#Global Running Day

Runners across the globe will commemorate Global Running Day this Wednesday, June 1. A celebration of running, this day is about lacing up and running, whether it is through the yard with your kids, around the block with your dog, or putting in several miles solo or with your running group. On Global Running Day, we celebrate the joys of running with a goal of inspiring others to get out and do the same. I pledged to run three miles tomorrow, on the Global Running Day site, and look forward to hitting the pavement along with runners from over 165 countries around the world.

 

Miles at the RunDisney Kids’ Races

As part of this celebration of all things running, kids are being asked to join the Million Kid Run to promote running as a fun, healthy activity. I am so excited about this, as it encourages kids to turn off the television, put down the video game console, get outside, and run. Since John and I are both runners, we have let Miles join us from early on, so he too would find enjoyment in the sport. His first race was the RunDisney Kids’ Races at Disney World during the Princess Half Marathon Weekend, and we knew he was hooked. I look forward to the day that he can run his first 5K with us and I am already certain that he will leave both of us in his dust!

Individuals aren’t the only ones planning to celebrate Global Running Day. There are tons of brands, event organizers, and companies with promotions and special events planned to encourage runners to be a part of this day.


The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series is one of the most fun series of races around. With “tour stops” in cities across the United States and around the world, they specialize in making the experience of racing as important as actually running. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series folks plan to celebrate Global Running Day in a major way with deep discounts on all of their upcoming race dates. John and I have run the New Orleans Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon twice, and with bands every mile and a fantastic party waiting for you at the finish line, you should definitely sign up for this discounted race first thing Wednesday.


Brooks is inviting runners to join the party by letting you print your own bib for Global Running Day, sharing group run information, and giving runners a place to share their pictures throughout the day. Plus, they are offering participants the chance to win a pair of the new Brooks Neuro shoes, so visit their Facebook page to learn more about the contest.


Perhaps my favorite promotion for Global Running Day is courtesy of the folks at Runner’s World Magazine. They are holding the world’s biggest RUNch June 1, encouraging colleagues to go for a run during their lunch hour. They have described perfectly how to get this done and get back to the office in time on their site, so if it looks like lunchtime is your only opportunity to participate in Global Running Day, Runner’s World can help make that happen. They even have an excuse you can give to your boss should your RUNch run (pun intended!) a little long, signed by the Mayor of Running and Chief Running Officer!


Yet another pretty fabulous company that plans to celebrate Global Running Day, is Sparkle Athletic. These purveyors of sparkly running apparel are like a big family, as every runner who adorns their skirts are part of #teamsparkle. You can RSVP on their site to be a part of their Global Running Day virtual group run no matter where you live and will be entered to win a Sparkle Athletic prize pack. Tag your pics with #teamsparkle for another chance to win.
There are so many exciting ways to get involved with Global Running Day, I hope this will inspire you to run a few miles tomorrow.

 

 

 

My Favorite Saturday of the Year

 

Leaders of the pack

 This past Saturday was my favorite Saturday of the year in Tupelo. The annual Gumtree Festival and Gumtree 10K make for a grand weekend full of art, music, food, running, and fun in Downtown Tupelo. The festival is usually held Mother’s Day weekend, with the exception of every few years when Mother’s Day falls on the first weekend of May and other area races are held that first weekend. Our annual tradition is to pick out Mother’s Day gifts at the juried arts festival, so the gorgeous painted barnwood tray I picked out this year was well worth the wait! While I look forward to the festival every year, it is the race that makes this Saturday my favorite Saturday of the year.

Gumtree Race Party

 
The Gumtree 10K winds its way through Downtown Tupelo before heading into some of the city’s oldest neighborhoods. Traditionally, watch parties are held to cheer on the runners and neighborhoods get together to man water stations. The race comes up one side of my house and turns in front of it, so we invite our neighbors, close friends, and family to join us for breakfast and to help cheer on the runners. This combines two of my very favorite things: running and brunch! I was probably asked about 100 times if I was running Gumtree this year, but given the chance to throw a party, I always put on my party hat instead of my running shoes.

John’s annual note of encouragement

 
The Gumtree 10K has been held for 39 years and runners from all over the world come to Tupelo to participate in the race. My husband, John, is a runner and has run Gumtree several times. The last time he ran it, I put on the party by myself, in the rain, and after that I graciously asked him to bow out from being an annual participant. The last year he did participate, he said that his favorite part was running through the Joyner neighborhood and being cheered on and encouraged by all of the onlookers. The support from the Tupelo community is what makes this race extra special.

Hi-fiving the runners

In 2014, an EF-3tornado ripped through my neighborhood just weeks before the Gumtree 10K. With cleanup efforts underway, the city considered canceling the annual race, but the Joyner neighborhood banded together and asked the city to keep the race as scheduled. We put up signs proclaiming #TupeloStrong, cleaned up our yards and helped our neighbors clean theirs, and we still held our parties and cheered on the runners. It was a much needed bright spot in an otherwise dark time. But, that’s Tupelo, and that’s why my community is so special. 

So, like I said, this is my favorite Saturday of the year in Tupelo. If you’re a runner, I highly recommend making a trip to do the race, enjoy the festival, hear some great live music, and do your carb-loading at one of the city’s wonderful local restaurants. If you’re not a runner, then just plan to come eat breakfast at my house. I make a mean sausage casserole.

Cheering on the runners

2016 Miles to Go: 876

  

  

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day! I was blessed with a pretty incredible mother. She loves selflessly, supports unconditionally, is the most organized and together person on the planet, has a sense of humor like no other, and has freakish upper body strength. As I reflected this morning on how my mother’s love mirrors God’s love for us, it also hit me that the lessons I have learned from her over the years can help me be a better runner.

