Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Reflections of 2013

2013 is coming to a close and for each of us this year has looked very different. For some of us, it was a year of great challenge and change and for others, a year of great accomplishment. I know each of us are looking forward to what 2014 in store for us personally, in running, and for Girls Run the 901. We are excited for all the new opportunities, support, and encouragement that will help us continue to stand beside you and share in your victories and hardships. Here is a bit from each of us on what 2013 looked like.

Janell- 2013 was an all around year of change for me. Some of it welcomed, some took a little more work. Some of the highlights were running the Winter Cross Country Series together as well as the Little Rock Marathon. There is just something about the chemistry when we are all together that I am grateful for which leaves me with a lot of fun memories of laughter and just plain fun. One funny memory is Jennifer and I on an air mattress with a hole in it on the floor= no sleep the night before the Little Rock marathon. Funny now, not so much then. I also had a lot of fun training and racing for the Annie Oakley sprint triathlon. Looking back, this year has been a hard one for me to really get in sync with my training as I had before. I have become ok with that, knowing that I made my best efforts to get whatever I could get in when I could-it just looked a lot different. As a lot of you know dynamics with kids change and for me as this season on their lives they need me. A LOT. I am fully aware that this won't last forever so I'm trying to make the absolute best of this season we are in. Looking forward to new, fun races in 2014  as well as continuing to grow in my training and running!

Debi - 2013 can be described as unexpected surprises! I took a family vacation to Disney and was surprised with a race entry to the Princess 1/2 Marathon. I planned to run a race with my husband but due to injury he could not do it, so I raced alone and reached a PR. And while there were fun races and exciting PRs, what stands out to me are the friendships made this year. I put myself out there and with no expectation in return I came into contact with friendships that will last a lifetime. Went on a girls weekend to do a Tri with Janell and two girls that I barely knew at the time, that turned into some of the greatest friendships ever. Joined local running groups where I didn't know anyone, and met so many new friends that feel like family. My 7 year old daughter asked to run two 5K's with me and did amazing. But the best surprise for me was meeting my running buddy Cecilia! This year has taught me that even though you can have ups and downs and plans change, there is always joy to be found in every situation. Bring it on 2014, I can't wait!

Jennifer- 2013 was a year that covered both ends of the fitness spectrum for me. I feel that for half the year I was working harder and more frequently than I ever have before, from running, yoga, krav maga, to healthy eating. The later half of the year was a struggle between being lacksadaisical  with marathon training and enjoying running with no agenda. I think coming up on the last day of the year, it's safe to say that running with no agenda won out over discipline and devotion to a schedule, but I'm not complaining. I have experienced the Memphis running community like I never thought I would, and I am proud of all the levels of success and determination that I witnessed. I have friends that PRed marathons and a mom that diligently trained for 5ks and her health. 2014 should be a new experience of   less agenda and training and more running for the experience and just because I can.

Dana2013-Where to begin? The year started for me just as I planned, because that's what I do: Plan! I had several races in my sights and several goals to meet. My first was met at the Germantown Half marathon where I PR'd with a sub 2 hour race. Another huge highlight for me was the Little Rock Marathon with the girls. Lots of memories made there! The summer crept up on us and my goal was to concentrate on speed. I did just that and placed in several local 5 Ks in my age group. However, life started having different plans for me that has put my running on hold for the time being. Funny how life doesn't always ask us, huh? Just two weeks after my last race I had a spinal fusion surgery and I am now 11 weeks post operation. Needless to say, this year for me has taken a turn I wasn't expecting but I am trying to fully embrace where I am. I am so very thankful that I am walking distances again! What does 2014 hold for me? Trying not to plan too much, but I do know it will involve lacing up my running shoes in about 5 weeks, but who's counting?

Dawn- As I sit here on the couch this cold December night I think back to the beginning of this whirl wind year that began on a road trip with 6 girls running a marathon in the Windy City. I am so blessed. These 5 ladies have become some of my BFFs and honored to be called their friend! We have some great memories especially in Little Rock, all 6 of us all in one room (shhh, don't tell anyone) and all the laughs and fun all the way through. The Germantown half, they let a guy join the girls by welcoming my man to tag a long on his first half. From short runs at the beach and in the mountains, to the 'just happened to run into you' runs in The Ville and all the training runs for the marathon that didn't happen, and everything in between! I am thankful for all the people we have met along the way and new friends I would not have if not for this crazy ride! Watching these friendship grow in each of our personal lives has probably been the biggest blessing of all! From our baby in the group getting married, another of us hitting a mile stone in age, helping each other with schedules around kids/family, to our maniac marathoner going through one of the hardest years of her life. The bonds are unbreakable! So for me this ride called the GRT901 may have started with a little run in Chicago has become one of the best years of my life! 

