Meg’s Miles

megsmilesThis morning I joined with my Athens Road Runners group to run for Meg. Meg Menzies was tragically killed by a drunk driver on a morning run earlier this week. I finished 6.2 miles with positive thoughts in her honor. The Facebook event created for Meg’s Miles describes it like this:

This Saturday, January 18, 2014, no matter what your distance, no matter where you live, run for Meg. Take in the fresh air, be aware of your surroundings, keep your headphones on low, feel the heaviness in your lungs, the soreness in your legs, and be grateful for it–for all of it. The sweat, the pain, the wind, the cold…everything. Be grateful for that moment.

I read that statement multiple times. I read it slowly and I read it fast. On our cold run today I was better aware of my surroundings and grateful for my ability to run. Very grateful.

CET Signature and heart

Speed Workouts – Birthday Edition

As I reflect on 2013, I am very appreciative of the Wednesday morning 5:30 am track workouts with Athens Road Runners. I know this might sound painful if you are not a morning person, but there is something special about meeting this community every week early in the morning at the track. Since starting this weekly workout, Wednesdays have become one of my favorite days of the week; I am up early and usually feel great all day after pushing my limits at the track (runner’s high anyone?). Speed workouts are an important addition to every runner’s training, and I encourage you to try it if you have not yet! I am not in Athens this week so I got Coach Al to email me the workout. It was not as much fun without the group but I did it on my own Wednesday morning to celebrate turning 24 and now I am sharing it with you, give it a try sometime in the next week! (or on your next birthday, if you want to make it your birthday workout too!)

Athens Road Runners Members at the UGA Track

“I was thinking about you this morning …Happy early birthday! We are going to do 3 individual miles after a mile warm up.  The concept is to drop down the time with each progression. So you want to run the first one at about 75% effort then rest a good 3 – 4 minutes then the 2nd one about a 85 – 90% effort rest 3 -4 minutes than the last one give it what you have left. Then a good cool down. I really want to start working y’all into a tempo run per week. Tempo is defined as an effort that is just difficult enough without being race pace…I like to call it barely a talking pace…kind of like a one word answer pace if that makes sense. A good tempo workout would be about 3 m iles or 20 minute sat that pace. This workout for tomorrow is designed to start zeroing in on that desired tempo pace.” – Al Jeffers.

I did this workout on a straight mile-long sidewalk near my house and here are my results:

Mile 1 – 7:44
Mile 2 – 7:55 (into the wind)
Mile 3 – 7:21

As you can see, I went a little faster on the first mile than Al suggested, but still was able to give everything on mile 3. These are great times for me, and I never knew how fast I could be until I started working out with Coach Al and Athens Road Runners members at the track. Oh and fast is a relative term, different for every runner. Let me know how it goes if you try this workout! And if you live in Athens I highly recommend joining Athens Road Runners for 2014 :)

Run for Boston

Last week I ran 26.2 miles for Boston. Running in solidarity has been my personal way of showing support, reflecting, and coping with the attack at the Boston Marathon finish line. I logged my #runforBoston miles online, participated in group runs with other runners in the Athens area, and thought about those affected directly and indirectly.

ARR1

Athens Road Runners meet Tuesday morning 4/16/13 to run 2 miles together in solidarity

Tonight I will meet up with others in Athens for the #BostonStrongATH event. It’s a part of Boston Strong runs going on in cities all over the world. One thing I am certain of is the strength that those affected and more specifically the people of Boston have shown in the last week. They are Boston strong. I am thankful for the community of runners, walkers, and others that have come together in Athens and on social media after last Monday’s events. I don’t know if I will ever run 26.2 miles in one race, but I did it over the span of 7 days with Boston in my heart.

“On my journey as a runner I found myself. Along the way I found a community of people that support each other. It’s so much more than just running. It’s love, encouragement and unity over a sport that welcomes all” – Running through Chaos

Taste of Athens Weekend 2013

I just finished participating in the Taste of Athens Weekend. The Taste of Athens events were created to benefit the Community Connection of Northeast Georgia. This year was the 20th Annual Taste of Athens and 3rd Annual Taste10K. I decided to share my experience on the blog for everyone that might consider participating next year!

I signed up online to run the Taste10k when the registration was $30 early bird. A great price, including a t-shirt with a “running wine glass” that I was very excited about.  One of the coordinators that works in the Center for Student Organizations at UGA, Megan J., reassured me that this was a great course (even in hilly Athens) and would be a good race for my first 10k! I was still nervous…. I only signed up for the 10k because I decided I wouldn’t be able to pay for the $50 Taste of Athens event ticket this year, but maybe it would be something I could look forward to next year.

On Tuesday morning (2/12), 4 days before the race, I received a tweet and direct message in class that I won two tickets to the Taste of Athens!

