Two Thumbs Up for Dawn’s Daughter

Writing my book Dawn’s Daughter: Everything A Woman Needs To Know was easy compared to waiting to hear what young ladies think of it.  Saturday, January 7th, I got my answer. They loved it.

I am on cloud 9 after sharing with some lovely young ladies who are vying for the title “Miss Alfred E. Beach High School 2012”.  I was honored when their pageant advisor, Mrs. Vernessa David-Brown, allowed me to put on a workshop for the contestants and their mothers.  It could not have been any more perfect. We met at the beautiful Mulberry Inn in downtown Savannah for a mother daughter lunch and workshop.

Mrs. David-Brown made sure the young ladies had the books about a month beforehand. So they had already read the book.  They were prepared for our session.  For the next hour, I stood before a wonderful, attentive audience as I discussed many topics from my new book including: self–esteem, setting goals, making choices, education, appearance, and the dangers of social networking.  The students asked great questions and their parents joined in the discussion. We had a wonderful time.

It was such an honor as I began my mission of empowering young ladies by giving them the tools they will need to become the best.

 

 

 

Oh Yeah! I AM A RUNNER! (Rock n’ Roll Marathon-VII)

The week leading up to the Rock N’ Roll ½ Marathon, I was more than anxious. I was downright scared. It was hard to believe so much time had passed and how much ground I thought I had lost because of my stress fractures.

I was very nervous as I drove to catch the trolley that morning at Fleet Feet Sports. I stepped on board to join the team I had not seen in months. As we traveled to the start line, I felt sick. My eyes filled with tears and I thought I was going to throw up. One of the trainers asked me what was wrong. It was like all of my anxieties came crashing down all at once. I answered, “I am trying to figure out what I am doing here. I have only run 2 miles on the ground in the last 70 days and today, I am going to run 13.1! There is no way that I can do this.”  She assured me that I would be just fine. By then, all of the nerves had kicked in. I thought to myself, sure, I will alright. That is what every trainer told me for the last few months as I continued to run on what they told me were shin splints that turned out to be stress fractures. When I complained about pain, they were quick to say, “Welcome to running!”  At that point, I had lost faith in everyone including myself. We got off the trolley and I was ready to run back home.

The cold weather did not help my nerves. We stood in the cold for more than 30 minutes after the first runners began waiting for our chance to start the run.  When we took off, I was running so slowly, it felt as if I were moving in slow motion. I was afraid to land on my feet. I feared I would get hurt again. This would have been a completely different story if I would have had one stress fracture on one leg, at least then I could have tried to favor one leg. I had the burden of two stress fractures one on each leg. Although the doctor cleared me to run and assured me that if I did a run/ walk combination I would get hurt, I was still afraid. I stuck with my plan.

I was surprised how good I felt. I ran along with my long time friend and co-worker, Frances Chalmers. We ran our own race.  All the while, I was looking forward to mile 10. There, I knew that I would see my buddy, Pat Prokop. As we ran up to the Asbury Memorial United Methodist Church’s water station where he was volunteering, I started yelling to anyone who would listen, “Where’s Pat?!” I found him and got a big hug. He tried to shoo me away so that I wouldn’t lose too much time. Little did Pat know, I did not care about the time. I wanted to take a picture. After getting my photo, I took off again.

The toughest part of the race was that last mile and a half. It was torture. Now, I am sure that most of that was all in my mind, but it felt like I was running backwards in quicksand. In spite of feeling like I was dying, I channeled my inner FloJo  and ran in faster than I have ever run before. I am so proud of myself for reaching my goal. Before you ask, I did not break any records, but as far as I am concerned I won! I ran my own race. I finished without getting hurt again. I did not finish last! The best part is I crossed the same finish line as the people who won and I earned the same medal as the young lady who qualified for the Olympics that day. Now, if that isn’t winning, I don’t know what is.

I Had A Baby & Ran A Half Marathon The Same Week (Rock n’ Roll Marathon-VI)

For a year and a half, I spent every spare moment writing my book, my baby. At the same time, I was learning how to run – hoping to complete my first half marathon.  Who would have ever thought both of these major milestones in my life would happen within days of each other?

