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? ;-) 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Out with the Old, In with the New

This week in Memphis running, Breakaway Running on Union has closed. But only because it has moved to an even more awesome location on Madison Avenue in the Overton Square area. What was known by many as a starting point and finishing point for long training runs and weekly Thursday night group runs will change forever. The training runs will go on, and the Thursday group runs won't miss a beat, but there's something to be said for the routine of a route and smell of Chick-fil-A at the end of every run. Union store, rest in peace.

This week however, the brand new store will open today,Tuesday, and will be properly inaugurated Thursday night with a Halloween-themed group run at 6pm! Come celebrate new beginnings and old traditions with music, miles, and costumes!

In the spirit of Halloween, tell us your running-themed costume ideas, or better yet, send us a pic!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Make it Monday: Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches

So I am not going to claim this is healthy in any way, but it is delicious! Sometimes I just need a meal ready when I get home, and this is a family favorite.


Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches

3 cups water
1 tspn salt
1 tspn pepper
1 tspn dried oregano
1 tspn dried basil
1 tspn onion salt
1 tspn dried parsley
1 tspn garlic powder
1-2 bay leaves
1 (.7 ounce) package dry Italian-style salad dressing mix
1 (5 lb) rump roast
Crusty Rolls

(I also add sweet peppers and a habanero pepper to the crockpot too)

  1. Combine water with salt, ground black pepper, oregano, basil, onion salt, parsley, garlic powder, bay leaf, and salad dressing mix in a saucepan. Stir well, and bring to a boil.
  2. Place roast in slow cooker, and pour salad dressing mixture over the meat.
  3. Cover, and cook on Low for 10 to 12 hours, or on High for 4 to 5 hours. When done, remove bay leaf, and shred meat with a fork.
  4. Place meat mixture onto crusty rolls and enjoy!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

I don't want to run today!

By: Stacey

So here we are seven Saturdays to go to St. Jude ... Anyone else over the training schedule? Who am I kidding I've never been in it this time! I just can't seem to get my mind wrapped around this one. Are you tired of Hal Higdon, Jeff Galloway, or any other training coach telling you how far, how fast, or how long you should run today? Are you sick of your running route? Are you sick of your shoes? Or maybe tired of the same shorts? Tank? Or even your socks?? Have you gotten to the point where you just don't feel like getting out there? Sick of getting up early? Or trying to figure out how to get a run in when everyone wants to eat dinner? Come on, someone tell me you understand! So what should I do! These are some ideas that I've come up with to fight this marathon training burn out:

1. Pick a day and ditch the schedule! I don't care what anyone says, I'm going to run as far as I want to! If I want to go three I will go three, if I want to go seven I will. Who knows maybe I will run 7.38 miles?!  Well, Dana knows I won't do that ... I only stop on whole miles. Remember, a training schedule is a guide and although Hal Higdon has prepared me for every race,  it's not the law and no one will be at the starting line saying you can't compete today because you didn't do day 4 of week 16! It's ok to deviate even miss a day or two here and there. 

2. Run a different route. Change it up. Drive to a new starting point, park the car, stretch, and hit some new pavement. Just be careful and remain aware of your surroundings. 

3. Try a different time of day. A different time of day opens up the possibility for new sites and sounds. A chance to unwind after along day or gear up for what lies ahead. I love sunrise runs but full moon runs can be fun too! 

4. Make a new playlist or shuffle an old one. New tunes may add some bounce to your step. Ask around for some new suggestions! Ladies, a new fav of mine is Katy Perry's Roar!! Will definitely be on my St. Jude playlist!

5. Buy some new Shoes!! I am so ready for the new Asics Gel-Kayano 20s to come out! Not a fan of the color scheme of the 19s!! I am absolutely positive some new shoes will change my attitude. :) Right? If the shoes don't do the trick, then try #6 ...

6. Purchase a new outfit!! The weather is changing (thank you, Jesus!) and what can boost your run better than a new long sleeve top with thumb holes and of course some bottoms too!! 

