Bacon Run – Quick Race Recap

IMG_20151010_075012On Saturday I did my first 5K of the year, which was also my first local race of the year, and a fun run: The Bacon Run.

It started at ended at Jim Miller Park in Marietta, GA, where the Georgia State Fair is held. I heard about it via Living Social.

It was raining when I awoke, but it stopped before I arrived at the park. I was so sleepy because I always get excited and anxious the night before, and I can’t sleep well.

The race started at 8 am and plenty of families were present to run for bacon.

The course was a simple out and back loop with some hills (par for the course in the Atlanta area-no pun intended), but nothing major that threw me off guard.  We had to dodge some puddles but the air felt good for a run.

IMG_20151010_085540I’ve done 19 races thus far, but this race hosted the best variety of post-race snacks I’ve ever had, hands down!  My plate had Zaxby’s 5-piece fingers, Bojangles bacon biscuits (halved), chips (a little stale), cookies,  bananas,  powdered mini donuts, and PLENTY of bacon plates!

Despite the weather, I saw kids, grandparents and even dogs enjoying this race.  Whether you are a seasoned runner or a newbie, I feel good recommending this race. It’s a great fun run for the whole family.

How Do You Rock? Chicago Women Rock Race Recap


Chicago Women Rock was my second race of 2015, but the first all-womens race I’ve ever done. That is really light, considering I used to run a race just about every month. But I’m making changes to my racing budget and doing more things with my business, thus racing is not as high a priority. I volunteer for races sometimes locally, as Atlanta is never short on a race. But I now prefer to do mostly destination races instead of repeating the same ones locally. So I headed to Chicago on the eve Chicago Women Rock, which was held on Saturday, September 19.




I arrived in Chicago 4 pm the day before the race. It was gray and had just started raining when my flight landed. It rained very hard, almost nonstop until just before my 10K started the next  morning. Traffic was horrible, and I had a slight ordeal at the rental car office, but thanks to Google Maps, I finally made it to the 63rd Street Beach House on Lake Shore Drive about 40 minutes before the expo was to close.

This was the smallest expo I’ve ever seen. I only recall a few vendors: race tees & socks, Nissan and a company selling pretty headbands. I went to the back of the hall to find the table set up with volunteers handing out jackets and bibs for this race as well as the Monster Dash 5k.

A lady in front of me in line was kind enough to tell me I had to know my bib number to pick it up. Well, I received exactly two emails since I registered, which were the automatic confirmation of my payment back in July, and a promotional email 2 days ago about a different race. She said I had to go to the organizers website (Team Ortho) and confirm something to look up the bib number. Turns out they found my bib using my name, and handed me a small envelope with the bib and safety pins. On the back were detailed instructions about placing the chip on your shoe, but it was the bib that had the timing chip. There was nothing in the packet about where to park, start times and locations, Porta potty/water stations–zip.


I got in a second line to pick up my awesome jacket. Let’s face it, that was the last influencing factor in me flying my fam to the Chi to run in the cold 🙂

Then I went to find someone who I could ask a few questions about race logistics since none were in my packet. Parking is what causes me the most anxiety the night before a race in an unfamiliar city, so I made sure I had that info.

It ended up being a long evening driving in the pouring rain, so I had McDonald’s as my dinner around 10 pm and only slept about 5 hours.



I headed to the race with my fam early and arrived around 6:20 am. Another race was in progress (probably the full and/or the half) but thanks to my sister’s disabled parking tag, we were able to find a spot in a lot across the street from the beach house and near the pedestrian walkway without circling. I paid the pay station $2.25 for 3 hours with my card. However some folks struggled because the signs said it took coins, but would not accept them. Pay stations aren’t the responsibility of the race organizer, but parking logistics factor into the race experience, so to me, it’s worth mentioning.

Sitting in the car without it running, we weren’t cold. But as soon as you opened the doors, you couldn’t hide from those gusty winds. I shot a few brief Periscope videos as I approached the start line and waited, but I stayed cold until about mile 2–including my hands. It was about 61 degrees, so I was surprised.