Once the book was finally at the printer on October 20, 2011, I was given October 31, 2011 – Halloween- as the delivery date.  While I anxiously awaited the day I could hold her in my hands, the printer ran into a few problems that pushed the delivery date back several times. I finally got the books on November 8th- three days after I crossed the finish line- completing my first half marathon. This  was nearly too much excitement for me to handle.

Delivery Day: It’s a Girl!

November 8, 2011 may have been election day around the country, but for the first time in my 23 year journalism career, my mind was somewhere else.  I was not worried about how my team was going to get all of the election results. I was like an expectant mother waiting to see her new baby. After devoting the last year and a half of my life to writing my book, Dawn’s Daughter: Everything A Woman Needs To Know, today was my delivery date.

That day I woke up anxious- waiting on U.P.S. to deliver my “baby”. Although I never honestly believed the books would be delivered in the early part of the day, you wouldn’t believe how I walked around my house on eggshells trying to be as quiet as a mouse. I was afraid that even if I got in the shower, it would be too loud and would not be able to hear my doorbell.

Before I left for work, my uncle relieved me and stayed at my house waiting for the delivery until my mom got back from out of town.  As soon as she got back, she took over the babysitting duties at the house so that my uncle could get to the golf course before dark. As we expected, that big brown truck did not pull up to the door until after 7P.M. My mom was right there to accept the delivery.

When she called me at work to tell me that the books had arrived, I just couldn’t believe it. I had already made everyone promise that no one would open the boxes until I got home. I was so nervous that my mom’s curiosity would get the best of her and she would peak. She promised she would not and like so many other promises she had made in the past, she kept that one too.  She did not open any of the boxes. After work, she met me at the house where we opened one box of the books and took some pictures. I was blown away when I first laid eyes on the book cover. It was even more beautiful than I had imagined. It blew me away! I picked up one and thumbed through it quickly. Honestly, it did not seem real. I think I was more relieved than excited at that point.

Little did my mom know, I had pulled off one more very important secret. I don’t think I have ever kept a secret from her. Even though my mom edited the book and knew everything about it, I had managed to keep the secret that I had dedicated the book to my grandmother as well as to her. She knew about the honor for my grandma, but with the help of my friend and publisher, Brook Blander, I was able to add the dedication to my mother to the book after the last edit without her knowledge. After my mom had already flipped through the book, I convinced her to turn to the dedication page. She opened the book and started reading. Anyone else’s mother would have probably burst in to tears upon realizing that her daughter had dedicated her book to her, not my mom. She just isn’t a crier. That is my job in our relationship. Without even pausing, my mom, the retired teacher, turned into a reporter. She started almost interrogating me. She asked, “Why didn’t I know about this? When did you do this? When did you decide to do this? Did Brook know about this?” I was a little shocked and started answering. I said, “I didn’t want you to know. It was a surprise.”

She just stared at the book and then back at me. After a few moments of silence, she walked over and kissed me and said thank you. I laughed to myself and thought, “Yeah, that’s right! I got one over on you, finally!”  I think at this point, getting that dedication in the book is probably as exciting as seeing the book for the first time.

Why I Wrote The Book

I must admit as a child watching The Waltons, I dreamed of writing a great novel. I think John Boy was my first inspiration. He was so smart. He always knew exactly what to say and do. I wanted to be just like him. As I covered many stories through the years as a reporter, I never lost my desire to write a book. I always dreamed of writing a great novel like one of my favorite novelists, Ernest Hemingway. While I know this book will not propel me to the ranks of Hemingway as a writer, I hope it might do much more – perhaps truly make a difference in this world.

I am concerned about what I see happening in the world around me. While we have all heard people say “Daughters are a gift from God,” unlike most gifts, we cannot put this one on a shelf or just look at its beauty and hope it turns out alright. In order for those little girls to grow into strong, independent women, we must train them. All of us have that responsibility – even those of us who don’t have children.

In a time when morality, respect and good old-fashioned manners are somewhat taboo, many of us have been disturbed, angry, critical, and have often lashed out at our youth; and yes, for a while I went on my silent “rants” as well. But I paused as I recalled the familiar saying, “If you’re not a part of the solution, you’re a part of the problem.”

