When Two Groups Collide

This weekend was one of the funnest I’d had in a long while. I mean, every weekend has elements of awesomeness but this Saturday and Sunday it just was overflowing–so much so, I’ma have to split it up 😀

Saturday I woke up bright and early at my usual 5 a.m. This is nothing new as it’s my start time during the work week. Today though, I was going to be meeting up with two of my fave groups, Run Eat Tweet AZ and Moms Run This Town.

I’ve talked about both before. I used to be a RETAZ ambassador but had to step down because of life commitments. That hasn’t stopped me from still being involved in other ways though. And then I started a local chapter in my city for MRTT last year that I still lead along with my buddy, We’re Running a Marathon?.

Run Eat Tweet AZ wanted to host a group run for all Phoenix valley MRTT chapters and we all of course jumped at the idea. My city MRTT meets weekly but we don’t often meet with other neighboring cities in the valley.

I was prompt at arriving at 6 a.m. for the start of the long run, 10 miles. I wasn’t going to run the 10 though but just do a quick out and back and meet up with the second group, the 5 milers, that would start at 6:30. I wanted to be there to greet all of my MRTT  ladies.

My group is the newest MRTT chapter at barely over a year old but guess what? We had the most of all the chapters! I was so proud of my girls! Six arrived at the 6 a.m. start and then 3 more at the 6:30. 🙂

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But first, a selfie. (I'm horrible at these--can you tell?)

But first, a selfie. (I’m horrible at these–can you tell?)

I managed to get in 2 quick miles before the second group started and then I went back out for another 3 to make 5 miles total. It was an easy going run where I wasn’t at all concerned with my pace–just hanging out with everyone and chatting up a storm.

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Having a blast…as usual 😀

Afterward, all the chapters took a group photo along the bridge where we had met up.

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Such a great turnout!

It was such a beautiful Phoenix day–cool and cloudy and just the right amount of cold 🙂 Run Eat Tweet AZ even had coffee and breakfast for us!

Best. Weather.

Best. Weather.

They also had hooked up with some vendors who gave away neat prizes–free race entries, jewelry, t-shirts, running fuel. It was just an awesome good time.

I’ve mentioned before how life-changing it was for me not only as a runner but just as a person to get involved in local running groups. There are three that I’m actively involved in and it really gives me the motivation and support I need to keep me going. It’s impossible for me to ever get lazy (not that I ever would anyway 😉 ) because my friends are constantly inviting me to run or workout!

At first, it was tough for me to branch out and get out of my comfort zone. But, getting involved and being a part of a group has helped my running so much–I’m faster, stronger, and smarter. The latter being the most important in my opinion.

I really can’t praise it enough. There’s absolutely nothing I regret about joining a couple of running groups. My wallet begs to differ–because my races have increased, but I’ve acquired some pretty amazing friendships and experiences that make it ALL worth it. So if you’re on the fence about it, just do it!!! (And if you’re not sure where to start, here are some tips!)

Hope you all have a great Monday!!

❤ , helly

–Do you have a running group?

–How many running friends do you have?

I Run. You Run. We Run Social.

You might’ve seen a social media explosion over the weekend about the new running group/organization/club, heck, party is really the best word to describe it–that is We Run Social.

#WeRunSocial

#WeRunSocial

This past February in preparation for Phoenix Marathon, a ton of Instagrammers, bloggers, social media-ites, got together and formed a Facebook group where we basically talked about our excitement on meeting up and tackling Phoenix. A lot of us had never met before but “knew” each other through various social mediums. We stared using the hashtag #ItsGoingDownAtPhoenix and thus began a huuuge buildup to what would become an epic race (epic for me in a different way lol!). But it certainly went down in Phoenix as everything about the race–the expo, the race itself, and post race festivities lived up to the hype we’d created.

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#ItWentDownInPhoenix

Afterward, we were sad. It’s kinda like that post-prom, post-graduation “What do we do now?” Was the party over?

NO WAY.

And that’s how #WeRunSocial started. Now, everyone was invited–it doesn’t matter where, when, what race, who, why–as long as you are running, a good time, you’re in and we’re in! It was so much fun meeting up with people who share the same interests as you, who “get you”–why not let that happen ALL. THE. TIME. At every race.

There’s a Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter page for We Run Social where runners can connect and follow each other. It’s cool to chat with people running the same races as you and then talking about training, race day, and post race stuff. I mean, it’s cool just talking about running. And then if you can meet in person, even better.

I’ve had so much fun getting to know people on social media. They may still be strangers in that I’ve never met them in “real life,” but we’ve formed a bond over something we love: running.

In the short span I’ve been fundraising for Chicago Marathon and the Ronal McDonald House Charity, I’ve been blown away by the support of the running community. Sara @LifeBetweenTheMiles, Charissa @charissarunning, Colby @ItsAMarathonAndASprint, Jennifer @WeAreRunningAMarathon?, Hailey @StridingStrong, and Amber @PbandPrs have all contributed to my cause and have I met any of them in person? Nope. But they’re awesome, and love running, and are supportive of those who run. And for that and much more, I’m thankful.

