Tuesday, December 4, 2012

I'm Only Half Crazy!

Yep, that's me, holding up my first half marathon medal! This was an experience I wouldn't give up for anything. When I first made this goal at the beginning of 2012 I honestly was terrified after I posted it, because I was like "did I really just say I am going to run a half marathon and I've only done one 5K?". Well, after being bitten by the running bug and completing more races I became more confident about accomplishing my goal. I didn't jump right into it, I followed a lot of running blogs, listened to seasoned runners for advice, and subscribed to Runner's World magazine to be in the know about different training programs and proper ways to recover when taking on a long run.

One race I wanted to do before completing my 1/2 was a 10K (6.2 miles). I figured if I could get to the half way point I could be ok in a half marathon. Well, as we know, in life things don't always go as planned. Let's just say in this case ALMOST didn't go as planned. At the beginning of August this year I became very ill and was sidelined for a little over a month from running, I couldn't do any kind of exercising. Due to the illness I became very weak and lost 15 pounds, so yes, I was no good! After doctors visits and completing the medications prescribed I thought I would be "off and running" in no time. Well, if it's not one thing it's another, and as I was completing my antibiotics I began to breakout in hives because a form of penicillin was in them and, yes I am allergic to penicillin. So yep, I was sidelined for another week and a half. I became more and more discouraged because my 10K was just weeks away, and I had not trained for it at all, it was out of town, and with my illness it was strongly advised that I don't fly. What was a girl to do??? Well, being stubborn and determined the first moment I felt better I hoped in the car ( I couldn't drive either while sick) and headed to the gym. I was able to get in 3 miles on the treadmill without passing out. My mother being a mother was concerned about me jumping back into running so quickly, but in my head all I could think about was this 10K I needed to complete. I was able to train and run a bit longer more and more each day. Now, that I was building my stamina/endurance back up I had to figure out how the heck I was going to get to Atlanta, GA to compete in my race. This was the Black Girls Run! Inaugural  race and conference I HAD TO BE THERE!!! So I reached out to my BGR sisters and decided to take a chance and fly up, and my BGR sister Sonya was driving back so I was able to ride with her, I figured flying one way shouldn't be too bad. Then I was able to room with my BGR sister Doris at the last minute. Things were working out according to plan.
I completed my race strong ( see my Sole Sisters post) and I knew there was no stopping my now.
I registered for more races to stay active and upped my mileage every two weeks. I am so thankful for those Ft. Lauderdale beach runs with BGR because I swear everyone there was training for a half so long runs were the norm and I needed them for that extra push.

Almost showtime! The week of the race, I changed my diet and upped my water intake I had to finish this thing strong, the swag wagon was NOT going to be picking me up. I was going to finish this race on my own. All of the ladies running in the race with me who had never done a half before were so nervous about it, at first I was but then it was like the fear went away and I was just ready to do it. I ran Monday and Tuesday of that week, and then let my body rest in preparation. I ordered a new pair of compression pants that have gotten rave reviews in the running community, now this is a big no no for runners, you should never try anything new the day of a race, but of course I wore these pants because I wanted to do my best and have a great recovery. I think the most challenging moment about this race was getting these pants on, lol. Ladies, if you wear Spanx you know the struggle of getting them on so multiple that times 10. I've never had a set a pants that came with directions on how to put them on. However, it was imperative to follow the directions so that your legs received the proper support while running.

