Thursday, October 23, 2014

Atlanta Esprit de She 5k race recap & Giveaway

Hi guys!!

After close to a 3 month hiatus, I’m back!  I apologize for my absence.  I was starting to get burned out on feeling like I HAD to write blog posts and just needed a little break.  I’ve got some fun race recaps coming up as well as some great product reviews, so stayed tuned!

Not sure if y’all remember (it’s been awhile!) but last year I was chosen to be an ambassador for the Esprit de She Atlanta race that was held last November, and was asked to represent them again this year.  I realized that I never did get up my race recap, and since this year’s race is in a couple of weeks I thought it would be a perfect time to tell y’all about it!

Last year was the first year of the Esprit de She race series.  They were held all over the country, and a few of the locations even held different races, such as duathlons, triathlons, and a cycle race.  The 5k/10k was the race that was held in Atlanta.  The Esprit de She races are geared around women and a healthy mix of competitiveness and camaraderie.

Last year’s race was held in Piedmont Park…right in the middle of downtown Atlanta.  One of my awesome running friends, Ramona, ran the 10k and I ran the 5k.  Parking was a bit sticky as the Park Tavern (which was RIGHT at the start/finish line) was closed for a private parking and we were unable to park there.  Luckily, there is a parking deck in Piedmont Park that we were able to park at.  We walked down to check in and receive our bibs, check out the area (we got there super early), then went back to the car to change.  it was a cold evening!  The race is held on a Thursday night so we got there early to beat the traffic.

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Our walk back to the starting line was nice with this beautiful view -
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There was a bit of confusion about whether or not there was bag check.  Luckily there was so we checked our bags and hung around, waiting for the race to start.
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The 5k was a loop around and through Piedmont Park, and the 10k was 2 loops.  The course appears to be the same this year.  You can check out the course map here.
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The 5k began before the 10k, which I thought was a little odd since it would probably take the 10k runners a little longer than the 5k runners to finish, but I digress.  I actually enjoyed the course more than I thought I would.  There were areas where it was dark and not very well lit but for the most part you could see where you were going.  Even though the race was on the sidewalks that wind through Piedmont Park, I never felt like it got overly crowded, either.  I do wish it was held during the day so that you could really take in the beauty of Piedmont Park (and maybe have a few spectators out there, too).

I kind of messed up and started the race with my hoodie on, covering my bib and therefore, not getting an official “start” so my finish time was the same as the clock time, but oh well…my fault, right?  I stood by the finish line and cheered Ramona in when she finished.  We then went to check out the tapas bar to get some food in our bellies and wind down.  We ran into one of our friends, Stephanie, who sat and chatted with us for a bit.
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One downside to last year’s race was that their “signature bubbly bar” was not onsite at the race – it was at a bar a couple of blocks away.  This deterred us from participating and it would have been fun to share a drink after finishing the race.  Luckily this was remedied this year, and the bubbly bar is at the Southwest Porch at the Park Tavern, which is basically right at the finish line.  Kudos to the race directors for making the change!

After we finished eating we got our things from gear check and headed back to the car.  Had it not been so cold and windy we probably would have hung around for a bit, but we were frozen to the bone and wanted nothing more than to get to some heat!

The swag we got from the race was pretty nice.  We got a reusable bag, an Esprit de She running tank, a copy of “Self” Magazine, along with a few other odds and ends.

For it being the inaugural race, I thought they did a great job.  There were a few kinks here and there but they seem to have fixed a lot of them for this year.  I would be running it again this year; however, I will be at Walt Disney World for a racecation to run the runDisney Wine and Dine half marathon. :)

That’s where YOU come in.  Are you interested in running the Esprit de She 5k/10k in Atlanta in a couple of weeks?  I’m giving away my entry to one person.  It will be good for either the 5k or 10k and you will be running in your name as you will receive a unique code to enter when you register.

