They Say It’s A Dry Heat

Last week took me to sunny Palm Springs, CA, for the annual PRSA Travel & Tourism Conference. No other event is more targeted to what I do every single day at work than this conference. I love getting to see old friends in the tourism industry and making new ones. Plus, Palm Springs is not the worst location to have to travel for work, right? 


The conference was held at the Riviera Palm Springs Resort, just ten minutes from the Palm Springs airport and easily accessible to all of the city’s hot spots. The beauty of this conference is that you get to hear from major travel editors and journalists in the industry, while also rubbing elbows with them at networking events. I mean, how often do you get to talk Tupelo with Samantha Brown, face-to-face? 


Tuesday morning, I participated in a fun run with everyone else crazy enough to get up and run through the desert. It was hot, even at 6:45 a.m., and the 5K I ran seemed way harder than usual, as a result. They say it’s a dry heat. But, hot is hot and at least in the humid South, I know when it’s time to hydrate. I loved getting to experience Palm Springs while running, and the view made it worth those hot miles.

Our closing reception was held at the Dinah Shore Estate in Palm Springs. The plush, mid-century modern estate is now owned by Leonardo DiCaprio and is situated in the same neighborhood as homes once owned by members of the Rat Pack, Marilyn Monroe, and Liberace. Elvis’ honeymoon cottage is also in the neighborhood, so my new friend, Rachel from San Jose, and I hopped in an Uber and made it our mission to find the home. Of course I had to check it out! 


When the conference ended Wednesday afternoon, we moved the networking poolside to celebrate the end of a great event and soak up our last few hours of sun in beautiful Palm Springs.

My trip to CA included quality time with my first and forever best friend, Elizabeth. We met at Disneyland for a magical morning of roller coasters and catching up. We would have been happy to just sit in the car and talk all day, and with the crazy traffic getting in to the park, that almost happened.

This was my first trip to the original Disney park. I consider myself a Disney World pro at this point, but that prepared me in no way for this visit. Walking into the park was like stepping back in time. We maximized our visit by hitting the rides that were exclusive to Disneyland. The Matterhorn Bobsleds, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, and Pinnochio’s Daring Journey, were a few favorites. 

Elizabeth and I took a 72-hour trip to Disney World when we were in college. A Friday afternoon phone call from her at Ole Miss to me at the University of Alabama resulted in the two of us driving through the night to Orlando in time for rope drop at the newly-opened Animal Kingdom. Rather than buying food and a hotel room, we brought snacks from home and purchased Disney souvenirs. We ventured to the Magic Kingdom that afternoon, stayed through the fireworks, and drove home. The whole way down we talked about riding Space Mountain first. When we arrived, it was closed for refurbishment. So, it was only fitting that Elizabeth and I chose Hyperspace Mountain as our first ride together at Disneyland. It was well worth the almost 20-year wait! (Ummm, yes I did the math correctly and I, too, am shocked.) 

My trip to Palm Springs was pretty fabulous. It’s less than two hours from both Los Angeles and San Diego and Joshua Tree National Park is about an hour away. Make it your base and it’s the perfect place from which to explore all that beautiful, sunny Southern California has to offer. I learned a lot, met some new tourism friends, spent time with my forever friend, ate some great food, and got to experience a new place. This trip was just the first of many this summer that will keep me on the run and I look forward to sharing it all.

2017 Miles to Go: 483

Gates at Elvis’ Honeymoon Cottage

Editors’ Panel at the Conference

Unlike Disney World, Characters wandered around Disneyland

My Mickey Ears!

Fun Run in Palm Springs

The Hill that was not so fun on the fun run in Palm Springs

Consistency

Consistency is everything. In running, in work, in your spiritual life, in relationships, in eating right, in life; if you’re not consistently working on the things that are important to you, you’re never going to meet your goals or uncover your true potential.

If I have been anything over the past two months, I’ve been inconsistent. After the Rock ‘N’ Roll New Orleans Half Marathon, I wound up with shin splints. A result of my adding too many miles too fast before the NOLA race, I brought them on myself. I would rest a few days, but every time I ran they came back with a vengeance. It was beyond frustrating to feel fine, begin a run, and have to quit because of the pain.

