Your Ears Will Love These Headphones!

I received these items to review. I was not compensated in any other way for this post and all opinions are 100% my own!

I’ve had my fair share of bad experiences with headphones and running. This pair hurt my ears, that pair wouldn’t stay in my ears, the other pair started shorting out and shocking me while I tried to run…yeah, not so good luck with headphones and running.

Whenever someone tells me I should try a certain pair of headphones because they love them, I usually pass. I just don’t believe there is one magical pair that works for every runner…but maybe I’m wrong. Panasonic recently sent me two new pairs of headphones for our active family to try out and we’re loving both of them!

Panasonic Headphones

All of the headphones I’ve tried for running in the past have been in-ear headphones. Most of them either hurt or fell out. I was pleasantly surprised to find this wasn’t the case with the Panasonic Sport Clip Headphones!

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They are very lightweight and fit perfectly over and in my ears, holding snuggling but not with too much pressure. The sound quality is exceptional and they also work with your smartphone so you can answer calls while running! I don’t do that very often, but it is a nice feature to have!

Bone Conduction Headphones

While I loved the sport clip style, it was another pair of headphones that really blew all of us away. Panasonic Open Ear Bone Conduction Headphones are like nothing else I have ever tried. They don’t go IN your ears, they sit on the bone right in front of your ear. You hear the music through vibrations in your skull. It sounds crazy, but it totally works and everyone in the family had to try them!

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The nice thing about using these headphones for running is they don’t plug up your ears completely, so you would be able to hear a car coming or a biker passing you on the trail AND hear your music with great clarity. This is a really valuable safety feature for outdoor runners. And that makes these water-resistant headphones the perfect choice as you’re training for your summer and fall races!

Speaking of races, we’re adding another race runner to the family this weekend as our oldest (nine years old) has been training for his first 5K! We have been so impressed by his dedication to sticking to a training plan, doing three runs a week, some outside and some on the treadmill. He followed the Couch to 5K program for eight weeks and the big race is this Saturday!

Headphones Warm Weather Pack

It’s going to be a warm morning, so we’re packing a great water bottle and cooling towel for after the race. Not a big fan of the heat and humidity, but it comes with living in Nebraska!

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I’ll be running with Big J for the 5K and probably crying when he finishes. Yes, I’m that mom. Our seven-year-old will also be doing his first one-mile race with The Hubby that morning! This running lifestyle has become quite the adventure, but I wouldn’t have it any other way and I LOVE sharing it with our whole family!

What’s your experience with headphones for exercise? Do you have a pair you love?

Homemade Lemongrass Bath Salts

I’m all about easy these days and these homemade lemongrass bath salts are just about the easiest thing you could make!

These bath salts have become a favorite in our house. The Hubby + I often have sore muscles from running. The combination of lemongrass essential oil + Epsom salt provides relief for our aching muscles and joints. Lemongrass also heightens awareness and promotes a positive outlook, so a good mood is an extra bonus!

Homemade lemongrass bath salts would be a great gift for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, especially for the active mom or dad in your life! Just make up the mixture and put it in a mason jar with a cute label!

How about that EASY recipe now?

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Homemade Lemongrass Bath Salts

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Epson salt
  • 1/2 cup sea salt
  • 10-15 drops Lemongrass bath salts

Directions

Combine salts in a small glass or metal bowl. Add desired number of drops of essential oil to the salt mixture and mix well. Transfer mixture to an airtight container such as a mason jar for storage. To use in a bath, pour a few teaspoons of the bath salts into the water while filling the tub.

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Other popular essential oils to use in homemade bath salts include lavender for relaxation or peppermint for refreshment! Choose your favorite scent and make your own today! Contact me if you want more information about essential oils!

Have you tried homemade bath salts? What oil would you add to your own bath salts?

 

I Was Not a Runner

It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve said it, when I talk about running, people still say to me, “I could never do that. I’m not a runner.”

Three years ago, I was not a runner either.

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Not only was I NOT a runner, I really hated the thought of it. It made me flashback to gym class and the required mile and always finishing near the back. It made a little fearful because of my mild asthma. Looking back, I probably hated the idea of running most because I just knew I would fail.

When my husband started running in January 2012, I was eight months pregnant and there was no way I was going to be working out with him. But I was inspired by him. He, too, was a not a runner, but just started small and was running a 10 mile race within a few months. More importantly, he had greatly improved his health and seemed to be loving the change. Simply put, I wanted what he had.

