A Road Trip 

Haven’t been anywhere in over a year…but we went to Florida Friday and Saturday as chaperones to a high school cross country meet. 

As you may know, parts of Florida were hit by a massive hurricane this weekend. (Please keep all of the folks affected in your thoughts and prayers). We went to Tallahassee which was not effected by the hurricane. 

Tallahassee itself isn’t particularly scenic, nor was the drive down there.. mostly cotton fields for scenery 

We kept ourselves entertained by playing a highly intellectual game that our 3 girl passengers called Fudoodle: every time you see a yellow vehicle you hit the roof of the car and say fudoodle. School buses and machinery don’t count.

I was the reigning champion, mainly because I kept playing after everyone else had quit.

We drove straight to the course so that we could meet up with the rest of the team to do a preview. The meet was the Florida State invitational race. I believe that it is Florida State Univ s  home course. Most of the Florida teams use it as their state course preview. But there were other out of state teams there too.

We let the girls out of the car, then we ran the course 2 times. And I have got to say, this was the most spectacular cross country course I’ve ever seen.  If God created a cross country course, this what it would look like.  

I am certain that this course was built from the ground up specifically for cross country. Everything single aspect of this race/course was perfect. Even down to fabulous port o pots. Clean, clean, clean, and running water next to them so you could wash your hands! 

Spectators weren’t allowed near the finish chutes. So there was a mobile jumbo-tron that allowed us to watch our finishers.

The course itself was perfection. The surface was gravel/hard sand on places, low grass/dirt in other. Almost the entire course was in the shade of beautiful Spanish moss draped live oaks. The track was so wide, you could literally drive 2 Mac trucks down it. Even the one hill was very thoughtfully designed. It was tiered. So after a bit of ascent, there was a small depression/plateau which you can use as a spring up to the next ascent. Turn the corner, and a beautiful point 2 mile downhill (but not too steep) finish. 

The weather on race down was almost perfect. And it was our coolest race all season so far. Around 70 degrees and very low humidity and a nice breeze.

On a personal note, out daughter did well. She had a massive stress fracture and missed almost the entire season last year. This year she has been working her way back, while trying to improve her form to avoid another stress fracture. She still hasn’t beat her last year’s one race PR, but every race she is dropping 30 seconds. 

Hopefully she can keep improving!

An Unexpected Companion on my Morning Run

The other day, my husband was up and dressed to run with me at 5:30 am. This was completely out of character for him. He is an evening runner. But that day, he was so eager to get out the door with me-that he became chatty….at 530 am. He is RARELY chatty. And NEVER in the morning. To be honest, I was kind of thinking ‘Shut the f up’ to myself. 

But then I realized that I needed to show him the ropes of morning running. I was kind of surprised at how many ‘ropes’ there actually are.

First off, it’s better to run on the street than the sidewalk.  2 reasons. 1) The pavement on the sidewalk is very uneven. A big tripping risk. 2) Low hanging tree branches hold bugs that could fall on you.

Next, we got out a little early. The gate where the golf course maintenance workers come in wasn’t unlocked yet. We had to sneak through the bars at the side of the gate. This area is prime spider web real estate. I keep a clearing stick on the stone next to the sneak through area. He laughed at my preparedness.

Neither one of us wore a watch, and we needed to be back by 6:30 to get our daughter to school. No problem on the time thing.

I know the time by various sights and sounds.

It’s 5:50 when you can hear the train go through town.

At 6:13, two boys come out of their homes for the high school bus.

We knew it was 6:20 when the boy who takes a special needs bus came out of his house. 

I have to give you a little background on this boy. I don’t know why he takes the special needs bus. My guess would be that he is autistic. I have noticed that he likes routine. For instance, the first day of summer, he was still out his door at 6:20. Ready for his bus. 

Every morning I say good morning to him. Just recently, he started saying good morning back. He has such a sweet voice, it makes me happy to hear it. Once he started saying good morning, then started asking me how I am. I was especially touched by his eagerness, and shared this story with my whole family. Now my husband got to greet him too. Big treat!

When we were going up the last hill I ran, he walked. The biggest meteor ever passed by. It was a giant white flash with a long white sparkly tail. Just awesome! 

Truthfully, when we were finished I was actually glad to have had the company.

A Fantastic Day in Rome (Georgia)

We spent half of yesterday in beautiful Rome, Georgia at our girl’s first cross country meet of the season. Since she only raced once last year before missing her season to a severe stress fracture, this was going to be her 2nd ever meet! All of us were excited, but nervous about the possibility of more injury.

It turned out to be a spectacular day for everyone….our daughter, us, our teams!