Well, hope these tips for overcoming training burn-out will help you (and me) finish strong over these next few weeks! We've got this.

If you can relate today, what do you do when you get burned out?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What happens once the race is over?

This is a picture of Stacey and Dana last year as they were finishing the St. Jude Marathon, isn't it just the sweetest? They are not just friends that meet once in a while for a run, they are partners.

We have heard so many stories lately of people meeting new friends in running groups and finding that their pace is the same and deciding to run a race together.  We love hearing these stories!

Personally, I have been so lucky to have experienced it too, with Cecilia. Each week I get to spend at least 3 hours with a special friend, running, talking, laughing, you name it. It makes the miles go by so much faster, with little notice to the soreness that comes with the increase in mileage. I cherish these runs, and look forward to them every week.

The other day I got to thinking, what happens once we cross the finish line? Will we still run together? Will our Saturday morning excursions come to an end?

The picture above came to mind, and I started thinking about our girls. They have run together for years. But for the time being, Dana will not be able to run, walking is a struggle right now. She has a long road to recovery. But last Sunday, Stacey and her walked 3.1 miles together that day. A virtual 5K of their own!

So what happens at the end of a race when you cross a finish line with a running buddy? You plan for your next race, and then the next. 

Running together does not have to end at the finish line, it is just the beginning!!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Make it Monday: Easy Crock Pot Beef or Turkey Chili

If you are anything like me then you love a good, easy crock pot meal. I love throwing everything in before I leave in the morning and dinner being ready when I get home. I especially love when it gets cooler and trying all different soups and chilis. I doubled this recipe last week and made it for my family and Dana's family. It was a big hit! Pair it with some cornbread and you are set!


Easy Beef or Turkey Chili: 

1 large onion chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1 lb.lean ground beef or turkey(Brown and drained)
2 tbs. chili powder
1 tbs. paprika
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 large chopped tomatoes
1 cup fat free chicken broth
1 can kidney beans 

1 can black beans
1 can mild chili beans
1 bell pepper chopped

Toss everything in a crock pot and cook for two hours on high or four hours on low setting.

Here is Dana enjoying a bowl! Doesn't she look great?!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Important: Safety when Running

Now that the days are getting shorter and the daylight slimmer, we all need to be reminded about being smart and safe when running. Recently, in the 901 we have had some runners fall victim to acts of violence towards them. Of course, this cannot always be prevented, but there are steps we can take as runners to be more cautious.

Our friend, Barry at Breakaway Running wrote this great list of reminders that we wanted to share with you. 

Here are a few things most of us know but don't ALWAYS put into practice to be safe when we're running:
1. Always be alert and aware of your surroundings.
2. Trust your instincts. Run away from situations and people that "don't feel right".
3. Don't wear headphones.
4. Run facing traffic when on the street.
5. Alter your routes.
6. Run with others when possible.
7. Carry pepper spray or mace.
8. Let someone know your route / estimated time to return.
9. Learn self-defense.
10. Be seen. Wear reflective gear at night.

Here are some ideas of great reflective gear available to make sure you are seen. (Reflective vest, headlamp, and red flashing safety light)

Remember, safety first!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Cross Training Will Make You a Better Runner with guest blogger, Lauren Phelps

I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but do you follow the advice?

Cross-training, or training in two or more sports, should be a vital part of your exercise schedule.  

Cross-training will improve your all around fitness and performance levels and help you:

  • Run faster
  • Run more comfortably
  • Run with reduced risk of injury

Everyone wants those benefits, right?  

If running is your primary exercise, and you want to keep it that way, then continue to run 3 or 4 days per week.  Add 1 or 2 cross-training days, and maintain 1 or 2 rest days.

Cross-training includes anything that’s not running.

