Would You Believe Me if I Told you…

A fear of flights, and dread of long car rides have had quite a stronghold in my life. From panic attacks in grounded planes to simple temper tantrums over sitting in the car for too long the ups and downs that go with travel have caused the thing my husband loves the most: travel anxiety. So when people who know this about me hear about my escapades to Uganda, or Thailand, across the country, or even car rides to Disney – they are usually in complete disbelief. Why?

Because a fear shouldn’t stop you from experiencing the best things this world has to offer, and since the majority of the time this comes with on your feet, get your hands dirty adventure, missing out is not an option. Neither is calling. The Lord put us on Earth with purpose and He does not desire that we inhibit that purpose simply because of fear.  Fear is not from Him, and it doesn’t envelope the joy and freedom He wants us to experience every single day.

And every single time the street moves beneath my feet in a brand new city as I race down them with hundreds of people all over the world, or dig through the dirt in Africa, or horseback ride down the beaches in the Caribbean there is never a regret for taking the risk and facing my fear of flying or travel anxiety, and it shouldn’t for you either.

Adventure and exploration are just ways to experience all that God created, and it’s worth the risk every. single. time.

Top 5 – Beginner Races in Atlanta

Having several friends starting to run, somewhat intimidated by what training and doing a 5k looks like, I thought I would throw together some amazing 5Ks that Atlanta offers for those just pushing the START button; these are chalk full of amazing organizations, great vendors, and the incredible running community that I have come to love in our city.

  1. Shamrock N Roll 5K/10K – hosted by the Junior League of Atlanta, and sponsored by the some of the best including the Fresh Market, California Pizza Kitchen, Kind Bar (ok you guys I really focus on the food here – guilty). Yes, it always falls around St. Patricks Day and the past two years rain has threatened and miraculously disappeared during race hours.
  2. Atlanta Mission 5K – hosted by the Atlanta Mission. Do you really want a way to make your miles matter as you conquer a race for the first time. Comes with a dance pre-race party, and so many goodies afterwards this one is surefire fun and in the heart of Atlanta.
  3. Dogwood Festival Mimosa 5K – Piedmont Park. Every year we LOVE hitting up the Dogwood Festival at Piedmont Park as we head into spring, and now you can begin your day with a 5K around the park to get ready for a day of Festival Food and Fun.
  4. Rise Up and Run / Back to Football 5K – Sponsored by the Atlanta Falcons/Atlanta United & hosted at Mercedes Benz Stadium – for all the sports lovers this one is too much fun, ending on the 50 Yard Line of the field.
  5. Atlanta Women’s 5K – Hosted by the Atlanta Track Club – Another wonderful even the Atlanta Track Club puts on just for women! Celebrating the beauty that we were all designed in, comes with a great encouraging community, a medal, and a rose to boot.

Bonus: Publix Atlanta Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5K  – so you might not be ready to conquer those longer distances, but regardless of distance Publix & the Atlanta Track Club do a great job bringing the running community and city of all levels together for this event in the heart of the city. Start in Centennial Park and watch the sunrise over the skyline with this city supported event!

If you ever need training or nutrition advice don’t hesitate to follow up!

Jordan

Publix Half Marathon Recap

The Hills don’t lie. Knowing that a colder winter and more treadmill miles could make this race interesting helped me process when the burn started halfway through. The first two miles of this race are relatively easy, straight or just slightly rolling makes it a great way to get warm and let your legs loosen up, especially when the weather is fair. It wasn’t my best half marathon, but it was so amazing in so many other ways.

Typically after waking up on race day and brushing my teeth, the inhaler comes out, when you typically race in Georgia and Florida that humidity can do a number on weaker lungs. This morning though, for whatever reason it didn’t happen. After pulling up to park at the Georgia Aquarium Deck the realization hit me, and the medium sized panic button was pushed; not because I haven’t run without it before, but because the air was slightly stuffy and in 4.5 years of racing, the inhaler had never been forgotten for longer races.

After doing a mile or so warm up, with some shakeout intervals, going ahead into the corral made the most sense. Disney races change your views of corrals, you get in them early and you learn to adjust to warming up in confined spaces. Feeling right at home and simply hanging out until race time the nerves hit me. But why? This was a city that I had conquered more times than could be counted, and yet toeing the line of another half marathon completely caused the butterflies to invade.

The horn went off, my legs got in their groove, and away we went passing through downtown Atlanta and the surrounding neighborhoods. 7am start times are my favorite, because the sun hasn’t quite come up yet, which means you are in prime racing form by the time the sun peaks in all it’s beauty over the buildings and trees. And apart from running around my own city and enjoying everything it has to offer in the form of views, running with the sunrise is one of my favorite things. So combine the two and there is nothing better when the Lord is trying to grab your attention, and in this race He was.

The nerves were there, my legs weren’t quite all the way there and realizing that it might be better to just let myself go on this one helped shape my perspective for this run. “SEE PEOPLE”. See the push assist partners running down the street, see the officers standing in the chilly early morning making sure you stay safe, see the volunteers who have been setting up since 4am to keep you fueled, see the dad who brought his kids out to the course to cheer on every runner new, experienced, old, and young, and show them what it’s like to engage with a community. And see the community with which you are surrounding yourself with.

The hills made it challenging, but the engagement made it fun! Striking up conversations (until the last mile and a half, because breathing became really hard ya’ll), and cheering each other on to more had to become a standard. It’s one of the reasons this community is so pressing on my heart.

Crossing the finish line was just another line, with another time, but the memories on course is what really stuck. Thanks to the Atlanta Track Club and Publix for putting on another great event; and to the brands that keep me going – thank you for continuing to make products that keep people in the game and around the people and sport they love!

The Lord is good!