So, I rested. I rested a lot. To be exact, I rested the entire month of March. I didn’t run a single mile. I didn’t blog about the fact that I wasn’t running. I just didn’t run. Because I was inconsistent in my training for New Orleans, I had to take a break that I had not planned to take. It derailed some of my goals and kept me from running some races I had intended to run this spring.

That’s me in the pink socks!

So, when April arrived, I bought a new pair of running shoes (I’m loving the new Brooks Ghost 9!) and hit the road. I ran the annual Autism Run 5K a few weeks ago on my first day back at it. I felt great and enjoyed being able to run in support of the amazing work that the Autism Center of North Mississippi does in our area. After the race, my abs hurt, I was tired, and even a little sore. Consistency, right?

I’m  finally back in a good running routine, focusing on a faster 5K. The longest race on my horizon is a 10K, at the moment. I hope that through consistent training, I’ll be able to shave a minute or more off of my current 5K time. I also hope to be better prepared to run that 10K, on the road to my next half marathon. For now, my goal is consistency.

2017 Miles to Go: 491

Why I Run

I get asked all the time why I run. 

I run because I’ve found that it can be my main form of exercise without having to stick to a restrictive diet that I know I won’t follow. I run because I enjoy eating good food, preparing good food, talking about good food, and eating more good food. I run because I have a six-year old who has endless supplies of energy and loves nothing more than playing some type of competitive sport with his mommy and daddy. I run because I have an incurable wanderlust and running races helps me experience new places with a unique perspective. I run because I like a medal. I run because I can do it all by myself without paying a fee, taking a class, or relying on someone else to get in my workout. I run because pizza is my favorite food. I run because I couldn’t and now I can. 

At church this past Sunday, our pastor said something that really made me think about why I run. In preaching from 1 Corinthians 6, he talked about our bodies as vessels for the Holy Spirit. As new believers, we are taught that our sins are forgiven once we ask Jesus to live in our hearts, and while this is wonderfully true, the Holy Spirit is the member of the Trinity who actually takes up residence inside of us. With that, every single thing we do with our bodies, we’re doing to its greatest resident. Wow.

I run for my calories. Are those calories pleasing to my Lord? I run so I can dress up like a princess and race through the “Happiest Place on Earth.” Am I glorifying God through this? I run so that I can wear a shiny medal. Is this pleasing He who created everything? 

This week I have spent a lot of time in prayer for a lifelong friend’s wife who has battled an illness that, in all honesty, should have taken her life. Miracle after miracle has happened throughout her ordeal that can only be attributed to the healing power of the Great Physician. This is just one more reminder to me that our earthly bodies are truly not our own, but are vessels for God to be glorified, in sickness, in health, in every single thing that we do. 

I run because it makes me feel good, but more importantly I run to take care of the body that has been entrusted to me to carry out what God has called me to do here on Earth. While that body may be dressed up like a Disney princess every now and then, my prayer is that even my sparkles will glorify God. 

2017 Miles to Go: 521

Today Was a Good Day

The Rock ‘N’ Roll New Orleans Half Marathon is about a week away. I’ve had some fantastic training runs this week and I’m so looking forward to a weekend in the Big Easy. Despite the fact that they are currently predicting 70 degrees and rain for race day, it’s going to be fun.

I ran a little over eight miles this morning  on my last long run before the race. I’ve had a rough week, which actually makes for some great running. A stellar speed workout Thursday night both cleared my head and made me feel stronger. I needed it. Eight more miles this morning means I can make it to 13.1 next Sunday.

I ran in my new PRO Compression socks this morning and they are fabulous! The fact that they’re the hottest of hot pink definitely sold me on them, but the promise of faster recovery sealed the deal. The graduated compression felt great. I didn’t have to stop during the run to mess with my socks. And, you could see me coming a mile away.

So, today I tried something new. As John would say, I “got frozen.” After our long runs we went to Cryo Correct for -200 degrees of fun. I opted for the whole body therapy  which included three minutes in the cryochamber that uses nitrogen gas to drastically drop the temperature in order to promote recovery. It was cold, like, really cold. But, it was awesome and the shin splint pain I’ve been having the last couple of weeks is gone! I totally felt like Han Solo before he “got frozen,” but was straight back to Princess Leia after three chilly minutes. I will definitely be back for more!