Stacey- Oh my goodness, as I read what everyone else has written, I can't believe what all we have done in 2013! Boy, how time flies and WOW have we packed some stuff into 365 days!!! I have to agree with all these girls ... it's been a year of challenges and changes. When I look back at what has been covered these past 1500 miles, I smile at the thought of how I have been stretched to try new things - like trail running and tall socks (still not sold, on the high socks that is - they were ankle socks by the end of the race). I learned that not every race has to be tackled with a PR in mind. At Little Rock we took time to stop and smell the roses and for a few photo opps. It's not how you got the medal that matters, it's that you got it! I was able to rejoice in my son completing his first half marathon (Germantown). I'm looking forward to many more finish lines for him. When my running partner got hurt, I had to learn to train alone (still learning).  As with the other girls, life is changing and time demands change too. A new job left me with less time to run, I have had to find creative ways to get the miles in and learn to be content with how ever far I could go (long or short). Some long runs were split - a little on this side of town, then run my daughter to practice, and finish a few more miles on that side of town. Then there were days I barely squeezed one in. However, it became somewhat liberating to recapture the mentality of running for fun again which has is really hard when so much of your sport is in your head! Ultimately, 2013 brought me closer to these five ladies for whom I am so grateful and blessed to be able to call my friends. Looking forward to where these running shoes will take us in 2014!

We are thankful for each of you and the support you have given us over this past year. Never would we have imagined that a few girls with a mutual love of running would be able to accomplish as much as we have and we can't wait for what is in store. We plan to continue authenticity, discounts, tips, ideas and encouragements in wherever you are on your journey. We have no doubt grown and learned so much through this experience and are forever grateful.

Here's to an amazing 2014! Who's with us? 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Runners 12 Days of Christmas

While we have been so busy during this Christmas season - kids Christmas programs, work parties, family gatherings, and simply trying to keep sane, we were able to manage to fit in a breakfast together after the Jingle Bell Run. We were all reminded how fun it is with all 6 of us together and why we began this journey together. We even got a little creative and made our own runners 12 days of Christmas. Enjoy!

On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me:

1 Awesome Memphis Running Community

2 Car Decals

3 Goals Reached

4 Months of Training

5 Packs of Gu

6 Girls a Running

7 Race Entries

8 Race Tees

9 Port A Potties

10 Toenails Intact

11 Shiny Medals

12 Running Shoes

Merry Christmas from Girls Run the 901!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Inspired...running for the children of St. Jude

"We came to run for the kids of St. Jude, and we did!"

The St. Jude Marathon is a different race, not only do we train to run a certain distance, but we become inspired because we are raising money to help children fighting cancer. Our passion for running truly becomes so much more, this year over $8 million was raised for St. Jude Hospital!

Our race may have been cancelled but that did not stop the passion in our hearts. While we do not promote running when race directors deem conditions to be unsafe, the weather predictions of a severe ice storm did not happen.

So this weekend, all around our city, runners layered up, and headed out in frigid temps. From runs along the planned race course to group runs in Collierville and Bartlett, so many ran their own race.

We want to celebrate everyone that ran, but specifically those of you that conquered your farthest distances!

We thought it would be best to have some of those that ran put into words what it was like for them:

Amanda D: My marathon experience? Unofficially of course Well, I have two words for you. Cold and exhilarating. I went with a group of runners from LifeTime Fitness in Collierville. Our route took us from there to Shelby farms and back. My running buddy, Debi, even commented that we had run through three cities. Ha! So, I guess I should start from the beginning or the first steps on that cold day. I arrived at our meeting spot and there were about 20 or so crazy runners. They were all super excited and you could feel the excitement in the air. They all had such determination on their faces. It made my run seem so much more possible. I was filled with doubt that I could do it. I had had some pretty disappointing injuries that had sidelined my training and my longest (not junk miles) mileage was 15. I just kept thinking, how in the world am I going to run 11 more after that and let’s not forget the .2, haha! But the excitement and determination of all those other runners made me feel like I could do it. When I saw Debi, relief is the best word I could use to explain how I felt. I knew that I wouldn’t be alone on my quest to turning into a human popsicle . We took off and as I started my run I felt excitement in every step! There were cars honking as they passed and there was even a family who braved the cold to ring some cow bells for us. There was lots of chatter among the runners and it felt like a real race! It was such a great experience to see everyone getting out there for this wonderful cause. At about mile 6 or so most of the runners started heading back towards LifeTime Fitness. Debi and I kept running and eventually found ourselves alone heading towards Shelby Farms. Those were the hardest miles by far. It was so cold my glasses were sticking to my nose and I had to take them off. Yet we kept running. We went over multiple bridges that were iced over. Yet we kept running (just not over the bridges ). We had multiple ice covered tree branches that covered our path. Yet we kept running. I just kept thinking that no matter how uncomfortable I was.. no matter what training I got in… the kids at St. Jude had endured so much worse. As we neared the end of our running journey that day it was getting dark and it was getting much colder. Debi said we were at mile 25 and I just remember thinking if I don’t lay all of my heart out here on the sidewalk I will walk away felling that I didn’t do what I came here to do. So I ran faster. My legs felt like lead, my arms were aching; my lips and face were burning from the wind, but I ran as fast as my legs would carry me. Then we were done. Debi said “26.2” and the only thing I could do was laugh.. I laughed so loud! I was exhausted, elated, beat down, but over the moon. I felt like I had done something.. be it so small.. to represent the kiddos. I did it. But I never would have gotten through it without Debi, my running guardian angel.

