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Get to know the Distance Challenge: First Time Participant, Kevin Boyd

In this blog series, we’ll get to know some of our new and veteran Distance Challenge (DC) participants. If you have a story you’d like to share, let us know! Interviews by DC Coordinator, Hannah Kanne dc@austinrunners.org.

 

After years of perfecting my couch potato body, I decided enough was enough. Five years ago I decided to sign up for my first race, an Olympic distance triathlon. For those of you who don’t know, that’s a 1-mile swim, 25-mile bike and 10K run. At the time, running two blocks would leave me gasping for breath. After 8 months of training I finished… almost last in my age group but I finished. It was a proud moment. I celebrated by getting my victory turtle tattoo.

A year later, I ran my first half marathon in just over 2 hours. When I moved to Austin 2-1/2 years ago, I ended up living right along the race route for the Austin Marathon. We spent all morning cheering on thousands of runners and being amazed that the people were all sizes, ages and shapes. I made it a goal that day to run a marathon, and this is the year it’s going to happen. Prior to moving to Austin I lived in Chicago and loved running the lake shore trail. Its 18.5 beautiful miles. But I have to say, Austin’s Town Lake Trail and Greenbelt are just as great (except in July). 

Since I’ve committed to running the Austin Marathon (and farthest I’ve ever ran in a race is 12.2 miles), I was looking for a way to stay focused and progressively train. The Austin Distance Challenge is perfect. With a race every month, each new challenge will come along just when I need it. I’m hoping to finish at least one half marathon in under 2 hours, and my goal for the marathon is to finish. I’m also looking forward to meeting other runners in the community, as it’s always more fun to run with friends. 

I enjoy running with the Austin Beer Run group that meets on Wednesday evenings at Uncle Billy’s. It pairs running with my favorite beverage, which is a good cold beer. I manage the Total Wine in Sunset Valley, so yes, I sell wine and beer and liquor. I am partial to stouts, Spanish red wine and good bourbon. I have a fun job.

Do you run to music? NO. I know lots of people do but when I am running by myself, I listen to nature and my thoughts. If I am doing an easy run with someone else, a good chat is fun. I will sometimes listen to my Map My Run app if I am trying for a specific time goal. 

What shoes do you run in? I mostly run in Mizuno. Currently using the Wave Rider 20’s. I think they are great shoes. But if you’re going to run the Green Belt get some good trail shoes. They are well worth the expense.

What is your favorite running accessory? Two in one running shorts. They are great at preventing chaffing on long runs. Fun tip: coconut oil helps a great deal, too. 

Tell us about your family: My wife runs with me sometimes. She thinks I am too serious but she has done her own 1/2 marathon and did this year’s Cap10K. We have three sons, two in college in Florida (Go Noles) and one is in the Air Force.

 

Thanks for sharing your story, Kevin! We can’t wait to follow along as you #darethedistance and crush your goals this season.

 

#SportsBraSquadATX

Last month several members of the ARC board joined the #SportsBraSquadATX for their global running day and felt so inspired that Amber Wadey caught up with Jessie Barnes to learn more about this movement.

  

Tell us a little bit about yourself. When did you start running and what are your running goals?

I started running three and a half years ago. I had never been very active, but a few life changes had me feeling lost and I needed an outlet, and even though I couldn’t run even a mile at first, running was exactly what I needed. In the beginning it really helped me work through some emotion that no amount of wine or talking could process. Something about getting out there and sweating and pushing through physical barriers was what my mind needed. I’ve found it to be so empowering and freeing, and over time as I’ve tapped into the running community locally and online I’ve really loved the connection that can be found with fellow runners.

I’m currently training for the Chicago Marathon. It will be my fourth marathon and I’m really excited to see what I’m capable of this time around. Long term I just want to be that lady who’s still running when she’s 80.

How did the Sports Bra Squad movement get started?

Last summer my friends and I saw Kelly Roberts post on Instagram about running in her sports bra for the first time and it came up during a girls night. As we talked we realized we all wanted to be brave enough to run in our sports bras on hot days–and we all know there are plenty of those in Austin–but we all had some anxiety and fear about showing the world our stomachs while we ran. I think we all have this idea of what we’re “supposed” to look like to run that confidently and we didn’t feel like we met that standard. But as we talked we started encouraging each other to give it a try and then we started actually running in our sports bras with each other. I think we all felt pretty self conscious at first but together we created this really supportive, encouraging environment and we wanted to share that with other ladies. We were already putting together group runs pretty regularly so we decided to make a local sports bra squad run last summer where we encouraged everyone to come and run in their sports bras. We thought the group would probably be comprised of our friends and that’s it so we were so happy when word started to spread beyond that group! We had about 35 people at that first run and it was so exciting! Just so amazing to look around at this group of 35 women with all different body types and different running abilities all coming together. It was pretty clear this message really resonated with a lot of people! This year there were even more.

At the #SportsBraSquadATX group run you said you never thought you’d be running in a sports bra, let alone addressing a group in a sports bra. How did you find that confidence?