Details of the race:
When:  Thursday, November 6, 2014
Where: Piedmont Park (near the Park Tavern)
Time: 5k start- 6:30pm, 10k start – 7pm
        6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. Post-race rendezvous and night market featuring the sounds of Nathan Sexton. Salute your success after the run with two complimentary drinks at our host bubbly bar at Southwest Porch at Park Tavern in Piedmont Park. Find your two complimentary bubbly bar coupons on your race bib. Coupons are redeemable on race night for any beverage up to $10. For any drinks more than $10, the cost difference is the responsibility of the participant.

Packet Pick Up information: (from their website)
Wednesday, November 5 at Athleta Lenox Square
​10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Packet pickup
5 p.m. – 8 p.m. Get race ready! With the help of performance stylists, shop Athleta’s favorite looks for race day and redeem your 20% off any one item – an added perk found on your race bib. Combined with refreshments and good company, this is the pre-race event you don’t want to miss – save the date!
Thursday, November 6 onsite at Piedmont Park4 p.m. – 6:15 p.m. Day-of registration and packet pickup

What you will receive: (from their website)Be the envy of your friends with fashionable freebies from Athleta Esprit de She! To compliment your fun race experience, you'll receive a custom Athleta performance tank perfect for working out, grabbing coffee with a friend or running around town. Also look forward to receiving your gift bag filled with goodies we know you’ll love. But wait, there’s more! Registration also includes the following:
  • One-year subscription to SELF magazine ($12 value - click here for offer and refund details)
  • Two complimentary drinks at our signature Bubbly Bar, plus your own GoVino wine glass (21 and over only)
  • Tasty (and healthy) post-race tapas and treats
  • Access to our Beauty Bar with complimentary massage, mini manicures and hair braiding
  • I ASPIRE photo booth and souvenir photo
  • Professional event timing and live results messaging to track and promote your race success
  • Invitation to join Finish Line Training from Life Time Run
  • Awards for top finishers

    Check out the shirt you’ll receive -
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The giveaway will run from right now until Wednesday, October 27th.  I will announce the winner on my blog and email them on Thursday, October 28th.  If I do not hear back from the winner within 24 hours I will then select a new winner.  You will receive a unique code to register for your race of choice.

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

I know this is a little last minute and for that I apologize.  Please feel free to share with your local running friends if you are already registered or have a conflict
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Thanks for entering and check back soon to see if you won!

Until next time
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Friday, August 1, 2014

Pro Compression Calf Sleeve Review!

Disclaimer:  I received this product for review as part of the Sweat Pink ambassador program.  I was not compensated.  All thoughts and opinions are on my own.

I first learned about compression socks and sleeves when I began to get shin splints in the first few weeks of starting off my running journey.  I've tried many brands but Pro Compression has stood out among them and have been my go-to compression socks for well over a year now.

When I had the chance to review their compression sleeves I was super excited!

So...why Pro Compression?



 A few key points from their website - 


1. MADE in the USA

2. We always have a super fun Sock of the Month!  A new sock designs every month with a discount!  (so make sure you are on our email list).  You can sign up on the home page under: Receive Monthly Specials.  

3. One of the few compression socks companies that makes a true graduated compression sock (the ones that work!).  

4. We sell direct, what does that mean to you?  Bigger discounts and more focus on the customer.  Our goals is to make sure everyone is in the correct sock or sleeve that is best for them! 
Some of the key features about Pro Compression - 
 
1. True Graduated Compression 
2. Arch support with just the right about of compression 
3. Stabilization zone thru the sides to mid foot. Helps provide foot bed comfort.   
4. Open toe box so it will not keep your toes to tight.  
5. Wide cuff for added comfort. 
6. Moisture wicking materials
7. No blisters!  


PRO Compression socks deliver maximum comfort and speedy recovery times. The science is complex, but benefits such as improved blood flow, stability and comfort are universally understood.  The moment you put these socks on your feet, you will feel the difference.
This design requires more effort to put on than standard socks. But it’s that extra effort and much-needed compression that make all the difference. Be patient and your feet will thank you.
True graduated compression promotes circulation by pushing fluid up from your feet and ankles to toward your knees. This design also helps reduce swelling and inflammation while providing critical support to muscles and tendons.
If you already have a specific brand of low cut socks that you love, compression sleeves are a perfect option for you!  It gives you the flexibility to be able to wear your socks as well as the sleeves.  