As a bonus to my first full body cryoadventure, I also got a cryofacial. They apply pressurized liquid nitrogen vapors to your scalp, face, and neck improving circulation. I could literally feel my skin tightening as the treatment was applied! The extreme cold was invigorating and as she used it over my nose, it almost took my breath away. The treatment is also supposed to help with allergies. I loved the experience and will absolutely do it again.

Today was a good day. I’m looking forward to a great weekend in New Orleans next week as I run my fifth half marathon. Rock ‘N’ Roll NOLA was my very first half and this wil be my third time back for this super fun jaunt through the Crescent City. I run for my calories in New Orleans and this year will be no different. The Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon Series is celebrating 20 years in 2017, so my expectations are high, as this race should be the best one yet. 

2017 Miles to Go: 553

Pushing the Running Reset Button

I love a clean slate. There is power in knowing that you can start over, push reset, and get a do-over. A new year means opportunity and I enjoy nothing more than setting goals to make the most of my clean slate. For example, I’m reading the Bible all the way through this year, with a focus on scripture memory. I’ve read it through many times before, but in 2017, I’m committing to memorize more scripture. When it comes to running, I am definitely pushing the reset button in 2017.

This time last year, I was jumpstarting my training for the RunDisney Glass Slipper Challenge during the Princess Half Marathon weekend. After an amazing race weekend, I ran a few other races during the year, but didn’t train consistently in order to keep my miles up. Even worse, I really slacked off when John got going on his TCS NYC Marathon training. I hate getting up super early, so it was hard for me to run consistently, especially when he often had to get 8-10 miles in before work during the week. I didn’t meet all of my running resolutions for 2016, but learned a lot about my capabilities and am ready to work towards meeting this year’s goals.

Running Resolution #1: Run 600 Miles in 2017 – In 2016, my goal was to run 1,000 miles. In retrospect, that wasn’t going to happen. It was a lofty goal with my schedule and I obviously didn’t complete it. This year, I’m shooting for 600 miles. While 1,000 was too many, I feel like 500 would be too easy, so 600 it is. Super scientific, huh?

Running Resolution #2: Make my miles count with Charity Miles – Charity Miles is an app that enables you to earn money for charity every time you run. Basically, you choose your charity from their list of 37 different organizations, then get your miles in. Based on how far you go, money is earned for your charity from major corporate sponsors. There is a teams feature where you can run with a community and make a collective impact for your chosen charity. In 2017, I’m running for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and I’m a proud member of the Hogwarts Running Club, Team Ravenclaw. Hogwarts Running Club also puts on virtual races throughout the year, so if you are a Potter fan and enjoy running, these are your people.

Running Resolution #3: Become a stronger runner in 2017 – I want to be a stronger, faster, more consistent runner this year. I’m going to develop a plan to strength train in order to become stronger. This means I will work on my core this year. I repeat, I will work on my core this year! Follow my Run Princess Run Pinterest page for tips on strength training. I’m also going to fuel my body with proper nutrition in order to become stronger. I recently bought the Runner’s World Cookbook that includes a plethora of recipes created specifically for training, recovery, and more. Will I still eat pizza this year? Um, absolutely.

So, these are my goals for 2017. I’m signed up to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Half Marathon the first weekend in February, so I’m hitting these goals hard first thing tomorrow. If you see me, ask me how my running resolutions are going. I welcome accountability and encouragement in any form. Like I said, I love a clean slate and I’m ready to write my running story for 2017, one step at a time.

2017 Miles to Go: 600

 

 

 

 

Marathon Man

John is a marathoner! We are a month post race and it may have finally sunk in that he completed the arduous 26.2 mile race, something that only about one percent of the world’s population can say. He now has the medal to prove it, which is really what it’s all about, right? I’m sure he would agree.

