Monday, November 9, 2015

Q & A with Happy Running Sole

I'm participating in the Grow Your Blog Hop hosted by Kristy from Runaway Bridal Planner. If you're visiting for the first time welcome to Happy Running Sole. Happy Running Sole is a blog about my life as a runner, teacher, wife, and daughter. I started blogging five months ago in hopes to connect with like minded people who enjoy running as much as I do. I also hope to inspire others to chase their dreams whether they be in running or other aspects of life. In just five months time, I've received so much support from others in the blogging community. I feel a personal connection with many bloggers even though we've not met in person.

I thought long and hard about my Spotlight post and I finally decided to do a Q & A post. I asked my friends and fellow bloggers to submit questions via my Facebook and Instagram pages. Here are their questions and my responses.

Holly from HoHo Runs asked, "What motivated you to sign up for your first race? Which one was it and what were your thoughts?"

My running obsession began with the Cow Patty Trot 5K in March 2012. My mom asked my dad and I to join her on this 5K for her birthday. I hated running and I had done little to no physical activity in years. My Mom ran in several 5K's leading up to this race, and I didn't dare try to keep up with her. My plan was to walk with my dad. We just wanted to stay ahead of the sag wagon and beat the two women in the cow costumes. Dad and I maintained a 15 minute mile walking. I sprinted the last quarter mile to the finish. I guess you could say I experienced a "runners high" because I felt so accomplished the remainder of that day. I enjoyed the race much more than I imagined I would. I made it my goal that day to work to improve in running and try to run a 5K without stopping to walk. My mom encouraged me to chase that goal and we signed up for another 5K later that afternoon.

I was wearing cotton and the race shirt on race day. Can't you tell it was my first race? You can read my full recap and see more pictures here.

Tricia from MissSippiPiddlin asked, "Which race have you attended that was the furthest from you?"

I haven't traveled to many races although there's several that I would love to run one day. I don't have a goal to cover all 50 states, but I would love to cover the Southern states. So far I've completed races in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Tennessee. The St.Jude Memphis Marathon is the furthest I've traveled. I just did the math and it tops my trip to New Orleans by approximately 17 miles.

Kim from Running on the Fly asked, "What's your favorite race day outfit?"

My favorite race day outfit is my St.Jude Hero singlet. This December will be my third year fundraising and running as a St.Jude Hero in the St.Jude Memphis Marathon weekend. St.Jude Memphis marathon is about so much more than finishing a race, it's about helping families and saving lives. I run as a St.Jude Hero in memory of my brother Raymond who lost his battle to two types of cancer in December 2003. He was just 13 years old when he passed. For me, no other race compares to St.Jude Memphis Marathon. Every runner has a story, their lives affected in some way by childhood cancer.

 

In 2013, Mom and I planned to run our first half for the ten year anniversary of Raymond's passing. Unfortunately, the race was cancelled due to winter storm Cleon. You can read about our trip to Memphis here.

In 2014, Mom and I returned to Memphis. I ran my first full marathon and my mom paced me for the first half. You can read about our race here.

Katherine from I RUN This Life asked, "As runners, we all have bad runs every now and again. How do you motivate yourself to just keep going?"

I think the key to getting through the tough times is to think of something or someone who motivates you to be the best version of you possible. For me, it's my brother. I want to live each day in a way that would make him proud. I think about Raymond a lot when I'm running. I run most of my runs alone and sometimes I feel his presence with me. It could be something as simple as a song on my iPod, a butterfly, or a breeze that reminds me of him.When I'm struggling through a run, I think of the strength he showed in the final year of his life undergoing numerous surgeries, chemo, and radiation treatments. He always had a smile on his face and he never once complained. If he could endure all that surely I can push through a few more miles.

Co-worker and friend Erica asked, "What do you do if you feel yourself getting winded?"

When I first started running I got winded often. I also got the dreaded side stitches. I've learned to better pace myself. I don't get winded often unless it's the final stretch of a race when I'm really pushing myself. If I do get too winded, I back off my pace and take regular walk breaks until I feel comfortable to continue running.

Pascal from Pascal's sport and testingblog asked, "What are your goals for 2016?"