I had our third son March 7, 2012 and I started the Couch to 5K program on April 16th.

I still didn’t consider myself a runner for a quite a while, but April 16th is the date everything changed because I took the first step…literally.

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There was nothing magical about my journey towards becoming runner, but it was miraculous and it continues to be so. Other than asthma, I had no major health conditions holding me back, but I was not in good physical shape and I was about 20 pounds heavier than I am now. Most of my roadblocks were mental and I had to work hard to get over myself.

As I look back now, the key to going from a running-hater to a runner for me was going SLOW. I’m not talking about my pace, although it is important to take it easy as you get started. Going slow for me meant giving my body time to adjust to this new lifestyle. Couch to 5K was a great way to force myself to go slow. It taught me to keep moving forward, no matter how small the steps.

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I ran three to four days every week. I had a husband who supported me and we both made sure we got our workouts in. I had a friend who I texted for accountability. Some days felt easy and some felt incredibly hard, but I just kept going.

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I ran my first 5K in July of 2012, just over three months after I started running and I think that’s when I realized: I was a runner. Some people think being a runner means you are fast or you run long, but that’s not true. If you run, you are a runner. And that’s what I am now.

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Three years later and I’m training for my eighth half marathon. My longest run was 16 miles, just this past weekend. I’ve done countless other races because I LOVE the atmosphere and the clear goal. I have the best running friends and it is a special treat when I get to run with The Hubby, even though I know he’s slowing down to stay with me.

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There are countless things we would never experience in life if we used the same excuses we use for not running. What if I never sat down to write this blog because “I’m just not a writer?” Or didn’t get up in front of that group to share my story because “I am not a speaker?”

It’s true: running is NOT for everyone. There are medical conditions that sometimes prevent it. I have a dear friend who would love to run, but her doctor has advised her not to because of knee and shin issues. But she is finding other ways to be physically active and I’m cheering her on in that.

It saddens me, however, to think of all the people secretly wishing they could be a runner when their mind is the only thing getting in the way.

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Running has brought me freedom. It feels like therapy. It is a great escape. And it has proven to me that I am stronger than I ever imagined, both physically and mentally.

As I celebrate this third anniversary, I am beyond grateful that I started running when I was a not runner. It is the most important part of this story for me and it really did change everything. I think it could for you, too.

If you’re interested in reading more about my running journey, check out these posts:

This is How We Do St. Patrick’s Day!

St. Patrick’s Day is my thing. One of my favorite days of the year and always has been. I’ve got all kinds of Irish ancestry and we like to celebrate it any way we can!  It was a big deal at my house growing up, I made it a big deal for my students when I was teaching, and now it’s a big deal for my own family!

We traditionally celebrate with lots of green, some Irish soda bread, and beef stew for dinner, but our St. Patrick’s Day festivities have evolved a little over the years.

The biggest addition has been the Irishman race the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day! It’s held in my hometown and involves 5 mile, 5K, and 1 mile races all in one day. This was my third year running it with my childhood best friend and The Hubby ran it for the second year this year! Of course, I get all decked out in my green for this race…

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Three races in one day is a unique challenge and the Irishman is one of my favorite race days of the year! It is extra special because I get to experience with my hubby and my best friend!

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The weather could not have been more perfect! I finished with new PRs for the 5 mile {43:30} and 1 mile {7:50}, as well as an overall PR for the day {1:17:38}! The Hubby finished 11th on the day – out of 212 people! And we had some cute spectators waiting to watch the parade with us after the race!

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As for today, actual St. Patrick’s Day, we’re not going with our traditional beef stew, but we’ve got lots of green going on!

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And I’m wearing my favorite Irish shirt along with my KraftyKash map necklace of Dublin!

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Fifteen years ago, The Hubby and I were in Ireland on a band trip and we started dating on St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin. For this Irish girl, nothing could have been more romantic! I can’t believe I’m posting this, but here we are on that trip…

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Oh my, how we have changed…except I still make goofy faces in photos. That will never change. And I’m more in love with this guy than ever before – that part just keeps getting better!

One last thing: We celebrate St. Patrick’s Day big because of our ancestry. I mean, my family actually built a super famous castle in Ireland, for goodness sake. But St. Patrick’s Day is an important day for all Christians to celebrate because there is a lot for us to learn from the man for which this day is named! I share his story with our boys ever year and you can read more about it on the Tommy Nelson blog in my recent post called The Faith and Forgiveness of St. Patrick!

