The Hills Are Alive

This weekend we hit the road for Oxford, MS, to run the 21st Annual Double Decker Spring Run. The race, which includes a 5K, 10K, and Kids’ 1-mile fun run, is part of the Double Decker Arts Festival. We left Tupelo Friday night, and after picking up our race packets, enjoyed dinner at Old Venice Pizza Company and live music on the Oxford Square as part of the festival.

Saturday morning came very early as we made our way to the race start at the Oxford YMCA. Located in the same shopping center as Big Bad Breakfast, I contemplated skipping out on the race for hot coffee and the pain perdue, but chose to go ahead and run since I had already pinned on my race bib.

I wore my mermaid Sparkle Skirt, last sported at the Princess Half Marathon, for this hilly race through Oxford. I had no less than ten people compliment my flashy skort before, during, and after the race. I can’t say enough about how much I love my Sparkle Skirts! They are comfortable, stay in place throughout your run, and are super cute. The array of pockets allow you to take anything you may need with you. They are definitely the only skirt in which I run, and I can’t wait to add more of them to my running wardrobe. But, I digress.

Saturday was perfect running weather. The 10K started at 7:30 a.m., with each of the other races beginning in 15 minute increments following. We started the race running down a big hill, which I have never done before, so when I looked down at my Garmin and saw that I was running at a pace over two minutes per mile faster than my normal pace, I quickly slowed down, being fully aware that there were many hills to come.

After a few rolling hills, we ran up a gradual incline on Jackson Avenue that would eventually take us onto the campus of the University of Mississippi, with more hills. William Faulkner, one of the South’s greatest literary minds, grew up in Oxford at Rowan Oak. The neighborhood surrounding his homeplace, aptly named Faulkner’s  Woods, is full of tree-lined streets, stately old homes, and hill after hill after hill. Faulkner’s writing is notoriously challenging and the elevations throughout this area that bear his name are no different.

I’ve been spoiled by all of the races I have run with throngs of cheering spectators lining the entire course. While this race wasn’t quite that, a highlight was another Oxford literary figure, Curtis Wilkie, cheering us on from his front yard. I just wish I had stopped for a quick pic with him! 

As we neared the end, the course took us along the edge of the Square and onto Lamar as we finished right back where we started. Just like the city of Oxford, the race was picturesque and fun, and I hope that this will become an annual race date on our calendar. 

Saturday afternoon we enjoyed the Double Decker Arts Festival, browsing the artists’ booths, listening to live music, and eating some fabulous food. After a fun-filled weekend in Oxford, we headed home with some new race bling, a couple of art purchases, and three exhausted people, making it a great weekend for all.

2016 Miles to Go: 884

April Road Trip Top 10

Last week was so overflowing with fabulousness I have found it nearly impossible to put a post together to describe it all. Instead of writing a lengthy diatribe filled with every excruciating detail of the first full week in April, I’m going to share the highlights with my official April Road Trip Top 10.

 

The Autism Run 5K

 
1. I got a PR in The Autism Run 2016 5K. The run supports the Autism Center of North Mississippi that blesses families in this area everyday by meeting the unique, individual needs of the children in their care. I loved being able to support this amazing local center while enjoying the gorgeous spring morning with friends. And, my fabulous sister-in-law won her age division! 

 

Sta-Homies hit the road

 
2. I hit the road bright and early Monday morning with my friend, co-worker, and partner-in-crime, Kylie Boring, for a week that would include two states, three major events, and lots of miles (and laughs) in between.

Bill Hardman with STS and Angie Briggs with Miles

3. I graduated from Marketing College! During a luncheon at the Southeast Tourism Society’s Spring Symposium in Baton Rouge, LA, my class of 65 officially became Travel Marketing Professionals. This three-year certification program teaches you the ends and outs of the tourism industry and creates wonderful friendships from 12 different states across the Southeast. 

Sunset and sushi

4. I got to have dinner in Baton Rouge with one of my very best friends from college, six-stories up, at sunset, overlooking the Mississippi River. The sushi at Tsunami was scrumptious and the view was incredible, but catching up with Lindsay Turner was good for my soul! A girls’ trip is most definitely in the works!

Morning run along the Mighty Mississippi

5. I ran four fantastic miles along the Mississippi River. Our conference was held at the Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center in Downtown along the banks of the river. The trail adjacent to the busy waterway was perfect for running and I throughly enjoyed taking advantage of the cool weather Tuesday morning. The hotel was walking distance to many of Downtown Baton Rouge’s local restaurants and unique attractions. 

Shining Bright at the PRAM State Conference

   6. I got to spend time with all of my public relations peeps at the PRAM State Conference in Jackson, MS. The premier professional development and networking event for PR practitioners in Mississippi, we celebrated the organization’s 60th anniversary in our state’s capital city. Patrice Guilfoyle, our PRAM Vice President-Programs put on three days jampacked with quality content and tons of fun.

Top 50 Under 40

7. Our Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton was named the “Under 40 Top Business Person of the Year” by the Mississippi Business Journal, at a luncheon in Jackson, MS. Along with my friend, Matt Wyatt, the three of us were recognized, with the Mayor taking top prize for his exemplary efforts leading our community. 

 

PRism Award winners

 
8. As the Vice President-Awards for the Public Relations Association of Mississippi, I got to present PRism Awards for exceptional work in the field of public relations to my peers in the industry. The dinner event at the Hilton Jackson was splendid and it was such fun to hear about all of the work in which my friends and colleagues in the industry have been engaged.

 

Tupelo CVB PRism Award winners

 
9. Tupelo CVB took home four awards during the PRAM PRism Awards dinner. I am so proud of the work we do to inspire visitation to my hometown. To be recognized for our work is icing on the cake! 

 

My two favorite dudes

 
10. As with any road trip, my favorite part is coming home to these two crazy dudes. I enjoyed my week back on the road, seeing friends, learning a lot, running, and exploring new destinations, but coming home is what it’s all about.

2016 Miles to Go: 899