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Recap – Sawnee Mountain 4mi Trail Run

A little over a week ago, on July 18th, I did a 4 mile trail run at Sawnee Mountain Preserve here in Cumming! The race was presented by Dirty Spokes, the same group that did the previous race I did at Haw Creek Park. Sawnee Mountain is another awesome place to hike right here in our new town. I use the term “run” loosely, since it was a 2.1 mile hike up the mountain and then 1.9 miles back down! As I’ve mentioned before, being a Florida girl, these hills and mountains (!!) here in Georgia have really thrown me for a loop when signing up for races, but I’m enjoying the (somewhat painful- lol) challenge. This is only my second-ever trail run, so I am still learning my way around these compared to regular old 5k road races.

I had never done a race longer than 5k… actually I hadn’t even run or walked longer than 3.1 miles in a really long time, so I was excited to see how I did at this event. I knew that it was going to take me a while to make my way up the mountain since I heard that the trail was pretty rocky and full of branches… not to mention… the elevation… so I wasn’t aiming for any specific PR – I knew I wouldn’t hit it. I did decide that I wanted to finish the four miles within an hour and fifteen minutes, though.

If it doesn

Yeah, this was definitely a challenge.

Well, I was right. Despite stretching out beforehand, it was a hard climb up for me. My muscles were so tight, and I found the first mile to be really tough… after the first mile, I had settled into a groove and started enjoying myself. I took the second mile slowly, since it was quite rocky, but as I came up the eastern side of the mountain, the sunlight was coming down on me, and I really felt very much at peace. I had been in a bit of a strange mood that morning, and at that moment, being outside on the trail was just what I needed!

On the trails!

Running on the trails! Photo captured by H&H Multimedia.

When I got through the second mile, I was definitely feeling it and was so relieved when the course began turning downhill. I really enjoyed jogging down and had fun dodging the rocks and branches. I could hear my Runkeeper app in my earbuds telling me the elapsed time, and I knew that if I was just a little faster, I would meet my goal of finishing before an hour and fifteen minutes. I forced myself to speed up, and I did it – my official time was 1:12:29! I was so, so proud of myself! I have to say, without doing the incline training at Orangetheory the past few weeks, I don’t know if I would have made it!

Map of the Sawnee Trail 4.0 mi race

Map of the trail. It registered 3.85mi on the GPS, but the total distance was actually 4.0mi

Of course, after I finished the 4 miles, I thought to myself, “hey, that was tough, but it wasn’t so bad… I could totally go another 2 miles and do a 10k!”

So… I wonder what will be next up on my plate! ;)

After the race

Red-faced and glad to be done! It was hot out there!

AmberJuly 29, 2015 - 2:22 pm

YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!! So happy you felt that bliss!

JudyJuly 29, 2015 - 2:31 pm

Fantastic determination! You are certainly achieving your goals.

Fit Friday and Birthday Recap!

So, today is Friday, so I thought I would do a little Fit Friday post. Along with that is my birthday recap, which works right into it.

I pretty much had the best birthday ever!

I started out my day at Orangetheory (of course) and had an awesome class with Laura, one of my favorite coaches! She let me help with the playlist which was so awesome and helped make it a perfect class for me. All of my favorite workout songs… Yay! My friend Julie was able to join me for the class and I just loved getting to meet her in person after chatting for many months after connecting online in one of the Atlanta photography groups!

Birthday Workout

I got to wear the fluffy ears!

Me and Julie at OTF

Me and Julie!

Pretty much a perfect pyramid!

Feel the burn!

OTF Suwanee really helped make my morning super special. Just another reason why they are the best studio ever!

After my class, I came home and Adrian and I decided to head out to Zoe’s Kitchen for lunch. It’s one of my favorite spots around here. The food is SO good! I stuffed myself on greek salad, pita, and hummus. Hey, it may be my birthday but that’s no excuse to eat crap! :) I always feel so much better when I eat right.

I picked the kids up from camp and took them home… then my mom and dad offered to take them for a while, and I was thrilled! I ran out to go shopping to finish off my great day. Picked up a few goodies in Ulta and then headed to Old Navy where I was shocked and elated to find that I now fit into SIZE 6 shorts! I haven’t worn a size 6 in almost 10 years, so this was an amazing realization! I am so happy!

Now, on to my fitness-related accomplishments for the week!

I am not sure if I wrote about this before, but I’ve been doing a plank every Sunday to see how long I can go. I just keep holding it… I always go in with a goal in mind, but if I don’t get there, I try again next weekend. No big deal. Anyway, I really wanted to get to 4 minutes last weekend and I did it! My time was 4:02! YES! My big goal is to get to 6 minutes and I have no doubt that I will do it one day!

