Atlanta Update!

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Hello from the South!

I’m about three days in to my two week vacation and it’s awesome. I’m currently visiting with my college friend Anita. She’s finishing her master’s at Emory. She graduates on Monday! Whoo! Saturday I’ll head to my cousin’s to visit her and her husband, Ben, and their two kids, Noah and Bethany. Next Wednesday I’ll head over to New Orleans for a week before heading back home.

I actually will hopefully have some more posts coming rapidly as I feel like I have a lot to catch you up on, but any photos I want to use are on my camera and I can’t get them off at the moment. Things to be on the look out for is a blog post on an ad I saw in LAX for the “super model diet”, one on flying across the country (basically my views from the sky), and a recap or update of my trip so far. Plus, I decided to take part in Foodie Pen Pals again so hopefully at the end of the month I’ll have an awesome package to open! In case your interested, I was paired with Christie of Roller Koester Run. She should be getting my box really soon! My Foodie Pen Pal box will be coming from Kasandra Raux at Running Long Island NYC. Can’t wait!

So to get you all at least partially caught up with things, last week I was in LA from Tuesday to Friday. Quick trip! Men’s volleyball was playing in the NCAA National Semifinals. They lost, 3-1, Thursday evening so we heading back to BWI and up to State College on Friday. We arrived at midnight.

Back in probably October, I registered to run the Pittsburgh Half Marathon along with about 60 people from my gym, Ki’netik. I knew there was a chance I wouldn’t be there due to volleyball, but just in case I would be I decided to take the chance and pay. I trained and as you all know, I did run a half marathon at the end of March and had a blast. I took about a week off from running after it, just doing gym workouts and ran a little here and there, nothing mind blowingly far. When I headed to LA, I had full intentions of running on Sunday should the team lose. I ended up doing a workout at the hotel gym last Wednesday evening and was in quite a bit of pain, knees and shin splints. I’ve had shin splints for 12 years. They’re not something that will ever go away, but just have to be managed. It’s a pain, but I’m managing them for the most part. Part of it I’m pretty sure was from being on an airplane for six hours and not being able to straighten my legs. I now have a thorough appreciation for what our volleyball team members go through now, especially since most are 6-3 to 6-9.

Anyway, I got in to State College Friday night at midnight and Gabe and I headed to Pittsburgh Saturday for the expo. I was still on the fence about running at that point, but picking up my number, goodie bag and just being at the expo really made we want to run. Off topic, but I got this awesome shirt that says, “I don’t sweat, I sparkle.” Love it! But, I digress. After the expo, Gabe and I headed off to check into our hotel in Harmarville, which is about 20 minutes outside the city. I then took him to get custard from Glen’s Custard, a place my mom used to go as a kid. We visited Pittsburgh Mills and had dinner at Olive Garden. By then it was really sinking in that I probably shouldn’t race the next day. My legs just didn’t feel right. I felt bad because Gabe didn’t know what to tell me and my mom was the same way. I knew it had to be my decision. I guess I just didn’t think it would be that hard.

At around 9 pm Gabe decided to unpack his bag and realized he didn’t pack shorts for the race. Luckily there was a Target nearby and so we ran over and got some shorts. It was around then that I said out loud that I was not going to be running and consequently starting crying. Seriously, I never thought I’d ever care about running a race that much, but it’s kind of addicting. I’m never going to be some great runner, but I love the feeling of accomplishment from running any distance, the competition with myself on time, and the improvement in training and seeing the results at races. I love the atmosphere too! Gabe was really understanding and tried his best to make me feel better.

The next day I turned into a supporter for the first time. I helped tape Gabe up, and made sure he warmed up and stretched. After he headed to his corral I worked my way up the street to where the runners round the corner to the start line. With 25,000+ runners it was jampacked, but I found a spot on the corner to see if I could catch any Ki’netik friends as they went by. I managed to see a number of friends and wished them luck before they headed off. Thankfully I caught Gabe’s attention too, even with his music already going.

Once I could cross the street I started walking without much of a destination. I then noticed that the course actually passed by two blocks over. I walked over and figured out it was somewhere between mile 4 and 5 after the runners had crossed their second bridge. I hopped up on a wall to get a better view and watched some of the faster runners coming by. Eventually the bulk of the 25,000 runners started to pass by and it was simply way too many people to be able to pick someone out. I saw two people from my gym, but couldn’t find anyone else. I stayed until the half marathon walkers came by before heading over to the finish line. Let’s just say that 25,000 runners plus an estimated 60,000 supporters and volunteers made for a giant cluster at the end of the finish line shoots. I finally just plopped down on a curb in front of the Wyndhamand waited. Gabe called a short bit later and I went off to meet up with my “Half Marathoner”!

He did it!

I’m super proud of Gabe. He did a great job, battled through some injuries these last few months and tackled a goal. He’s most deserving of his medal. He also deserves that medal for dealing with me those two days. Being a supporter wasn’t always easy, especially when I wanted to be out there with him. But, it was also a good lesson for me and one I learned well. I took Gabe to Church Brew for lunch, we watched some of the marathoners pass by outside and finally hit the road for home. Supporting Gabe and our many fitness friends proved to be a great experience. I felt slightly useless, but received a note from a gym friend saying thank you for cheering her on. She was one of the two people I actually saw and knew between miles 4 and 5. She said cheering for her gave her the boost she needed. So, yes it sucked to not run, but now I understand the other side of the coin. If I ever need to be the supporter again I know I’ll be able to embrace the role 100 percent and enjoy it. 

So now here I am in Atlanta. Anita is getting a few hours of work in and I decided to blog for a bit. As I mentioned earlier, Anita is graduating on Monday with a master’s in public health. She’s going to do be doing some amazing things down the road. She took me around campus on Tuesday and mentioned that a lot of times the subjects she and her fellow students talk about aren’t really ones that normally pop up in conversation. We’re talking sexual health, mental health, STDs, menstrual health….you name a topic most of us consider something private or uncomfortable and they talk about it like it’s not big deal. However, that’s probably a good thing. She has friends here who will be heading to Africa after graduation to work on menstrual health in many communities that lack running water and adequate supplies. Other friends will head to DC or work at organizations like the CDC and the World Health Organization. It’s really impressive and necessary work to help the lives of people in our country and around the world. Anyway, back to the taboo topics. One of the ways they have chosen to decorate her school’s building is with giant posters like below. Interesting, huh?

Blunt to say the least 🙂

Not your average decorations you know? I thought it was really neat though. This afternoon we’re off to the Coca Cola Factory and then maybe the gym again! Hope you all are well! Have a great rest of the week!

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