Katie S: First of all, I can't believe I got out from under that electric blanket. I did it because I knew I'd really regret it if I wasn't part of whatever was going to happen this morning. And I would have. It was neat. There were far fewer people out than I'd expected. But the spirit was there, and there were people cheering, and honking horns and MRTC was representing at Redbirds park. All good. I was hoping to soak up some atmosphere and maybe get 3-4 miles in. Honestly, last night I just *knew* I wasn't even going to get up, but I I did. I got out there. Yes, it was cold, but I saw a friend right away. He couldn't even stop to talk. He was trying to PR the SJ half marathon. I tried for two miles to catch him - mostly because I didn't know the route. Then others passed by, and it was easy all the way to the ballpark. From there I wanted to head back home, via mile 17-18 up Peabody. Ran mostly solo, but saw 6 or so people doing the full. Wow. There were two guys in front of Soul Fish on Cooper with water, kleenex(!) and Gu. Amazing. So worth it.

Angela B: I ran in Collierville! I didn't do a full marathon (I can't bring myself to run 26.2 miles alone, especially if it's not an official race!) but I did a half plus one :-) It was so cold, getting dark, and I had frost on my ear warmer after I finished! The best part was seeing my family at the unofficial finish line and getting to hug my little girl after hearing her yell, "Mommy!! Run, Mommy, RUN!"

Meredith G: I signed up for this race 6 months ago. I had been running all along but my official training plan began the beginning of August. I followed the plan, I researched fuel, I carefully selected shoes and gear- I sacrificed a lot and put in a lot of work at the same time. Yes, I was severely broken hearted to know I wouldn't run that race, but in the grand scheme of things? It was never about me. I had to take ME completely out of the equation. I dried my tears and did what any other runner would do. Got ready to run anyway. How could I not? Cancer and chemo treatments don't get cancelled.... I would run as a St. Jude Hero- race or no race. I didn't run an official marathon, but to me that day and those miles is not something I will ever forget. I would even go as far to say it was more special to me because of all the heartache that was left behind with it. Running that morning helped me grieve the race that never was. I was happy again. I AM a marathoner.

Jennifer M. : There's something to be said about atmosphere on race day was, and I don't mean the bitter cold. There was a special sense of excitement to be running with a group whose spirit couldn't be broken by the unfortunate cancellation of the official race. As about 45 of us gathered to our pretend start line, awaiting the unofficial start siren, St. Jude was on our minds and the group still couldn't wait to run to the hospital. I love the spirit of Memphis runners! 

To everyone that volunteered to graciously hand out water at makeshift water stations, and to those that honked at us to show support, we thank you!! We love this race and our city!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Celebrating St Jude: Christmas Shirt My Town Tee Giveaway

My Town Tees and Girls Run the 901 are teaming up to giveaway 2 free GRT901 Christmas shirts!

With the St Jude Marathon cancelled this weekend, some runners took to the streets to finish out their training or simply to celebrate the reason we all love this race so much: the children! We want to hear your stories. Enter below for your chance to win one of two Christmas shirts.

Giveaway will end Thursday at midnight and the winner will be announced Friday.

*shirts sizes available: S, L, XL

Directions for entering the giveaway are below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I am thankful for my running partner!

By: Dana 

These days I have much to be thankful for and so many people to thank, but since this blog is about "all things running!", I better stick to that. 

First, I am going to echo what Dawn said in yesterday's post. I am so thankful for my 901 girls and their support and encouragement through my surgery and now my recovery. I've got a long road ahead of me, but I know they will be with me every step of the way. Also, I am so thankful for the running community. The encouragement and well wishes I have gotten has been truly overwhelming. New friendships I've formed, stronger friendships been made, strangers praying for me. Thankful, yes I am! Because of all of you, I don't feel so out of the running loop these days. 

However, there is one 901 girl in particular, that is responsible for the marathon bug that I caught! She has literally been with me every step of the way. When I started running, I told Stacey I wanted to run a half marathon, she said "ok, lets do it." We ran the St. Jude Marathon that December and that was only the beginning for me. I was hooked and as soon as we crossed the finish line, I said what's next! Ok, maybe not as soon as I crossed the finish line, I was a newbie and dying, but soon after that.

St Jude 2010 (my first half)
Since then we have run 6 halfs, 4 marathons and hundreds and hundreds of training miles together. Only one distance race have I not crossed the finish line with her. I was going after a PR and with her encouragement, I pushed myself to get there. I got my PR, yes, but it was not worth finishing without her. She doesn't believe me, it really is true. We've held hands crossing every finish line except that one, and all because of my competitiveness. She has proven to me she would never leave me behind, and I didn't do the same for her.