What fuels me:

Nuun Hydration, Honey Stinger, Balega Socks, Mizuno Wave Rider

The Hotlanta Half is on deck next, but if I can add another half marathon in there before that – I will be looking to travel for one! This week I will get in a 10-miler in the morning, I will ramp to 13 the week after and 15 the week after that before we head off to Thailand for 10 days.

Happy Weekend!

Jordan

I’m here because…

Why? Why do I run, why do I feel pulled to the community, why do I wake up at 4am sometimes to run my body to the ground? Part of me says the competitor in me and the need to be active. By nature, busybody would be an accurate description of my days, but the other part of me feels a true calling to the world of endurance athletics and the community around it. Contrary to what people believe, I don’t enjoy every single run, but I do appreciate every day that I get to put one foot in front of the other. While being a morning person is in my nature, not every wake up call is enjoyable, but it’s always worth it.

The community is worth it, the engaged and encouraging people that surround the running environment is tops, and for a year or so now running for a cause has been a forefront of my heart and love of running. Remembering that any day the ability to do something you are so passionate about could get taken away, and every day you have the ability to support those who can’t. The app Charity Miles, the charity runs, even just the simple email to a friend to say “you can do it”, “just 10 minutes today”. It’s the people that are the because, the running is a decompressor and stress relief in and of itself, but people help keep the drive, and the dreams alive.

 

 

Top 5 Favorite Running Spots in Atlanta + A Summer Half Marathon

So one of my girls suggested a blog post about some of my favorite spots in Atlanta to run and as the weather warms up and we start getting a little more active outdoors it’s a great time to explore some new spots. So after I’m finished with my list, I would love to hear yours!

  1. The Belt Line/Piedmont Park – one of the perks of running here is the clean, paved roads that are mostly FLAT, a rare find in Atlanta. The Beltline goes by all the new and flourishing neighborhoods as art displays line the pavement. As you go into Piedmont Park you can usually catch a festival or sporting event in one of the many fields. And weather you trying to loop together a 5K or just some loops around the active oval the ever present skyline will be a beautiful sight. And if you are finishing your run along any section you are set on refueling from Park Tavern, to Ponce City Market, to Krog Street Market – take your pic on food, cuisine, and price. The downside: if you are planning on getting in some serious miles / training make sure to hit this at non peak times, between walkers, bikers, runners, and dogs the trails can get pretty crowded.
  2. Peachtree Street – This is especially useful if the Peachtree Road Race is in your future as it hits a good portion of the run, and a nice workout up Cardiac Hill. Since I live a little north of Atlanta my route runs from Brookhaven through Buckhead and down right until you hit Midtown. While I love the Peachtree Road Race, it’s not why I love running here: mainly there are enough runners to feel a camaraderie, but not enough that you feel like you are being pushed off the sidewalk. Plus, the Buckhead skyline at sunrise is really stunning! The downside: the stoplights, this can really slow you up so if you are working on speed and consistency, it might not be the best option.
  3. Cochran Shoals – For me water just soothes the soul, and running alongside the Chattahoochee River is no exception. Head up just northwest of the city for an easy 3 miles on graveled trail next to the river, or even longer by adventuring onto some of their paved trails just off the river. Crowds aren’t ever too much and you its a scenic and peaceful route with a few cool photo spots. The downside: Parking can get a little tricky, and you definitely have to drive there.
  4. Little Mulberry Park – Ok so you have to head up northeast of the city for a bit to hit this park, but the reason I love it is it’s versatility. With two different paved trails, that remain relatively flat and miles of unpaved trails that take you through grassy fields to waterfalls, from valleys to mountain tops, you get views, miles, and a great workout wherever you are in this park.
  5. Cochran Mill – not to be confused with Cochran Shoals, you can find this on the southwest side of the city. The traffic is light out here in Palmetto, GA, and my friends at Peak Racing put on wonderful events and group runs. The trails are scenic and serene, but be careful not to go out here by yourself – definitely a group activity! The downside: The drive, it’s pretty far away from everything but if you are just looking for you and your partner some long quiet trail miles this is the place for you!

BONUS PICK: Stone Mountain Park – so fun fact I’ve never run around the whole mountain, I’ve hiked it more times than I can count, and have run part of the way. It’s five miles around the mountain, or hmmm rock, and very hilly so you will sure to be in for a good workout, and the fact you have scenic views being next to one of the most notable landmarks in Georgia. Definitely an add to

Want something a little closer, less crowded, and shorter distance? Try these: Morningside Nature Preserve, Kennesaw Mountain (if you are in that area), or Brookhaven Run Park for your furry friends!

****ALSO – If you are looking for a summer half marathon that has great city views, great community and a lot of support check out the Hotlanta Half Marathon, now being run by my friends over at Peak Racing (they also got me into the Cochran Mill Trails)

So go ahead, where do you love to get outside? I’d love to check out some new spaces.

Enjoy the spring and the outdoors!

Jordan

Beneath My Feet – Oiselle

Beneath my feet the whirring of the treadmill drowns out everything around me; I’m lost in my thoughts and honestly sometimes where I land scares me, but mostly it frees me. Getting lost looking out the window as the sun begins to rise, alone in the gym, setting myself up for what will typically be a full day, in the best way possible – letting go…

While grudges aren’t a strong suite of mine, holding onto stress is, and beneath my feet on a cold morning to myself in the gym helps my completely surrender what I’m afraid of in the day to come, or what I’m holding onto in the past. As Rafiki said “Ah, yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it…or learn from it.”, well believe you me there is an option “C” – both. While some pain is bigger than others, God has given us all a beauty of healing in whatever way He created in us whether that’s art, writing, dancing, building, or in my case running. Be grateful for the steps beneath your feet as you venture onto His purpose in your life in the day to come.