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My Homecoming Race – Boilermaker 15K Recap

Downtown Utica
Downtown Utica

20150711_163340I grew up in Utica, NY from age 3, and not fond of it overall. In spite of this, I decided last year that I wanted to go back to do the Boilermaker 15K. I haven’t been to Utica since my daughter was a newborn 12 years ago.  My mom was my last family member to move South with us in 2004, so there’s been no compelling reason to go back.
The Boilermaker 15K is the biggest 15K in the world, and takes place on the second Sunday of July (July 13, 2015 is the 38th annual event).


Training and Prep

I started the Hal Higdon training plan at the top of May, simultaneously doing T25 Beta round for the first 5 weeks.  On July 4, I had nothing to do (I did the biggest 10K in the world last year, Atlanta’s Peachtree Road Race) and since it poured all morning, I decided to make it a rest day instead of my usual long run day.  I’ve never done more than 3 miles on a treadmill and didn’t want to then, either.  So I spent the entire morning reading race recaps to add to the hype I was feeling about coming back home to run a race I heard about all my life, but never cared until I became a runner.

New York Travels

In front of the Manhattan Bridge
In front of the Manhattan Bridge

A few days later, I flew to NYC to hang out and visit friends before heading to Utica for the big race weekend.  I had not seen these besties of mine in 9 and 18 years respectively!  And my visit meant that they got to reconnect too (they are mutual friends and each of them also have very young children.)

It was awesome to run in the Washington Heights neighborhood in Manhattan–I did a quickie shakeout run a couple of days before my race.  I would love to run in the park without crowds and street lights, so maybe next time I can plan better for that. (It was kinda cool to sleep in an apartment with a fire escape. I imagined I was in a real-life episode of Blue Bloods with Donnie Wahlberg.)  I don’t know if I’ll ever get to run a race in one of the five boroughs.  I prefer races under 10K anywhere, and when traveling, I like Saturday races better than Sunday–so we’ll see.

When I took the train to Utica, I spent some of that time editing a couple of my forthcoming episodes of my forthcoming podcast (next month!), Kickin’ It with Daree.  I’ll talk about that more in another post soon.

Continue reading “My Homecoming Race – Boilermaker 15K Recap”

2015: Looking Ahead

This blog is entering its 8th year (I started it in January 2007).  I usually write about goals and such between my birthday (in November) and the close of the year. This is Part 3 of 3 in my 2014 yearly review.


5 PLACES I WANT TO GO in 2015picjumbo.com_HNCK2304-40e
– NYC (I would have gone in October, but a race I scheduled there was cancelled)
– L.A. (to be on another talk show like Ellen, Wendy, Fallon or The REAL and be in the audience with my sister)
– EssenceFest*
– Puerto Rico* and/or Hawaii* (these have been on my list for years, as I’ve never done them)
– My hometown (I have not been to my hometown in 12 years, and there is a 15K race I want to do–it was even recommended as a go-to in Runner’s World magazine this month)

Continue reading “2015: Looking Ahead”

Sweat with Your Sole: Charlotte (Recap Pt. 2)

This post is a continuation of my two-part recap with my impressions of the 2nd Annual Black Girls RUN! (BGR) Sweat with Your Sole Conference.

My last session was “RUN! Safe.” We all know that things can happen to people when they’re out running, especially alone. But criminals look for people who look weak or are distracted before they move in. Two local officers facilitated this session, and they were not only knowledgeable, but HI-larious!  They said that the top two places people are attacked/abducted are in the parking lots of shopping malls and grocery stores. Sometimes they come from between cars, and sometimes they don’t hide–but they ask a question and feign needing help. They use intent and opportunity. You can’t help what another person’s intent is, but you can control their opportunity to harm you. Be assertive and observant where you walk, take someone with you if you can, and run without earphones or only in one ear.