Last year at the St. Jude marathon, I just didn't have it. I had just done the Bourbon Chase, Chicago full and my body was just tired. At mile 21, I begged her to go on without me. I cried, I cussed, I really wanted her to go on. But, she wouldn't, at one point she sat down on the curb. Once we hit that point, we just cut up and laughed the rest of the time. We may or may not have tried a shot of beer to see if that would fuel me, whatever it took, she wasn't leaving me. We finally made it to the finish line and I have her to thank. I could not have gotten there without her!

Even now she walks with me and reminds me that I will be back at it soon and we will then start planning my next race. During her long runs now I text her to keep going and to "move your booty!" I only wish I could be there for her the way she has for me. My sweet running partner has even joked about pushing me in a stroller at St.Jude. Crazy thing is, if it wasn't against the rules, I know she would! 

So yes, I have one of our very own to thank for giving me the marathon bug and for seeing me through it mile after mile. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I am thankful for my Girls!

By: Dawn

Three years ago when I started running I was inspired by my health and the need to take better care of myself! My sister, Stacey, our Marathon Momma, always tried to get me to run but never thought I could. Finally,  I got off my booty and hit the streets with my man and the rest is history! 

A year ago Stacey said she and some girls, whom I knew were going to run the Chicago Marathon and ask if I wanted to join them, I said, "No way! I can't run a marathon!" I was hearing how much fun they were going to have, and me being the girl all about fun couldn't stand it, so I caved and decided to do it! The race was full!! God shut the door but secretly I was glad! I'll just go along for the ride, the fellowship and I'll have fun cheering them on, then the phone call came! My cousin, Kristy had gotten into the Kona Ironman the week after the race and was not going to be able to run, so we were able to transfer her bib. That was where Girls Run the 901 came from, a great weekend with my girls! 

So, I am thankful for my Girls of the 901! These ladies may not be the inspiration to the start of my running hobby...they are my inspiration to keep running! Thank you to my favorite running girls!

Friday, November 22, 2013

I am thankful, a story of inspiration

by Debi

Just like Janell, I was inspired by a child. I have mentioned before that 2 years ago I read a Facebook post from a friend asking to pray for a little girl named Lucy, and below the post was a link to a blog. I had no idea who Lucy was or why I should pray for her. So I clicked the link and started reading, and I just cried.

Lucy was a five year old little girl that had just been diagnosed with brain and spinal cancer. Her Mom wrote a blog that detailed everything that they were going through, the awful truths of the suffering of a parent of a child diagnosed with such a devastating disease. Maybe it was the way that this Mom shared what her daughter was going through or the fact that Lucy was the same age as my daughter and they look so similar, but it just broke my heart. Lucy's mom, Kate, asked one day if people would sign up to run the St. Jude Marathon, in order to help the hospital raise money to continue cancer research.

I never knew until that time that patients treated at St. Jude are not responsible for paying for their care, the hospital pays for everything so that the families never have to worry about financial issues while dealing with their child's illness. How amazing is that!!! The St. Jude Marathon is the largest fundraiser for the hospital.

Here is this Mom going through the unimaginable and she's asking for this one little thing. So with much trepidation (I had never run before), I signed up. Months later I finished that 1/2 marathon, but I realized during that race that you could sign up to be on a team and there was a team for Lucy. I felt like I missed something.

When it came time to sign up the following year, I took a leap of faith again and signed up for the full marathon distance, and as a Hero on Lucy's Team. (Signing up as a hero means you commit to raising money for the hospital.)

That Summer, Lucy took a turn for the worst, and went into a coma, with no expectation to ever wake up.  Amazingly, Lucy did wake up, and she recovered!!..And she continues to improve. Lucy is a fighter and continues to defy the odds against her with the help of St. Jude and everyone praying for her. The night before we raced, an update was sent out that she had clear scans, no cancer! Can you believe that?

Running the race as a hero is incredible, the race becomes so much more than you ever thought it could be, it's rewarding without the expectation of getting that in return, if that makes sense.

I was so inspired by the courage and strength of this little girl and used that inspiration to overcome one of  my biggest fears (running) to raise money for St. Jude. Lucy's story and her parents testament to God is amazing!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I am thankful for...Callie Marie

Callie Marie
By: Janell

I am blessed to have a great job where I work with one of the most incredible teams around. Not only do I have the privilege of working on a great team, we also are great friends. Not long after I ran my first 5k, there was talk of training for a half marathon amongst our coworkers. I honestly questioned myself, doubting if I could ever run a full 13.1 miles. I remember distinctly the conversation, where my friend and coworker said hey we are going to train for and run the St Jude half marathon and we are going to run it for Callie. Straight away, with no questions asked, my response was, 'I'm in'.

Whitney and BJ with their son, Caleb (2)
 after completing
her first half marathon in 2012
My sweet friend, Whitney (and the only other female in our office) and I and were pregnant at the same time and due with our babies (my second and her first-both girls) just 2 months apart.  It was a sweet time to be pregnant together and dreaming of bows, dresses, and our sweet little girls playing and growing up together. 

