Chicago Marathon Training (Checking In)

Today I got an email from the Chicago Marathon that I am 71 days out from the big race. I’ll be honest, I did a little bit of a double take when I saw that number. But then again, I am right smack in the middle of training.

Running in Atlanta has been no picnic during these summer months. My pace has dropped significantly, especially in July. The temperature and humidity just knock me out. However, I have been averaging 25-3o miles a week and I’m up to 13.1 miles as of two weeks ago, which means my base is solid.


As I mentioned in my previous post, I have 15 miles on the schedule tomorrow. It’s the first time that I have been past a half marathon distance since January. I have been hydrating a lot over the past few days and I feel mentally ready to tackle this distance again.

I am planning on going to the Chattahoochee (Cochran Shoals Trail), which is my favorite place to run longer distances. I am hoping to be running no later than 6:30-6:45 tomorrow morning.

Rachel has 8 miles on the schedule. She is training for the Disneyland Half Marathon, which we will be running over Labor Day for the 3rd straight year. It’s one of our favorite races!


2015 Disneyland Half Marathon

I am hoping Rachel might come out to meet me tomorrow morning while I am running. It would be awesome to have her out there for some of the time.

No matter what, I have my playlist ready to go and several podcasts downloaded. It’s going to be a hot/humid one. Wish me luck!



Catching Up

I’m still here! I’m finishing up my last full week of camps at my job as Activities/Recreation Director. Over the past 2 months, we have hosted/run 20 different camps at our facility. From soccer, volleyball, golf and basketball to drama, art, music and science…it’s been a great and busy summer!

On top of these long days…I am smack in the middle of training for the Chicago Marathon in October. Running in this Atlanta heat/humidity is no joke. As of two weekends ago, I am up to 13.1 miles in my training. On Saturday, I will get up to 15 miles, which will be the longest I have run since January.


The reality of running in these conditions is to stay hydrated and slow my pace down. If I can do that, I should be fine. I’ve hit these distances many times before, just not in these conditions. I’ll probably do a few blog posts on my longer runs to check in with my progress.

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The first weekend in August, we are taking a weekend away to Disney to celebrate Rachel’s work promotion. You know we go to Disney a lot when almost 3 months have passed since we’ve been down there, and we’re itching to go again! We are excited to stay on property this time at the Caribbean Beach Resort.


Outside of that…Rachel and I have been trying to take it easy during the weekdays. We watch a lot of Netflix/HBO Go and have been catching up on quite a few new shows and movies. I, for one, am looking forward to the fall and cooler temps. It’s my favorite season of the year. Especially with college football season just over a month away!

How has your summer been?

Running Playlist

From time to time someone will ask me if I listen to music when I run. And if so, what songs do I like to run to?

Well…I definitely listen to music about 85% of the time I am running. Really the only time I don’t listen to music is when I’m out for a shorter run with Rachel.

Here are some of my favorite “newer” songs to run to. I’ll be honest, it’s pretty random and not necessarily all super clean songs. (Sorry mom!) It’s mostly rock/rap/upbeat because I need music to keep me motivated.

Current playlist:

  • Twenty One Pilots – Stressed Out, Ride
  • Justin Timberlake – Can’t Stop The Feeling
  • The Chainsmokers/Daya – Don’t Let Me Down
  • The Strumbellas – Spirits
  • Zara Larsson – Never Forget You
  • Mute Math – Light Up
  • Chvrches – Leave A Trace
  • Major Lazer – Lean On
  • Beck – Dreams
  • Flo Rida – My House
  • Walk The Moon – Shut Up And Dance
  • Fall Out Boy – Uma Thurman
  • Skrillex and Diplo ft. Justin Bieber – Where Are You Now
  • Jason Derulo – Want You To Want Me
  • Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk


I would be remiss if I didn’t mention some of my favorite artists to run to as well. I have multiple songs by the artists below.