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day from our family to yours!

 

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea,
Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the rock.

I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me;
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s hosts to save me
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a mulitude.

Christ shield me today
Against wounding
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through the mighty strength
Of the Lord of creation.

~The Prayer of St. Patrick

Holiday Run List: Five Great Gifts for Active People!

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

If you have a loved one who is a runner, I am here to save the day as you try to figure out what to get him or her this Christmas! There are lots of fun gift ideas to keep them healthy and motivated along their running journey!

Holiday Run List

Here are five great gifts I would put on my Holiday Run List!

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Pro Compression socks

Don’t laugh. Compression socks are just for older people and pregnant women. As The Hubby once said to me, “They’re like a hug for my legs.” I wasn’t convinced until I was given my own pair of Pro Compression socks to review and pulled them on after my Thanksgiving morning trail half marathon. These things are magic. I had very little soreness in my legs the next day like I normally would after a race and I know the compression socks were a major reason.

Compression socks deliver maximum comfort and speedy recovery times. The science is complex, but benefits such as improved blood flow, stability and comfort are universally understood. Compression socks are also great for wearing during long runs! With all the fun colors and patterns, you can get compression socks for any personality! Use the code PINK2 to get 40% off on your order from Pro Compression through December 15th!

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FUNKtional Wearables Fitbit Jewelry

Why did I not learn of FUNKtional Wearables a year ago when I got my Fitbit?! FUNKtional Wearables makes fashionable jewelry to hide your Fitbit tracker! That’s right – your favorite active woman doesn’t have to wear the black Fitbit band all the time in order to keep track of her steps! I have a fabulous silver cuff and a gorgeous gold bracelet both from FUNKtional that I just adore. And the prices are the best, with most items for less than $40!

Running & Being

A great running book

So many wonderful choices in this area! Here are a few suggestions:

You (Only Faster) by Greg McMillan

Run Like a Mother and Train Like a Mother by Dimity McDowell & Sarah Brown Shea

Running & Being by George Sheehan

Race Medal Display

Race Medal Display

If the runner you love likes to do races, a medal display is the perfect way to celebrate their accomplishments! There a MANY choices for medal displays, including this great one on Amazon! There are also displays for race bibs or a combination of medals and bibs!

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The Runner’s World Cookbook

Being a runner doesn’t mean you have to eat healthy food that tastes like cardboard and The Runner’s World Cookbook is proof. It might be one of my favorite cookbooks ever. The food is delicious, the recipes aren’t too complicated, and each recipe is labeled with categories such as pre-run, recovery, vegan, and so on. Even if you’re not a runner, I still think you’d love this cookbook!

My holiday run list could go on and on, but hopefully this short list will give you quick ideas to please the runner in your life this Christmas!

What’s on your #holidayrunlist this Christmas?

 

 

Ugly Sweater Run Giveaway!

I was given free entries to this run in exchange for sharing with you. I was not compensated in any other way, and all opinions are 100% my own.

I love a good race for the motivation and community it offers, but themed races are extra fun, so I’m really excited about the Ugly Sweater Run coming to Omaha soon!

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The Omaha Ugly Sweater Run is Sunday, December 14th at 11:00 am and it is the perfect mix of fitness and fun this holiday season! The 5K run will start in downtown Omaha and end with free hot chocolate!

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This is a great family event – inflatables, photo booths, snow blowers, and holiday music at the start and everyone decked out in the tackiest Christmas sweaters they can find! Lots of parents and children participate together and children under five can participate for free!

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Each Ugly Sweater runner receives a custom vintage knit hat, a drawstring bag, unlimited hot chocolate, and more!

I’ll be running and I want you to join me there, so I’m giving away FOUR free entries today! Just leave a comment below telling me your favorite Christmas movie to be entered!

The giveaway ends Friday, December 5th at 9:00 p.m. CST and the winners will be picked randomly and notified by email on Saturday! Please enter only if you are able to participate in the run in Omaha on December 14th!

Janji Projects: Runners Crowdfunding Clean Water!

I just love when two of my passions collide!

Today, we’re talking about running and clothing companies who use your purchases to make a difference. Let me introduce you to Janji

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The co-founders of Janji are runners with a desire to help bring safe drinking water to people all over the world. Runners and water are a natural combination, so Janji exists to do something with that connection. That “something” is running gear that makes a difference…

Through Janji’s high performance apparel, runners fund solutions and raise awareness for the global water crisis in a lasting and meaningful way. Rather than racing for a cause on just one day, Janji lets runners give back through their everyday training.