Here are some examples:

  1. Biking
  2. DVD Series (Insanity, P90x, Jillian Michaels)
  3. Functional Movement Training (Crossfit)
  4. Group Classes (Aerobics, Zumba, Boot camps)
  5. Hiking
  6. Kickboxing / Boxing
  7. Martial Arts
  8. Roller skating
  9. Sports (Adult Leagues)
  10. Swimming
  11. Weight Lifting
  12. Yoga

To get started cross-training today, try this quick workout:

10 Leap Frogs

10 Push-ups
10 Hip Bridges
10 Bicycle Crunches
10 Alternating Supermans (supermen?, what?)

Repeat 5 times. Time each round and try to beat your own time

Guest Post by Lauren Phelps.  Lauren is an NASM Certified Personal Trainer.  She is passionate about encouraging others and teaching them that healthy isn’t hard and fitness can be fun.  Connect with her on Facebook at or visit her website

Join Lauren every Saturday downtown at Tom Lee park for a group workout. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Lone Ranger Run

By: Jennifer

Going out of town does not give a runner, especially a runner in training, a free pass to skip out on hitting the road. As hard as it can be sometimes to get out there on a normal day, the thought of a long run alone on vacation can be even more daunting. Thankfully during my recent trip over Fall break to Panama City, it was pirate weekend. Why am I thankful for pirate weekend you may ask? Well, pirates run half marathons apparently. I gladly got to run alongside several pirates in a local half marathon which added some costume and company to an out of town training run that I was going to go at alone. It is so easy to meet great and powerful women when you're looking for company in a race. Whenever you travel, it can be very beneficial to look up local running routes, races or group runs to keep you going. Oftentimes Google is all you need to get connected. 

Also, I got to revisit the beautiful 30A running route. And again, I didn't have to go it alone as expected. My ever-patient mother rode her bike cheerfully alongside me for 8 miles, making for good company and good conversation. She occasionally put on her trainer face and would "crack the whip" while yelling motivational phrases that weren't the least bit threatening. We both discovered this idyllic route last year from searching for places nearby to run and bike.

Tan, sand, family, and running. My only complaint would be that it all happens too infrequently.

It's amazing to see how relaxation and a lot of laughter can actually heal your body physically. Somehow in the midst of stressing out about runs, where I am in my training, and my race countdown, I forgot to enjoy running. I forgot that I get to do it. Whether it's alone, with strangers, whether you're "lost", or exploring, remind yourself of why you run. Pay attention to your own breathing and take a look around. Even running can be relaxing at times.

Back at the grind this morning, I very much value the quiet, solo runs in the morning when I get to watch the world wake up, as I am reminded of my own breathing and my own own footsteps. I am alive, and I get to run today, with company or without.

Do you ever enjoy running alone, or do you need company and conversation to make the miles go by faster?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Make it Monday: Skinny Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli-Rice Casserole

I found this recipe from Iowa Girl Eats last week and couldn't wait to try it out.  It took about an hour to cook, and it was so yummy, enjoy!

2 cups long grain brown rice
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups broccoli florets (about 1 head)
2 green onions, chopped
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1lb chicken breasts, chopped into bite-sized pieces
salt, pepper, garlic powder
5 teaspoons flour
2 cups milk, divided (I used skim)
1/3 cup light sour cream
8oz shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

  1. Bring chicken broth to a boil in a large pot then add rice. Cover then turn heat down to medium-low. When rice has 5 minutes left to cook add broccoli and green onions on top to steam.
  2. Meanwhile, heat extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and then saute until no longer pink. Remove to a plate and set aside then very carefully wipe out skillet with a dry paper towel.
  3. Turn heat down to medium then whisk together flour and 1/2 cup milk in a small bowl. Pour mixture into skillet then add remaining 1-1/2 cups milk. Cook mixture, stirring constantly, until thickened, 7-10 minutes. Remove skillet from heat then add 3/4 of the shredded cheese, sour cream, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and stir until smooth.
  4. Preheat broiler. Combine cooked rice and broccoli mixture with cheese sauce then scoop mixture into a 9x13 baking dish and top with remaining cheese. Broil until cheese is melted then let casserole rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Fashion Friday: anytime favorites!