I was with my family in the evenings, so I did not attend the mixer on Friday night, nor the gala dinner with Marion Jones on Saturday night, but heard great things about them both. The expo area was nice, too, but I didn’t purchase any bling.

The 5K & 10K races on Sunday were awesome. What a way to end the conference! I beat my previous 5K time by two minutes, probably because I only took a couple of short walk breaks, and ran most of the hills. I came in 196th out of 1,040 5K finishers, and 2nd in the F35-39 division, which had 9 members (not the same as 2nd place for all divisions, but I did a great job)!

As always, I got a little emotional when I saw the finish line. 🙂

I wish I could have stuck around to greet my friends who were in the 10K, but I had to walk back to my hotel (half a mile–I passed it twice during the race), freshen up, check out of the hotel and take my sister to the airport for her flight.

The best part of the conference was meeting other runners and getting the chance to hang out and talk with my sole sisters from my local group. So often we run together, but we don’t get the chance to know each other better.

Continue reading “Sweat with Your Sole: Charlotte (Recap Pt. 2)”

Sweat with Your Sole: Charlotte (Recap Pt. 1)

Just got back from Charlotte, NC for the Black Girls RUN! (BGR) Sweat with Your Sole Conference (in its 2nd year). I enjoyed myself immensely! Getting involved in BGR 6 months ago (an awesome running group) has changed my life, my mind, and my body.

I was so excited when the conference and its sessions were announced.  I immediately contacted my sissy, and asked if she could meet me and the girl in Charlotte to serve as my babysitter. She accepted.


The sessions I attended were pretty good:
“Speed Training 101” and “Psychology of a Runner” were both presented by the same BGR  lead/ambassador. She won the 10K race last year. In the former, I learned some running drills for the track to help train myself to get faster. I also learned about goal pacing based on running one “give-it-all-you-got” mile after the drills.
In the latter, she talked about figuring out your “why” for running, what type of runner you are, and dispelling myths about running. For example, a few runner types could be A) Pacifier (someone who is forced to run), B) Socializer (runs with peers for the camaraderie), C) Improver (making a healthy lifestyle change), or D) Achiever (a goal-getter). Initially when I began running 6 months ago, I was C, but now I’m also B and D too.

Traci speaks
Traci speaks

My fan-out on Friday was sitting across from Toni Braxton’s sister Traci on a panel about health called “Running From You: Embracing Your Fears, Flaws and Frustrations.” Beside 6 other panelists, Traci talked about how she accomplished her 40-pound weight loss and took questions from us about her family and WeTV’s Braxton Family Values.  Because a lady from WeTV encouraged us to stay for this panel (and I wanted to hear from Traci), I missed the abs sessions I originally signed up for.


In the session “Bling Junkies,” my own BGR lead/ambassador discussed how to tame that craving many of us runners have for new gear (or new races). BLING stands for:
B) Budget – prioritize safety and comfort in whatever gear you choose, and make sure it motivates you to run)
L) Local – Consider local races and local running clubs
I) Internet – Use social media and running/sports companies to score free or discounted gear
N) Narrow – Limit the number of races you run. Consider volunteering for some (which might get you into the next year’s race for free or at discount).
G) Give and get – This is all about giving back. Volunteers often get great swag bags (running leads, race volunteers, etc.). Support your local running group and others even you are not a member.

I love line dancing, and I got an hour of it in first thing Saturday morning. Who knew that Blurred Lines had a line dance to it?
Come back tomorrow for the rest of my BGR conference highlights and takeaways.


Reunions: My Life in July 2013

 July 2013 was the month of reunions: I reunited with a 15 people in 8 different scenarios–and I didn’t attend a family reunion to do it.
Source: Madame Noire

Reunited at Long Last

I wanted to take advantage of my mom time off but I did spend a couple of days being mom when I went to Virginia to celebrate my daughter’s 10th birthday with her.  She was also reunited with her father on her special day (whom we haven’t seen in 18 months) and her adult brother whom I’ve known about ever since I met her father but have never met before!