Callie Marie Clay was born Nov 27, 2009 at 9.5 oz 23 inches long. We knew that upon her arrival into this world that she would have to have immediate surgery to correct a bowel loop. She survived her 5 hour surgery but shortly after developed complications in her breathing. She lived for 15 hours before passing from her fathers arms into those of her Heavenly Father. It gives me chills to even write it, we were completely devastated.

The days and months after Callie's birth, were admittedly dark times for me as well as others. As we wrestled with feelings of anger, sadness and mourned for Callie, I remember what is was that helped us move forward. Her parents, Whitney and BJ, endured this devastating circumstance with such strength and bravery. They were an example of grace and faith that challenged us all. They remained confident that God is in control and were such a testimony to each of us wrestling with it. Do they have hard days even still? Absolutely!  But, I am so thankful for their attitudes, the courage they had, and how they remain confident that Callie's short life was not in vain.

Callie's St Jude Marathon team 2010
In 2010, a group of us from Central Church ran in the various events of the St Jude Marathon weekend for Callie. For a lot of of us it our first half marathon and the beginning of the marathon madness. We continue to run for her. Whitney completed her first half marathon in 2012 in her honor!

Her legacy continues. She would have been four next week.  We never want to forget Callie and what she meant for so many of us. We will continue to run in her honor, to celebrate her life, her beauty and how she changed us. We are thankful for you, Callie Marie.

Callie's St Jude Marathon team 2012

Monday, November 18, 2013

Girls Run the 901 Christmas Shirts!

We are so excited about the super fun Girls Run the 901 Christmas shirts this year. Made my My Town Tees, these lime green long sleeve Comfort Colors tees and very comfortable and soft.

We made these shirts originally for our Jingle Bell Run team shirt, but they are available to anyone!

Price: 1 for $25 or 2 for $40
(plus tax and shipping if needed)

What a fun gift for your running partner or to encourage someone to join you in running their first 5k! 

To order: comment below or on our Facebook page your size(s), an email address to send you a paypal invoice, and if you need it shipped or will pick it up.

Pick up will be Wednesday, December 11th at a location TBD, at the race, or we can ship them to you if need it.

Feel free to ask any questions or send your order to: girlsrunthe901@gmail.com

We will take orders through Monday, November 25th at midnight so order quick!

Join us in spreading Christmas cheer!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Fashion Friday: Braving the Cold

If it's cold in Memphis, it's safe to say it's cold most everywhere in the US. It seems that the Bluff City is usually one of the last places to get permanently cold. Whether you feel like the lower temps are a deterrent to your run or mother nature's best gift to runners, not actually being cold during your run is a common goal of most cold-weather runners. And as they say, necessity is the mother of invention.

Earlier this week, our friends over at Breakaway Running posted a few incredible tips on their Facebook page about cold weather running. Here is the post if you missed it.  Check it out now!

Here a few more creative ways to help you get out the door AND stay warm while you're gone:

- Sleep in your running clothes. This trick aims to avoid taking off warm clothes and putting on cold ones. If your house is cold, there's nothing worse than changing clothes in what feels like a freezer.
-Put your clothes in the dryer. There are many reasons you may not wan to sleep in your running clothes, but you still don't have to put them on cold. Throw your glacial garments in the dryer to warm up!
- Sleep with your clothes under your pillow. Along the same lines as the previous ideas, why not put on your warmed clothes while you're still IN the bed. It's just one step closer to getting ready without getting up.
-Run with Hot Hands. Whether you're wearing gloves or not, you can hold these small reminders of warmth in your hands or make good use of any and all pockets.
- Cover yourself. Ears, head, face, hands, feet, core. If it gets cold, cover it. There are no rules. No one will judge you for running in a scarf and smartwool socks. They'll just be impressed that you're running.
-Layer with undressing in mind. Be thoughtful in your layering. You may get out there and find you're warmer than you want to be. Dress to undress.
- Remember to hydrate and fuel. When  it’s cold out, it’s easy to overlook your fluid and fuel needs. There is no need to forgo hydration to be “fast” to get it done and back inside. 

Also, here are a few pieces of cold gear we like that will help you brave the run:

Nike Elite Storm Tech-Fit
(touch screen compatible)

C9 Champion Headband
(with a ponytail hole)

Base Layers:

Under Armour Cold Gear Compression Leggings

Nike Women's Pro Hyperwarm Crewneck Long Sleeve Tee


Lululemon Star Runner Pullover

Nike Women's Thermal Running Pants

Top Layer:

Brooks Women's Adapt Vest

 What are some of your favorite pieces to run in when it gets cold? What tricks do you use to keep going when it's cold?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I am THANKFUL for...

By: Stacey

Many of you have seen on Facebook and other social media sites people posting daily things they are thankful for during the month of November. So that got us thinking: we are at the tail end of marathon training for St. Jude let's write blogs about how we are thankful for that person who or what got us started in the madness of marathon running!