It is so easy to sit back and complain, but the real challenge is to get on board and try to help alleviate the problem or at least try to make things a little better. I decided that I could answer the call by trying to provide a platform that could help our young ladies become strong, independent, dynamic individuals who make decisions that are right for their lives in order for them to become the BEST women they can be.

I decided to channel my energy in the direction of writing Dawn’s Daughter: Everything A Woman Needs to Know. For the last year and a half, I have made lists and written about everything that drives me crazy about women including the mistakes so many of make every day. From that list, grew paragraphs of ideas and lessons that I learned from my grandparents and my mother through the years. The book is a compilation of all of the guidelines that I followed to help me through some of life’s most difficult challenges.

These days, many young women are lost. They seem to be preoccupied with superficial things; sacrificing who they are to fit in; doing anything they can dream of in order to get attention from men; wasting their time gossiping and being jealous of others. While these young women put most of their energy into negative things, they are not devoting “enough” time to working on themselves in order to become the women they would like to be. In my book, I address issues, such as: self- esteem, having big dreams, setting goals, getting a good education, getting a job, dealing with the everyday pressures of a job including – learning to pick their battles, developing a great work ethic and positive attitude, relationships, the importance of community service, managing and saving money, and so much more. I hope by sharing some of the old fashioned common sense values that I learned as a child from my mother, grandparents and aunt, I can help these young ladies, perhaps learn from some of the mistakes that I and so many other people have made.

For the last year and a half, I have made lists and written about everything that drives me crazy about women including the mistakes so many of us make every day. From that list, grew paragraphs of ideas and lessons that I learned through the years. The book is a compilation of all of the guidelines that I followed to help me through some of life’s most difficult challenges.

For me, writing this book is more than just accomplishing my personal goal or scratching off something on my bucket list. I hope it can be the beginning of a movement to help change the future for many young ladies who may need a little help along the way. I want to use this book as a way of getting in front of more young ladies and teaching them some of the lessons that just might prevent them from a lifetime of disappointment and heartache. Instead of sitting back and just talking about how sad it is that some young ladies are destroying their lives often times in a split second by sharing intimate videos, photos and text messages, I want to become a change agent. I want to talk with them and try to prevent them from making those mistakes.

I am also donating 20% of the proceeds from my book to a scholarship for girls with chronic/ life-threatening illnesses. Volunteering as a Candy Striper at Memorial Medical Center as an 8th and 9th grader, and working very closely with hundreds of children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses for the past 22 years, through the Children’s Miracle Network Telethon, have caused me to become very passionate about trying to help these children continue their education if they have the desire and are physically able to do so.

Remember, in the end, it doesn’t matter how much money you have made or how much recognition you have received. What really matters is the difference you have made in this world.

Rock n’ Roll Marathon Blog-V

Preparing For My Comeback

The doctor who thinks I am crazy to continue running, in my opinion, did at least one thing right. He arranged for me to get a bone stimulator. It’s an ultrasonic bone growth stimulation device that accelerates the healing of stress fractures. I have now been wearing it for more than a month – 14 hours a day- everyday. He told me that there was some research that suggests that the medical device might help heal my bone faster. I was relieved that he would at least help me get that. Ironically, the same doctor who had just told me the day before that I was running for publicity ended our conversation by saying, “You never know, if it works, the company might give you a t-shirt to wear for the race.” Now, isn’t that funny. To him, it would have been bad for me to run to get attention, but now, he wanted me to run so that I could serve as a moving advertisement for the medical equipment company that makes the bone stimulator. Isn’t that interesting?

A couple of weeks later, I went for a second opinion. The new doctor also agreed that I definitely had a textbook case of stress fractures brought on by overtraining. Instead of telling me that I would have to forget about my passion for running, he encouraged me to continue with the program that I had started about a week before with my trainers. He went on to say that there is no reason that I would have to put aside my hopes of fulfilling my dream of running the Rock n’ Roll ½ Marathon on November 5th. At that time, the race was about sixty days away. He made me promise that I would not run on the ground again until after he had cleared me to run. Thank goodness I have always been a fighter. I have never given up on any of my dreams- at least not any of them that were realistic.