Race expo at the Javits Center

 

We arrived in NYC bright and early the Friday morning before the race, dropped our luggage, and headed straight for the Javits Center to pick up our race bibs and shop the massive race expo. Every racing brand out there was in the house, so we got John fueled up, dressed up, and accessoriezed for the race. I, of course, stopped by the Run Disney booth to reminisce about my weekend running as a princess and to plan my next adventure. Tiffany & Co. was even there with keepsake pieces for those running the marathon.

Waldorf Astoria NYC

 

We stayed at the gorgeous, historic Waldorf Astoria. This hotel is an NYC institution and everything from our room, to the staff, to the bacon on the Bull and Bear breakfast buffet was outstanding. Friday night we had dinner at The Green Fig in Hell’s Kitchen and saw the hilarious Something Rotten musical.

Beginning of the Abbott Dash to the Finish Line 5K

 

We woke up early Saturday morning to head to the start of my race, the Abott Dash to the Finish Line 5K. The race began at the United Nations and was a wave start. It was so much fun running through the streets of Manhattan and into Central Park where the next day 50,000 runners would attempt to cross the finish line. It was quite hilly once we got into Central Park, a cruel joke for those who on Sunday would be on mile 24, rather than mile 3 as I was. It was a treat to experience even a tiny morsel of the exiliration John would experience the next day. I did get a t-shirt and burned enough calories to enjoy a fabulous brunch at Beauty and Essex in the East Village post race.

Almost race day!

 

We tried to take it easy Saturday so John could rest his legs, so after brunch he ventured back to the hotel for a nap and I shopped my way through Midtown. My favorite thing to do in NYC is to just wander and Saturday made for a perfect afternoon of wandering through my favorite city. That night we had dinner at The Smith, just steps from our hotel, so John could walk as few steps as possible for his last carby meal before the race. Once dinner was over, the only thing between John and 26.2 miles was a good night’s sleep.

Disembarking from the ferry on Staten Island

 

John walked out of the hotel at 5:50 a.m. and headed to the subway, to head to the ferry, to head to the bus, to head to the start line. His wave began at 10:15 a.m. and after making it through security check and his transportation tour of New York, he had about 45 minutes until his corral took off.

Verrazano-Narrows Bridge

 

The marathon starts on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge taking runners across the river from Staten Island into Brooklyn. The TCS NYC Marathon mobile app is awesome because you can track up to 20 runners from the second they start the race until the very end. I watched race coverage on TV, and John’s blinking dot on my phone as it started its 26.2 mile journey, from the comfort of my luxurious Waldorf bed until it was time to meet up with our friends who had traveled all the way to NYC to cheer on John.

John making the turn into Central Park

 

We found a great spot on First Avenue in Manhattan to wait for John to pass, between miles 16 and 17. I read somewhere that over one million spectators line the race course to cheer on the runners. It was amazing to see that kind of support. John had his name on his shirt and said that everyone from random strangers to police officers encouraged him along the way. Once he passed, even though he never saw us but gave us a thumbs up, we headed towards Central Park, by way of a few shops, to spot him one last time before the finish.

He finished!

 

John, and the rest of the ponchoed zombies, emerged from Central Park, exhausted, in pain, but most importantly, as marathon finishers. We began our trek back to the hotel, which included an accidental subway ride to Harlem. We had a celebratory dinner with our friends followed by decadent desserts at Smith & Wollensky that some had earned more than others.

NYC Ready for Christmas

 

I have spent so much time in New York, almost always getting to experience the city my way. This trip was in no way about me and it may have been my favorite trip to the city of all times. I am unbelievably proud of John and have a feeling that this is just the first of many marathons for him. I, on the other hand, am pretty confident that I will continue to run my marathons 13.1 at a time, but, you never know. John completed the 40th running of the five boroughs for his 40th birthday and that is something that neither of us will ever forget.

Statue of Liberty from the Staten Island Ferry

Dessert at Smith & Wollensky

My 5K Finish

 

Dessert and Great Friends

Looking Good at Mile 25

2016 Miles to Go: 775

The Countdown is On

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New York City

Two weeks. The TCS New York Marathon is 14 days away. Our flights have long since been booked, hotel reservations made, and theatre tickets secured. I am totally ready for our trip to New York! But, this trip is in no way about me. John has been training for twenty-three weeks and is finally in the homestretch.