The Hubby and I each have a Janji shirt and we love them! We wear them all the time, even when not running!

Janji tee

Besides being awesome because it is green {my FAVORITE color}, this women’s Kenya Acacia running shirt provides one year of clean water for a person in Kenya through Water.org! The Hubby wears the men’s Janji logo short-sleeve running shirt, which provides one week of clean water for a family in the United States!

Janji has short and long-sleeve running tees, tanks, shorts, capris, and tights, all which benefit a clean water project somewhere in the world! And today, they are launching something new!

Janji Projects is a new crowdfunded giving platform which allows runners to preorder a design from a country and, if the design is 100% backed, supporters fully fund the construction of a water point that gives 350 people access to clean water for life.

The first Janji Project launches TODAY! It will be the Uganda Run for Another shirt. Made of a silky performance blend of polyester and rayon, the shirt takes inspiration from Ugandan basket weaving.

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The Project functions much like a KickStarter campaign and lasts a maximum of seven days. If the shirt is 100% funded, production for the design project begins immediately while parallel construction of the water point launches. The waterpoint will give 350 rural Ugandans access to clean water.

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I just love everything about Janji Projects and I hope you will jump on board to pre-order your Uganda shirt today to get this first water point funded!

Which piece of Janji running gear is your favorite?

 

 

Join Me for the Miracle Marathon!

Before you run away because I mentioned the word “marathon,” take a minute to read about this unique and MUCH easier marathon that everyone can do!

I’m thrilled to share that I’m serving as a lead blogger for this fall’s Miracle Marathon, specifically in support of Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska! Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals raise funds for 170 children’s hospitals across North America. When a donation is given it stays in the community, helping local kids. Awesome, right?!

Miracle Marathon

This shouldn’t come as a big surprise that I would be excited about an event that involves running and helping children! I started running just over two years ago and it is a major part of who I am now. I love that the Miracle Marathon gives me a chance to use my love for running to benefit others! And I want you to come along with me, whether you’re a runner or not!

The Miracle Marathon is a 27-day virtual fundraising campaign in which participants run/walk (or achieve forward motion of any kind!) one mile per day at their leisure. The first 26 days are completed at your own pace—wherever and whenever you want. On Day 27, the final 1.2 miles will be started as a group at 2:27 pm EST. Get it? It’s a marathon, plus a mile, for the kids! And it’s perfect for those of us who like the idea of completing a marathon but would rather not complete all the miles at once!

Please join me and register to support Children’s Hospital & Medical Center or another Children’s Miracle Network Hospital, and tell your friends, too! And if you register as a Miracle Maker (you’ll receive fun swag!), you can use my special code MiracleErin to get a 10% discount off registration!

Did I mention we have a team?! I would love to have you join Team Home with the Boys, either as a Miracle Maker or as a donor, and help us raise $5,000 together! Just sign up here to join the team in one way or another and we’ll help kids together!

I’ll be sharing lots more about this as September 16th approaches, but let’s get the ball rolling with some donations and registrations for the kids this week!

This post is part of a sponsored campaign with Miracle Marathon.

Personal Bests

I approached my last race weekend without a clear goal. After having run a sub-2:00 half marathon in the fall, I wanted to pace a friend for their own personal half goal, but that plan fell through and I was left running the half by myself and not really sure of my aim for this race.

The Hubby, on the other hand, had a very big goal in his marathon: to qualify for the Boston Marathon. As he would move up to the next age bracket in time for next year’s marathon, he needed to run a 3:10 marathon or less to qualify. This was just his second marathon, but he is the most dedicated, hard-working person I know, and it didn’t seem crazy to me at all that he would shoot to take 45+ minutes off his previous marathon time.

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We chose to race in Fargo again because we love the flat course and the friendly people. And the weather that day added to the reasons we love Fargo – 45 degrees and no wind at the start. A runner’s dream weather.

Because of that weather, great crowds, and a healthy body, I decided to make another sub-2:00 half my goal for the day.