That's a great question and one that I'm still reflecting upon. It has been my goal for the past two years to run 1,200 miles total. Last year, I missed my goal by 60 miles. This year, I'll do good to log 1,000 miles. I was sick with pneumonia this Spring and I took almost a month off. It was hard to get motivated after that. I am going to try again to log 1,200 miles for the year in 2016. Maybe the third attempt will be the charm. I also plan to do at least one race a month. I want to do better about cross training. I've had my bike for almost a year now and I can count on one hand how many times I've ridden it. That needs to change! I ran my first sub 2:00 half marathon last month, a long term goal of mine. I'm proud of my time of 1:59:57, but I would love to improve that time next year. I've got one goal remaining for 2015, improve upon last year's marathon time of 4:53:46. My goal last year was to finish, preferably under 5 hours. This year I'm hoping for a 4:40-4:45. I may run a third marathon in 2016, but there's several half marathons that I would like to run and it's hard to fit all those races in my marathon training schedule.

Thank you to everyone who submitted a question for this Q & A. I hope you've enjoyed reading my responses. I look forward to getting to know each one of you better through this blog hop.

82 comments:

  1. I heard about the St Jude Memphis Marathon on the Marathon Training Academy podcast a couple of years ago, and it has stuck in my mind since then. So great to read about you and how special that marathon and the organisation is for you.
    Great to get to know you through this blog hop!
    Meg x
    www.anchoringchange.com

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    1. Thank you for visiting my blog! The St.Jude Memphis Marathon weekend is a wonderful experience! I think everyone should run it at least once in their lifetime!

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  2. It is really nice to meet you!! It's so great that you found a hobby that you love and I especially love the joy that you get running and fundraising for St. Jude's. I am so very sorry for your loss.

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    1. Thank you! Although my brother's time on this earth was brief he impacted many lives. Running and fundraising for St.Jude is just one way I can remember him and help share his story.

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  3. It was so great to learn more about you! I love that your parents inspired you to try your first 5k! All the best with your goals going forward!

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    1. Thank you! My mom is my best friend and running partner. She is sidelined right now due to a hamstring injury and it just isn't the same without her.

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  4. Fun idea to do a Q&A! I totally agree with having some sort of motivation to help you through a bad run. It makes it easier to muscle through if you have something important or personal on your mind encouraging you to keep going. Can't wait to get to know you more!

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    1. Thank you for stopping by! Getting through those long runs is mostly mental. Keeping a positive outlook and having someone or something to inspire you is key.

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  5. Debra--Wo, you have accomplished so much in such a short time with running. You have HUGE goals--but with your spirit, I bet you will reach them! And love that you did St. Judes race!

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    1. Thank you! St. Jude Memphis Marathon is a wonderful experience. I would recommend everyone run it at least once in their lifetime.

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  6. It is so nice to meet you through the blog hop! Wow how inspiring that you run for your brother. I am sure he is looking down and is so proud of everything you do! I am a pediatric nurse and I cannot imaging the pain of having a sick child. The hospital is definitely a humbling place to work and I come home each day and kiss my healthy kids!

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    1. I thought of being a pediatric nurse, but after seeing all that he went through I knew I couldn't handle it. My brother had Down Syndrome. After he passed, I had the opportunity to do a teacher's aid credit in the multi needs unit in highschool. I knew then that special education was my calling. This is my 7th year teaching.

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  7. Nice to meet you in the grow your blog hop! I love that you run for ST Jude-what a great charity and cause. Fun that you started running with your parents love it! I love it when my kids join me for races.

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    1. My mom and I continue to do races together. She is sidelined right now due to a hamstring injury. I can't wait 'til it heals. It's not the same without her. I love running for St.Jude! St.Jude Memphis Marathon weekend is an awesome experience. I would recommend everyone run there at least once in their lifetime.

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  8. What a fun way to do your spotlight blog post! Love all your questions/answers
    Good for you running in honor of your brother - puts a whole new purpose on the sport.
    I had to laugh because my first race (a half marathon) I too wore cotton... & a fanny pack - wish I was joking :)

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    1. Wow, your first race was a half! That's awesome! It's funny looking back at the things I did when I didn't know better.

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  9. I love reading runners who get to run with a parent. I think that would be so special!

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    1. My mom and I have grown even closer since we starting doing runs together. She's the only one who will listen to me ramble about my long runs, shoe drama, races I want to run, etc. Right now she is sidelined due to a hamstring injury. It's not the same running without her.

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  10. Debra! I was at that Cow Patty Trot! It was so special to me because I had my first age group win. I won that big old cow bell! I was so disappointed when they cancelled that race. How have we not met? I got chills reading about Raymond. What a wonderful reason to run and fundraise for St. Jude. If you decide you want to ride your bike, find us a place and I'll meet you there! I see you are signed up for Ryan's Run. I'm hoping that will be me "comeback" race. Great to get to know you more through the hop.