Fall is here and in the 901 you could wear running shorts and tank one day and then running pants and a L/S shirt the next, we thought we'd share with you our go to outfits and gear. These are our some of our favorite pieces we feel most comfortable in.

Janell: Prefer capris and short sleeve shirts. She does like an occasional running skirt a well. She even has the best of both worlds...a running skirt with capris built in! 

Jennifer: She is not too attached to anything but would have to say her shoes are what she cares about most, Orange Mizunos. and her pink (of course, ever girl needs a little pink in her wardrobe) Nike headband! 

Debi: Prefers tanks and dry fit shorts. For longer distances I wear capris and my Nike Unexpected run shirt because it converts to a tank, the coolest invention ever!!

Stacey: Her favorite things are her Asics and Nike running shorts (the originals) and a Nike running tank. She is our original Just Do It girl!!

Dana: Lululemon Shorts, tanks and knee high socks (a cute, funky pattern of course), she is our fashionista!! But, she is going to change to yoga pants and rocker tees for comfort while she is recovering!! By the way y'all, she is doing awesome...she'll be back out there with us before we know it!

Dawn: Well she is not really partial to anything, comfort and appropriate for the weather conditions is what she likes. She does love to wear something in all seasons...her new inserts! She had custom inserts done and she says her runs are better then ever and recommends to everyone.

Well there you go friends, nothing fancy, frilly or over the top just the six of us wearing simple stuff that makes it fun and comfortable for a quick run or a long one!!

What are some of your favorites and go to outfits?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Empower vs Compete-Celebrating Each Other's Victories

By: Janell

As we talked about last week, we each are in different stages of our running and training. I have seen this quote before and it always strikes a cord within me, but recently it does so even more. I think as women we can get so caught up in competing with one another instead of celebrating each other's strengths, progress and goal reaching. Let's face it, it can be hard at times when you hear about an increased pace when you can't seem to make your legs move faster and pounds lost when your 'junk in the trunk' won't budge. I want to be that person that others are proud of and inspired by. But I can't always be that and I need to get over it. I need be the person and have the qualities I appreciate in others. I always have to remember that I don't know their story-to compare myself to someone who maybe has an entirely different story. Like taking a single person with a job they love to the single mom trying to make ends meet an barely fitting in her run between all her other responsibilities  Both have the same great accomplishments and victories, their stories are just very different.

Focusing on myself and what I am not can only lead to defeat. There is nothing more gratifying when watching a friend achieve a goal for the first time! That's why we are so big on telling other people's stories and publicly celebrating other's victories. 

Here are some great ideas on how to empower each other:

  • Give out compliments you mean
  • Speak and act with honesty
  • Listen to others
  • Volunteer
  • Talk time to talk to strangers
  • Be sincere
  • Smile more often
  • Give thoughtful gifts
  • Project positivity and eliminate negative thoughts
  • Give encouragement instead of criticism
  • Love your community

Let's be a women who empower each other and encourage each other to dream big when it comes to attaining goals. Let's not be trite competitors focusing on how make ourselves what we think is better than the other. 

Does anyone else struggle with turning comparison into healthy competition and encouragement? How do you go from one to the other? What are the hardest things not to compare yourself with/to?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Six Girls, One Journey

Some of you may wonder how the Girls Run the 901 got started. It was a simple idea, a text message, that began it all...

"Some of us are thinking about doing the Chicago Marathon, are you in?"

And so it began, we each signed up! For some it was a race to mark off their to-do list, others it was an exciting race to check out, and for two it was the perfect race to do for their 1st marathon. We have all known each other in some way or another, but we had never set out to do something like this together before. Girls Weekend...26.2 Miles...Road Trip!!!

