, and strip malls around this area, so I cannot imagine what this was like for out of town runners. There was a lot of anxiety of race day parking for sure - personally, the last thing I wanted was to park in the wrong lot and be towed.
Becky arrived to what was believed to be race parking and she called me to let me know where she was so we could park together. There were no signs or volunteers to indicate where to park or where to head to the race. We followed the rest of the runners towards the start hoping that we were going to the right place. Thankfully it was about a 1/2 mile walk or so to the starting area.
We used the restrooms and met up with friends before heading into the start corral. There were "corrals" A-C for the runners that submitted an estimated finish time fast enough to qualify for up-front placement then the rest of the corrals were self-seeded along with pace signs.
Oh my hills, y'all! Yes it is Atlanta an you can always expect to run hills, however these felt particularly brutal. What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger, right?!?! There was a change leading up to race day which ended up leading to a lot of back tracking along the away. While this might seem daunting because you keep seeing the same things, it wasn't that bad. My favorite part about how the course was laid out was you passed your friends along the way. It is always great to exchange smiles, cheers, and high-fives with friends along the way. When you are trying to crush your way through a hill, there is always something encouraging about seeing a friend heading the other way.
This is the part of this recap that I have been dreading to write, but you know I am always honest about everything with you. The race turned quite ugly at one point. After passing the aid station at mile 9ish, you did not have another aid station until you crossed the finish line. Yes, that means for about 4 miles you were without water and/or sports drink. Fortunately for me, I carry a small bottle on my belt which I carry my PowerAde in. Even still, I was in need of water big time come mile 11. It is still a little warmer in Atlanta and not providing appropriate aid stations is uncalled for. In the the race information, the race had boasted about 11 aid stations along the way. Well, 11 was actually 7 or 8 which left many runners getting dehydrated in the final miles. After comments about the water situation were added to their Facebook page, they have apologized for the situation. I do thank them for apologizing, however this was very dangerous and I can only hope that it is rectified for 2016.
I had a decent race. I was a little nervous going into the race because I haven't "raced" a half marathon since May. While have ran the distance, there were under different circumstances where I was not running at my race pace by any means. I ran really strong up until mile 9.5 or so which was when I started to feel a little ill. I decided to just slow down a bit and take it easy the final few miles into the finish.
Becky and I have a tradition that we always "medal each other" after races. It is just what we do. Yes, I do thank the sweet volunteers for being there, but I always let Becky give me my medal when she is at the same race as me.
Becky and I knew that our friend Michael was about to finish, so we headed towards the finish line to cheer him on in the final stretch. There is seriously nothing better than having your family and friends at the finish line cheering for you in those final yards of a race. This was his 2nd half marathon and he PR'ed by about 10 minutes (if I remember correctly). Way to go!
I received 2 medals that day (see below). The orange shirt and rectangular medal are for completing the Michelob Ultra 13.1 Half Marathon. The blue shirt and 26.2 medal are for completing the Publix Georgia Half Marathon in March as well as the Michelob Ultra 13.1 Half Marathon. There is also a 39.3 Challenge for those who complete the full marathon in March along with this race.
I have loved this race the past few years. Everything has always gone very well and is very organized which is why I am so baffled by the issues with communications about parking as well as the aid station issue. This is a national race series and they do this frequently, so they are normally on point with things. Hopefully they listen to runner feedback and rectify the issues for 2016.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary entry to the Faster Than Boo 10K from Gone For a Run in exchange for a review on the event. As always, all thoughts are strictly my own.
Earlier this summer, Momma K and I took part in the Log Off. Shut Down. Go Run. Virtual 10K hosted by Gone for a Run. Virtual races are a great way to go get your miles in with a fun little twist. Face it, you are more likely to get your miles in on a Saturday morning if you know there is some bling waiting for you when you are done, right? However, it might not be possible to go to a race every weekend - lack of babysitter, no races in the area, frigid winter, etc. Well, virtual races are perfect for your "race free" weekends! Even better is that virtual races allow you to run/walk your race however you want to - indoor or outdoors, trail or pavement, night or day, etc.
As soon as I saw the race swag for the Faster Than Boo 10K, I was sold on this race! Y'all know I am a sucker for an awesome medal and/or race shirt. Well, check these out! How stinkin' cute are these!?!
There are 2 different race kits available. The Basic Package (shown above) is $32 and includes your choice of a Women's cut tank or unisex short-sleeved shirt, race bib (a real bib - no need to print a bib), and a finisher medal! For $40, you can purchase the Premium Package (shown below) which includes all of the awesome goodies in the Basic Package as well as Faster Than Boo knee high socks.