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    1. I know! I looked to run it again in 2014 and they never had it. I wanted one of those cow bells so badly. I love unique awards! We'll have to meet up for a ride sometime. I mostly ride loops around my neighborhood. I've only had coaster bikes in the past, so I really know nothing about when to shift gears. I've tried reading articles about it, but they're all too technical. I think I really just need to get with someone who can show me what to do. I'm excited for Ryan's Run. I saw they were partnered with Ainsley's Angels this year. I told Ann that I would be glad to be a runner if they had enough riders. I haven't heard anything yet. I hope they have a good number of riders. I look forward to seeing you there in a few weeks.

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  11. 1 race a month is an awesome challenge!! I absolutely love that you ran Saint Jude Hero in memory of your brother, that is seriously amazing. You have motivated me to get more running into my life! Have a wonderful week.
    http://www.holisticbalancenutrition.co

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    1. Thank you! I didn't make the one race a month this year because I couldn't find a race here in August. It's always hard to find races in the summer months here cause it's so hot. Running for St.Jude is a very humbling experience. I think everyone should run St.Jude Memphis at least once in their lifetime.

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  12. Awww, I love this. All your answers.
    So sad about your brother and all he had to endure, but so sweet he still inspires you. He look precious.
    We have very similar stories about what started us running. I did an event mostly walking and sprinted small parts of it. I always felt I couldn't run...then I did a 5K and tried to run without stopping and had to walk a hill right at the very end, it motivated me to come back and conquer it lol
    It stinks you got so sick. I was off several weeks with a stress fracture, I will miss my yearly goal as well.
    it is so cool your mom paced you during your first marathon :)

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    1. It took me 4 5K's before I ran one without stopping. I felt like a "real" runner after that 5K. Mom and I do a lot of the same races, but we don't usually stick together. We hadn't done any training runs together before my marathon, but we paced really well together. She helped me keep a conservative pace for the first half of the race and I helped her reach a sub 2:30 half marathon. I'm sorry to hear about your stress fracture earlier this year. Glad you're getting back into running.

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  13. I started my blog a little over a month ago now for the same reason! Connect with like minded runners and inspire others to live a healthy lifestyle. The St Jude marathon sounds amazing. What a great cause. I would love to travel and do a half or a full like that one with such a great cause!

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    1. I can't believe how many people I've connected with in just a short period of time. The support from the blogging community is overwhelming! St.Jude Memphis Marathon weekend is a wonderful experience. I think everyone should run there at least once in their lifetime. I really want to do the Rock n' Roll Nashville. St.Jude is their #1 charity for that race.

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  14. I'm so glad to have been a part of your Q&A for your Spotlight day and I think it was a great way to get to know you better! I have enjoyed reading your blog over the past few months and I hope we can meet in person soon since you are not too far away. You haven't done a Mississippi race right? We have go to change that my friend. Oh wait did you tell me your signed up for the Blues in January? Thats when I'll be in FL. :(

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    1. I've enjoyed connecting with you as well. I love participating in your Weekly Wrap Link up. I hope we can meet up at St.Jude next month. I really want to do Mississippi Blues, but I don't know if I'll make it in January so soon after my full. I want to do the back to back half's Mississippi Blues and First Light one day. You're doing so well with your marathon training! You're going to do great at Disney!

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  15. I love that you chose this format for your spotlight day! I feel like in just a few questions I got to know you and why you love running so much! I just did a race recently where the tshirt was actually a tech shirt! I did a little dance because I know I'll definitely wear it again, whereas the cotton ones usually end up as pajamas or rags in my husband's workshop! I can't wait to keep reading!

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    1. I love that a lot of races are starting to do the tech shirts. I wear them all the time. The others are taking up too much space in my drawers.

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  16. Love the story on how you got into running, gotta love great parents who push us!
    I have heard great things about the St. Jude race, such an amazing cause!
    3rd time is definitely the charm, you can so get that 1,200 miles if you want it next year! Congrats on the sub 2 hour half, that definitely shows you have a pretty awesome pace! Great idea asking fellow friends and bloggers questions, love seeing the creative ideas others come up with for their posts!

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    1. Thank you for hosting this Blog Hop! It's been great getting to know other bloggers.

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  17. Visiting from the blog hop. That's awesome that you ran as a St. Jude hero. St. Jude's holds a special place in my heart (one of my good childhood friends battled childhood cancer and was treated at St. Jude's). I've done a couple of races in her memory.

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    1. That's great that you run for your friend! St. Jude is a wonderful place!

