2017 Wrap Up

As we close out the journey of 2017 and run towards 2018, there have been so many partners who I’d like to acknowledge and truly say THANK YOU to!!

23507217_182190462336036_3594263293125984256_nIt takes a village…. they say about children. I guess that’s where the term Runner’s Village came from as well.  Running isn’t just one foot in front of the other to most. It’s nutrition, music, clothes, and encouragement.  So I’d like to thank all of the companies who worked with me in 2017 through ambassadorships or partnerships.

 

  • Aftershokz – thank you for welcoming me into the Shokzsquad. I love being able to listen to music and also being aware of my surroundings. The open ear, bone conduction design is brilliant and promotes safety and camaraderie while on the trails. #beOpen

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  • Wearsafelabs- living in NC while most of my family is around the country leaves them worried when I set out for solo runs. Thank you for providing peace of mind to my family as well as to me. The tiny tag not only provides my location to people when I send an alert but it also sends live recording. Something that I’ve tested on many occasions but been fortunate enough to never need to use yet.
  • Nuun-  Hydration has always been something that has been tricky for me. I’ve suffered from

25012747_135036747209360_657045192158740480_nhypoatremia in the past after racing and the side effects of it were excruciating. Since finding Nuun, I’ve found that I don’t need to worry anymore.  Since using Nuun products before marathons and halves, I’ve been able to run worry free!

  • RunGum- Thank you for the boost of energy whenever I need. During the work day or during training, I know I can always count on you.
  • MaviBandz- I’ve never seen an adjustable and non-slip headband before I found yall.  I absolutely love that I can wear my headbands both while working out as well as to work!
  • HealthWarrior- Thank you for an amazing bar that’s healthy and doesn’t upset my stomach! I use a chia seed bar at the beginning of every marathon and it sits perfectly with me and gives me enough calories to PR!
  • Medi-Dyne-  Thank you so much for helping me with state of art medical equipment to help prevent injury and help heal from the minor injuries that pop up during training.
  • Zensah- Thank you for the support the entire year with your amazing compression line. It has been so awesome to work with you especially with all the new cute compression sleeves that came out in 2017!

It has been a wonderful year with you by my side! Looking forward to many more miles and memories in 2018!

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The proudest moment of my life…


…Wasn’t one I created.


We all love to motivate others. There’s a feeling of pride when your best friend completes their first race after you’ve bugged them for years to get off the couch and run!

But nothing could compare me to crossing the finish line alongside my fiancé for the first time!

This guy HATES to run.  —->>> 19411611862_855c1504ff_o

But we made it! His first 5k in the pouring rain on the Fourth of July!!  And when it was over, he said “That wasn’t my best. I need to redeem myself with another 5k.”

There it was. The “running bug” that I’d tried to pass on to him so many times!!  HIs next race will be he 4.01K in DC!

Then I learned to turn $0.99…


…into A Million Bucks!


I’m not a high maintenance girl. All my heels fit neatly in a shoe organizer. My clothes only take up one walk-in closet, a dresser, and an armoire in our condo.  I feel pretty wearing jeans and an old running tee to work. Like I said, I’m not high maintenance… until I switch into athlete-mode.

I never realized how expensive running is until two days ago.  Sure shoes and races cost a little money but I never accounted for running outfits.

  • Visor- $18
  • New Balance Singlet – $25
  • Oakley Sports Bra- $45
  • Brooks PureProject Shorts- $75
  • SmartWool Socks- $15
  • Brooks Ravenna 6- $110
  • Garmin 15- $139
  • JayBirds- $99

Total: $526

While wearing five-hundred twenty-six dollars worth of running attire and listening to my $100 iPod, I had the best run in months on Memorial Day.  There’s nothing quite like putting on all of your favorite things at once and getting a training PR in 89ºF weather.

Most would blame it on feeling great in light-weight, breathable, moisture-wicking, state of the art technology, blah, blah, blah, fancy clothing.

I blame my 5K PR on the Ninety-Nine Cent song that motivated me and made me feel like A Million Bucks!

Fill up the tank


…For the long road ahead.


UPDATE: Since drafting this post, I’ve been selected as a brand ambassador for the product.

Comment below for samples or with questions.

PromoCode: AJRuns


I began running with no accessories and some old sneakers. Little did I know that running involves more accessories and expenses than an entire year of college.

Watches and socks, fancy sports bras and organic moisture wicking tanks. The list goes on. Everyone has their brand preference and  can give you their two cents about which to use.

