My CFF Challenge To You

I’m laying down the gauntlet to all of you. Whether you’re a friend, family, online friend, part of the CF community or just stumbled on my blog looking for pics of  a Mexican fire dance or Nissan Altima (yes I can tell how you get here)…I invite you all can be part of my Cystic Fibrosis Challenge.

Here’s the deal: I’m committed to raising $1,500 for the North Florida Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, as part of being named a 2009 Single Greatest Night honoree. It sounds like a lot of money, but when I realized I only need $15 donations from 100 people that seemed easy. After all, I have 2,000 followers on Twitter, 600 friends on Facebook and a big family to reach out to.  Whether you can spare $5, $15 or $50 I’m asking for your help.

In return, I promise to keep you updated about the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, share my stories of being an honoree, and build awareness of CF through all my channels. If that’s not enough for you, I’m going to put everyone’s names who donates through me on the back of a running shirt that I’ll wear in every race for the rest of the year (including the half marathon I keep meaning to do). So to recap – be part of  MY 100 by making a donation to CFF at and I’ll put your name on a t-shirt, share pictures & videos with you about life as an honoree AND you get to help out a very deserving (and efficient!) non-profit in the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. (Do I even have to mention its a tax writeoff?!)

If you want to know more about the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Single Greatest Night Jacksonville, check out the interviews I did with Liza, our CFF Special Events Director, and Stewart, who is the chairman of the ’09 SGN event. I’m actually headed to a CFF meeting tonight, so expect more stories to come.

Thanks for reading, watching and considering to help me reach the MY 100 goal for CFF. Feel free to comment here or email, DM, poke or FB message me or contact me in any other way if you have questions or a story to share. Cheers!

My CFF Challenge To You

My first Gate River Run

9 days after the Gate River Run 15K, I actually get around to updating my blog about the race. However, moments after I finished I was posting on Facebook  and Twitter…which goes to show I need to find a way to import more of that stuff onto my blog! 

GRR finish Tweet

My time for the race was 1:33:52. I beat my overall goal of finishing under 1 hour 35 minutes. I would have liked to be closer to a flat 10 min mile pace (was 10:19), but I was pretty happy with that. It’s weird to say now, but the first six miles (hour) flew by for me. I remember most of the steps, but it didn’t feel like it took long to cross that 10K line. 


My race strategy was to run 10-12 minutes at a time, the walk for 1-2 minutes throughout the race. I wasn’t planning on running in packs of curb-to-curb people for the entire time, which made it harder to execute my plan. For example, I took my first walk break on the Main Street bridge, at about 1.6 miles in and feared I would be trampled by the crowd around me. Along the ways I realized it sucked to be walking, even if just for a couple minutes, while people were passing me left and right. I knew, though, that sticking to my strategy would leave me with enough power to get up the Hart Bridge in the 9th mile. I made up for lost time (and earned a ton of roadkill points!) by running the entire way up the bridge. My final mile was actually my fastest (probably thanks to a large downhill portion). Crossing the finish line was awesome, as were the beers we hoisted in celebration afterwards. 


Congrats (belated) to my friends and everyone else who finished the River Run, including Stacey, Katherine, Jason, Cate and Holly. And thanks to all the people who stood along the race route with signs and noisemakers, shouting your encouragement. That really kept me moving (even if I did have to pretend that every cheer was really for me).  

Next up for me (now that my legs don’t feel like cement bags anymore) are the final weeks of training for the Nashville Country Music Half Marathon on April 25th. I did about an hour run (5.5 miles?) this past Saturday and will pick up my running to 4-5 times a week in preparation. I also may run the Navy 10k in a couple weeks. It’d be nice to get one more race in before going to Nashville and I have the Navy to thank (kinda) for getting me running in the first place.

My first Gate River Run

9.3 Miles – Every Step of the Way

It’s the night before the Gate River Run 15k, and I should be turning off the computer and trying to fall asleep. I can feel adrenaline flowing through my body though, so I hope by writing it wil relax me enough to knock me out for 7 good hours of sleep. 

I’ve had tomorrow’s race circled on my calendar since I first thought about taking up running, back in August. It’s the biggest race in Jacksonville every year (15,000 runners in the 15k) and I’ve come to realize if you’re a runner in Jax, people don’t ask if you’ve run the River Run – they ask how many you’ve finished. 

My friend (and roommate) Stacey wrote this really cool note about why she’s running the Gate, and it inspired me to make one of my own.  So here’s 9 or so reasons I’ll be thinking of every step of the way.

Mile 1 – I’m taking this one for me. For setting a new challenge in front of me, something I had never thought about seriously doing (or enjoying), sticking to the training (mostly) and accomplishing a big part of my goal. I intend to continue finding challenges and working towards accomplishing throughout my lifetime. Running is really good practice. 

Mile 2 – This one’s for Raechel, my best friend, confidant and my favorite runner! Last year, we were supposed to run the Shamrock Run 5k together and I bailed on her, having just flown back from a job interview in Jax, feeling under the weather and frightened of running in a real race with lots of people. Rae was the first one I’d text or call when I finished a step in training (2 miles today! 5K! 6 miles!) and she always encouraged me. I can’t thank her enough for her support and all-around incredibleness. I can’t wait until we run a race TOGETHER! (PS: She’s running a half marathon next month with Team in Training. You can read about it and cheer her on here.)

Mile 3 – For my Mom, who told me the other day that me running was “so cool because its so unlike you.” LOL, I can’t argue with that because she’s kinda right. To think that I’m going to do a 15K and a half marathon before my Mom does is a little unreal, since she’s a workout machine. Tomorrow I’ll definitely be thinking about that one time we worked out together, where she kicked my ass and I was too intimidated to go with her again for 2 years. Love you Momma!! 