  •  Linkin Park
  • Nirvana
  • Foo Fighters
  • Tool
  • Manchester Orchestra
  • Muse
  • Daft Punk
  • Mumford & Sons
  • Hillsong United
  • Sleigh Bells
  • Run The Jewels
  • Limp Bizkit
  • Coldplay
  • The Rocket Summer
  • atl-J
  • Rage Against The Machine
  • Mae
  • Weezer
  • The Beastie Boys
  • Smashing Pumpkins
  • Paramore
  • Sufjan Stevens
  • Taking Back Sunday


Friday Favorites

Time for another edition of Friday Favorites, where I share about a few awesome things in my world….

Sonos Play 3 Speaker System I’ve been hearing about Sonos for several months now, and had done some research on this sound system. It’s a smart speaker system that streams music (such as your music library, Pandora, Spotify and Amazon music) through the Sonos app. The best part is it runs through WiFi and not bluetooth, which means the range from my phone to the speaker system is much greater. Plus, if you have more than one system, it will play to all of your speakers throughout your home. I picked up the Sonos Play 3 a few weeks ago and put it in our kitchen, and I love it. The system sounds great and it’s nice to have music playing while we are just hanging around the house or cooking dinner. Highly recommend!


Owen Rutledge Courtney Our friends Adam and Meredith Courtney gave birth to their new son Owen last week. We had the opportunity to go visit them on Saturday afternoon. Owen is absolutely adorable. Adam was on my Student Ministry Staff at Lawrenceville FUMC for several years back in 2007-2010 and has become one of my closest friends. I am thrilled for Adam and Meredith and this new journey for their family!

Anthology Candles One of my favorite rides at Disney is Soarin’ Over California, in Epcot. One of the reasons I love that ride is the amazing smells that happen during the ride. It has everything from mountain streams to ocean water to (my favorite) orange groves. However, in the past few weeks, the ride has been changed to Soarin’ Over the World, which means the orange smell is no longer with us. However, Rachel found a candle company called Anthology Candles that makes a candle called “Soaring Over,” and it smells just like the old ride!


Peachtree Road Race Recap Part 2

Today I am continuing with the second part of the Peachtree Road Race recap from the 4th of July weekend.

Being in a earlier corral for the race had its advantages, mainly being able to start before the temperature got too unbearable. However, it did mean getting up pretty early to get over to the race start.


Flat Allen

I typically like to get to the race area a little early so I can get my bearings straight, stretch a little bit and find a bathroom. We ended up getting there a good hour before our corral was to begin, which gave us time to walk around and take in the atmosphere of the world’s largest 10K race. 



Once we got to our corral, the national anthem was sung and the first corral was off. We started making our way up to the start and before long we were off.


Rachel and I decided to take this race easy, since we’ve never run it before. Plus, with the humidity/heat already pretty strong, we knew we needed to conserve energy. The majority of the race runs down Peachtree Street and the crowd support was probably the best of any race I’ve been a part of. 

I was very pleased with the number of water stations for a 10K race. There were probably 4-5 total stations for 6.2 miles. Plus, there were plenty of people giving out water, beer, pizza, you name it…

The race has a fair amount of hills starting around mile 3, but honestly I’m so used to training in Atlanta that they didn’t seem to bother me too much. However, the biggest issue was just the amount of sweat that was coming off my body the last few miles. I was soaked. Several friends who have been running the PRR for years said this was the hottest one they’ve been a part of.


Near the finish line

We crossed the finish line (according to my watch) with a little under a 10:30 per mile pace, which I was pleased with, since the humidity was so draining.



An added bonus was running into our friend Jerry Carnes, who works with 11 Alive News and was there covering the race.


My friend Jerry Carnes

We picked up our race shirts (which you don’t get unless you finish), our runner’s boxes, water/Powerade and made the trek back over to MARTA to head home. Unfortunately, the finish line is a good mile plus from Marta, so that part was not the best.

All in all, I very much enjoyed my first Peachtree Road Race. While the weather was pretty tough, I loved the course and crowd support. I look forward to running this race again in the future!


Post Race Dinner

Peachtree Road Race Recap Part 1

Over the next two days I will be blogging about my experience with my first Peachtree Road Race on July 4th. Yes, believe it or not, this was my very first PRR, even though I’ve been living in Atlanta for almost 18 years and running for almost 10 years.

Over the past few years, I’ve been wanting to run the world’s largest 10K race, but with the race falling on July 4th, it can be difficult to work into the schedule. Several times, I’ve known I would be out of town over the holiday weekend, and therefore haven’t even tried to get in through the lottery.