For me that person is Paige Kimberlin. Back in 2001 at a Sunday School party,  Paige and our friend Rachel were talking about wanting to run a marathon. I was thinking they are crazy there is no way I could run 26 miles! I loved to run but six was considered a long one. I had two small kids, when was I going to train? Train,  that was a foreign word - I never trained for anything. I just ran for the fun of it. What happened to a half marathon? Honestly, at the time, I never knew that was an option. Running that far had never entered my mind - EVER! Before I knew it they had picked the Country Music Marathon in Nashville in April 2002 and we began a training program - Hal Higdon, and I was training for a marathon! (Rachel found out she was pregnant, so it was just Paige and I. Wait, this wasn't even my idea!)

The arrow is pointing to Paige and I am next to her (#7300)

Training was tough at first, I used to always take the winters off. Why in the world would I run in the cold weather that was just crazy and so not fun?! But I survived, actually ran the Germantown Half for the first time because it fell right in line with our training schedule. I remember it being fun but didn't really think of it as a big deal because it was just the long run for that week! (I was such a rookie.)

April came and it was time for the big race! It was an amazing experience. My, how styles have changed...something I am also thankful for! I had never seen so many people, everyone had garbage bags on (what was that all about?), there were so many hills, people were pee-ing behind cars, what was the vaseline for (and where were they putting it), donuts at mile 23... it was crazy!? And I loved it!!! I was hooked. 

So twelve years later, I am still running races and now to me there is no difference between training and running for fun (training is fun). I am thankful for Paige and each person since then who has said to me "Hey, will you run a marathon with me?" I have to say I am thankful for my cheerleader too... my sister! She was at my first marathon and everyone after that, always cheering me on! (That was before she jumped on this crazy train with me!) 

Who are you thankful for? Who did you run your first marathon (half or full) with?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The chafe made me do it!

Have you ever headed out for a run in a great mood, so excited to be hitting the trails, and shortly after realize that due to a poor choice in clothing, your run is ruined due to skin irritation?

Have you ever chafed? The burn of your skin due to friction. 

Normally I would never share with you my issues with chafing, but feel the need to in an effort to prevent you from experiencing the pain and irritation that comes from chafing.

As runners, we are all different, so "if you chafe" can be as common as "where you chafe." If you tend to sweat a lot, whether due to amount of time working out or if its in your genes tends to be in correlation with how much you chafe. Yes there are items such as Body Glide that can minimize the irritation, but for some (like me) you need something stronger, or some places require different products.

My skin irritation changes location just like the changing of the season. Warmer weather leads to skin irritation under my arms since I always wear tanks, and on top of my shoulders if I carry a camel-back. Cooler weather leads to irritation on my neck from my shirts. It may surprise you that you can chafe during times of cooler temps but layers can hold sweat and make the chafe worse. Also more clothes could mean chaffing in areas you usually don't. And year round I experience irritation and scarring along by bra line from either my sports bra or my heart rate monitor.

Some days I can figure out how to cover these sensitive spots and have a painless run, but more often than not, when I get into the shower after a long run I learn quickly the areas I missed and experience pain that no one should bear.

So how do you outsmart the chafe? Here are some things that I have found:

For the bra line and HR Monitor area: Nexcare Waterproof dressing (basically a bandaid)

For under side of the arm, BodyGlide works for short runs. This does wear off, that is why it is only good for a few miles.

But for any run longer than 5 miles, I need something more. I went to our local running store Breakaway Running and asked them for help, They recommended Skin Sake. I am so thankful, it has worked the best. I use it on my neck, arms, thighs and anywhere else that's needed. Best part, is their sample pack, I can stash one in my pocket to reapply mid-run if needed.
Memphis Runners, Skin Sake will have a booth at the St. Jude Marathon Expo. Bonus!!

(*Note, we were not asked to give this review, this is honestly what I have found to work the best.)

We all want running to be pain free, hopefully these items can help you avoid any discomfort from the chafe!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Make It Monday - this covers ALL the vegetables

This unnamed beauty of a recipe is about the healthiest thing to come out of my kitchen. As I put the top on the crockpot, I stood in amazement that so much nutrition could be in one place. I will warn you that this is a meat-less dish, but it is protein packed!

This vegetable soup requires no prep, and more than likely, you already have most of the ingredients in the freezer. In case you do have to go to the store, you have to hit up 2 aisles: frozen food and beans.

Here's what you need:

3 cups of frozen corn
2 cups of "milk" (soy, hemp, almond, actual milk; you can milk anything these days)
4 cups of frozen, choped kale ( I could only find "folded" kale, and it worked just the same; these hippies.)
2 cups of frozen broccoli
2 cups of frozen oriental vegetables
2 cups of carrot juice
3 cups or 2 15oz cans of beans - any kind. (I recommend always rinsing or washing your beans off before using them. This gets rid of some extra sodium, as well as lessening the not-so-pleasant effect beans can have on a person)
Season to taste with salt/pepper, cavendars, etc. (This step is important, or you will just pour hot sauce on it in the end.)