I also love them because after a run, I can kick off my shoes and socks and still be able to wear my flip flops - this is nice especially in these hot, humid Georgia summers.  They're not only great to wear during runs, but are fantastic for recovery after long runs.  I am not ashamed to walk out and about to run errands wearing my sleeves, especially since Pro Compression has so many fun and colorful patterns.
Have I convinced you yet that these are awesome?  Maybe a discount code for 40% off can entice you to try them out!  Use the code PINK for 40% off your ENTIRE purchase!  And if you're feeling super adventurous, they're even offering a grab bag of 3 pairs of their compression sleeves (and yes, the discount code works for those, too!)  
Don't forget to share this discount with your friends!  Let me make that a little easier for ya -


Thanks to Fit Approach and Pro Compression for the chance to share my love of this product with my readers!

Do you wear compression socks/sleeves?  Where do you wear them the most?

Until next time,

Jen

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

2014 runDisney Wine & Dine medals revealed!

I was driving to work this morning when my BRF messaged me about the Wine and Dine medals...I had seen the first reveal of the medal for the half (you know...the one where everyone said it looked pink?)  Well this new picture squashed that...I love it!


While I'm not running the 5k, the medal is super cute!  And I'm loving Santa Duffy on the Kids Races medal!  The ribbon is interesting with the maroons and oranges in it.  I can't wait to have it hanging around my neck in a few months!

I know I haven't posted a Weekly Workout in awhile, but I am keeping up with my runs.  I had a really good 5 mile run this past Sunday :)  I'm feeling good about my training runs and am trying to work on not starting out so fast so I don't wear myself out.

What do you think of the medals?  Will I see you at Wine and Dine half weekend?

Until next time,

Jen


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Apera Bag review


**Apera sent me this bag complimentary to review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

I think every athlete wants the perfect bag to carry their necessities in, whether it be a runner, a yogi, a cross fitter, a swimmer, or another sport.  I hadn’t heard of them until I saw some of my fellow blogger friends writing up reviews.  I was intrigued and super excited when Stacy contacted me and offered to send me a bag to review!

Never heard of Apera before?  They launched in 2012 and the designers were looking to come up with a bag that would allow the user to be better organized and, what may surprise you, more healthy.  What do I mean by that?

Most gym bags today are unhealthy – meaning they don’t protect the athlete or their belongings inside from odor and bacteria.  Apera bags are made from a groundbreaking antimicrobial product that helps to resist the growth of bacterial odor both on the inside and outside of the bag. 

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They have ample ventilated compartments and the linings are wipeable, allowing for easy cleaning after that trail run or cross fit competition.  There is also a washable insert for your wet clothes to keep them separate from the rest of the bag.  All of these factors help keep your bag clean!

I also love that they support the Special Olympics.  For every three bags they sell, Apera donates one of their Sprint Pack bags to a Special Olympic athlete, which I know means the world to these extraordinary people.

I chose the Tech Pack bag.

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When I first received the bag I was impressed by how much room was in it!  One of the best things about the bag is the two pockets in the front for your shoes.  For a girl who has big feet, even my size 12 Brooks running shoes fit in it!

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Most any runner will tell you that you don’t want to check your running shoes with your suitcase on a flight, just in case it gets lost.  This bag is fantastic for that as it has the extra compartments for your shoes so you can easily carry them on with you!  If you’re going on a short weekend trip or just hitting the gym after work, it keeps them away from your clothes and the rest of the bag.  The pockets are also ventilated so it doesn’t trap the smell inside.