Need even more reason to run? Well, by running the Faster Than Boo 10K you will also be supporting an awesome charity. A percentage of your race entry will be donated to Friends of Jaclyn Foundation. The Friends of Jaclyn Foundation has helped over 600 children and their families battling with pediatric cancer. For more information about Jaclyn’s story and the success of the foundation please go to http://friendsofjaclyn.org/jaclyns-story.
The Faster Than Book Virtual 10K will take place from October 29-31st. Grab some friends, get registered, and head out for a ghoulish 6.2 miles of fun! While costumes are not required, I do strongly suggest adding Halloween flair to your race attire and having some fun on your run! After you rock your run, be sure to share your pictures and stories with other runners on Gone For A Run's social media pages! Who will have the most SPOOK-tacular time? Only time will tell!
Be sure to hurry on over and register soon though, only participants who register prior to October 19th will be guaranteed to receive their race package before October 29th!
Want to connect with Gone For A Run and other Faster Than Boo runner?
Gone For A Run on Facebook
Gone For A Run on Twitter
Gone For A Run on Instagram
Question of the Day: Who is ready to see if they are "Faster Than Boo" this Halloween?
As the saying goes, "all good things must come to an end." Sadly, this is the last of the Road Runner Sports Marietta Adventure Runs for 2015.
What is an Adventure Run you ask? Adventure Runs are hosted by Road Runner Sports stores and are a scavenger hunt style fun run. At the start of the run, a map is revealed on a board (or sent to your email if you pre-registered) and you are sent on your way. Your goal is to get to as many checkpoints and get back to the store in an hour. Each checkpoint gives you raffle tickets to be used in the drawings once the run is over. At some checkpoints you simply get tickets for arriving and some have fun little tasks to complete (such as burpees, planks, etc). There are some pretty awesome prizes to be won and the best part is that Adventure Runs are FREE!
Each Adventure Run night has a different theme. The theme can be anything from luau, patriotic, movies, and more. This week's theme was Disney! I absolutely LOVE all things Disney, so this night had my name written all over it!
The awesome team from Mizuno was in attendance and allowed us to demo the newest of the Mizuno collection: Wave Inspire 12 and Wave Ride 19 which will be debuting this month. We all eagerly traded in our shoes and slipped on some pretty sweet Mizunos for the evening.
We scoped out the vendor village and collected some bonus tickets from the vendors while checking out upcoming races and some new products. Before we got started with the run, Andi from Spartan Race led everyone in a warm-up to get ready.
We were on our way! We always head to the checkpoint that is the furthest out (that we plan to go to) first and work our way back. That way we can just skip some of the closer ones in the event that traffic signals, check point tasks, or our pace don't allow us to get back on time.
Our first check points included a local spa and Jimmy John's subs. We then headed over to The Avenues where there were a few check points all in one small area. Heading to Barre3 is always one of our favorite check points because the team there is always so happy to have the runners come by. Now that Adventure Run season is about over, I am planning on checking out their classes some time soon to see what they are all about.
After a quick stop at a local restaurant (Brixx Wood Fired Pizza) and the East Cobb Foot & Ankle office, we headed over to Orange Theory Fitness. Becky and I seriously love the Orange Theory Fitness check points because they typically have an exercise for you to perform for bonus tickets. We have done planks, push-ups, and even burpees to get more tickets (ALL THE TICKETS!). Tonight we had to do jump squats - ON IT!
We collected our final tickets at a few check points right near Road Runner Sports then we started to get ready for the raffle! Just as we got our tickets separated and organized the rain started to move in. It wasn't a hard rain, but still, rain is rain.
There were some pretty awesome prizes this evening including gift certificates to local restaurants, local gyms, massages, and of course SHOES! Momma K scored some hydration mix from AdvoCare and a 1-hour massage - SCORE! As they were reading the ticket number for the 2nd pair of Mizuno shoes, I realized that it was likely one of ours (either me, Becky, or Momma K), but then I noticed that it was ME! New kicks for me!
At the conclusion of the raffle, they do the grand prize which is the In-Store Raffle which you get tickets for by purchasing gear at Road Runner Sports the evening of your Adventure Run. Well, I guess lightning does strike twice because I won the In-Store Raffle as well! All because I needed to purchase tape for my back for my half marathon on Sunday! My prize pack included a shirt, headphones, compression socks, and Mizuno shoes! Yes, 2 pairs of Mizunos in one night. Don't worry, I am sharing the love - Momma K will be getting a pair of Mizunos.
I am sad to see Adventure Run season come to an end, but I am definitely looking forward to Adventure Runs returning in the spring. Over the past few months we have logged some great miles, had a ton of fun, made some awesome new friends, and won some great prizes! Thank you again to all of the fantastic Road Runner Sports staff, volunteers, and businesses that make Adventure Runs possible.