Taste10k tweet

Now I was REALLY excited. I had been posting on Twitter about the 10K and my excitement for the weekend – and those tweets paid off when I was surprised by @Taste10K with tickets to Sunday’s Taste of Athens event. The online presence for the Taste10K and the Taste of Athens events are great. Not only do they maintain a useful website, they also have a 10K Twitter and Facebook page and a Taste of Athens Twitter and Facebook page. Love when organizations use social media to interact with their audience, especially if it involves a fun contest!

Around Thursday (2/14) I started to get anxious looking at the weather for Saturday. Close to freezing temperatures and snow? Not exactly how I pictured my first 10k…

taste10k

Finally it was Saturday – race day! Megan J. picked me and Andy up at 7:15 am and we headed downtown for the race start. It was cold, but I was covered in UnderArmor head to toe, and the gloves and headband were helping.

Megan and I staying warm before the start!

Megan and I trying to stay warm before the start!

The race started at 8 am and had about 300 runners. I love smaller crowds, I think it makes for a unique and comfortable race experience. There were a few hills throughout, but it is hard to avoid hills in Athens. Miles 2 and 3 were the most difficult. Pulaski St. to Barrow is hilly with one steep rise on Barrow.

I usually run on Prince Ave, so I loved the fifth (and last mile). I finished under my goal (1 hour) with an official time of 56:33!

Taste10k Route

My finish for the Taste 10k!

My finish for the Taste 10k!

If you are looking for a 10k race in the Athens area or even a Peachtree qualifier I highly recommend the Taste of Athens 10k. The race was well organized and fun (despite the cold temperatures). Also, the formation of the Athens Road Runners group was announced at the 10k, so make sure to check out that if you are a runner in Athens. Student membership is only $15!

Taste10k finish

Sunday night’s event finished up the Taste of Athens weekend with a bang. I wasn’t sure what to expect and how the whole process would work. I attended the Taste of the Town in High Point, NC for years but this was definitely a different setup. Megan D., my assistantship supervisor, (a different Megan!) came along with me to the Taste; 5 pm was a good time to get there for general admission, the line was not too long and it moved quickly. We purchased the plate and wine glass for $10 ($5 each) at the entrance and I am so glad we did! It was nice to have plate that held the wine glass and left me another free hand to pick up food, eat, etc.

Taste of Athens plate

Here is a list of the vendors (give or take a few that I can’t remember) from the 2013 sponsors I was able to check out:

YourPie
Barberitos Southwest Grille
Atlanta Wholesale
Terrapin Beer Company
Chops & Hops
La Dolce Vita
Waterman Spring Water
Athens Bagel Company
Don Sebastiani and Sons
Brett’s Casual American
Cecelia Villaveces Cakes
Thai Spoon
Butt Hutt BBQ
Earth Fare
Zaxby’s
home.made catering
Silver Lining Cupcake Company
Dirty Birds
Barefoot Wine & Bubbly

Taste of Athens 2013

All of the food was delicious! There were a few places I did not get to check out either because they ran out of food or I was too full at the end. My favorite restaurant vendors were La Dolce Vita and White Tiger Gourment. They had Gnocchi al Gorgonzola at La Dolce Vita and barbecue at White Tiger Gourmet. I also enjoyed Athens Bagel Company and Brett’s Casual American (bagels and buffalo chicken tacos/wraps are some of my favorite foods). All four of the previous restaurants are Athens locations I have not visited yet, so safe to say this event added to my bucket list of Athens restaurants for the next year and a half. My favorite dessert was the cupcake from Cecelia’s Villaveces Cakes, but I also had a delicious “terrapin” (homemade turtles with terrapin rye caramel and toasted GA pecans) treat from home.made catering.

Chocolate cupcake from Cecelia Villaveces Cakes and red velvet cupcake & mint cake ball from Silver Lining Cupcake Company

Chocolate cupcake from Cecelia Villaveces Cakes and red velvet cupcake & mint cake ball from Silver Lining Cupcake Company

I highly recommend this event to Athens residents or anyone that wants to take a weekend trip to Athens for a good race and great food. The Taste of Athens timing on Sunday night makes it a longer weekend trip but it is worth it to check out the food and beverage booths. Megan and I also browsed the silent auction and saw some great items but no bidding for us. The event was scheduled 5-8 pm but by 7 pm things were winding down so we headed home. Overall a great event and our happiness was captured by Blane Marable photography!

Photo from Blane Marable Photography http://spotted.onlineathens.com/galleries/429588/

Photo from Blane Marable Photography http://spotted.onlineathens.com/galleries/429588/

I plan to participate in both the 10K and Taste of Athens event next year! At the Taste of Athens event, I will pay a little more attention to which vendors I visit at the beginning to make sure I get a chance to try everything. And a coworker gave me a few tips to try out at next years event: share food samples with friends so you don’t fill up as quick and remove the bread from the sliders that many of the restaurants give out for a smaller less filling portion! Great things to know and try next year. Hope this encourages you to give the Taste of Athens weekend a try in 2014!