So here’s my story and stamp of approval on my favorite fueling brand.

I’ll confess, I’m a user. I use Bloks  and GU. I’ve tried all sorts of recovery shakes and powders and never truly believed in it. I never felt the difference between the 5 miles before sucking down a packet of GU and the mile or two after. Nothing pumped me up and gave me the energy it claimed to.

Then one day as I was reading through blogs learning about nerdy runner things like elevation and the spectator presence at the New York Marathon and I saw this product I’d never heard of before ENERGYbits.

I googled it. Made in the USA, all Natural, plant-based, and actually healthy.

After trying this product, I liked it so much that it’s now my fuel of choice!!  I use both Energybits and Recoverybits.

ENERGYbits don’t give me the sudden boost of energy that you’d find from a pre-workout supplement. Instead it leaves me focused on my goal-mileage for the training run.

RECOVERYbits are something that every runner should try. Recovery after running is so important and unfortunately, it is often neglected. These little bits have been able to help my recovery by significantly reducing the soreness after a long run or hill repeats.  It also gives me peace of mind that I’m refilling my tank with the nutrition that my body needs.

Sometimes I like to run naked


…Then I regret it.


Running naked isn’t a bad thing. It’s freeing and liberating.  To me it’s the best stress relief. There’s something about being constrained that absolutely defeats this purpose for me. It lets me test my ability without distractions.

Oh, you thought I meant actually NAKED? HA!

Running naked means running without gadgets.  No Garmin watch telling me when I’m ahead of pace, no Nike App calling out splits, nothing except me and the pavement. Just one foot in front of the other and the sound of the wind whistling past my ears.

…Not a care in the world until I realize I’m 15 miles from home and very lost.

This is when I realized that running naked is just as bad as it sounds.

I started running with my phone.  I can’t count the number of times I’ve pulled up MapQuest walking directions at dusk hoping I wasn’t too far to make it home by dinner.

Now I ‘ve learned to value the expensive high-tech runs.  I have no reservations about strapping on as many devices as I can hold. I’ve even bought a flip belt to hold the things I can’t physically hold, like this chunky Android phone, iPod, and Energybits tin.

In a matter of months I went from running tech-naked to carrying more accessories than a Kardashian.

But every now and then, on the cloudy days with bad GPS reception, I still secretly like to strip down and hit the pavement.  Shhhh….

What lies 10 feet ahead


The sweet reward that should only be 10 feet ahead.


I was given some amazing advice back in 2009. “Focus on 10 feet ahead rather than what’s under your feet,” a friend once told me.  Although they probably don’t remember this conversation, or the book they read this in, I’ve held on to it for years and revisit it often.

“But What is 10 feet ahead?”I constantly ask myself.  During training runs, it’s dinner and a shower when I’m done.  During times of injury, it’s getting to run a pain-free mile.

But now I am in the training phase of the NYC marathon, I ask myself again, “What’s 10 feet ahead?” And I’m coming up short. So I went through the motivation checklist:

  1. New Clothes,
  2. New Shoes,
  3. Registering for other races.

But nothing seems to satisfy the sweet reward that should only be 10 feet ahead.

THEN it hit me.  For years, I’ve focused on these 10 feet as if that was where the ultimate reward was. But that’s not it at all.

Focus on the short distance ahead so that you notice where the sidewalk ends, or the construction cones are placed. But with every step you take, the 10 foot distance doesn’t shorten. It moves along with you, gives you a new object of focus, and motivates you to take another step.

No new Lululemon tank will be a match for the finish line in New York later this year, but it sure does make the journey there a little brighter. 🙂

So with that I ask you, what’s your 10 feet ahead? What are your mini-motivators along the way?

I AM a Runner


I am many things, but I wasn’t always a runner.


Summers in Louisiana are sweltering. I took my first steps in the 90 degree heat one summer, thanks to my mother.  The 90 degree weather pushed into the early 100s as I learned to drop my arms and lengthen my stride. Although I quit about a month later, Coach Ulysses Frontha’s efforts were not in vain.

In middle school my love for running around and around a track was rekindled when I realized I was decent for a 12-year-old.  I continued running through high school and through college.

After I started my first “big girl” job, I finally had money to spend and began “accidentally” registering for races. Racing once a week soon turned to back-to-back racing.

I soon realized I was hooked. But more importantly, I was officially a runner!