A Grand Time

Pregame while everyone was still speaking in Tuscaloosa

Pregame while everyone was still speaking in Tuscaloosa

Following what was a less than desirable trip to my alma mater, John, Miles, and I headed south for the Southern Public Relations Federation annual conference at the exquisite Grand Hotel Point Clear Resort and Spa, just outside of picturesque Fairhope, Alabama.

The resort is like a step back in time, but with all of the modern-day amenities you can imagine, including the luxurious spa. While I enjoyed great professional development sessions with some of the best public relations minds in the southeast, my boys explored the Grand from top to bottom. They swam in the huge pool, complete with waterslide, waterfall, and several water features, and rented bicycles (of which the first hour was free) to explore the lush property. From feeding the ducks and participating in the daily cannon firing to canoeing on Mobile Bay, the Grand is an ideal destination for the whole family.

Canoeing on Mobile Bay

Canoeing on Mobile Bay

John made an appearance in the spa during our stay, a perfect reward for chasing a four-year-old around the expansive property for four days. While his massage was a highlight, he also enjoyed spending time in the saunas, whirlpool, and quiet room. This was not our first visit to the Grand, and it definitely won’t be our last. Our tradition is to enjoy the scrumptious breakfast in The Dining Room before we depart, and this year was no exception.

I got in a great training run Tuesday morning, that started out as a quick three miles and turned in to a delightful five miler, that could have been more had I not had to get to my meeting. I ran around the resort for the first mile and some change, before heading out to The Eastern Shore Trail. The trail is 24-miles long and is a picturesque pathway, meandering past gorgeous bayside homes and businesses. There were cyclists, dogwalkers, stroller-pushers, speedwalkers, and more exploring the trail and enjoying the amazing fall weather that we were all blessed with that morning.

Eastern Shore Trail Marker

The Eastern Shore Trail Marker

After four delightful days at the Grand, we headed for the white sand beaches of Destin, Florida, where we did all of the things you are required to do while at the beach: sunshine, swimming, seafood, and shopping. My favorite thing about this trip was sipping coffee on the balcony of our condo each morning while John was on his run and Miles was still sleeping. I watched dolphins playing in the harbor as the deep-sea fishermen began their voyages and witnessed an array of birds scooping up fish skimming the surface of the expansive water. I made the super bright decision Thursday to go for a three-mile afternoon training run in the hot Florida sun, and while I did complete the run, it was a miserable experience. We had spent the morning at the beach and even though I applied sunscreen before leaving the condo, I felt as thought I was baking from the inside out with each step.

Morning harbor view from the balcony

Morning harbor view from the balcony

Sure, I could have gotten up early to run, but I just wasn’t willing to give up my mornings on the balcony with steamy, hot coffee and an amazing view.

We made it home today, to what feels like coming full circle, as we arrived just in time to watch our teams hit the gridiron once again. Thankfully, this time they weren’t playing each other.

Beachin' with my boys

Beachin’ with my boys

 

 

Running Through a House Divided

I both look forward to and dread this week every year. A graduate of the University of Alabama, I married an Ole Miss Rebel that cheers as enthusiastically for his alma mater’s girl’s underwater basket weaving team as he does the football team. The rivalry has had its ups and downs over our almost twelve years of wedded bliss, with my team as the winning team much more often, thankfully. Going in to this weekend’s game, which we will be attending together, I am both anxious and excited about all that is going to go down at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

My training for the Run Disney Glass Slipper Challenge is going great. I ran seven miles Saturday and felt like I could do more. I ran my fastest 5K this morning and am looking forward to my next long run Saturday before we depart for the game. As it is Alabama/Ole Miss week, I thought where better to get inspiration for my runs than from the head coaches who are tasked with inspiring their players to work hard for 60 full minutes this Saturday.

Nick Saban

“There are two pains in life. There is the pain of discipline and the pain of disappointment. If you can handle the pain of discipline, then you’ll never have to deal with the pain of disappointment.”

I had to be at an event to help set up at 6:30 this morning. Last night, I told John that I was not going to run today since I would have to get up before 4:30 a.m. in order to be on time, even though it was a scheduled training day. He told me that if I was going to be ready for my race, I had to make the commitment even if it meant getting up extra early. Coach Saban and John are both right. With running, if you aren’t disciplined, and get your miles in consistently, on race day there will definitely be disappointment. This morning, I ran the fastest 5K in all my years of running, and even when I hit a wall at 3:00 this afternoon, there was no disappointment because I knew I gave it my all.

Hugh Freeze

“Ability is what you are capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.”