First Race

The first race of the day was an open race. My husband and I decided to run it. My husband had a blood sugar dip right before the start, so I lined up by myself. There were middle schoolers as well as post high school runners. I noticed our mechanic’s son near me. He is one of the fastest runners in Atlanta, and an xc coach. He had his team there for the meet, and decided to run. When the gun went off, it seemed like the whole field of runners except me was sprinting. I noticed I was one of the oldest runners, and just prayed not to finish last!

The course was beautiful and rolling. But I went slower than I’d hoped. I felt ashamed of how slowly I was going. Especially with our whole team plus parents there! After passing by the 2 mile mark, I saw our teams lined up on one  side of the course, many parents lined up on the other. Oh crap. They were cheering so loudly, and I felt so embarrassed of my slowness that I didn’t even look up as I approached them. As I neared them, it occurred to me that no one knew how slowly i was running; they were just happy to see me running. I looked up and waved and smiled! The girls had made up a cheer/chant/dance. It was so cute and It made me so happy! 

Today a few of them recreated the cheer at my house and allowed me to film it. I have already watched/shared SOO many times! 

Here you go:

Second Race

Girls varsity. 2 great things about this race: our daughter hit her goal, and so did her best running buddy!

Our daughter’s goal was to finish the race, and finish pain free! Her time wasn’t great, but she finished! And without pain!! There will be a second Race this season!

At least as exciting is the fact that our girl’s bff (the one I wrote about 2 posts ago), PR’d by 20 seconds! I couldn’t be more proud if she were my own!! She changed her strategy, and went out faster than normal. It worked! And the icing on this one is that she was able to beat her arch rival for the very first time! 

Third Race

Boy’s varsity. Our fastest boy is only a sophomore. He had an outstanding freshman year. He looked awesome yesterday, and won the entire race! 15:59. It was thrilling to watch how much he won by. 

Fourth Race

JV girls and boys combined.  This was a crowded race. It took a long time for the racers to space out. 

It also took a while for the race to finish. While we watched the last runners finish, we heard a loud cheer go up as the last runner and his bike escort appeared. As he ran by, I saw that he was a Downes Syndrome young man.
Oh my goodness…how inspiring. Sappy to say, but I shed a tear on that one.

What an amazing sport and an awesome day!

Here is a pic of the the parents/family supporters…lots of us!

Running, Confidence, Dressing Nicely and Business Success 

Hello. It’s been a while since I posted, and although I regret that it’s been a while, there is a good reason. We’ve been super busy at work. And let me say, when you own your own business, busy is way preferable to not busy!

We are having high sales this month. But the even better news is that we have been creating opportunities which could lead to ongoing increased sales. Some of these opportunities haven’t panned out yet, so I hope I’m not jinxing things by mentioning them!

So, there are a number of factors contributing to us being able to create opportunities, but I just want to talk about the ones related to running.

Confidence Through Running

I started running several years ago. And one of the best things about running for me is that it makes me feel strong. I’m sure it’s the same for you. But once I realized I could run x number of miles, or race in a variety of distances, it made me see that I’m pretty strong. This gave me more confidence. I learned that I could do more than I thought. And the every day work problems lost significance .

Dressing Nicely 

As my body transformed through running, I had to start buying new clothes. I’m too cheap to spend much on clothes. So for years, even though I was now in good shape, I didn’t dress nicely. Instead of dressing like the owner of my business, I dressed like the delivery lady. 

That all changed a few years ago when I got a second job at a women’s clothing store. Through working there, and helping ladies with their wardrobes, I began to see that dressing nicely is another way to build confidence. The fact that employees are entitled to shop at the “company store”, where everything is $5 or $10 helped me transform my wardrobe quickly and frugally. 

Now, when I go see our business customers or prospects, I’m not preoccupied with feelings of inadequacy. I know I look nice, so I can concentrate on building our business.

Petty I know, but I’m convinced that dressing more nicely is helping me build our business.

Goal Setting

The other way that running is helping to build our business is through goal setting. I think all of us runners can easily appreciate the process of setting a goal – like  running a marathon – and following the steps to achieve the goal. But as business owners, I’ve got to confess that we’d become a bit lazy about setting goals.

We had a tough month in July, and it made me refocus on the goal setting. At first, I didn’t have any concrete goals. I only knew that we needed more sales. I got a pen and paper and wrote “we need more business” over and over on the page. (Did I mention we were slow?)

Now I’m not going to say that we magically got more business because i wrote that sentence four times! But I will say that  actually writing those words made me focus on ways to go about getting more business.

We strategized and came up with a real plan to help us get more sales.

All this, thanks to running!

Now wish us luck!!

A Moment of Pride for a Child Who Isn’t Even Mine!

We’ve know M since she and my daughter have been toddlers. M is a twin, and we all used to play together in our neighborhood pool.  The girls would all take turns jumping off the side of the pool into my arms when they were very young. When they were a bit older, they’d all take turns having me throw them up into the air and then splash into the pool. 