We Run Social.

I hope you all have a great Monday and week!! ❤ , helly

Flying Pig Half Marathon: The Race

He almost beat me.

No joke.

My brother had trained for this race like a man on a mission so it was expected he’d finish and finish having met his goal, 2:30. But boy, he blew it, and us, away.

I recounted his weight loss journey here, and having lost 60 pounds leading up to race day really gave my brother newfound confidence. He could really see what he and his body were capable of doing.

I was excited to see him in person. He’d sent me numerous pictures but I wanted to see for myself what this new man looked like.

He was there at the airport with my sister waiting for me with a huge smile and as soon as I was close enough, gave me a giant bear hug that was much less bear than before 🙂

They were both hanging out with Flying Pig Volunteers who were welcoming travelers and we of course had to take picture:

The Welcoming Crew (these volunteers were great!)

The Welcoming Crew (these volunteers were great!)

My sister and I did not plan the twinsie half marathon shirts :)

My sister and I did not plan the twinsie half marathon shirts 🙂

I had flown into Cincinnati on Friday and that was planned as we figured we’d go to the Expo from there.

We walked around and really took our time–this was my brother’s first Expo after all 🙂 and took a few pictures after picking up our swag (which by the way, was pretty impressive!).

Three little piggies

Three little piggies

We drove back to Dayton, where my brother and sister live, and enjoyed the rest of our Friday and Saturday making sure we called it an early night.

Race morning, Sunday, we awoke bright and early as we had to drive back to Cincy. My brother-in-law was also running this race (and my sister was supposed to too, but she suffered an injury a few weeks prior 😦 )

The plan was for us to all start in the same corral and then do our thing. I loved this idea as I got to hang out with my brother pre-race and see him start. We chatted and talked a little about the race. My brother in law and sister gave us course details as they’d run the race several times before. My brother then announced that he felt he could beat his goal and really had a secret goal, a Goal A–2:20. He’s officially a runner now lol!

Corral Selfie!!

Corral Selfie!!

We heard the national anthem be played signifying the start of the race and we began moving closer and closer to the start. My brother was getting into race mode, getting his music set up and plugging in his ear phones.

This was really happening.

I was just kinda laying low, watching him, super emotional to see him do this. Really do this.

And as we approached the start line, I called his name to wish him luck….

All the emotions. All.

All the emotions. All.

…and I lost it. I started crying and I hugged him. We parted ways as soon as we crossed because I knew there was no way I’d keep it together.

I knew this was going to be a tough race (for me) because of the hills.

Whoa!

Whoa!

It was a crowded race too and the first few miles were spent navigating through people. I knew the hills would start soon after mile 5 and yup, they were as hard as I imagined them. I did my best to fight my way through them but my pace slowed considerably. I registered an 11:20something on one mile.

But I was having a blast. There was so much to see. So much crowd support. And even though the splits weren’t showing it, this was the fastest race in that it all seemed to happened so quickly. Before I knew it, I was at mile 10 going dooooown hill. It was a great final 3.1 and my splits showed it at 8:52, 8:50, and 8:40.

I crossed the finish line at 2:08:19 (9:48/mile) with my goal having been 2:05. I was pleased nonetheless because I had given it all I had on those hills and had really enjoyed myself the entire race.

I was collecting myself as I grabbed my medal when I heard my phone ring. I don’t ever run with my phone but did for this race as we would be using it as a way to meet up post race.

It was my brother telling me he was done!

But, but, but, I had just finished!

I quickly looked around as I was still in the finisher’s corral and sure enough, there he was! I ran to him and said, “Are you freaking kidding me?!!? You were right behind me!!!”

He had the. hugest. smile. Out of breath, he said, “Those hills had nothing on me!”

Official time: 2:10:36

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He was two minutes behind me! TWO! And look at that average pace!!!!!

I was in complete disbelief. I seriously cannot explain what I felt when I saw him and when I saw the time he had finished. I just couldn’t believe it. He knocked it out of the ballpark!

We took a post race pic as we moved out of the finisher’s corral:

Post Race Pic

But I wish I could have bought ALL the pics of him running during the race. He has a huge smile on all of them and there’s one where he’s next to this girl who is walking up a hill, and he’s charging up it with a look of fierce intensity. It’s freaking awesome.

There’s one of him giving the camera man thumbs up like the race ain’t no thing 🙂

And there’s another of him crossing the finish line with arms triumphantly in the air–you can hear his roar as he crosses.

He has so many good ones but there’s one of him and I juust when he finished–he’s still out of breath, I have a shocked look on my face, and we are both smiling like goofballs. I love it so much.

I think need it.

Before we headed back to the car, I made sure to take a solo pic of him:

My brother, the runner <3

My brother, the runner.

And the car ride home was him telling us his race story–how good he felt the entire way. How he started off with a steady pace the first 5 miles and then picked it up when the hills started, making sure he had enough energy to finish strong. He totally knew what he was doing.

All I could really say to him was, “You’re a natural.”