Place in crockpot. Be sure crockpot is turned on. Cook on high for 3 hours.

Disclaimer: I have gotten in enough trouble already from my poor, starving husband for serving meat-less meals. There's wiggle room with every recipe, especially this one. If you're married to an insatiable carnivore too, or you are one yourself, throw in some chicken breast or shrimp along with everything else.

So easy, and so good. Enjoy a hot meal after a cool run!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Fashion Friday: Its all about the thumb holes!

The leaves are turning, the cool temps are here, all I have to say is THUMBHOLES! Who doesn't love a shirt with thumbholes? Whoever invented these are pure genius. Love them.
In today's world we are always trying to multitask, I think our  clothes should do the same. Shirts with thumb holes, you don't have to give up fashion for function. You can go from your run straight to lunch with your BFF!
We've been on the search for some new ones and we just have to share with you what we have found.

This one is from Old Navy and only $25.99!
                   Old Navy 

This is one is so simple yet so cute!

GapFit Motion Long sleeve tee 

The name of this makes me giggle. It's called a Heater Hog, guess it will keep you warm!


One of our guilty pleasures... Lululemon!

Run Swifty Long Sleeve by Lululemon 

This one does not have thumbholes but it's become my go to when I want to cover up my turtle shell (better known as my back brace) and it's too awesome not to share. Plus it's from Target, and when you find something like this for a good price, it really isn't nice not to share! It is currently on sale for $24!!

C9 Yoga wrap from Target

Did we miss any? What are your favorites?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Running through Daylight Savings time

By: Janell

Daylight Savings time can affect us runners in a lot of different ways. Some love it, giving us earlier daylight in the morning and some have a hard time adjusting to the shorter days. For me, I have a hard time adjusting (and liking) the 'fall back' daylight savings time. As if I don't feel like there are enough hours in the day already, for some reason the earlier darkness always leaves me feeling like I have fewer hours to be productive and the days feeling shorter. I love having time to be outside and 'play' after dinner and before bed time but I am trying to make the best of being inside when we get home. Last night, our family even broke out a work out video and all started together...even though i was alone at the end it was great to see the kids having fun and us doing it together.

For some of us, our days don't look much different. For those of us that run at night it just means gearing up with reflective gear for an outside run or heading to the gym for a run the treadmill. For those of us who run the morning, it just means we have some light a little earlier.

For running at night, fall daylight savings can make a run logistically difficult. So, I try to look for the positive. The darkness and great partner can make a night run feel more adventurous and fun. I remember particular run Debi and I took last year at night on the Wolf River trails in the evening that just felt so enjoyable. There is something about running through the quiet of the night, hearing your footsteps on the ground, that can make it relaxing and enjoyable (really!).

Like we talked about a few weeks ago with helpful hints from Barry at Breakaway Running, we want to take whatever safety measures we can when running. In addition to those tips, we want to always be wearing reflective clothing at night as well as a headlamp or Knucklelights if needed. I use the Petzl Tikka Plus and love it.

What are you feelings are daylight savings time? Does it change anything for you or does your routine remain the same?

We love to hear your ideas and tips on how to 'Run through Daylight Savings'.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Christmas is coming! Join us and get a discount for the Jingle Bell Run!

Girls Run the 901 are so excited to partner with the Jingle Bell Run this year. Of course, we always get excited about a themed race AND Christmas so being a part of a Christmas themed race is something we get very excited about it. This is a great way to enjoy the season and have fun after all your hard work training for the St Jude marathon.

Join us this year for The Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis on Saturday, December 14th at 8 am at Audubon Park. This race raises money for a great cause, the arthritis foundation. Arthritis effects so many people both young (which we have recently learned and old). At the kick off reception  we learned of a young teenage girl in Collierville who plays competitive soccer but receives a very extreme treatment every week just so she can have movement in her joints. We believe in this cause and know it will be an awesome race!  There will be pictures with Santa, Jingle bells for your shoes, and even your dogs are included. There will be a doggie obstacle course and goodie bags because 'Dogs get arthritis too'!

To make this run even more exciting, we are offering a discount on registration when you sign up on the Girls Run the 901 team! Use the code 901GIRLS to get $3 off your registration and be sure to join our team GIRLSRUNthe901! We will be sure to come decked in great Christmas gear.