It also comes with a padded pocket at the top of the bag, perfect for any delicate items that you wouldn’t want to get banged up, like glasses, your cell phone, or an iPod.  I also like to keep my Shuffle and headphones here for easy access.  And, although orange isn’t my favorite color, it’s nice to have a light colored fabric so it makes looking for items a little easier. :)

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There is so much room in the second large pocket for clothing.  My husband and I were able to pack both of our clothes and toiletries in the bag for an overnight trip to the North Georgia Mountains.  You can also see the zipper compartment inside the bag, which is perfect for phone chargers, keys, business cards and other smaller items that you may not need immediate access to.

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While I haven’t had the opportunity to use the washable insert yet, I know it will be perfect to put my socks, unmentionables, and other accessories I use for running that tend to get drenched in sweat after a run.  It’s plenty big enough for a swimsuit as well.

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I love that the bag is a backpack, but if you do get tired of carrying it on your back, there’s the option on sliding it onto your suitcase handle.  You can also see how the straps are ventilated as well and how nicely padded the back of the pack is, making it more comfortable.

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It comes with a large pocket on both sides, perfect for a water bottle.  I also used it as somewhere to carry my yoga mat!

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What drew me to this bag was that it also had a separate pocket for a laptop and/or Ipad, which makes it fantastic for traveling, whether you’re flying on a plane or in a car.

There’s another small pocket in the front where I store my Nuun, a small hairbrush, and headbands for the gym.  The bag also has a small strap you can buckle across your chest for added stability.

There’s a video posted on the Tech Pack’s page that you can check out as well!

I absolutely LOVE this bag, and while the price point may seem a little high ($124) it is definitely worth it for the quality of the product.  It has already gotten a good bit of use from me and I know it will get more as the year goes on and I keep training for my fall races.

Right now Apera is having some fantastic deals going on!  First off, their anniversary sale!  Now through July 31st, you can get 20% off all bags (excluding all blue bags and Duffel Pack colors) using the coupon code SUMMER2014 at check out.

All of their blue bags AND Duffel Packs are on sale for 40% off as well (discount is taken automatically).

As if that wasn’t enough, Apera is also giving you the chance to WIN a bag!  Just by subscribing to their newsletter you’ll automatically be entered to win.  July’s giveaway will be an Apera Sprint Pack.

apera11                                                               Photo by Apera 

I highly recommend that you check them out.  They have many other styles of bags, both backpack style as well as a sling bag style.  There’s definitely something for everyone!  Thank you, Apera, for giving me the chance to check out your bag and for introducing me to something I’ll be using for years to come.

Until next time,

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Weekly Workouts – July 6-13

This week was the start of my training for the runDisney Wine and Dine half marathon!  I am so incredibly excited to run this race as it’s been at the top of my bucket list, and hubby was nice enough to give me the trip for Christmas last year. :)

I do have 2 half marathons and a 10 miler race on the calendar before I get to Disney World, but I’ve played around with my race schedule and they should fit in nicely with a few changes.

So my workouts from this week -

Sunday, July 6
Came back from my parents cabin late so no workout

Monday, July 7
Rest

Tuesday, July 8
30 minute run
7.8.2014

Wednesday, July 9
rest

Thursday, July 10
30 minute run
7.10.2014

Friday, July 11
rest

Saturday, July 12
rest

Sunday, July 13
3 mile run at the greenway
7.12.2014

I got in all my scheduled training runs last week…yay!  This week I’m planning to hit the gym again for some cross training as well.  :)

What race are you training for?

Until next time,

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

2014 Peachtree Road Race expo and race recap

It’s one of my favorite races of all time – the Peachtree Road Race!!

Thursday after work I drove down to the expo to pick up my bib and do a little shopping.

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After picking up my bib as well as Sharon’s, I met up with Jill and baby Isabel to walk around the expo for a bit.  I had to stop at the Sparkly Soul booth and pick up a few new headbands (I even managed to wear all of them last weekend).  We continued on to the Atlanta Track Club’s booth where I picked up the commemorative Peachtree Road Race medal that I ordered and signed up for the Triple Peach!

