Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Don’t Miss Out on Savings – Georgia Marathon/Half-Marathon Costs More on January 1st

There are only a few days left in 2010. If you plan to run the Georgia Marathon or Half-Marathon, the registration fee increases on January 1st by $15. Publix is the new title sponsor for the race. With its strong presence in Atlanta, I’m anticipating that Publix will provide great support for the event. Runners can sign-up at the race site via

Looking for more savings?

Big Peach Running Company offers $5 off the half-marathon or $10 off the full-marathon registration fee through December 31st. Plus you’ll avoid the online fee added to your registration when you sign up at

Friday, December 17, 2010

Get Local with Holiday Gifts for Runners

Still shopping for Christmas gifts? Me too. Instead of searching online for the perfect gift, visit your neighborhood running store. You’ll find staff that are passionate about running and can offer good advice on a variety of gift choices. Here in Decatur, we’ve got three terrific options for running gear – One Step at a Time, Fleet Feet and Big Peach Running Company.

I recently stopped by Big Peach Running to get a few recommendations. Here are a few suggestions that were offered:

  • Amphipod Xinglet Pocket Reflective Gear – An improvement on the standard reflective vest, the Xinglet provides a better fit and stronger reflectivity. Plus, it features a zipper pocket for i.d., keys or money. My friend Kevin recently bought one and really likes it.
  • Black Diamond Sprinter Head Lamp – Safety is always a great consideration for runners’ gifts. This head lamp features lights on both the back and front so cars can see runners in either direction.
  • Saucony Epic Run Vest – For the most part, winters tend to be mild in Atlanta. This light-weight vest offers a comfortable alternative to a wind breaker. It also features reflective striping on the front to help keep runners visible to cars.
  • Saucony DryLete Ponytail Skull Cap – For those of us with long hair, the ponytail cap is a great gift! It keeps your head warm without having to stuff your hair inside the cap or wear a ponytail at the nap of your neck.

Is your runner already well equipped with gear? Consider these options:

  • Sports Massage - Pass on a little pampering to your runner with a gift certificate for a massage. It makes a great gift after a marathon or half-marathon race. Both Massage Envy and Natural Body have locations throughout Atlanta.
  • Pedicure - Feet can take a beating from running. Hang nails, ingrown toe nails and black toe are just a few of the problems runners can develop. Stuff your runner’s stocking with a gift certificate to a local nail salon.
  • Paid Entry for 2011 Race – Does your runner love to participate in big races? Pre-pay their fee for a running event. Registration is open for the Publix Georgia Marathon and Half-Marathon in March.

Happy holidays and happy running!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Running for Hope and a Cure

Last year, Karen Cole was celebrating her best friend Eve’s upcoming nuptials. That happiness was dealt a cruel twist – a few weeks before the wedding Eve was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

To honor her friend and support her fight against the disease, Karen made a commitment to run and raise money for cancer research with Team in Training (TNT). Over the past year, Karen has achieved a lot. She’s run 3 half-marathons and her first marathon while raising more than $5,000 dollars. Karen documented her experiences at her blog The Purple Train.

Karen and I work together at UPS and I’ve admired her athletic accomplishments and devotion to her friend. We recently sat down together to talk about her journey over the past year.

How long have you been a runner?
I’ve always been involved in sports, particularly soccer, but didn’t start running until 5 years ago. My first race experience was the 10K Classic. However, I didn’t start becoming a serious runner until joining TNT. Growing up, my mom was a big marathon runner so it’s funny to think that I didn’t start running sooner.

What was your experience like with TNT? How did it help you prepare for your goals?
When I originally committed to running and raising money, I felt uncertain about my ability to actual complete a race. I’m not sure if would have been possible without the support and friendship from my teammates with TNT. The group atmosphere and bonds I developed with other runners striving toward a common cause was a huge motivator. The TNT program helps runners stay consistent and committed to training for races. I started with the program the week before Thanksgiving in 2009 and ran my first fundraising race at the ING Georgia Half-Marathon.

Why did you choose to start a blog to share your experience?
My friend Eve started a blog to chronicle her treatment. It turned out to be a meaningful way for her friends to stay connected to her experience without having to ask for an update each time we saw her. Her courage and openness inspired me to write my own blog.

You ran the Nike Women’s Marathon in October. What was your training like?
This was my first marathon and we started the training program in May. It was a hot summer in Atlanta and the heat was incredibly difficult to handle at times. Regardless of the weather, I stayed committed and my coach Ed Ferrell kept me motivated. Ed really helped me prepare physically and emotionally for running the marathon distance. Over time, it helped me develop confidence in my ability to persevere. Long runs took place on Saturdays and the TNT team typically started out around 8 a.m. Sunday was a cross-training or rest day. During the work week, I’d meet up with my training partner Carol around 6 p.m. for 4 to 6 mile runs at the Alpharetta Greenway. The TNT team also met on Wednesdays at the Suwanee Greenway for evening runs.

So, how was your first marathon?
It was an amazing experience. The Nike Women’s Marathon is a huge event for TNT and it was inspiring to see so many TNT runners in their purple apparel. The weather started out as chilly and overcast – which wasn’t bad. But when I reached the 13-mile mark, it started raining and the temperature dropped. Around the same time, a knee issue started triggering some pain. With the rain, chilly weather and knee pain, it turned out to be the toughest running experience that I had encountered. But I made it to the end and it became a valuable lesson on perseverance.

How is your friend Eve doing?
She’s continuing her battle with cancer and on her second round of chemotherapy, but she remains hopeful. Eve is one of the most positive and willful people I know, and the great thing about her is that she finds the light in every situation. She's had to endure incredibly difficult physical and emotional challenges in the past year, and I admire her so much for her courage.

What’s next for you?
Unfortunately, I learned that my knee pain was the result of torn cartilage. I’m having surgery in January and hope to return to the Nike Women’s Marathon in 2011.