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  18. Hello from the blog hop! I love the way you introduced yourself with a Q&A. I'm more of a half-marathoner, myself, and I am so impressed with those who can run not just one but MULTIPLE marathons :).

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    1. I think the half marathon is my new favorite distance. I challenged myself to another full this year because there's that part of me that feels like I can do better. I'm proud of my finish last year, but I'm really hoping to improve my time this year.

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  19. Hey ya from a fellow blog hopper!
    I love that you run for your brother through St Jude. I love running for a charity when I can, makes me feel like I am giving back in some way.
    So neat that your mom runs with you! No one in my family runs but me.

    Shannon (girlsgotsole.com)

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    1. Running for St.Jude is a great experience! I would recommend everyone do it at least once. My mom and I have grown even closer since we started running together. Right now she is sidelined due to a hamstring injury and it's not the same without her. She's the only one who understands my obsession.

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  20. I love this! The tips about what you do when you're winded were super helpful. I am just getting into running more races and I definitely needed to hear that. My first 5 miler this past weekend was the first time I was able to make it without experiencing the windedness quite so much but the side stitches I definitely got! haha I also adore the dedication to your brother. That is amazing <3

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    1. The more you run the better you'll know your body and you'll find the right pace for you. Sometimes it's good to step out of your comfort zone and push yourself. That's when you truly discover what you're capable of.

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  21. Hearing about your brother is heart-breaking. I am sure he is proud of the way you honor him. I love that your mom is the one that got you into running. Our daughter just took a run with my husband this morning and we couldn't be happier that she wants to run races with us. You know what they say...the family that runs together... Good luck meeting all your 2016 goals - sounds like you're off to a great start! I am also trying again this year for 1000 miles. It seems the beginning of the year, I'm all on track, but then by these last months...yikes! I am glad to find your page here during this fun Grow Your Blog Hop! Happy Blog Hopping!

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    1. I love running with my mom. She is the only one who truly understands my obsession. I'm the right opposite with my mileage goal. I usually start off slow thinking I've got the rest of the year to catch up. Then, I discover I won't make it unless I run 150+ miles each month..lol. I'm going to keep track of it better next year. I will make it!

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  22. Great idea to do a question/answer format! It's fun getting to know a little more about all of us. So sorry for the loss of your brother....it's great that you use running as a way to commemorate his strength ;-)

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  23. Hello from the Blog Hop! What a great way to introduce yourself to new people.

    It seems you really caught the bug at your first 5k!

    Do you know how much you have raised as a St Jude Hero? At my first half marathon there were a lot of people running for the local childrens hospital. Reading the reasons why they were running which were pinned to the back of their vests did make me rather emotional.

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    1. I've exceeded my goal of $1,000 the past two years and I'm very close to meeting $1,000 this year, so over $3,000 total. It costs $1.8 million a day to operate St.Jude Children's Research Hospital and 78% comes from donations. St.Jude families never receive a bill from the hospital for anything. Each year St.Jude Memphis Marathon raises close to $8 million for the hospital.

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  24. Hi Debra!! It's nice to meet you! I am a fellow blog hopper and super excited to come across a fellow runner! Excited to connect with you!

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    1. Thank you for stopping by my blog! I look forward to connecting with you as well.

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  25. What a fun post!! I'm loving learning about all of the bloggers in the blog hop and you are no exception - 1,200 miles in a year is a FANTASTIC goal! I'm impressed with your 1,000!

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    1. Thank you, Rachel! I look forward to connecting with you through the Blog Hop as well!

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  26. Hi from the blog hop!

    Great post!!!

    I like the format-that was very creative!!

    I wish I could run a race with my mom-she is not having it! lol!!

    I want to live each day in a way that would make him proud.- how beautiful!!

    Nice to meet you!

    -Tamieka@fitballingrunningmom

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    1. It took my mom several months to convince me. There really was no convincing to it. She went to pick up her packet and she said, "I would like to sign these two up for the race tomorrow." I thank her for it now.

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  27. That's such an informative post. I feel like I've sat down and has a conversation with you. You've done so well with your blog and I'm impressed that you're only a few months into it. Keep sharing!
    The first year I started doing races, I would run in those cotton t-shirts too. I thought that's why they gave them to us before the race. Duh!
    But I also wasn't reading blogs then. It's quite a learning experience, isn't it?
    I didn't do much biking this year either and I love your 2016 goals. I'm sure if you keep at it, you'll accomplish them too.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by my blog! I started reading blogs when I was training for my first half marathon and it's amazing what I've learned from reading about others experiences.

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  28. Thanks for sharing. The Q and A is quite interesting. It will be fun to see your pictures from your races in the Southwest states.