The whole sports bra squad experience since last summer has been transformative. There have been a few key moments that stand out. First was that initial conversation I had with my friends where we all expressed wanting to run in a sports bra but not feeling brave enough to do so. When I thought of running in my sports bra I thought of all the reasons why it wasn’t for me–all the physical “flaws” I had ran through my mind. But then I was looking at my friends–friends that I didn’t think should be insecure in the least–and they were expressing all the same insecurities I was. So I realized if I could look at them and tell them with sincerity that they should run in a sports bra if that’s what they want to do regardless of what they look like, I had to direct that message to myself as well. Secondly, in February of this year I had a moment early one morning where I was scared to weigh myself because I worried I had gained a couple pounds. Standing there in my bathroom at 6am I realized how ridiculous it was to wrap so much of my personal value up in the number on the scale because this was three days after I ran the Austin marathon. How could I be worried about a couple pounds when I had this incredibly strong body and mind that was capable of carrying me through a marathon? I made an instagram post about that moment and the response was so positive! It was a vulnerable moment to share, but I’m so glad I did because the response told me that this is a big issue for a lot of people and I was determined to share this feeling of empowerment with as many people as I can. We have to change the idea that our appearance is our value. Ultimately I just keep thinking of what I would tell other women who are insecure about their bodies and running in their sports bra and it gets me so fired up.  

When is the next Sports Bra Squad run?

Sunday, August 6th. Meet at 6:45am at the Capitol, running at 7am. It will be a 3-4 mile run, route TBD. Invite anyone and everyone! Running in a sports bra isn’t required, just show up and I guarantee you’ll be inspired! Men are also welcome to join, shirt or no shirts. All paces and abilities are welcome! Here is the link to the Facebook event.

Is there anything else we should know?

Regardless of whether you run or whether you run in a sports bra, I think the message of celebrating our strength rather than focusing on appearances can apply to everyone. Work on building yourself and your friends up and you can build an empowering community.  

Also, if anyone would like to hear more about our local Sports Bra Squad, how it got started, and what it means to us they can listen to our episode of the Runified podcast! Runified also did a follow up episode that includes what Teresa and I spoke about before the run along with some brief interview with others who were at the run.

  • Interview by Amber Wadey.

2017 Board of Directors Elections

It’s that time of the year again–for ARC Members to weigh in on who they’d like to represent them on the Board of Directors. Read below for brief candidate bios, and start thinking about who you’d like to see on next year’s board. (You can descriptions of each Board Member role here.)

A few quick notes on the election rules:

  • Nominations can still be accepted throughout the month of April (email volunteer@austinrunners.org)
  • In addition to the candidates listed below, members will also have the option to write-in their preferred candidates on the ballot.
  • Online elections will be held from Sunday April 23rd through Tuesday, May 2nd.
  • There will be two chances to cast your ballot in-person: on Monday, May 1st at a special edition of our weekly Monday run, held at Ready to Run at 6:30PM, and Tuesday, May 2nd at the Ship workout, held at O Henry Middle School at 5:55PM.

Winners will be announced on social media and in our weekly member newsletter once they are determined.

Continue reading »

Top 10 Reasons to Run Decker

December 6th is the 37th annual Decker Challenge Half Marathon. Here are ten good reasons to sign up and get running!

Decker+ARC
  1. Dare the Distance: Decker is the third of six races of the Austin Distance Challenge. Net proceeds of the Distance Challenge will benefit The Trail Foundation.
  2. Parking: Who has time to worry about parking on race day? There’s plenty of room to park on the Expo Center grounds so you’re sure to get a spot.
  3. Whatever the Weather: We know you’re not fair-weather friends, but no matter what the weather is on race day, we’ve got you covered (and heated!). The Travis County Expo Center will be available to all runners and spectators both before and after the race. In fact, all of our post-race festivities are held inside.
  4. Gear Drop: Have you ever found yourself overdressed for a race? We’ve got a clothing drop at mile 2. You can toss your outer layers to us, and we’ll bring them back to the Expo Center for you to claim after the race. (Pro-Tip: We aren’t responsible for any lost items, so think twice before chucking your favorite jacket!)
  5. Post-Race Expo: After your race, check out the race expo inside the Expo Center. We’ll have vendors like Believe and Train, Aspire Beverages, and more!
  6. Post-Race Treatments: There’s nothing like getting pampered after a long run. We know this all too well, and so do our friends at Austin Sports Therapy who will be there with free treatments for all finishers!
  7. Free Beer: We say this from experience–there’s no better way to celebrate finishing a race than with a nice cold beer. That’s why we’re excited to announce Adelbert’s Brewery as our 2015 beer sponsor! Just head back inside the Expo Center after you finish–your free beer awaits.
  8. Free Race Photos: While we’re on the subject of great freebies, we don’t know a lot of people that buy race photos–even when they turn out great. That’s why we’re offering free race photos at Decker, courtesy of AzulOx Visuals. Photographers will be out on the course and at the finish area, so you can grab a few friends and let our professional photographers capture those post-race smiles. Of course, you are free to take all the selfies you like!
  9. Call Your Shot! There’s something inherently motivating about announcing a goal. New for 2015, we’re giving you the opportunity to Call Your Shot! In the days leading up to the race, we’ll email you a link where you can predict your finish time at Decker. The two male and female finishers that come closest to their called shot will win a free pair of New Balance running shoes! In case of a tie, the winner will be whoever runs the most even pace.
  10. Hills, Hills, Hills: Mention Decker Challenge to anyone and you’re sure to hear about the hills. We’re the toughest half marathon in Austin and proud of it! Get ready for rolling hills and prepare for the infamous climb at mile 10. After all, there’s nothing cool about bragging to your friends about doing something easy!

Register for Decker today and mark your calendar for December 6!

The Decker Challenge is presented by:
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