It’s More Than Just a Running Club

ImageI’m a runner. Yep one of those people who thinks that half-marathons are better than sleeping in on a Sunday morning. About 18 months ago a I helped to launch the Atlanta chapter of Black Girls Run! Our first run started from Big Peach Running Company (love them!) with 11 women on April 22, 2011. Today, we’ve got nearly 50 group runs a week in the metro Atlanta area, servicing approximiately 7,000 women. (On facebook, our group page has over 9,000 women; however, I assume that some don’t physically live in the metro ATL area).


We’ve gotten all sorts of reactions. Shortly after the December issue of Runner’s World, which ran a feature on African-American’s in long distance running, including the photo below. Post run, a group of us would be at a breakfast spot and other runner’s would approach us with, “Were you in Runner’s World?” We smile profusely and say, “Yes, that was us!” Image

Unfortunately, some of the reactions aren’t always as welcoming. When people ask, “Is it only for black women?” My response is…NO. The CDC statistics report that 4 out of 5 black women is overweight or obese. Healthy and active living has not been a cultural priority among African-American women. When I state this fact to non-blacks, they have surprised look on their face. I tell them to scan their memory for about 5 black women that they know. Then the statistic resonates – yes, the majority of African-American women that they know are not living active, healthy lifestyles. 

Then I proudly state that this is the 1st time in America’s history in which black women are taking ownerhip over their health and making fitness a priority. And you don’t have to look like tiny ol’ me to do this. You can be you, right now and make changes toward a healthy, active life. BGR is more than a running group, it becomes a support system and network of like-minded, encouraging women.

When we started this journey of building the Atlanta chapter, we never imagined the success. Personally, I was excited to run with more people. But in a leadership role and seeing the group evolve, it has turned into more than a running club. I’m inspired constantly. I’ve witnessed women lose over 50 pounds. I’ve cheered countless of women over the finish line on their first half marathon, 10k or 5k. I’ve seen friendships blossom. I’ve seen women make better decisions about eating. I’ve seen women with little confidence transform into fit and fabulous divas.

This clip from the local new station captures what I often can’t explain to people about the awesomeness that is BGR! ATL:

Currently, I’m recovering from a July 23rd, 2012 abdominal myomectomy, so it’s been a month since I hit the pavement. But I’ve made it a goal to make 2013 an amazing fitness year. I want to push past my fitness comfort zones. So I think this lil’ blog will help me chronical that!

Fresh Start

It’s been ages since I’ve done the blog thing, but I do appreciate chronicling my life. So cheers to a fresh start. 

Wow last blog was quite a while ago.

A lot has changed.

I’m a bonafied runner now.

I’m single-ish. Haha.

Still working harder than ever

Love BGR

Love my charter school.

Constantly exhausted, yet happy.,7124,s6-239-567–14124-0,00.html

My handicap

Yep we all have handicaps. Weaknesses, things we suck at! Mine is asking for help.

I’m a first born Aries. Meaning that I’m head strong and have environmental leadership characteristics because I played mni-mom…wait present tense, I play mini-mom to my brother and sister. I go through life feeling like I’m of value when I’m helping others. I love this about me, but it has created a “I can’t ask for help because it feels unnatural,” monster in me.

On top of that, sometimes when I ask for help, people grossly under deliver. Exhibit A: My sister broke my kitchen microwave. Now, when y0u break something of somebody’s – you’d think you’d take the initiative to either fix or replace it. I gave her some time to make good without prompting her. After 3 weeks of broken microwave – I sent her a message to call the troubleshooting hotline, then to ask for a service visit quote. Ain’t heard a dayum thing. I work 50+ hours a week, she has since quit her job. So it’s like you have nothing but time to get this done.

My overall attitude toward situations in which I ask for help, but end up saving myself any darn way is to 1) be disappointed in the person and lose an ounce of respect for them and make mental note that I can’t let their sucking at life quality slow me down and 2) not ask for help from others for a period of time to avoid such disappointment.

I also think this is probably my most undatable quality. While people often say that they are opposed to codependent relationships, men need to have a woman need them. I side of the notion that I don’t want a person I need, I need a person I want. I think back to guys who I find an unlikely attraction to.