Mile 4 – Here’s to you Dad, who told me one of the last times I was home, that I couldn’t run that far. (Garrett is my witness) You were kidding a little, but I know you’ll be proud when I call and tell you I finished 9 miles. 

Mile 5 – For Stacey, who has been a great friend, roommate and teammate since I met you last summer. Good luck in the race, even though I really want to beat you! 🙂 

Mile 6 – Running this one for Laura, who I met right after she finished her first half marathon. Remember that conversation I had with you Labor Day weekend (you were getting ready for Anna’s wedding so probably not) and I told you, I’m going to run a half marathon? That got you really excited and you gave me all sorts of good advice about workouts, training and nutrition. We need to re-do that conversation now that I’m 5 weeks from a real half marathon. 

Mile 7 – This one is for my brother Adam. Because after you start running 7 miles at a time, you can’t be called “fatty” anymore…even by your little brother (who could probably benefit from more soccer or running himself). Come down here and we’ll compare beach bods. 

Mile 8 – A big thanks in this mile to all my Brass peeps and Corvallis friends. Laura E., Sarah, Bryan, Tom, Zack, Steve, Eric – who all were training for some marathon, half marathon, triatholon while I knew and worked with you. I used to think you were crazy. Actually, I still do but more in an admiring way. To Ethan, who told me running more than 2 miles ever was stupid (you’re right). And to Brady, who founded Corn Dog Day many years ago – I’m celebrating my running achievements with a few corndogs at next week’s party. 

Mile 9 – I started running as a way of distraction when Garrett left for 2 months on his ship, so its no surprise that I chose this mile specifically for him. This is the mile with the really big bridge that you have to run up and over before you see the finish line. Your words “just keep swimming” will get me up that hill and down the other side. It’s kinda like the hill we’re climbing right now…no matter how steep or long it might seem now, soon we’ll only have the downhill part left. And when we get to that finish line, I’ll be there waiting for you (with Starbucks in hand). 

Last .3 miles – This little part is for my virtual running buddy, Kait, who I’ll actually get to meet at the Country Music (Half) Marathon next month. Nashville, here we come!!! 

You can follow along on tomorrow for race results and information. I expect to finish right around 10AM, so check it out when you west coasters wake up tomorrow. I’ll also post something on Twitter, Facebook and eventually here to let you know I survived!

9.3 Miles – Every Step of the Way

A new kind of challenge

One of my keywords for 2009 is MOVE. I want to get out and have adventures. See things and explore. Get my butt in gear and be active. Do something challenging that I can be proud about. (Ironically, I didn’t necessarily mean pack up my things and move into a new place, but I am next weekend.) 

I’ve never been a runner or even interested in running at any speed for most of my life. My high school and college were both well-regarded for stellar cross country and track teams, so I’m used to being around fast, active people. Last September, I decided I needed a new personal challenge and running became my outlet. I circled the Race for the Cure and the Outback Thanksgiving Day race as two races that I wanted to do, with the ultimate goal of doing a half-marathon. This challenge came at a good time for me, as I needed a distraction while my boyfriend was underway for a couple months with the Navy.  

Using a “Couch to 5K” plan, I worked my way up to the Race for the Cure 5K in about 5 weeks. I broke my goal of 30 minutes, by finishing the race in 29:02. I kept training and also completed the Outback Distance Classic 6K with my friend Stacey, under our goal of 36 minutes (6K=3.6 miles). In just over two months, I went from non-runner to finshing two races. I was kinda hooked!

Outback 6K  Race for the Cure 2008

Outback 6K (with Stacey) and Race for the Cure5k – 2008

Running presents challenges to me that I’ve never faced before. It’s hard. At least for me, since I’ve never ran without a ball in front of me or much more than a mile at a time. It takes dedication. I couldn’t go out and just run miles without putting in the training time. It’s a mental challenge. Running can be boring…especially on a treadmill. I’m just now learning how to push through pain and thoughts of “am I done yet?” (hint: just keep swimming) Now I’m embracing running as a great distraction and stress reliver. 

I’ve set new goals for myself for the first few months of 2009. I will run (and finish!) the Gate River Run 15K here in Jacksonville. This is the biggest race in Jax each year (and the U.S. National Championship for the 15K distance). It’s 9.3 miles through downtown, over 2 bridges and starts & finishes at the Jaguars’ Stadium. I’ll be one of 14,000+ people trying to tackle this distance on March 14th (one month!). If that’s not enough of a challenge, I’m also planning on running in Nashville on April 25th in the Country Music Half Marathon with my virtual running buddy, Kait. Dave Matthews and Jason Mraz play that evening @ Vanderbilt, so that will be part of our motivation to cross the finish line! 

I’ll continue to blog about my workouts and my progress towards the River Run and half marathon.  Yesterday, I set a new personal best by doing 6 miles in 62:20 on the treadmill. By using an adaptation of Hal Higdon’s 15K training schedule, which uses walk breaks during the long runs, I have become a fan of this method. It allows for a little recovery through the workout, lessening chances for injury, and also keeps me mentally engaged throughout the run. 

If you are a runner, spectator, or heckler and have some words of wisdom or encouragement, I’d love to hear them. I’m also looking for new music to add to my iPod for training. I made a great 6K playlist for the Outback run and look forward to doing the same for the River Run. Feel free to leave comments below and let me know what you think. 

MOVE is one of my challenges-resolutions-goals for 2009. What are yours and how are you following through on them?

A new kind of challenge