Race Day! I got up at 4 am and was full of energy, ready to get moving, I had my Race Day playlist going and was ready to hit the pavement. I got to S. Beach and saw all the runners geared up. I didn't know what I should eat with it being such a long run so I had some water and a banana. I put an energy bar in my pants pocket in case I needed fuel on the course. I lined up in my corral and said my prayers while stretching, got my Nike+ app ready, I changed my playlist to Gospel cause I knew it was me and God running this race. And I was off.....
I felt good, I was in a zone, I started off at just the right pace and I was able to catch my grove before mile 1. I was happy to see the pacers in the race holding up signs stating if you run with them you'll finish a certain amount of time. This was motivation, I told myself "you can finish before that" so I sped up just a little. I didn't stop at all the water stations just those that had Gatorade, for some reason water makes me cramp up when I run. Just like Forrest Gump. I was running, and running, and running! Before I knew it I had ran 11.5 miles straight without stopping. Around this time I was still feeling good, however the sun was rearing it's ugly head and I had the final bridge to tackle. I took out my energy bar to fuel my body and started a 5:1 interval. The intervals didn't last long because I just wanted to finish so I kept pushing myself more and more. I did suffer an "injury" around mile 12. My right shoe kept brushing up against my left ankle as I was running and of course it cause a blister and skin came off, so I had an open cut with sweat running into it, talk about feeling the burn. I kept pushing through that. I started to see people walking with their finisher's medals so I knew I was close.
Now let me let you know something that I can't stand about race spectators, it's when you are close to the finish line and they yell, "you can do it, the finish line is right around the corner!" Umm no the hell it's not! I swear the closer you get to the finish line the farther away it gets. So people about a mile and a half away need not say things like that, it just frustrates me cause I really do expect to see the finish line around the corner, not around the next three corners.
I hear the cheers my heart is beating fast, my sister texted me saying she is at the finish line waiting on me and that I can do it! You know what else pushed me? There are cameras at the finish line! Do you really think I would be caught on film walking!? So I save up some energy and walk for about a minute and I gave myself a pep talk and said alright Apryl, it's time to bring it in. With all I had left in me I ran to that finish line with a smile on my face like I had only run for 3 miles. When I go to the line and saw my time and my sister there cheering me on, and it hit me... I DID IT! I finished in 2hrs and 36 minutes, I beat my own time I had set which was 2 hrs and 45 min.

I really want to say THANK YOU to all of you who were there cheering me on via Nike+, at the finish line, and while I was training. This had to be my proudest moment of 2012. I had a goal and I was able to accomplish it with setbacks and all.  I am looking forward to doing many more 1/2 marathons in 2013.... I know you didn't think I was going to say I look forward to doing a full marathon.... I'M ONLY HALF CRAZY!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Running a Double Life

This past Saturday ( November 3, 2012) I was able to do a run that was super special to me. Yes, I love all the runs that I participate in, but this one was close to my heart. I ran in the Sickle Cell-ebration 5K, in memory of my best friend Kyla Hodor. Kyla lost her battle with sickle cell during our junior year of college, I can't even begin to explain the pain, confusion, and emptiness I felt when I got the phone call that Sunday morning. For those of you who didn't know Kyla, she was always full of life and the happiest person in the room, you would never know she was sick or had just recovered from a sickle cell crisis a few days ago or anything. I really loved how she lived every moment of her life with a smile on her face. I went through my mourning period, and as I was coming out of it I had to remember that it was not a time for me to sit back, but it was time for me to get out and live my life, not only life, but hers as well. There are many things that I have done and accomplished because of Kyla, and I know she was right there next to me when I did them, and I know Saturday wasn't an exception.
Even before I started running I always told myself I wanted to do a Sickle Cell walk for Kyla, but always seemed to miss the dates. So I was very happy when I was able to find one that was right here in my neighborhood, I signed up right away, whatever I already had on my calendar would have to be pushed to the side because I wasn't going to miss this opportunity. Well, it was race day, and I really did not sleep the night before I had so much on my mind, this was the first race I was running without anyone from BGR, I knew I had to do this one "alone", this was me and Kyla's race. When I got to the park my nerves settled a little bit as I registered and started to scope out the competition, there weren't as many people at this race like the others I have attended, but enough for me to know I had to make sure I did my best. As the race started I felt a little blah, like I wasn't into the race. As I said before my mind was everywhere, so I got into my groove and found my happy pace and I was off! About a half a mile into the race this chick comes out of nowhere and passes me. I'm definitely caught by surprise because I didn't see her before the race started so she wasn't in my radar to beat until that moment she passed me. She led me the whole way, even when she stopped for water and I was able to get in front of her she always came back and passed me. I was starting to get frustrated, until I remembered I was not running this race alone, and like me Kyla is very competitive and would fuss if I let this chick beat "us" at a race I was doing in her memory. Remembering all that I learned I gave myself a mini pep talk and said "you've got this, let's finish strong and win this race". Suddenly I went into turbo mode about the last half mile and took the chick on and what do you know I eased right past her, as I was approaching the finish line there were people cheering me on, none of which I knew and it made me feel great and gave me even more energy, and a running coach was at the very last stretch yelling "turn it up finish strong you haven't crossed the line yet", I crossed the line and beat my competition by a minute!
Yes, tears did flow cause I knew I had won, and I knew I had made Kyla proud. At this race I placed for the very first time and I have been in about 9 races since February 2012, and I couldn't have been happier that I placed for Kyla. I came in first in my age group and 3rd overall for females.