Despite the fact that I do not cheer for the Rebels, pretty much ever, I think Coach Hugh Freeze is an amazing man of integrity with an incredible story. I follow him on Twitter and am often inspired by his positive affirmations in just 140 characters. I came across the quote above that he posted recently and it epitomizes training for a distance race. I question my ability to run 19.3 miles on almost a daily basis, but I am motivated to cross the finish line, so I get up and put in the miles necessary. Most importantly, I keep a positive attitude no matter how my runs are going, or what time I have to get out of the bed to complete them, because I have been blessed with two legs that enable me to run.

Two teams will leave everything on the field Saturday. Coach Saban’s Crimson Tide will be disciplined, the Rebels will be motivated under the leadership of Coach Freeze, and I will have completed another long run on the road to 19.3. While I, of course, hope that the Tide will roll to victory and keep the home winning streak alive, should the Rebels prove victorious, I will channel my inner Hugh Freeze and try to have a good attitude on that long ride back home to Tupelo.

 

 

Running Role Models

Sunday morning I sat on my front porch with a hot cup of coffee and watched the runners in the Tupelo Marathon and Half Marathon run past our house. The course was a 13.1 mile loop, so those running the full marathon came past twice. We were at mile 8 and 16, providing a cool shower from the sprinkler John set up for the participants to run through and a little comic relief from Miles running around in his pajama top and underwear cheering on the runners.

One of the amazing runners in the Tupelo Marathon

One of the amazing runners in the Tupelo Marathon

I am in awe of marathoners, both mentally and physically. Watching the runners yesterday, some struggling and others looking like it was the easiest thing they had ever done, it made me think about the runners that I admire most. In training for the 19.3 miles that will make up the Run Disney Glass Slipper Challenge, I thought, what better time to gain inspiration for those long runs, than from those whose running prowess I hold in the highest esteem. Each of them has an important attribute that I hope to imitate on my road to running like a princess.

Hard Work

My dad is a marathoner. He finished the New York Marathon and many other 26.2 mile races. He is my model for work ethic, even though I will never be as hard a worker as I have seen him be over all of my years on this planet. He works harder than anyone else I know, and that’s why he is a wonderful example as a husband, father, pharmacist, runner, and so much more. You have to work hard to run distance races, even on the days where all you want to do is hide under the covers and not come out. When I ran my very first half marathon, I remember the amazing feeling of crossing that finish line, knowing that I had accomplished something great. The only thing that felt better than receiving that medal was hearing my dad tell me how proud he was of me for working hard to train and finish the race. When I don’t want to lace up my running shoes and hit the pavement, I will think about my dad to make sure that I put in the hard work necessary to run the 19.3 miles that lie ahead.

Dedication

My Aunt Jennie is the definitive runner. She has been a runner as long as I can remember. She looks like a runner and is fast, as in, wins races fast. I can’t count the number of races she has run. She is a running role model because her dedication to being a runner is something I desperately want to imitate. I can remember being on vacation with her, or it being a holiday, and no matter what, she completed her run for the day. Her pace per mile is something I will only attain if I end up in an actual zombie apocalypse, but until then, I will strive to be as dedicated to the sport as my incredibly fabulous aunt.

Determination

Lisa Martin wasn’t always a runner, but one day she chose to become one. Not only did she decide to run, she decided to write about it. She was determined to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon and shared every detail of her journey to the magical finish line through her blog “Born to Run…in a Princess Marathon.” I started reading the blog early into her training for the race and she was the very first person who made me think, “I can do that!” Her hysterical, brutally honest words helped me muster the courage to sign up for the Rock ‘N’ Roll New Orleans Half Marathon in 2012, and the rest is history. I will definitely continue to channel my inner-Lisa on this road to 19.3 that I am determined to conquer.

Commitment

To run a distance race you have to be completely committed or you will not be prepared for the task at hand. I have never met anyone more committed to running than my husband, John. When he decides to do something he doesn’t just jump in with both feet, he cannonballs in making the biggest splash possible. He gets up most mornings before 5:00 a.m. to get the miles in he needs. I watched him train wholeheartedly for the St. Jude Memphis Marathon, committed to running 26.2, all while fundraising for the kids of St. Jude. Unfortunately, his race was cancelled the day before due to an ice storm that hit Memphis, but had he been able to run, he was completely prepared because of his commitment to crossing the finish line.

Rock 'N Roll New Orleans Half Marathon...our very first!

Rock ‘N Roll New Orleans Half Marathon…our very first!

I am both nervous and extremely excited about the Glass Slipper Challenge in February. My training is going well and I am so close to meeting my fundraising goal as a St. Jude Hero, and thanks to my running role models who have taught me hard work, dedication, determination, and commitment, I can already feel that medal around my neck, and it feels great!