Fortunately, right from the beginning of my program in February, I have been surrounded by caring trainers, Lydia DePue, Robert Espinoza, Ernest Ledesma, and Jason Sapp, who I believe, always had my best interest at heart. I talked with them and Ernie developed a plan that would allow me take a break from running so that the fractures would heal and I would still be able to take part in the race. After a week off, I started cycling three times a week and running in the pool one time week. That plan may not sound like a big deal to you, but to me, it was frightening- a real life nightmare coming true. I had not been on a bicycle since I was a child and the last time I felt confident swimming, I witnessed a drowning.

I was feeling a bit overwhelmed, but I always knew had to do it. I will never forget how Ernie, Jason, and Robert made sure I got those water workouts in. Robert got me suited up in an aqua jogger and tethered me to the ladder in the pool with a rope. I looked like such a dork, but they did not let on even though I knew I looked funny in the get up. So far, to my knowledge, I have not shown up in youtube. The guys took turns running the workouts in the pool with this girl whom I just know they thought might have a flashback at any moment and end up drowning all of us. This went on for weeks and no one complained. My team just kept on reassuring me that I would get better.

After about three weeks of having no pain at all, I called the doctor and asked if I could at least try running on the Alter g, an anti- gravity treadmill developed by NASA. You can actually run on that treadmill while taking up to ninety percent of your body weight off. So, you are still getting the anaerobic benefits of running on the ground without the stress on your joints. The doctor agreed and now I have been doing an interval program on the Alter g for the last few days with thirty percent of my body weight off. Right now I am only running about fifty minutes averaging about three miles. Next week, Ernie will continue to tweak my program by allowing me to run for longer periods of time and adding more of my body weight back on. It is going to be an interesting time as we are now less than a month away from the race.

As I was recovering, my favorite coach, Robert, had surgery on his knee. So, there goes my partner. He was supposed to run with me and make sure I made it over that finish line. Robert is now recovering. Unless he really is Superman, he will not be able to run with me. So, now, I am even more afraid. The anxiety is building. I cannot even begin to explain how anxious I am about the race. I will be doing a run/ walk. My training during these next few weeks will determine my run/ walk ratio.

It is the smartest thing for me right now and probably forever since I see I will not ever become a band- aid thin runner. I used to be obsessed with constantly worrying why I was not losing more weight. I was watching what I ate and burning more calories than I have ever burned in my life. In spite of my discipline, I have not lost many pounds this year. In fact, I have remained around the same BIG number. That is so frustrating that I write a book about that. I relaxed a bit when Robert told me one day that some of us will be fire plugs! Well, at least fire plugs are strong!!!

I am taking it easy and following my physical therapist’s orders so that I will not ever have that kind of pain again. I am optimistic that my dream team will help me get across that finish line in one piece and in no need of medical attention. I guess, like Robert says, “It’s all part of the journey.” I agree, but I still wish mine was less adventurous at times. It is scary to have to start over with my training so close to the race, but I will finish even if I end up walking more than I had planned. Success for me will be finishing before the bus comes along that picks up the people who have exceeded the time limit. So, I am just planning to “beat the bus” without getting injured again. I am requesting that you guys cue up the “Eye of the Tiger” as I run “my race” with dignity. I will see all of you at the finish line one way or another on 11/5, but this time, I will be walking with pride and running with wisdom! Thank you for the support. It really means the world to me.

Rock n’ Roll Marathon Blog-IV

The Day My Love For Running Slapped Me In the Face

Setting a goal is easy. Finding a way to overcome a setback is what separates the women from the girls. 48 days ago, an obnoxious, mean doctor looked at me and told me I should put away my running shoes. A bone scan had revealed what my trainers and physical therapists thought were shin splints and a calf sprain for the last four months, were actually stress fractures in both legs.