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  29. It is fun to read how people got started running. You have had some great accomplishments so far and some big goals for 2016- good luck!

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  30. Congrats on hitting your sub 2:00 half goal - so awesome! Happy to connect with you through Grow Your Blog :)

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    1. Thank you, Denise! I look forward to connecting with you as well!

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  31. I'm sorry to hear about your brother. Running for St. Jude is a fantastic way to honor him while fundraising for an amazing cause. It is certainly one of those races that is on my must run list. Looking forward to continuing to follow you thanks to the blog hop!

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    1. Thank you, Lisa! I would definitely recommend St.Jude Memphis Marathon! It is a wonderful experience! I look forward to connecting with you as well!

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  32. I absolutely loved reading your blog! So happy you are in the blog hop with me! You are definitely going to be a resource for inspiration as I start to take running more seriously and focus on improving! I loved the Questions and Answers idea you did with this post!

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    1. Thank you, Caroline! I look forward to getting to know you better through the Blog Hop!

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  33. Sorry to hear about your brother but I'm glad you found a great way to honor him. I was also a St Jude runner in 2013 and I loved it. Great goals for 2016! I'm going to do some calculating as soon as I get the green light to run again so I can join your 1200 miles in 2016 goal.

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    1. Thank you, Elizabeth! St.Jude is a wonderful charity! I look forward to getting to know you better through the Blog Hop!

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  34. Running is a family affair for you. We so often read about moms and dads with their kids but rarely with grown children (like you) with their parents. You must love that time with them. And bringing the memory of your brother into the picture just makes it so much sweeter.
    The Q and A idea was great. It gives me an idea for my own next week.
    Looking forward to continuing to follow you through the blog hop.

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    1. Thank you for visiting my blog! I look forward to connecting with you through the hop!

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  35. I loved this post! It's amazing how much your brother is with you when you run. He sounds like he was very strong. I also love how you wore the race shirt at your first race. I don't mean this in a mean way, but that's the biggest way to tell if someone is new so it made me smile! You've definitely come a long way!

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    1. Thank you, Kristen! Raymond was the strongest person I've ever known! It's funny because my mom (having ran several 5K's already) told my dad and I that we shouldn't wear the shirts on race day, but we did it anyway. She said it wasn't proper race etiquette. I didn't know there was such a thing back then.

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  36. So happy to connect with you in this blog hop! I love the idea of crowd-sourcing questions to answer. I may (or may not...we'll see) borrow your idea!
    It means a lot that you run in your brother's memory. I lost my mom nearly 3 years ago to cancer, and I've been fundraising/running annually in her memory. Thanks for sharing the love.

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    1. Thank you, Bradley! Sorry to hear about your mom! Running and fundraising in my brother's memory makes the whole experience so much more meaningful. I'm sure you feel the same way running in memory of your mom.

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  37. I love that you ran your first race because you mom wanted everyone to do a 5K together for her birthday, and that y'all still run together! You guys running that half marathon together recently, and your PR, makes it seem like it's all come full circle since 2012.

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    1. Thank you, Meagan! I certainly wasn't expecting to love running as much as I do when I started in 2012.

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  38. It's great to learn more about you! So great that you run for St. Jude's. Such a great way to honor your brother! Good luck with your goals for 2016!

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    1. Thank you, Sharon! Running for St.Jude is a wonderful experience. I think everyone should run St.Jude Memphis at least once in their lifetime.

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  39. Great Q&A! It's awesome what you do to honor your brother. I ran the 2013 Chicago Marathon and raised money for the American Cancer Society in honor of my sister Joni who died of cancer in December, 2011. It's such an amazing feeling and experience!

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    1. Sorry to hear about your sister! That's great that you run for her and fundraise for the American Cancer Society. Running and fundraising in memory of my brother makes the whole experience so much more meaningful! I'm sure you feel the same way running for your sister.

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  40. My first (return) race was a 5km event too. And I love the reason why you run the St Jude event, it's something close to your heart, so its def something that you should continue to do.
    I think you will totally smash your goals for 2016. I haven't decided what I will do yet, but I do know that I have totally smashed my distance goal for the year already. The most I've ever ran in a year.
    www.runmum.com

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    1. Thank you, Matilda! Congrats on reaching your yearly distance goal!

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  41. I love that you run for a charity that honors your brother. It makes it so special, every mile seems to go a little smoother when we run for someone we know can't. I put a lot more effort and thought into every step.

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    1. Thank you! Running for my brother is a huge motivator for sure!

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