Tag Archives: race

Counting down to the Peachtree Road Race

1st July 2013

First Peachtree Road RaceIf you’re looking for a reminder as to why running can be such a fantastic way to stay in shape, build a community or challenge your personal self, look no further than Peachtree Road on a warm Fourth of July  morning. In a few short days, nearly 60,000 of those people will hit the streets for 6.2 miles of Atlanta’s finest heat, hills and humidity, but what makes the Peachtree Road Race so special is so much more.

Maybe I have a sentimental spot because this is the race that introduced me to running. I crossed six miles for the first time on this course only three years ago.

Maybe it’s because no where else will you pass people that range in age from just barely into double digits, to those who will soon see the light of three numbers to their age. Or spot a group who takes this whole thing a little less seriously, by cheering beers and shots for every mile … while running.

Maybe it’s the unforgettable flag at the starting line or waking up to the roar of helicopters overhead P’s parents’ house just before dawn. Or the group of Marines carrying full gear in the scorching heat.

The first mile seems to fly by and before you know it, you’re rounding mile number two where you’re greeted by a flicker of holy water from the Cathedral of Saint Phillip. Mile three brings the assent up cardiac hill, and even though I’ve lived along this thoroughfare for nearly three years, it never seems to get any easier. The furbus greets you at mile five, without whom getting past the Brookwood split would be the hottest, most sun drenched and draining leg of the race.  And onward to midtown, where I’ve logged more miles in the rain, sun and even on occasion snow, than likely any other one place in this city.

The Peachtree Road Race holds quite a few sentimental trophies (or coveted t-shirts) near my heart and I know I’m not alone in the feeling. In three days, I’ll be back at the starting line, ready to add 6.2 more miles to my running relationship. And I’ll finish it along with 60,000 other people, who I hope uncover the same excitement in celebrating what makes running, Atlanta and our country great every step of the way.

Running Lessons: Balancing Passion with Not-So-Common Sense

15th January 2013

My first half marathon in November 2011

Running my first half marathon in November 2011

The last two years have been big ones in running for me. In 2011, I ran my first half marathon (after never stepping a foot past a 10K) and in 2012, I racked up several new races, including a PR in the Thanksgiving Half Marathon of 1:49 (who knew that was possible). To say I’ve come a long way in my love for running in the last few years is a bit of an understatement, but as with any passion, it does have its gritty points.

I came across this article today from the December issue of Women’s Health titled “When Running Isn’t Healthy” and while I’ve fallen in love with running over the years, learning the difference between running smart and running a little too far is difficult to say the least.

James O’Keefe, MD, Director of Preventative Cardiology at the Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City stresses the importance of balance, quoted saying, “Exercise may be the most important component of a healthy lifestyle, but like any powerful drug you’ve got to get the dose right.”

It’s a contradictory feeling, how could exercise be bad for me? I’ve learned the right dose is not easy (and it’s still something I’m figuring out). When I trained for my first half marathon, I procrastinated on training, meaning I had to squeeze jumps in milage in very quickly. I finished, but it left me very sore and taking a break of more than a week.

By my third half this November, I spent months in advance working milage up and down, practicing shorter runs on hills and longer runs at a much more steady pace by the river – and it paid off with a PR and playing football with the family the next day.

After crossing the finish line on Thanksgiving day - and PRing at 1:49.

After crossing the finish line on Thanksgiving day – and PRing at 1:49 with two amazing running partners.

According to a recent study quoted in the article where researchers tracked over 52,000 people for 30 years, “runners had a 19 percent lower death risk than non-runners. However, the health benefits of exercise seemed to diminish among people who ran more than 20 miles a week, more than six days a week, or faster than eight miles an hour. The sweet spot appears to be five to 19 miles per week at a pace of six to seven miles per hour, spread throughout three or four sessions per week.” Source.

As much I want to run out the door and literally run for miles, I know that’s not responsible. I know my longer than average runs on weekends (for me that’s anything above about 6-7 miles) mean I have to slow down and enjoy my time outside.


You set records on race day, not on the grueling foggy, Saturday morning runs.

I’ve learned that if I don’t replenish my body with calories after a long run, I wind up with a migraine (bring on the carbs and cookies).  As much as I would love to train for a marathon, I still have some work to do to figure out how to manage my challenge of maintaining a healthy weight while training.

Yesterday, I logged a cool 7.5 miles. I felt fantastic for the first time in weeks and to no surprise, my pace was 20 seconds slower than my average, just where it should be.

Are you an avid exerciser? What works best and what have you learned to stay away from?

*The thoughts included in this post represent my own personal experiences in running. If you are interested in getting started, check out a training schedule and stick to it, everyone’s body is different and will aclimate in different ways. Psst….one of my favorite training plans can be found here.

What Happens in Vegas Needs Help from Facebook

16th November 2012

I can officially cross “we’re going to Vegas baby” off of the bucket list (though I’m not certain it was even there to begin with) by competing in the Great Urban Race National Championship this past weekend.

P and I are always looking for weekend adventures, and with fewer football games and more money saving post-college, when I saw a Tweet from Yelp Atlanta giving away tickets to the Great Urban Race’s Atlanta race in April, I jumped on the opportunity. We were lucky enough to win the race entries, went into the race knowing nothing and we somehow managed to qualify for the race’s National Championship in Vegas (you can read all about the Atlanta adventure here).

We aren’t quite Vegas people (and boy we confirmed that one this weekend) but couldn’t resist the opportunity to go and compete. More bucket list items, right?

To put it simply, The Great Urban Race is a local version of the Amazing Race (though not affiliated) and sends you across a city with 12 clues to figure out, a challenge at each location, four hours to finish and only public transportation to get you from point A to point B.

Saturday’s Vegas race took us to places like the Graceland Wedding Chapel where we had to memorize vows (and I proposed), decode combinations to remove handcuffs at the Mob Museum and determine real from fake at the famous Gold and Sliver Pawn Shop from Pawn Stars.

Over the course of the day, we ran more than eight miles, made our way around town on countless buses and trams and our social networks came to the rescue with Tweets, texts, phone calls and even Facebook posts to help us solve the clues. We worked as a team to finish in just over four hours, crossing the finish line in the top 20 (though a penalty or two might have set us back a few slots in the final results, but we’re not counting that).

If I don’t have to see a naked women card flicked at me or walk the strip from the MGM to the Venetian for a few years, I’ll be OK with that, but the experience was exciting, challenging and just the break we both needed from the day-to-day. We cannot wait for the adventures the Great Urban Race will bring again in 2013 and this time we hear the National Championship will make its way to New Orleans. Hurricanes, jazz and cobblestone streets? Update: the 2013 National Championship has been confirmed for San Juan, Puerto Rico. Even. Better. Count us in. 

Check out the Great Urban Race to see when it’s coming to your hometown, and sign up. I promise it’s worth every penny and maybe you’ll take home the grand $10,000 prize next fall.