And then we trained, there were the good runs, and there were some not so good runs. Once the training was finally over, we set off! The ride was decorated, because we had to let everyone know we were driving 500+ miles to run 26.2 miles!
Lots of water was consumed, which meant lots of stops. We took advantage of each stop and made sure we stretched along the way.

Dana baked us some super yummy goodies, that she thought would last us the weekend, umm no! They were gone pretty quick!!

After a quick sleep stop in Effingham, were were off to the expo! Not only did we discover Fellow Flowers, but also HB Tune, so that is where our relationship with each of those companies began. It was an expo like none of us had ever seen. We wanted to check out every booth, it was just amazing! A very generous family friend of Jennifer's gave us a place to stay while we were in Chicago, and we will be forever grateful.

Race morning came, and once we checked our bags, we separated into our corrals. And then we set off, knowing we would see each other at the finish line! Each of us could write a post of our experience on the course, but to sum it up, it was so much more than we could have ever expected. We had shirts made with our names on them, so for all 26.2 miles we each heard people cheering for us by name, and it was incredible. It is a race like no other we have experienced! Talk about feeling like a rock star!!

We were there to watch each of us cross that finish line, and many, many hugs were shared! We are not sure if that was the moment, the elation of watching each other cross that finish line or the journey to get there, but we were forever changed. 

We headed home the next day, somehow different than how we started just two days prior. It was a journey, it was life changing, somehow we were bonded by a force that we did not anticipate or expect. A bond was formed, and we became what you now know as Girls Run the 901!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Fashion Friday: How do you log your miles?

In this era of technology there are so many ways to track your miles, whether it is to map out a route, track your miles while on a run, or logging your miles to determine when you need a new pair of shoes. As runners, we love to track our miles, but with so many avenues of technology it can be confusing, here are a few items we use and why we like them.

Jennifer uses Map my Run to plot out a route and sets off. Map my Run is one of the best route planners out there. You can map out a course, send it to a friend, or send it to your phone and track yourself while out on a run. It is also great for when you are out of town and unfamiliar with an area.

Janell loves her Garmin 405, it is easy to use and with a simple touch to the bezel, can easily switch between different screens. Once a run is complete, she can load the workout into Garmin Connect and track her progress.

 Debi uses the Garmin 310X, being able to plan a tempo workout on her computer and then sending it to her watch is must when looking for a GPS watch. Garmin Connect is great for planning interval workouts and tracking activities.

Dawn uses RunKeeper to help her track her miles while she is out running. Once finished, you can look at that activity on your computer and compare it to previous runs, or see what your friends are up to on their runs. It even allows you to add other activities like a treadmill run or cross train class to keep track of all your fitness activities.


And Stacey uses Nike+ app on her phone. The Nike+ app not only tracks your current run, it keeps a log to show you when you last bought your shoes, how many miles you ran in total, but it also gives you an alert when you've reached a milestone like fastest 5K or longest distance.

 Dana was using a Garmin, but after the band on her watch broke, she decided to try a TomTom. While she hasn't had a chance yet to use it, the easy of use with the one-button control is appealing. And , well, it's cute!
What do you use to plan your routes and track your miles?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Running with your kids

As moms, we want to encourage our children to follow in our footsteps and enjoy an active lifestyle. We want to be a positive role models for our kids. But, how do we ensure our children know that no matter how they do, that we love them and are not disappointed in their performance? 

Sometimes us as parents can become so competitive or passionate about a sport and want our kids to feel the same. It is helpful to remember that kids need encouragement and not criticism. Some kids are motivated by competition and for others, competition is not motivating at all, rather felt as pressure and leading to frustration. Its important as parents that we realize that each child is different, and we find the right way to encourage them.

We are certainly not experts, but strive to be great mommies to our kids.

Many of our kids enjoy an active lifestyle and even have taken on a love of running. Stacey's son (17) runs track for his school and completed his first half marathon in March while Dawn's daughter helped her train for her first marathon. Janell's kids are the biggest cheerleaders at races and her youngest can't wait until she is big enough to go on a long run. Dana's youngest likes to join her in her on night runs and her oldest enjoys cross country. Debi's daughter has run a few 5k's and can't wait to be the youngest 'Girls Run the 901'. 