Source: The Gore Family

Of the 15 reunions I had this month, 6 of them were in town. 2 of the in- town reunions were with people who  were traveling to Atlanta and happened to tell me they were coming. That included a friend I have not seen since then since we graduated 19 years ago– we went to school together from kindergarten all the way through 12th grade! (Unfortunately my cousin came here the same weekend that I went to Virginia, so I couldn’t see her.)

Running Long and Strong

I completed my goal of running at least 60 miles this month. I decided to start running more in the mornings so that I can beat the sun, high temps and humidity that defines summer in Hotlanta. Getting up while it’s still dark is definitely a sacrifice because I work from home, but knowing I’ve done a hard workout early and got that out of the way is worth it. However, I ran my fastest and longest runs when it was over 90 degrees– so go figure.  I now do a run long every weekend (at least 5 miles) and recover well.

Me... then and now
Me… then and now

3 short months ago when I started running, I was afraid. I considered the average 5K/ 3 mile route to be a scary distance, and I’d modify the route or turn around a lot sooner than everyone else in my running group. Now I’m when I finish 3- or 4-mile runs, I feel like I could keep going even though it’s over. I think, “That’s it? I’m just getting started.” It’s not because the runs get easier, or that I’m that much faster than before. I must be getting stronger. So if you’re new like me and you don’t think you’re where you’re want to be with this running thing, don’t worry–just stick with it and for sure, running will stick with you.

In other news, editing is now complete for my new book and the layout phase has begun.  I also got a new phone–the Samsung Galaxy S4.

I think I want to take one more short trip in August before baby girl comes home. Any suggestions?

Doing the Most: Who’s House? My House!

a.k.a. Camp Do More Recap, Part 1

I started planning my trip to the West Coast to attend Camp Do More (CDM) last fall.  I was sad to learn they ran out of room before I finished saving my money to register ($400). Then I got an email in December, saying the venue had changed and a link was provided to join the waiting list. I registered and secured my hotel room shortly after Christmas. Then you know the rest–I got my certifications to teach even though I prefer staying in the mix.  But you haven’t worked out until you’ve been in a grand ballroom doing new choreography with hundreds of others all around you. I could see that energy on YouTube video highlights of years past, but experiencing it in person is like nothing else. It’s like the difference between watching your favorite celebrity perform in concert on DVD or TV vs. being in the live audience.

Because I have so much to say about my experience (and the creator Chalene Johnson suggested first-timers reflect on video), I made a video about it (see below). Tomorrow I’ll share my notes from her motivational lectures (which she told us to share) since this blog is primarily on personal development.

I loved the opening performance…. the energy was crazy.

This year was the first time CDM was not held in Orange County, CA. It took place on 3 weekdays preceding the Beachbody Summit, not a weekend, and in June instead of August. For these reasons and perhaps others, attendance declined for the first time, where usually it doubled. If it had been the same as always, I would not have been eligible to register at all, because the CA venue sold out and the best I could do was add myself to a waiting list until they changed their site location.

Maintaining for Life

Today is my first anniversary with Weight Watchers, and it’s also the day I made Lifetime.

I’m ready to stop paying for WW membership, and now I can. I maintained my goal weight for 6 weeks and made it to Lifetime status! And this was after almost a week’s vacation in Las Vegas. Coincidentally, the topic for last week’s meeting (which they seem to cover each year in June) was how to stay on plan during vacations.

Continue reading “Maintaining for Life”

Why Do You Run?

Bibs for my daughter and I to wear on National Running Day 2013
Bibs for my daughter and I to wear on National Running Day 2013

Today (June 5, 2013) is National Running Day.


Why I Run

I run to push myself to the next level. I have *never* run in my life until 8 weeks ago, and I see the difference. I also run to have a fun outlet with my daughter, alleviate frustration and other negative emotions, and will continue to run to keep this weight off since I recently reached my goal. Making new friends is a pleasant side effect of this newfound determination I have.

Continue reading “Why Do You Run?”