Two Saturdays ago marked his first twenty-mile run. He did this long run on the Tanglefoot Trail and it went really well. John felt strong and was trying to mimic the elevation of the New York marathon by running on this flat, fast trail. He fueled properly throughout the week, didn’t go too fast out of the gate, and never hit a wall during his out and back jaunt.

tcs1

John put in 15 miles yesterday and will start tapering this week. He’s excited. He’s nervous. But, most of all, he is ready! He’s got his outfit ready to go, which, as it turns out, is not nearly as important to this race as it was for my Princess race, but I don’t think anyone is surprised about that.

John’s ankles are sore. He had a bone spur in his heel and tendonitis in his achillies. He has beaten up his body to train for this race, but like I said, he is ready. He stuck to his training plan and is prepared for what lies ahead. I asked him what he has learned from this process and he shared several keys to his success.

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1. You have to be flexible with your training plan and modify as it meets your needs.

John had a strong training plan that was put together for him by Lynn Holland, a great running coach and friend of John’s. There have been days that he hurt and rather than running just because his plan said to do so, he listened to his body and took a day or two off. This has kept him free from any major injuries and has enabled him to rest when he needed it without straying too far from his plan.

2. Run with a Group

John is a member of Team X. Because he runs with this group of men and women, he has accountability, safety, and interesting conversation. He has made new friends and pushed himself more than if he had just been training alone. Because of Team X he has joined the Tupelo Running Club and has met even more folks in the running community, including the skunks at Ballard Park.

3. Cross Train. Cross Train. Cross Train.

Cross training keeps you healthy and less prone to injury. John loves to swim and has enjoyed swimming laps at the Tupelo Aquatic Center as part of his cross training. He also does yoga for runners to stay loose, as he is prone to stay tight. Make all the jokes you want. I always do. While it is time consuming to add more training on your running days off, he is committed to this race and has done a great job of putting in the work that needs to be done.

4. Summer miles bring fall smiles.

If I’ve said it once on this blog, I’ve said 100 times. It’s been a miserably hot summer. The vast majority of John’s training has taken place during the summer months and even the fall months have been sweltering thus far. But, two Saturdays ago when he ran 20 miles, it was 54 degrees, was one of the best training runs he has had at an 8:58 pace, and he never looked back. It looks like the weather in NYC is going to be similar to what we are experiencing now, with marathon temps hitting the mid to upper 50’s. Because of the miles John has put in, he’ll be ready.

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We are excited about our trip to New York in two short weeks. I’m signed up to run the Abbott Dash to Finish Line 5K, which takes you on the final three miles of the marathon with the same finish in Central Park. I can’t wait to experience the same thing that John will get to do the next day, minus the first 23.1 miles. Some fabulous friends of ours are coming to the city to help cheer on John, so we’re looking forward to a wonderful long weekend in the Big Apple.

Have you run the New York Marathon or been a spectator during the race? I’m still researching where to go to make sure I get to see John other than just at the finish line, so I would love to hear about your experience.

2016 Miles to Go: 799

 

Fall is Coming

August was definitely a month on the run, but not so much a month of running. It has been hot. I mean, miserably hot. So hot, that I feel like my motivation to run has literally melted away. I have felt defeated when it seemed like a huge feat to run even two or three miles, but I keep reminding myself that running in a heat index of 105+ could make any seasoned runner question her sanity. Some days, I have pumped myself up to get my miles in after work, only to get home in the pouring rain. But, fall is coming.

This past weekend we went to Memphis for Miles to participate in a Ducks Unlimited Greenwings event. After sweating through the outdoor extravaganza to which I stupidly wore a dress and flip flops, we visited Breakaway Running where John and I both got fitted for new running shoes. He is logging miles like crazy as the New York Marathon is a little over 63 days away. I just hoped that new shoes would help motivate me to get back at it, as there are several races for which I am signed up or want to sign up this fall and winter. As fate would have it, I’m back in my beloved Mizuno Wave Riders, but up a full size. They feel great and it doesn’t hurt that they’re hot pink and purple. Yes, fall is coming and I’m ready to hit the pavement.