I immediately started telling him that my trainer had already developed a program that would get me healthy and through the race, the doctor cut me off and just blurted out, “That Rock n’ Roll Marathon is the worst thing to ever happen to this city! It has all of these non- runners, like you, believing you can run now.” I tried to explain that I had been in a structured training program since the beginning of the year, but again he would not even listen. He went on this rant saying, “You should have started earlier. You should have been running at 35 not 45. Since you are not a real runner, you will never recover in time because you do not have anything to fall back on.” I sat there on the exam table speechless. This doctor took great pride in saying he would advise me to stop running.

He added, “But, I know you won’t because you are a public person and are probably under a lot of pressure to run.” My mind was racing. I thought who is this man to judge me? He does not know me. I do not need any publicity. I have been a TV news anchor for more than twenty years in this town- everyone already knows who I am. I felt as though someone had punched me in my chest. Tears started streaming down my face. I could not even talk. He noticed me crying and flung a box of tissues at me while saying, “I didn’t know you were going to cry. From now on whenever I watch the news, I am going to say, ‘I am the doctor who made the news lady cry.’” I didn’t say a word. I could not speak, but I thought what kind of person would say that to anyone. So, does he think I am not a real person with feelings because I work for the television station? I do not think I have ever felt so personally attacked in my life. I didn’t feel this bad when I got divorced.

I had been in excruciating pain and icing my legs every day since about April 22nd. It was now August. Who would put themselves through that if they were not truly passionate about what they were doing? And, for the record, when it comes to seeking publicity for running, that could not be any further from the truth. I always go to great lengths to find dark sunglasses and ball caps to make sure people do not recognize me. I just want to be a regular person learning how to run. I run because I love it. I shuffle through the course like a turtle. I am slow. I am fully aware that I will never be Flo-Jo nor will I ever win a trophy. In fact, my friends tease me because I usually forget to even check the time clock when I finish. I am not motivated by that. It’s about being part of something that I have grown to love.

During the summer months when it was hot and miserable, I got out of my bed in the dead of night, after only two hours of sleep to run because I love it. I have also added many more healthy years to my life since my health has even dramatically improved since I started running.

I just sat there as that same doctor continued to say many negative things about all of us who have ever been inspired to do anything physical after the age of 35. He went on by saying we are probably going through some kind of midlife crisis. It was humiliating. He told me to forget about fulfilling my dream of running the Rock n’ Roll ½ Marathon on November 5th. At that time, it was about sixty days away.

Rock n’ Roll Marathon Blog-III

I have changed … and I like it!

For most of my life, even when I have gotten into a routine of working out, going away would bring everything to a standstill. It would literally take me weeks to get back in the groove and convince myself that I could do what I had already been doing for months before my schedule changed. The voices in my head were powerful and they would literally tell me that I couldn’t do it… that it was only a fluke that I had been able to stick to my plan before.

I am happy to report that this time, I am now stronger than that voice! After going out of town to visit a sick relative last week, I was back on that AlterG bright and early the first morning when I returned running almost 5 miles. In case you do not know, I do not get off work until midnight so mornings do not come easy. Even though I had a hard time figuring out why my clock was going off at 6:30 in the morning, I am overjoyed about the person I am becoming. This is turning out to be an amazing journey as I try to get healthier and lose some weight. I also know if I can do it, anyone can! Let’s get fit together!

Rock n’ Roll Marathon Blog-II

August 4, 2010 might seem like just another day for you, but for me, it was a day that was the beginning of a whole new outlook on my life. It started just like any other summer day in Savannah- a hot and humid 92 degrees. I got up that morning and walked three miles around Daffin Park and went to Fleet Feet Sports and bought my first pair of good walking shoes. While I was there, the owner, Robert Espinoza, was so excited sharing with all of us in the store that the Rock N’ Roll Marathon was coming to Savannah. The more he talked about the run and all of the bands, cheerleaders and entertainment that would accompany it, the more excited I became. Mind you, I am no runner or at least I wasn’t at that time, so I still don’t quite understand why I was so drawn to this race.