 

The slide of death in Ecuador

 
#1: Try something new

My mother is the first person to get you out of your comfort zone and encourage you to try something new. To this day I will try anything once, whether it is food, meeting a new person, hanging a picture a different way, or trying a new activity. I often hate to tell her this, but she’s usually right.

Running is something new for me. I’ve only been running for about five years, but have found so much joy in this new thing that I have tried. Because of my mother, I’m not frightened of new things or change, and I am eternally grateful to her for that. I tell people all the time that if I can do it, anyone can do it. I love recruiting new runners and I have my mama to thank for that.

 

Commitment = Seeing through a week at Disney

 
#2: Commit and see it through

My parents have always encouraged me to try new things, but once a commitment was made, there was no going back. What a great lesson in a time where society tells us we should all be happy no matter what. There were several commitments throughout my life that made me horribly unhappy, things I joined or started that turned out to be far from what I thought they would be, yet my mother always made me honor my commitments. For this, I am so thankful, even if it meant I didn’t get to come home from horse camp. 

This totally applies to running. So many times I have signed up for a race and started my training, but inevitably, those early morning runs would get old after awhile and I would not stay as committed as I should. There is no other feeling like crossing that finish line and if you don’t commit fully and see your training plan through to completion, that finish line feeling may be out of reach.

 

Supporting my theatrics

 
#3: Be supportive

I could talk all day long about this one. Both of my parents have supported me in every single thing I have ever done. Whether it was with their time, their prayers, their finances, or any other way, they have always been there for me 100%. My mother has attended events, bought tickets, worked nurseries, gone on field trips…this list really could go on infinitely, but the point is that she has supported me in all things.

Running a race can be a very lonely thing, but when other runners support one another, we are all in it together. The most supportive race I have ever run was the RunDisney Princess Half Marathon. Complete strangers cheered each other on no matter the mile we were running. Outside of Disney, I strive to be that runner who encourages others, thanks volunteers along the way, and supports runners in their quest to reach the finish line. 

Having fun at Granne’s house

#4: Have fun

Remember how I said that my mother has a sense of humor like no other? I wasn’t kidding. She is hilarious and makes sure that everyone around her is having fun. I didn’t always get this, especially when she was singing over the bus intercom on middle school chorus trips, but I totally get it now. Finding a way to laugh in every situation makes even life’s hardest moments a little less hard, and boy does my mama know how to do that.

Running is hard. It can be downright awful some days. But, I do it to have fun. Traveling, seeing communities from a different perspective, getting great exercise, and earning the bling, all make running fun, and for me, that’s what it’s all about.

  
On this Mother’s Day I am so thankful for my mother and hope that I can be half the mama to Miles that she has been to me. I also hope that the lessons I have learned from her continue to make me the best runner that I can be. I may not have the freakish upper body strength that she possesses, but I bet when the time comes to move Miles home from college, I can make sure that he is more prepared to do so than I, right Mama? 

2016 Miles to Go: 881

Existing Within a Virtual Reality

One of my running resolutions for 2016 is to run a virtual race. What is a virtual race? Well, I’m glad you asked. In its simplest form, a race of the virtual variety enables you to run where you are. No need to travel. No need for complicated race day logistics. No need to spend a ton of money. Just pick your date, pick your time, and run. Oh, and shortly thereafter your shiny, new race bling magically arrives in the mail. Pretty straightforward, right? Well, it’s not quite that simple.

There are a plethora of different virtual races out there. In fact, RunDisney announced last week that they are jumping into the virtual game with their Virtual Running Shorts Series that will be held throughout the summer. This is your chance to get a little piece of the Disney Magic without the larger price tag that is usually attached. There are three different races, and a challenge race if you want to run all three, each with its own signature medal. These races are 5Ks and if you complete the challenge, four bright and shiny medals will be headed your way, courtesy of the mouse himself.

In choosing the virtual race to meet my running resolution this year, I have sifted through site after site containing all of the benefits of running that particular race. Through research, I have decided that my race will have to meet three distinct parameters in order to be the one.

#1: It supports a charity 

With a myriad of races out there some are for profit, others simply want to cover the cost of their bling, and a great deal of them exist to give back. I love a race that gives all or a portion of your race fee to a nonprofit organization. Races for Awareness offers an array of virtual races, all dedicated to a specific charity, with 80% of entry fees going to that charity. I like this site because they offer so many different races for lots of nonprofit organizations and the medals are pretty fabulous! Will Run for Bling is another great resource for virtual races that give back.

#2: It has a set distance

Some virtual races let you pick your distance and go as far as you want, as long as you pay the entry fee.  Others are distance specific ranging from a 5K all the way to those 100-mile plus endurance races. I’m shooting for a 10K for my first virtual race because that distance can be challenging, but makes for a great run whether it’s first thing in the morning or later in the day. I also want a race that requires you to log your distance and time.

How do you track your distance if you don’t have a set course? I run with a Garmin Forerunner 10 run watch. It is just fancy enough so that I know how far I’ve gone, how fast I’m running, how many glorious calories I’ve burned, and my total run time. You can also use Map My Run or RunKeeper, both great running apps for tracking. 

#3: It doesn’t have a set date 

Just like an actual race, some virtual runs require that you run on a specified date. They often bring people together from all over the world to support a cause on a specific date or require that you run on a certain day in order to award prizes and ship medals in a timely fashion. I am looking for a race that has no timeline. I want to run when I want to run. This is just one more reason that virtual races are so easy to do. 

So, what race am I going to run? I’m still not sure, but I’m learning a ton through research, as I look for the perfect race for my running resolution. Have you run any virtual races? If so, what do you recommend and why? 

2016 Miles to Go: 881