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In order to complete the Triple Peach, you must finish the Peachtree Road Race, the Atlanta 10 miler, and the Atlanta half marathon.  After each race you receive a magnetic plate for that race that goes onto the medal.  I’m excited about taking on this challenge!

After Jill left I continued to skim through the booths and was a bit underwhelmed by this year’s expo.  It could have just been me but there weren’t many vendors there that I was super interested in.  I was, however, excited to meet the owner of Huma Gel, my go to fuel during races!  He told me they’re coming out with some new flavors and I cannot wait to try them out!  I also had to stop by the Georgia Beef booth and say hi to my friend Dane from See Dane Run.  I met Dane last year at the Publix half marathon expo and he’s such an inspiring (and funny) guy to talk to.  Check out his blog and read his recap of his first Peachtree Road Race!

I left the expo and headed home to lay out my clothes for the next day and get some rest.  My BRF, Brandi, and I came up with some super cute costumes for this year’s race -

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“From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere!” – Dr. Seuss

I heard the fireworks from our city going off, so Guinness and I went to the front of our neighborhood to watch (he’s not afraid of fireworks so I can take him outside without him flipping out)

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After the show was over, it was time to head to bed.  I had an early wake up call in the morning!

Thankfully I didn’t oversleep (always one of my biggest fears).  I got ready and Sharon met me at my house to ride with me to MARTA.  We headed down and got on the first train that came to the station…and sat there…and sat…and sat…I think 98% of the train were race participants…didn’t they know we had somewhere to be??  FINALLY we were off and headed to the race!

The walk to the corrals from MARTA seemed a LOT longer this year.  I think they routed us a different direction.  I heard someone yell out “Jen!” and saw Amy from Mom’s Magical Miles run up to me.  We all chatted on the way to the corrals as she was meeting someone in K and I was headed to M.  I made it there and found my Thing 2 :)

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It feels like we had a mini photo shoot in the corral with Brandi’s friends and family, which was fine by me! :)

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If you’re not familiar with the Peachtree Road Race, it takes about 2 hours for all the waves to cross the start line, and we were pretty much right in the middle.  The first runners left at around 7:30 and we were set to start at 8:23.  We had abnormally cool weather for July…lows were in the 60s and I think the high for the day was somewhere in the low 80s…PERFECT running weather!

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As we were waiting we heard our names – Marie and her brother had found us…a selfie was needed :)  The Peachtree was Marie’s comeback race after having her beautiful baby boy and I know she rocked it!

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And finally…we were off!  Brandi and I had three main goals for the race : 1) to have as much fun as possible, 2) to beat our time from last year, and 3) to beat Meb!

Meb was the male winner of the Boston marathon this year.  I had the honor of meeting him at an Atlanta Track Club event in January and he is one of the most humble and inspiring people I’ve ever met.  He was approached by the ATC to raise money for Kilometer Kids, their program to get children into running.  He would be the very last starter of the Peachtree Road Race, and for ever person he passed money would be donated to Kilometer Kids.  His goal was 22,000 runners!

Okay back to our race :)  Unfortunately I didn’t take a ton of pictures this year, but Brandi took a few and graciously allowed me to post them here (thanks BRF!)  The spectators this year were fantastic, as last year the threat of rainy weather kept a lot of them away. 

Mile 1 was pretty normal…we had a decent pace going.  During Mile 2 we passed the Episcopal Cathedral where they sprayed holy water on you.  And, in case you missed that, their priest was standing on the side of the road sprinkling water and blessings on the runners.  It’s always fun to see him!

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The first three miles of the race are on a nice consistent downhill…but as we all know…when you go downhill you’re more than likely going to have to come back up.  I was having some inner knee pain and stopped to stretch before heading up Cardiac Hill.  This is probably one of the toughest parts of the race, but also one of my favorites, as you run by the Shepherd Center, one of the nation’s top 10 rehabilitation hospitals.  They specialize in spinal cord and traumatic brain injury rehabilitation.  It’s a very humbling part of the course because some of the patients and their families are out there cheering for the runners.  It’s amazing to run by, getting and giving high fives and fist bumps to these strong men and women.  After running by Brandi turned to me and said “How does your knee feel now??”  I know no matter what kind of pain I’m in, it doesn’t compare to what the patients and their families are going through, and I pressed on.