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It was hard, but it was fun. It was all about me and Jesus. I was constantly praying and calling on His strength to get me through. And He got me there in 1:58:43! A new PR for me by 50 seconds! And I remembered to look happy as I crossed the finish line! {see this post if you don’t know what I’m talking about}

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The best part about doing a half on the same day The Hubby does a full is I can be at the finish line when he comes through. Because of tracking, I could tell approximately where he was, and at the 20 mile update, I was worried. He was five minutes off where he wanted to be. I had no idea what he was thinking or how he was doing, so I just prayed – for God to give him strength and for him to know this race was a success no matter his finishing time.

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I get super emotional at races, so when I saw him come around the corner with just a few hundred feet to go, I started crying and yelling a whole lot to cheer him on. And that’s when I saw the best sight: he was smiling. A HUGE smile. With arms flexed, he crossed the finish line after running 26.2 miles in 3:19:22. AMAZING. 36 minutes faster than his previous marathon. 36 MINUTES.

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I couldn’t have been more proud and he felt the same. I think I was even more proud of him than I would have been if he had qualified for Boston that day because he trusted God + his training and listened to his body and did the very best he could do in those given moments. What could have been a great big disappointment was an overwhelming success for him because he had set more than one goal for the day, and he met two of those three goals – a new PR and breaking 3:20. He’ll have another shot at Boston. I just know it. But he wouldn’t have another shot at enjoying the accomplishment of that race on that day. I love how he latched on to the achieved goals and floated through the rest of the day on Cloud 9! I don’t think he stopped smiling for even a moment the rest of the weekend.

What did I take away from this day? Joy. A little stomach discomfort for the afternoon, but mostly lots of joy. An appreciation for setting several goals at different levels for one event, knowing some things just aren’t in our control. And the realization that we must always celebrate progress and personal bests.

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It is such a bonding experience for us to share this love of running. These race weekends away are fun, but knowing that your best friend in the world really gets what you love is just the best. And celebrating personal bests together is even better!

Congrats, honey! I am SO proud of all the hard work you poured in to this marathon and your freaking awesome finish time! You are my inspiration + hero! I love you!

 

Why Race? {4 Reasons to Sign Up}

The Hubby and I are about to tackle another race this weekend: his second full marathon and my fourth half.

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In between all of those, we have done many other races of varying lengths – 5K, 10K, 10 mile, 15K, relays, and so on. Some people would say we are crazy to take on several races a year and keep paying race fees to participate, but we definitely have our reasons, and based on the turnout for most of the races we attend, I’d say a lot of people would agree!

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If you’ve haven’t taken a step into the world of racing yet, let me give you a few good reasons why you should consider it…

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The Motivation

Having a date circled on the calendar for my next race is extremely motivating. When you pay a race registration fee, you’re probably going to be more invested in your training so that money is not wasted. There is also the motivation of telling others you are doing a race and then wanting to give it your best shot for accountability reasons. For internally motivated runners, the idea of setting a personal record at a race is more than enough to get them running faster and longer! I keep signing up for races to keep my momentum going!

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The Gear

I’m not going to lie: I love getting race shirts and medals and all the other fun things that can come along with a race! And most of the big races have great expos the night before where you can check out the latest and greatest running gear and get lots of samples! Yes, we do have our race medals proudly displayed in our home! And yes, I LOVE dressing up for fun runs!

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The Atmosphere

Everything feels alive and exciting on race day. There is such a buzz in the air. And I love that most of the races I have done are in fairly unfamiliar areas for me, so I’m experiencing new scenery as I run. The start line, the signs along the way, and especially the finish line are all special and unique at each race and often set the tone for a fun run!

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The Community

This is reason #1 we keep going back for more races. There is nothing quite like the running community. Chatting with other runners anxiously as you wait for the gun to go off, the people who cheer you on as they pass you or vice versa, people lining the course with hilarious signs and lots of encouraging words, the shouts and whistles as you cross the finish line…if you haven’t experienced the community that happens at a race, sign yourself up for one NOW. I have never attended a race where I felt judged or unwelcome – I’ve always started the race with the contagious excitement that surrounds me and left feeling like runners are some of the best people in the world. It doesn’t matter whether you are walking a charity 5K or running a marathon, the community that happens on race day is one of my favorite things ever.

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And I can’t help but think of this verse when I am at the starting line of a race…

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. ~Hebrews 12:1

I’m super excited for our race this weekend, but I know we are both feeling the nerves as well! If we come to mind, would you please pray for The Hubby and I? The race is Saturday morning and we would love prayers for healthy bodies + tough minds, great {cool} weather, a FUN race, and for God to be our strength + guide for every single step! Thank you SO much!

What do you love about races? Do you have one coming up?