Queue in my 45 year old white guy…who I’ll call, “Grady,” because one day he was ranting about something and said, “They don’t know me, I was born at mutha-bleeping Grady hospital!”  I looked at him and started cracking up. He’s quite the fiesty one. Update – this fellow and I have agreed that our futures don’t collide; however, we truly do enjoy/like each other. So there is that whole, we’ll hang out but don’t get your heart in a bunch because there is no future. I have been trying to puzzle what it is about him that I am attracted to. He’s not ugly – but he’s certainly not a 30something year old stallion in his prime. So I stop trying to assess the situation with my senses and listen to my heart. From day one, he has been able to express who he is, where he is at, what he struggles with, what he is proud of etc and while he wants to improve himself…he’s comfortable with himself.

I meet so many men on this whole Bravado BS and especially in the early stages of dating they paint the picture of who they aspire to be or who they think you want them to be…and then 3 months down the road you realize what you are really working with and it’s only a rough sketch of what they described…and not the full on Picaso painting they sold.

Second and perhaps the true attraction point. He gets stuff done. (Ahh, this translates to my desire to feel secure). I can completely relax and know that if I ask for help from him, he will deliver and chances are…over deliver. Exceed my expectations. I found myself in an extremely vulnerable moment with him and asked for him to take action on something that I could’ve easily done myself, but didn’t necessarily want to. Without question or pause he handled it. In that moment I exhaled (but then of course freaked out because it’s like…don’t get used to this – you have no future with him).

So there are a lot of men that have that save-a-lady need. Which is fair – men are programmed to ‘fix it.” But I have to realize, that a lot of men want quick and easy fixes.  The chics who can’t take care of themselves and others (mentally, financially, physically etc). Only rarely do I find a guy that provides me the security of knowing that I don’t have to worry.

Full Breath

Was the message this morning at Buckhead Church. It was taken from Psalms 39 and the reminder that our days are numbered. It is often times helpful for me to take a step outside of myself and recognize that I am not the story…I am a character in God’s story. One of my simple prayers is for God to use me as a conduit to execute his will. When I’m focused on that, I find that I’m most creative and productive. I digress…

Take a deep breath. You realize how this is not a natural action? Taking a deep breath is usually prompted by two things: A doctor’s office so that she/he can hear your inner workings or in a moment when you realize you’ve lost control. Deep breaths are are purposeful.

I immediately reflect on a conversation that occurred yesterday after a group run. One of the girls noted one of her running frustrations is that she pants and can’t get a hold of breathing comfortably. I have definitely been there and hit the wall at times when I’m trying to push myself a little harder.Another friend asked her, “do you run with music?” The frustrated girl replied that she did run listening to music.

“When you run with music, you can’t hear yourself breathe…so you may not recognize that you are panting; however, you feel it. Try running without music and listen to yourself breathe,” advised my friend.

Simple advice, yet powerful life application.

There are so many distractions and noise in life, that sometimes we don’t recognize that we are losing control…yet we feel the discomfort of being out of control. And it’s not until you recognize that you are out of control that you can take a step back and take a deep breath to regain composure and refocus on keeping a steady, focused pace of life. Cutting out the noise is essential to tuning into your soul to listen to the breath of your life. Are you panting? Are you breathing with ease? Do you need to stop and take a deep breath?

“In running it is man against himself, the cruelest of opponents. The other runners are not the real enemies. His adversary lies within him, in his ability with brain and heart to master himself and his emotions.” -Glenn Cunningham.

Cut the noise out and focus on your ability to master yourself and your emotions.

Sign of the Times

According to recent census data more women earn advanced degrees than men.

According to recent censud data, 1 in 4 children in the US is raised in a single parent home.

I can’t help but to wonder if these two statistics have any correlation. It is no secret that I think women’s advancement in the workplace has benefited women as humans, yet hurt the family structure. Society doesn’t know what to do with strong women, so they are abandoned, left to fend on their own.

Any thoughts?

My new byline

I’ve got a cheerleader spirit, with a warrior focus!


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