When I got to work hours later, I still could not forget about the race. Brooke Kelley covered the news conference that day. I must have drilled her off and on for half an hour trying to get every little detail. She and everyone else around me in the newsroom could tell I was interested, but I must admit, I was scared! Honestly, I worried I would not be able to do it. Even though I had already started walking and losing weight, I doubted that an overweight, non-runner could ever dream of running 13.1 miles. Without hesitation, Brooke told me, “You can do it!” Even though she is a great runner who has even raced in the Boston Marathon, I still was not buying it. I called Robert at Fleet Feet and asked him. He also said, “Of course you can. You have more than a year to get ready.” He went on to tell me that he would come up with a plan and get me with a trainer.

My excitement was building, but I still was not sure. My next call was to my primary physician, Dr. Paul Bradley. I asked him what he thought. I wanted to make sure that I was healthy enough to attempt this race. He also said, “Yes, you can. You are talking about next year- November, 2011, right?” I said, “Yes.”

After getting my doctor’s approval, I called Robert back and he came up with a very ambitious plan to help me get in shape. I can remember having my first anxiety attack when the new trainer, Lydia DePue, sent me an e-mail with the plan. Although I knew I would be enrolling in Fleet Feet’s boot camp, along with 26 of my co- workers who are now known as “Team WTOC,” I had no idea that Robert and Lydia’s plan for me included boot camp as well as their “No Boundaries” program. For two months, those classes would overlap which meant I would be training five days a week – six hours a week. Yikes! I immediately started panicking. How was I supposed to do this? I work nights. I do not sleep well. I have quite a few speaking engagements planned on weekdays for the next several months. How was I going to do it all? I must have read over that e-mail ten times, hoping I had misunderstood it and I would uncover a different message- an easier plan. What were they expecting from me? I thought to myself, “Girl, you have really done it now. What have you gotten yourself into?” I also remembered what my grandmother used to say, “Be careful what you ask for… you just might get!” And, boy was I getting it – too much of “IT”. I sent Lydia and Robert an e-mail asking them if I had somehow misunderstood what they had written although I knew the answer to that question. No, there was no misunderstanding. They really wanted me to train five days a week – six hours every week from February 19th to April 16th. It seemed impossible, but guess what? I did it! I only missed a few sessions and that was only when I had a legitimate excuse. I am very proud that I was able to do it. Now, I know more than ever why my dad calls me “the pitbull”. He is right. When I set my mind to something, there is no stopping me. I always complete the task no matter what. I can laugh about that now.

I will admit, those weeks Lydia challenged me unlike anyone else had ever done before. Saturdays were the worst. It started at 8:30 A.M. with an hour long boot camp. Immediately following that work out, I had my beginning running class called “No Boundaries”. Many times, I was so pooped that I really did not have any energy left for the running class, but I never gave up. I kept on giving it my all. During the last few months, I have learned to love group activities and I am excited about running. I never thought that would happen. When I signed up for this program, I just thought it would be yet another task I would have to do. So, the fact that I have enjoyed all of it, is like having my cake, eating all of it, and not gaining a pound!

April 16, 2011 is another one of those dates I will never forget, not just because it happens to be my birthday, but this year, it was the same day as the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. That race brings together survivors, patients, families, caregivers and supporters from all walks of life who want to help find a cure for breast cancer. It is such a beautiful tribute. This year, I decided to run that race. Although I have taken part in several charity 5K races before, this was different. It was my first attempt at running a 5K (3.1 miles). Making the run even more emotional for me, two very special friends who were battling the disease, a good friend from college had just finished chemotherapy the week before the race and a high school friend lost her battle to the deadly disease just three days before the race. That day I carried them with me. With their photographs pinned to my t-shirt, I set out to do what I had never done before.

I had a lot of help- great training from Fleet Feet Sports Savannah and several work outs on a NASA developed anti- gravity treadmill known as the Alter G – thanks to Ledesma Sports Medicine. To make sure I reached my goal, the owner of Ledesma Sports Medicine, Ernest Ledesma, and one of his physical therapists, Clinton Crawley, volunteered to run with me. It was an unbelievable experience for this beginning runner. There I was running alongside two seasoned runners who took a special interest in me. They let me set the pace and they didn’t just run with me, they coached me all the way through to the finish line. I will never be able to thank them enough for what they have done for me. They were right by my side when they very well could have taken this race as a time to reach their own goals. Instead, they made sure that my dream came true and helped me achieve my goal of running the entire race without walking even once.