We kept running up on Brandi’s parents and had to take a mid-race selfie (or two) with them :)

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Along the way we saw tons of people handing out water, beer, pizza, watermelon, cheese puffs…it’s like a 6.2 mile long buffet!  We didn’t partake in any of the food this year, but when we saw people handing out sodas, we were all over it like white on rice!

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O.M.G. They were so cold and so refreshing!!  Although I will admit I was a little burpy the rest of the race…a small price to pay for a little sugar rush :)

Last year we were soooo upset at Marathon Foto because they got absolutely no pictures of us together…hello!  Two girls both wearing inflatable ducks running side by side and you don’t think they’re together?? Thank goodness that didn’t happen this year!  I don’t think there was any doubt we were together -

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Soon after the “fake finish” came the real finish.  We started to run and about 10 seconds later I said “okay walking”, just to get a little rise out of Brandi.  She shot me a “WTF” look and I had to make sure she knew I was kidding :)  We crossed the finish line and realized that we beat our time from last year and…WE BEAT MEB!!!  (Once the results were posted we found out that he finished about 3 minutes after us and exceeded his goal by passing 22,780 people!  He’s a beast!)

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We headed down to the finisher’s chute to get our coveted Peachtree Road Race finisher shirt.  Every year people submit possible designs for the shirt and the public gets to vote on the top 5 finalists.  The winning shirt isn’t revealed until runners cross the finish line and get the shirt.  Often times runners will hold the shirt up along the course so those who haven’t finished yet see it.  After getting our shirts, we headed to the ATC tent to meet up with Brandi’s parents and to get our “gift” from the ATC – a picture, and I must say, ours turned out super cute!  (I’m not sure what the camera did to the color of our visors and ribbons though…they show more blue than turquoise…oh well, it’s still a good picture!)

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Ramona was waiting for us outside the ATC tent, so we met up with her.  On our way out I ran into my friend, Zoila, and her hubby and brother, who had all just finished their first Peachtree Road Race and did a great job!  They’re also doing the Triple Peach :)

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Brandi’s mom was getting hungry so we headed down to the post race food tents that Publix was sponsoring and it.was.insane.  I was able to grab Sharon a banana and get us both a small bag of pretzels, but that was it!  We saw runners walking around with bags full of peaches, cookies, and other snacks, and later found out that they were pretty much out of everything by the time the race was finished.  You can read more about the ‘hoarding’ on Amy’s blog here (it was BAD!)

Of course pictures were a must :)

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Brandi and I went over to grab our Triple Peach medals and I met back up with Sharon, who had a fantastic race!  We all stood around chatting and then decided to head to MARTA.  On the way out Blue Bell was handing out popsicles and Sharon snagged one for us.

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The walk to MARTA from Piedmont Park is not a short one…but King of Pops very strategically placed a couple of their carts on the walk, and I definitely caved and bought a Raspberry Lime popsicle…it was sooooo good and hit the spot! (No picture of that as I inhaled it as fast as I could).

Sharon and I parted ways with Ramona and headed back to my car and then home. 

Oh…you wanted to see the shirt design?  Here it is!

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I really liked this year’s shirt and look forward to wearing it a lot in years to come.

And I tucked this beauty away, only to be pulled out in October to add the 10 miler plate to it and in November when I complete the Triple Peach – I’m a believer that you don’t wear something until it’s earned.

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All in all, this year’s race was another for the books.  We met our goals but most importantly, we had fun doing it.  Now we have to wait another 359 days to do it all over again :)

I highly recommend this race to anyone!  It’s affordable for a 10k and it’s the world’s largest!  Who’s joining us next year??

Do you have a race you always run every year?

Until next time,

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