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve also been trying to push my speed up on the treadmill. When we came to GA at the end of March, my all-out speed was around 6mph, which is where it had been for a few months in Florida. I’m so proud to say that I regularly do my all-outs at 7.2 now, and as of Tuesday, I’ve hit 7.7mph on the treadmill for 30 seconds of my all-out! I felt like I was FLYING! I’ve also been trying to increase my base pace as well. Running has never been and probably will never be easy for me, but I do love seeing these small achievements. I’m getting just a little better than I was before, and it makes me so happy!

I didn’t get much time on the rower this week, but I managed to beat my old 200m time by one second (did it in 40 seconds)! Hey, it’s something. Now I can’t wait to beat that, too!

Finally, I’ve done a couple of private training sessions recently and looooove it. I’m doing things I never imagined I would ever be able to do with my body and it feels so, so, so good. I have lost 12lb in the past 8 weeks (and dropped 2 sizes!) thanks to proper nutrition and exercise, and I am seeing so many amazing changes. I have never felt better!

Post training selfie!

Finally, just want to discuss this quote real quick. “It’s amazing how far you are willing to go when someone believes in you.”

I have been trying so hard for years to do what I am doing now, but never hung in long enough or knew enough to do it right or even to give it my best shot. I have battled with food, with exercise, and with my own head getting in the way. I have gotten close (as far as weight loss- NOT fitness, there’s a difference), lost motivation, and slipped back.

I have never gotten this far, especially not so fast (I owe THAT to my wonderful mentor/friend/coach, Shelley, and her expert training and education). I honestly never thought I would be able to do what I’m doing now. I never thought I would be able to get to a place where I could actually transform my body. It helps so much to feel like you have people who are interested and want to see you succeed.

Not only do I get that from my coaches, Shelley & Laura, but also from my fabulous OTF friends, who I chat with every couple of days and virtual high-five over FB or text upon accomplishing a running goal, picking up a heavier weight, or reaching a higher wattage on the rower. Go us :)

As for me… well, I can’t wait to see how far I can go and what I can do! 33 is already proving to be a great year!


AmberJuly 17, 2015 - 2:47 pm

SO PROUD OF YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!

On the edge of thirty-three

And the days go by
Like a strand in the wind
In the web that is my own
I begin again

“Edge of Seventeen” Stevie Nicks

I haven’t written a birthday post for myself like this in many years, probably not since before this blog existed. :)

Tomorrow, I am turning thirty-three.

How did THAT happen? I still feel like I’m about 21 or so… until I look in the mirror… or remember any of my many responsibilities. There are so many things that still don’t look the way I thought they would be. I think about where I am and that I’m too immature sometimes to be 33… But everyone thinks that, right? But there are so many things, too, that are better than I imagined. I don’t have to name them here. I know them in my heart and when I close my eyes. :)

The last time I thought much about my birthday, I was turning 30. A lot has changed since then. Things got a little crazy and stressful, as they often do. I had a second baby! I had a couple of health issues. Then, I decided to take control of my body and start the process of getting in shape and losing the rest of the baby weight. Our dog passed away. I decided to close my ten-year-old photography business. Then, we moved out of Florida. And here in GA, I began the process of figuring out what I want out of my life, once again.

That’s a lot in the past three years.

32 was an okay year. It was a tough year at times… but there was a lot of good. Moving was one of the best things we did this year, and in the past almost-four-months of living in Georgia, I have met many wonderful people who have become friends and have positively influenced my life in ways I couldn’t have ever have imagined. I am grateful to be here, to be in a place in my life where I am able to take every day and enjoy it exactly the way I want to. Every day I wake up and I feel incredibly lucky. Of course, I miss my family and my close friends in Florida. But I am so thankful to be here in this place where I can feel… free. After the past three years of craziness, it’s a relief. No, life isn’t always perfect, but even on those not-so-perfect days, I can still find beauty. And that’s something special.

So tomorrow, on my birthday, I’m going to enjoy my day in the most perfect way possible. I’m starting out with an Orangetheory workout with Laura, one of my awesome trainers, and I’ve invited a couple of my friends to join me. I’m so excited to have a “birthday party” (sort of…) at my very own “happy place” and to spend time with friends.

It’s going to be a great day.


JudyJuly 13, 2015 - 9:59 am

Wishing you “The Best Birthday Ever”!