More details:

  • The event will be staged at Audubon Park, corner of Southern and Perkins Ext.
  • The weather forecast is showing cloudy with a 30% chance of rain, but nothing like we saw this past weekend. We will run and walk, rain or shine, so bundle up!
  • Packet pick-up will be held this Friday, Dec. 13th from 2 - 6 p.m. at Fleet Feet in the Laurelwood Shopping Center, 4530 Poplar Ave, Memphis, TN 38117. 
  • If you're unable to make it on Friday, you may pick-up your packet starting at 7 a.m. on Saturday.
  • The 5k chip-timed run will begin promptly at 8 a.m. We're proud to have Memphis-based Start2Finish timing this event for you!
  • Medals will be awarded to the top three finishers in each of the standard age groups; as well as Top Overall Male and Female.
  • The 1-mile Fun Walk will begin shortly after the runners have cleared the start line.
  • All registered participants will receive the official Jingle Bell Run/Walk long-sleeved t-shirt and jingle bells for your shoelaces.
  • Holiday costumes are encouraged! We will have an award for the Best Costume!
  • Bring your dog, because Dogs Get Arthritis, Too. Dog Sponsor Memphis Veterinary Specialists will be on site with doggie goodie bags and will judge the doggie costume contest! Trophies will be awarded in three doggie categories: Most Jingle Spirit, Most Original and Funniest Dog Costume.

One more exciting thing about joining us in the race. Here is a sneak peek (not the final) of the super cute Girls Run the 901 Christmas tshirts from My Town Tees that will be available to order!  Anyone can purchase these, you will just have first choice.

So, join us and be sure register soon. We can't wait to celebrate the season with you!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Things I learned from my first marathon with guest blogger, Tammy!

Every one once in awhile we like to have one of our friends share with y'all their story. Whether a story of how they got started or the secrets to their runs or their big accomplishments. Today we are introducing a friend of Dawn's, Tammy Townsend, they worked together at Collierville Elementary where Tammy is a teacher. She was there supporting Dawn as she trained for the same marathon last year! She had some of the same feelings we had and we asked her to share with us! Thank you,Tammy!

I’m not sure how I got here.....writing anything about running, let alone a marathon. When I started running almost 15 years ago, there were no iPods, Run Keeper, Map My Run, etc. I created my own precursor to the “Couch to 5k” with a spreadsheet and a kitchen timer (which I actually carried with me when I ran). Racing and PRs never crossed my mind. But when my husband and I started discussing having a family, I knew I needed to be in shape before I started that new adventure.

Fast forward to today. We have two children – now 13 and 7. Eventually 5Ks gave way to 10Ks. Then when that wasn’t enough to get rid of the second baby pounds, along came the half marathon training. And there I sat. Content and happy. In half marathon land. I love half marathons. I’ve finished 15, about a third of those with my husband.

I should tell you that I’m very competitive with myself. I’m really not interested in racing against other people. (Okay, that’s a lie. I always want to clock a faster time than my husband and whoever is in front of me in the finishing chute.) Still, I always want to perform better than the last time. I was happy trying to improve my half marathon finishing time. I never had any desire to go to the next level. So what happened?

Forty happened! Looking for a new adventure, I turned to Runner’s World. And there it was. Listed as the best marathon for first timers – the Chicago Marathon. Flat, fast and friendly. What more can a runner ask for? AND I was lucky enough to get registered before the website crashed. It was meant to be! J

After four months of training, I lined up in Chicago on that beautiful Sunday morning. The weather was perfect. The race volunteers were friendly. The crowd was electrifying. The race started and I couldn’t believe how much fun I was having. I also began to make note of a few things about the experience. A friend had told me that, “You don’t know what you don’t know” and she was right. So I began to file away a few things that I was learning. I used the ideas to distract me as I ran through the difficult miles between the 20 and 24-mile markers. Not wanting to let go of the amazing experience, I wrote them down on the trip home so I could reread them and always remember my first marathon. Many of my Facebook friends are runners so I thought I would share my observations.

And now I share them with you. You may see something familiar in this list and also think of many things that can be added. It’s all part of the experience! So here it is.....

Lessons learned from my first marathon:

  1. Avoid the smelly guy in the starting corral. If he smells that bad before the race, it’s not going to get any better.
  2. In a big, urban race, be prepared to spend the first 10 miles looking at the ground directly in front of you to avoid uneven pavement and to prevent being taken out by the spastic runner who has forgotten there are many more miles to go. 
  3. Never underestimate the motivational value of a perfectly timed University of Memphis fight song or Metallica riff. 
  4. Pretend like everyone is cheering for you...unless you happen to be running next to the visually impaired runner, the lady running with a leg prosthetic, the guy running with an American flag, or the guy bouncing two basketballs while he runs. Then join everyone else in cheering for them.
  5. Temporary tattoos are not just for kids! Especially if it’s a 5-inch long pacing tattoo. (Two weeks later and I’m still wearing mine. Yeah, it just looks like I’m
    dirty now, but I don’t care! I earned this!)
  6. You will probably cry (or a least tear up) at some point during the race. 
  7. Seeing your family at Mile 25 will carry you to the end. 
  8. At Mile 25.5, go after the seemingly less athletic man or woman who passed you around Mile 22! 
  9. If the old lady placing the medal around your neck asks you if you need a hug, say YES, because you do! 
  10. Running a marathon is one of the most difficult things I have ever done and will definitely do again....... (They don’t give epidurals during the race although I felt like I needed one the day after.) 
  11. In fact, I was only 11 minutes off a BQ...Anyone know of a good spring marathon? ;-)