Today I am wishing Papa J a very MAGICAL birthday! He is one of my biggest supporters in life and he is the one that always makes sure that I have a cold drink waiting for me at the finish line of races. No matter what silly things Momma K and I do, he always supports us (sometimes with a subtle eye-roll) including dressing up at Disney races. To celebrate Papa J's birthday, here is a look back at some of my favorite moments from 2015.
You don't get a new age group this year, but you are still typically one of the oldest guys out there at races. Keep it up! Remember, you are only as old as you act! <3
Happy birthday Papa J - I hope you have a very MAGICAL day!
***HAPPY 60th BIRTHDAY MOMMA K!***
Today is a big day! Momma K has officially joined "Club 60"! While we have been celebrating her 60th birthday for a little while, today is the day! She lives by the manta of "you are never too old to sparkle, shine, and glitter" and today she will definitely be living it up!
Most importantly, welcome to the 60-64 year old age group! You get to be the youngin' in your age group now! Whoop! In celebration of Momma K's special day, here is a look back at some of her special moments this year.
Happy Birthday Momma K! Wishing you a very happy birthday full of memories and magic! I love you!
Want to leave a birthday greeting for Momma K? Leave her birthday love in the comments below! <3
Last year, a few of my friends ran the Athletes Helping Athletes 5K and raved about how awesome of a morning it was. Just based on what they had to say about the race, I knew that I needed to be there this year. 100% of the proceeds from the event go to the Southeastern Greyhound Adoption which helps retired greyhound racers find their forever home. Everyone has their own views on greyhound racing, but how can you not want to help these precious pups find forever homes?!?!
It was a downright nasty morning in Atlanta with cooler temperatures moving in along with a steady rain. Cold and rainy...great. Even though it was a yucky morning, everyone's spirits were high. Let's be real, how can you be grumpy around sweet puppies!?!
Something really unique about this race was that you were given a 'running mate' at check-in. Attached to your race bib was a pamphlet about the race which also included your greyhound running mate. Runners were encouraged to go interact with the greyhounds and their families and hopefully meet "your" greyhound in the process. It was really cool to get to meet the families of the greyhounds and hear about their stories and the greyhounds.
There were about 30 or so greyhounds out there to cheer us on. Momma K and Papa J both quickly found their running mates in the crowd.
I don't know what was going on with me this morning - I think the weather was messing with me, but I made a lot of runner errors. First, I was wearing new shoes. Yep, new shoes in the rain and going for a first ride in them at a race. I also somehow dropped my Garmin out of my running bag as I was leaving the house so I was about to "run naked."
Since I didn't have my Garmin, I truly just had to base my run off of pure feel. I had no way of knowing my pace, time, or distance (other than the mile markers). I have "ran naked" before, but never in a competitive setting so this was a new experience for me. I tried not to let it bother me and just took it for what it was. I found my stride and a comfortable pace and just went with it. It was an out and back course with small rolling hills, but nothing too bad for Atlanta. The hardest part was definitely handling the wet pavement. As I crossed the finish line, I realized that I had PR'ed by about 2 seconds. Hey, a PR is a PR and I will take it! I guess "running naked" wasn't so bad after all!
After crossing the finish line, I waited and cheered on runners coming in as I waited for Momma K and Papa J to come into the finish.
I was sad to find out that my greyhound running mate, Jay Jay, was not at the race this morning. I decided to take matters into my own hands and go find a greyhound that fit my style best. Y'all, meet Crosby! Crosby's owners are from Pittsburgh so the name was only fitting to be his name. His jersey is a mock-up of Pittsburgh Penguin captain Sidney Crosby's jersey. To make it even better, his tag on his collar was Pittsburgh Steelers! Can this sweet pup be any more perfect for me!?!
Before the awards ceremony, they had raffles for various door prizes. When you picked up your bib, you were given a raffle ticket to place into the raffle for an item of your choosing. There were some awesome gifts including coffee sets with a Keurig, pet themed sets, and even some Vera Bradley. Sadly, we did not win.
For the awards ceremony, the greyhounds took photos with the award winners which was a nice touch. Papa J won 2nd place in his age group! Whooooop!
I am so excited that I was able to take part in this race this year. While I would have typically have been losing my mind over my shoes and Garmin, the greyhounds really took the stress off of me and calmed me before the race. Thank you again for the Southeastern Greyhound Adoption organization as well as they greyhounds and their families for hosting the event and braving the cold rain to support the runners. I will definitely be back in 2016!
I love to run and most importantly I love to have FUN while I run....I am the "Funner Runner"
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