That’s one of the first words that comes to mind when I think about the Black Girls Run! Drive to End Hunger Race Weekend. I have to admit I love conferences, workshops, seminars, and other opportunities that offer me a chance to connect with like-minded people and learn in some way. This conference, honors dinner, and race did that – and so much more!
It’s challenging to capture in words all of the wonderfulness that took place this weekend, but I’ll try to share some of my highlights from the event.
The weekend kicked off with a mixer on Friday night. I skipped that because Miles had a basketball game and I knew I’d be gone the rest of the weekend. From the moment I stepped into the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Atlanta on Saturday morning I felt the excitement of all the ladies ready to share their love of running and take in all of information waiting for them in the sessions. That right there is a huge highlight. To see so many women – especially women of color (because it’s not as prevalent in the black community) – excited to run, to exercise, to take care of their bodies and to support one another in the process was so inspiring. It’s so important for all women (all people) to make their health and fitness a priority and when I saw firsthand the effect that Black Girls Run! has had in so many lives it truly moved me.
Me with Black Girls Run! Co-Founder, Toni Carey (purple shirt), and BGR Ambassadors Darlene Baltimore & Doretha Walker
Another highlight was having my sister, Nicole, with me. We attended four sessions together and left each of them with something useful to move us forward with our running.
It’s always a blast hanging with my sister!
Health & Fitness Coach Maurelhena Walles kicked things off in her “Guide to Running” session sponsored by Brooks Running.
She encouraged us to set SMART Goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely – and to own your goal with pride – no matter how fast or slow it may be. She had great energy and really got everyone pumped up.
Next we jumped into “Marathon Training: How to Run a Smart Race” with Tina Klein from the Atlanta Track Club.
Tina knows her stuff and is so flippin’ funny. She offered many helpful tips including:
- If you feel pain – refrain!
- Trim your toenails three days before a race in case you have any issues.
- “Cotton is rotten.” No cotton socks or clothes.
- It’s important to take both water and electrolytes. Your body needs both.
- When buying shoes wait until the end of the day, because your feet swell.
- For every 1 min you go out fast you pay for it 3-4 mins in the end.
- The best recovery drink is chocolate milk – within a 20 minute window.
She also quizzed us: What does the average person run a mile in? They don’t – the average person doesn’t run.
I had to go to the “Foods You Love That Will Love You Back” session with Koya Webb. I’m trying to #DoBetter and continue with my photo food journal so this was perfect. Koya is a holistic health & wellness coach and preached eating whole, clean foods. Yes!
She also talked about moderation and allowing yourself to indulge (you know I was liking her), while making healthy eating part of your lifestyle. She motivated me to start cooking more and to stay away from so much processed food.
We ended the sessions with “The Psychology of a Runner” with Sheba and Darlene Baltimore – two rockstar runners. We had a lively, interactive discussion about positive thinking, types of runners, running with music or without music, and the importance of self-motivation and mantras.
I was glad to learn I’m not the only one who talks myself up a hill or through the end of a hard mile. I also shared that I clap for myself after every run. It’s an accomplishment to applaud no matter how fast, slow, short or long you’ve run.
In Part 2 of my recap I’m going to introduce you to the honors dinner keynote speaker, Ernestine Shephard, 75, the world’s oldest female bodybuilder. If you’ve never seen her before, you’re in for a treat. She’s simply amazing. I’ve got fun pictures from the race for Part 3 and can’t wait to share my splits from my PR – it was a GREAT run for me.
Winks & Smiles,
Disclosure: As a blog ambassador for the BGR Drive to End Hunger my race and conference registration were complimentary. As always, my thoughts and opinions are all my own.