While Robert, Lydia, Ernie and Clinton were certainly invaluable to me becoming a runner, especially on that day, I truly believe my courageous friends, those strong, young women battling breast cancer, also helped pull me through. I must admit that about two and a half miles into the race, I could feel myself fading fast. It seemed as though that final half mile was harder than the first two and a half miles. Without even realizing it, I had placed my hands on my chest one on each side of my collarbone. As I approached Telfair Square, I felt something under my palms. When I looked down, I saw each palm perfectly positioned on top of each of my friend’s photographs. My eyes immediately filled with water and I could feel big tears begin to roll down my cheeks as Ernie yelled, “This is it, Dawn! Give it all you got!” Clinton chimed in, “Go, Dawn!” As if someone or something else was controlling my short legs, I started running faster and faster toward the finish line. I saw the crowds that lined the streets, but it was as though I were running inside a bubble. I could not hear anything. I remember seeing the finish line and then passing under the huge Fleet Feet balloon arch. At that point, I was crying like a baby. It was as if I could not move. I just stood at the finish line crying and I grabbed the first person I saw and held on tight, hugging some friends from my “No Boundaries” class- Michelle Walker Daniels, Sara Marby, Danette Kerr and finally my two newest friends, Ernie and Clinton. I will never, ever forget that feeling. For the rest of that day, it was as if I was floating in the clouds. I cannot remember ever being so happy. My high from reaching that personal milestone remained with me for more than a week. It is true what they say… “Running changes everything!” I cannot even describe how powerful it is to set a goal that you just are not quite sure you can reach and then to not only reach it, but exceed it beyond your wildest dreams. I will never forget that day. Now that I know I can run 3 miles without stopping, I hope to build on that momentum and add more miles to my workout as I build up to run the half marathon in November. One lesson I have definitely learned from these last few months of tough training that is just about to get even tougher is something that Robert Espinoza always tells us, “I will keep my chin up for strength and down for prayer.” With that faith renewed, I know that with the right preparation, I really can do anything!

Rock n’ Roll Marathon Blog-I

I must admit that the night before boot camp, I was like a 5 year old little girl trying to sleep on the first day of school. Actually, I have been on cloud 9 ever since I learned that the Rock N’ Roll Marathon would be coming to Savannah. Since the big announcement, I have been trying to get my co-workers excited about joining me on this venture. I am so pleased to report that I have gotten an overwhelming response. I am so happy that 26 of them are joining me for this remarkable, life-changing journey.

As you probably know, losing weight has been the toughest battle that I have ever faced. It seems as though throughout my adult life, I have gained and lost weight and never quite reached my goals. A large part of that is due to some metabolic issues, but it is still just as frustrating because I am an “all or nothing” girl. When I commit to a program, I give it my all. It is extremely disappointing when you don’t get the results you are expecting when you give 100 percent of yourself. Most people’s attitudes also compound that frustration. So many look at those of us who are overweight and believe we are just sitting around eating twinkies and ice cream all day, and those actions cause us to be fat. Well, I am here to tell you, that is not always the case. In fact, I cannot remember the last time I have eaten either one.

I am hoping that the extensive training that I have signed up for will help me finally shed those unwanted pounds and cross that finish line without getting hurt. I really have to thank Robert Espinoza, the owner of Fleet Feet Sports Savannah, for challenging me to not only enroll in boot camp, but also take the “No Boundaries” class which is designed to teach the very basics of running. I started that program 3 weeks ago and I am slowly finding my rhythm.

I am so excited about what lies ahead for me and Team WTOC. It is funny how something that I never imagined doing even a few months ago, has helped me develop friendships that, otherwise, I never would have had. It is also uniting my team. We are engineers, sales people, web builders, producers, audio operators, studio camera operators, graphic artists, photographers, reporters, anchors and managers who have worked alongside each other at the Southeast News Leader for years, but in most cases, never got a chance to really get to know each other. Now, we will be bonding on a whole different level, while playing in the grass and dirt like little children and sweating like many of us have never done before as we start our journey to getting stronger and ready to rock n’ roll!