 

Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, TX

After Elvis Week last month, I found myself in Grapevine, Texas, for Travel Media Showcase, a trade show where I had the privilege of pitching stories about Tupelo to travel writers from across the country. Through excellent networking events and scheduled tours, we got to experience Grapevine. I assumed it was just a suburb of Dallas, as it took a mere ten minutes to drive from Dallas-Fort Worth Airport to the gorgeous Gaylord Texan resort where the conference was held, but boy was I wrong.

 

Water feature in the Gaylord Texan

Grapevine is culture and cowboys, water slides and wine. It is a shopper’s paradise and one train ride away from a great adventure. I got to participate in the family fun tour that took us for an afternoon at Grapevine Mills. We lunched at Rainforest Cafe, complete with the enormous Sparkling Volcano dessert.

Sparkling volcano dessert at Rainforest Cafe

 

Sea Life Aquarium

Our next stop was Sea Life, a two-story, 45,000 square-foot aquarium with over 30 interactive exhibits showcasing amazing sea creatures. The highlight was a huge tropical ocean tank with a walk-through tunnel. Sharks and rays of all sorts and sizes were swimming just under our feet and above our heads.

 

LEGOLAND Discovery Center

When I travel for work, my child has figured out that my return almost always means a surprise. In fact, he often puts in his “surprise request” before I leave town. The next stop on our tour was a quick glance at the LEGOLAND Discovery Center. I immediately hit the gift shop, making sure that his request was met. Part of me felt guilty that I was experiencing all of this without my LEGO-obsessed dude, but we got just enough of a taste that I knew a family trip here would be in our future.

 

Hanging with Wiley from Great Wolf Lodge

The last stop on our family fun tour was the Great Wolf Lodge. Speaking of places I definitely plan to visit further, Great Wolf Lodge is like a mini-theme park all under one roof. Love water slides? They have plenty. Need a princess makeover? Yep, you can get it here. Enjoy character meet-and-greets? They have those, too. And, there’s pizza, and ice cream, and an arcade. I can keep going and can’t wait to go.

 

Grapevine Lake

I did manage to get in some running while in Texas. The Gaylord Texan had a great running trail that went around the property, with gorgeous views of Grapevine Lake. I had the privilege of experiencing God’s amazing artistry as the sun rose over the lake each morning. It was hot and humid, but it made for a great start to the day.

I’m home for several weeks before I leave for Europe at the end of September. My goal is to build my miles back up and get ready for all of the races I plan to run this fall. I love keeping up with my upcoming races on the Days to Go app, as seen above. On another note, I’ve found the perfect virtual race to complete my running resolution and it is all the motivation I need. But, more on that later. For now, fall is coming and I am back on the run.

2016 Miles to Go: 823

Opening Dinner at TMS

 

Starfish at Sea Life

 

Clownfish at Sea Life

 

Sea Life

 

Dallas in LEGOs

 

Roll Tide from LEGOLAND Discovery Center

 

My booth at TMS

 

Gaylord Texan

 

Gaylord Texan

 

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

What Next?

  After a brief running hiatus, mostly due to all of the rain, I hit the pavement for 3.14 glorious miles this afternoon in honor of Pi Day. The sun was shining, the flowers were    in bloom, and it seemed that all of my neighbors had the same idea to get out and enjoy Spring, who finally found her way to Northeast Mississippi.

Still basking in the glow of being accepted to run the TCS New York City Marathon, John put in his first training miles today, too, taking advantage of the beautiful weather. He won’t start the serious training until a little further into the year, but we both jumped at the chance to just get outside today and run.

I am at my best as a runner when I am working towards a goal. Having spent the past seven months training for the Glass Slipper Challenge, today’s “just for fun” miles felt very different from the ones I logged throughout much of 2015. I don’t want to get lazy and lose all of the mileage I have built up, so what’s left to do? Run more races! 

There are some local 5Ks, 10Ks, and half marathons in which I am planning to participate. But, what I really want to know, is what are your favorite races and why? Having done both RunDisney and Rock and Roll Marathon Series events, I absolutely love a fun race environment, but also enjoy experiencing unique small town races. Whatever it is, I can’t wait to plan my next adventure.

2016 Miles to Go: 919