This year, I decided I was running it no matter what! I signed up to be a member of the Atlanta Track Club, which guarantees admission to the PRR; plus, I went ahead and added in the Triple Peach Challenge! This includes the Atlanta 10 miler in October and the Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon.


An added bonus was a few weeks ago, we found a race number (in the same corral with me, no less) for Rachel, so she was in for her first PRR as well!

On Saturday, we headed down to the race expo at the Georgia World Congress Center. One of the nice things about living so close to MARTA is we could ride down to the expo/race and not worry about finding somewhere to park in the city. 

We were hoping to get down to the #werunsocial meet up at 10:30am, but didn’t account for the amount of time the MARTA trains would be running on a Saturday. Therefore, we ended up getting down there just after 11am, which is when the meet up was ending. I did gett to see a few of the #werunsocial runners, including my friend Brandi.


After that we got in the very long line to get into the expo. It was probably several hundred deep, but fortunately the line moved quickly, and we were able to pick up our numbers with no issues at all.



Once we picked up our numbers, Rachel and I walked around the expo checking out most of the booths. We picked up a few new running shirts in the process, as well as some extra SWAG. After about 30 minutes or so, we headed back home. We were ready to conquer our first PRR on Monday morning!




Aftershokz Trekz Titanium Wireless Headphones – Product Review

Disclaimer: I received the Aftershokz Trekz Titanium wireless stereo headphones to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review, find and write race reviews!

Several months ago, I blogged about becoming a BibRave Pro Ambassador. One of the exciting parts of being a BibRave Pro is the opportunity to work with different brands, from wireless headphones and compression gear, to free race entries, sunglasses, and running shoes, in order to test out new products.


Recently I was asked to test out a new product: the Aftershokz Trekz Titanium wireless stereo headphones. I have been wanting to try out wireless headphones while running for quite some time. I was excited to try out these specific headphones because of the open ear design. Here is my experience so far.

The first thing I noticed once I took the wireless headphones out of their soft, protective, zippered case was how nice they looked. I really liked the bright yellow color. Additionally, they come with a charger, two silicon rubber bands to provide adjustability for smaller head sizes and a set of ear plugs.


The headphones in the box


Everything that comes in the package

After charging the headphones, I paired them (through bluetooth) with my iPhone and walked around the house with music playing and even made a quick phone call. Everything seemed to be working great.


First time wearing them

The next morning, I took them out for a quick 4 mile run to see how they do on the road. I started without a hat on to see how they would feel without anything on my head. And I was pretty impressed for the first few miles. I could hear my music very well and yet with the open ear technology, I could hear my surroundings so much better than before.


First run with the headphones

Then came the part I didn’t love…after about 3 miles, they started feeling a little uncomfortable on my ears. Between the sweat and the rubbing, I knew I was going to need to play around with them a little more to get them the way I would like them.

The next several times I ran with them, I tried a few different ways, from running with a hat to a sweatband and then with/without sunglasses. Each time, I  enjoyed the simplicity of the open ear and wireless technology. For me, I was still struggling some with the comfort level after about 4-5 miles. It was definitely something I had to work on with getting them adjusted to fit just right on my head.

I have since run in these headphones probably 10 times, and each time has been a similar experience. I am wondering if it just takes some time getting adjusted to having them run across the back of your head and over your ears. I will say, I was a little worried my sunglasses would bother me over the headphones, but that hasn’t been an issue at all. I even wore them out a few weeks ago on the beach during our family vacation and they worked well.


Wearing them on the beach!

Per their website…below are several of the features of the Aftershokz Trekz Titanium wireless headphones:

  • Bone conduction technology that delivers music through your cheekbones, ensuring ears remain completely open to hear sounds
  • Wraparound headband that is lightweight and flexible for durability
  • Wireless Bluetooth connectivity
  • Six hours of music on a single charge
  • 2-year warranty

How do you get a pair for yourself? Check out and use code”BIBRAVE” for 20% off!!! Plus, they are co-hosting our #bibchat on Twitter on July 5 at 9pm (Eastern).

Make sure to follow XX2i on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.


Longest run with the headphones!