For as long as I can remember the song “Shine” by the Newsboys has been around, and while I never remember much about the song my dad had a particular way of *trying* to sing the lyrics “What’s Your Motivation” in the closest Australian accent he could make out. However, my dad not being the most advanced vocalist has stamped that lyric in my head, forever and ever… even hearing the word motivation brings back those memories. So here we are.
The past two weeks recovering from Thailand and working on being present in the now and not always planning for the future has got me thinking about just that: What IS my motivation? Prior to Thailand it appeared to have been lost, the grind of running was wearing me down, I found myself reverting back to my headphones and treadmill and stopping any encouragement in conversation or on media totally losing what God had pressed upon my heart for the past several years: to encourage women to be the best vessel they can be to maximize the way God wants to use them.
So as the lyrics to this song go on:
Make ’em wonder what you’ve got
Make ’em wish that they were not
On the outside looking bored
Let it shine before all men
Let’em see good works, and then
Let ’em glorify the Lord
While running fast can be a great way to “shine” it became too much of a focus of getting as fast as I could, and believing only THEN I could really encourage women. Forgetting to stay in my lane until one of close and wisest friends was asking me about healthy habits and we were praying for each other as she starts forming habits to live a healthier lifestyle and I still work on gaining weight back and I remembered, the beautiful relationships that God has given me and the ability to help pray for and encourage them first.
What does it all mean? God has a funny sense of humor. Upon a conviction to stop running competitively and truly do it for fun, I woke up Saturday morning and got my first overall female 1st place in the 5Queso 5K. But the call was still clear, put down my hunger for achievement and start back at the basics. God can create a lot in the simplicity of home base and starting over. Change or redirection can be incredibly hard, but God will honor your obedience and it will be so rich and rewarding because you know you are walking in accordance with His will let him define your motivation and purpose. He wants to use you – so when it gets uncomfortable keep moving towards Him.
He will SHINE through you in ways you won’t believe.
So here’s to a new season and a new age. 28 you’re gonna be good!
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
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.
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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
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.