Here are some helpful tips when encouraging our kids to have an active lifestyle:

  • Emphasize improved performance, not winning. Positively reinforce improved skills.
  • Don't relive your own athletic past through your child.
  • Provide a safe environment for training and competition.
  • Control your own emotions at games and events. Don't yell at other players, coaches or officials.
  • Be a cheerleader for your child and the other children on the team.
  • Respect your child's coaches. Communicate openly with them. If you disagree with their approach, discuss it with them.
  • Set a good example.
Being runners, we'd all like to see our kids choose running; however, pushing your child into running when they would rather do something else will make them despise the sport for life. Instead, try and set an example. When your child sees you running and enjoying it, they will most likely try the sport themselves -- especially if they have a grown-up cheering for them from the sidelines of local running events. 

Regular family bike rides and hikes will also show your kids that being active can be fun, and in the long run will make them fitter, healthier and happier adults.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Checking In

Life looks a lot different for all 6 of us women in Girl Run the 901 since we started back in January of this year. As many of you know, we have been friends for a while and ran the Chicago Marathon together last year which was a huge springboard for starting this blog together. We are still very much focused on the goal of encouraging and empowering women and men alike to make fitness goals for themselves and take steps to reaching them; cheering you on along the way!

Something that we enjoy about writing together is that each of our lives are different and we are all in different stages of training. Hopefully, it brings diversity when writing and sharing. We just wanted to update you on what life looks like for each of us.

Janell is continuing to train and exercise where she can fit it in. As she wrote last week, life with a 6 and 4 year can be busy and some days are trickier than others to fit it in. She is training to run St Jude half marathon in mind and can't wait to run it for the fourth time. She is also anxiously awaiting Memphis Tiger Basketball season to begin-Go Tigers!

Debi is having a tough time trying to get all of her runs in while training for the St, Jude Marathon. She has never been a morning runner, but fears this may be the only option these days between work and family. Currently she gets her runs in while her daughter is at soccer practice, trying to make it work any way she can. She has found an amazing running buddy with Cecilia from Mommies Run, and can't wait to cross the finish line with her!

Jennifer is pushing the limits lately with what she can get away with as far as running goes. She has high hopes to do 3 marathons, each several weeks apart, beginning this marathon of marathons with St. Jude like the other Girls. Training has its place very early every morning for her, considering graduate school takes every second of the day afterward. Talk about mental and physical workouts. The biggest challenges for her currently are balancing healthy food and busyness with running while tired. The excitement of what she actually could accomplish is what keeps her going.

Dana is, like she mentioned last week, sidelined indefinitely. She anticipated a herniated disc once she met with her doctor but was given more disappointing news. Her surgery date is a week from today where she will have a pretty invasive surgery that will require about a 6 month recovery. In the mean time, she is trying to stay positive, enjoy the time between the miles and looking forward to being on the other side of this. She is so thankful for all the encouragement and support during this uncertain time for her and her family.

Dawn started a new job in July thinking she would have a more flexible running schedule, boy was she wrong!! With the new job came a new school year. Three teenagers (one being a Senior, that's another blog), three different schools, three different start times. It is a crazy time and she is trying to be as involved as much as possible because life as she knows it will soon change. So needless to say her St. Jude training is not going as planned but as her husband has said "don't worry, you've got this!" 

Stacey is also "training" for the upcoming St. Jude Marathon. She uses the term training loosely. She has started a new position at her job and between the increased responsibilities and the schedules of two teenagers there seems to be lots less time allowed for training. Despite dreading daylight savings time and the cold dark solo (with Dana sidelined she is training alone for this one) runs ahead, she will figure it out and looks forward to another St. Jude Marathon. 

Thank you for all your support and encouragement, we hope to continue to do the same for you!