Now, the girls are in high school and M and my daughter run cross country. They are good friends, which makes me very happy since M is such a kind hearted, generous, hard working girl. 

It has been amazing to watch M grow and improve as a runner. When she first started running as a freshman, nobody noticed this shy, quiet, self conscious girl. But every race that fall, she got better and faster until by the end of the season, she was the number 2 girl. 

Last season, she became #1 in the time trial…an internal race held at the beginning of the season for positioning. 

She had an amazing season last year, and became one of the fastest girls in the county. Our county is the largest school district in the state, so this is big! Her track season was awesome too.  We drove to track meets just to watch her.  

And now cross country season has started again. At the start of each athlectic season, the county newspaper ranks the top 6 athletes in each sport. It’s called the Super 6. And our girl M made super 6!!! I’m so  proud of this young lady…almost like she was mine! Proud, and in awe. 

Can’t wait to see what she does this season!

A 24 Hour Relay Race Report

This past weekend I joined up with some new friends to run a 24 hour relay race in Jefferson GA. 

There were 8 of us on the team. 4 women and 4 men.  The course was a 10k “loop” through woods, over a meadow, and around parts of a lake. Each one of us ran the loop, one after the other. The goal was to get as many loops as possible.

As you can see, there were MANY twists and turns on the course. And as you can imagine it was really hot. The heat Index rose to 97 by midday! We started the race at 10 am. Luckily, there was still a bit of cloud cover. And it was ‘only’ in the low 80s. Our first man finished in 55 minutes. Next was my turn (I think they let me go next out of pity….I was by far the oldest on our team!)

The course was up and down a lot, and it was a bit confusing trying to follow the trail. But I finished fine, without missing any turns, and felt pretty good about my 65 minute time. 

The next 7 hours were spent refueling 

Cookie review: everyone enjoyed both flavors! I’d been eager to try each one, but knew better than to buy a pack of either one for myself. I wouldn’t be able to stop myself from eating every single one! But the race seemed like an awesome time to try them…lots of calorie burning plus sharing!

The rest of my team ran their laps in pure Georgia heat and humidity. It truly was brutal. I am surprised that only one race participant went down (from another team).

My next lap was at sunset. Still hot, but not as bad as what my teammates had faced. Finished that one in 67 minutes.

It was 9:15ish by the time I finished. I hopped in my car and went home for a shower and nap. Was back on the road at 3 am. Crazy??

My final lap was in pitch black. I had on a headlamp. And carried a flashlight in my hand. Both were needed. The flashlight picked out the stumps, and roots, and ruts, while the headlamp lit my path. It was kind of scary. 

One of my teammates reported hearing a deer snort. It literally scared the pee out of her!

I really had to slow down and concentrate hard not to miss the trail markers in the dark. It took me 75 minutes, but I’m proud to say I didn’t get lost or fall down, or walk, or miss any of the turns!

My family all laughed at me when I told them I pretended to be a native American warrior on my first test of manhood. But hey, I guess I passed even if I don’t fit any of the characteristics!

Fun  race, nice people…I think I’d do it again!

Odds and Ends

Well we are in the heart of summer running here…which means really hot and humid. Same as it is for all of you I’m sure. 

The good news is that I’ve been doing an excellent job getting out before sunrise. It makes such a big difference not to have the sun combined with the heat and humidity. Here is a screenshot of the weather one day last month. If you’ll notice, the temp isn’t bad, but humidity was high. Lately, it’s been even higher! Last week it was 92%!! Regardless of how rough it’s been, I still vastly prefer this to the cold of winter….so hard to get out of bed and run before the sun is up when its in the 20s!
On the fashion front, I made an excellent find yesterday at TJ Maxx! A Boston Marathon jacket! And wait for it….it was from 2015-the year I ran it!

I didn’t buy the jacket at the marathin expo in 2015 b/c it was $110, and I’m WAY too cheap for that! But look here at the tags! Nice bargain shopping!

Final price $40+tax! The only downside is that the size is XL…but when I tried it on my family and I all agreed it wasn’t as bad as we would have thought!

So yeah, this is a post complaining about heat and buying a coat! Hmmmm.

On the race front, we just had the largest 10k in the world here yesterday. The Peachtree Rd race. 60,000 participants!! I didn’t do it this year. But I have done it in the past. It is super fun, and patriotic feeling. 

This Saturday, I am participating in a 24 hour team event. 8 team members… we’re a mixed team. 4 boys and 4 girls. We take turns running a 6 mile loop. The weather forecast for daytime temps is 100! Yikes. But it’s around a lake/in the woods, so maybe a bit cooler?? One can hope. I am looking forward to it. I only know one or two of the runners, so I always enjoy making new friends. 

Hope you all have a nice week. I am looking forward to reporting back on the race!