Kyla, I hope you are proud of me, and I know you were there with me through the whole race and especially that final stretch. I will continue to live every moment for you, I love you and I miss you!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sole Sisters

We all have that one person that plays a special role in a certain part of our lives. Well, as many of you know at the end of January 2012 I began a new journey in my life. I started long distance running. Now this is something I never thought I would be doing in a million years. Yes, I would run on the treadmill at the gym because I knew it would aid in my attempts for quick weight loss. Well, long story short, running isn't something I just do, it's pretty much my life! Some may say that's pretty extreme, but it is. Running keeps me calm, relaxes me, takes me to my happy place, and most importantly keeps me healthy!

Since joining BGR (Black Girls Run) in January 2012, I have come across and met some phenomenal women. When I say these women are truly an inspiration I mean it. Their drive and desire is so contagious you can't help but want to get out there on the pavement and give it your all.

On April 28, 2012, I met a young lady who would change my running mentality. Her name is Nikisha Dawson!! She is truly one of the top BGR South Florida cheerleaders. Her spirit is so warm, genuine, and sincere. From that day while running with her, at her first 5K after taking a running hiatus she has become my running best friend. However, that all changed this past weekend, at our Black Girls Run Inaugural 5K/10K Race in Atlanta, GA. We refer to each other as pace/run buddies, well let me just say after this run she has become my SISTER! We stayed by each others side the whole way pushing each other, even when one wanted to stop, taking the lead while letting one walk etc. We both have gone through some things that have hindered us from training like we should but, I am so happy that these setbacks did not kill our running spirit.

This post is to tell you about my new sister, my SOLE SISTER, Nikisha and in a way a thank you note for all her support! I look forward to running more races and accomplishing more goals with her as we continue on our running journey! Our next goal is to complete our first half marathon in November. I am super sad that we won't be doing our first half together, but as she said we will be with each other in spirit.....let the training begin!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Who's Holding You Accountable?

We all know that changing your lifestyle when it comes to being healthy can be very challenging. There are times you are focused for about a week and then go right back to your old ways. The times we are about to backslide is the time you need that one person or persons to say "hey get it together!"
Luckily, I have a great group of ladies who are holding me accountable for my health and vice versa. There is nothing like a strong support system and most importantly knowing that you are not alone in your journey to a better and healthier you! My linesister Carmen was randomly tweeting her health challenge and from there I jumped on board to join her, and she welcomed me with open arms. Her tweet actually got 3 others on board as well (the more the merrier). Today I did something I have never done, worked out for 2 hours straight. The only thing pushing me besides the fact I have a new bikini coming in the mail and that I really want this for me, was knowing in the back of my head I had to report back to the ladies my progress and I don't want to be the odd man out for not following the plan.

Overall, there are somethings in life you just aren't meant to do alone, and in my opinion taking the step to a healthier lifestyle is one of them. You must surround yourself with your own cheerleaders who have your best interest in mind and genuinely care if you are successful achieving your goal(s) in life. Also, to have someone you can vent to/with and say it's going to be hard, but I'm right here going through it with you.

We are holding each other accountable for 40 days and I already know that we will continue to do so after that...I'll be sure to report back and let you all know how it went...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Another 5K In the Books

On Sunday, April 22, 2012, I was able to partake in my 3rd 5K. I must say I really pushed myself on this one. I ran the entire race and felt great after it. The night before the race I was able to realize that I am starting to enter a comfort zone and that 3 miles is no longer a challenge for me. In no way, shape, or form did I have any pre-race jitters or experience any anxiety like I did with my first two races.
Another thing I was able to realize, is that I am becoming a serious and competitive runner. At the race the timing system they used did not track each runner's starting time, therefore there was no net time at the end of the race. This excuse my language, really pissed me off. I like to know how well I do in each race so I can track my progress, them not tracking me from the time I crossed the starting line is not helping this goal. Also the course was marked wrong, it was 3.25 miles instead of 3.1 so of course my time ended up being longer, uggggh! I really felt some kind of way after the race and I can say I wasn't really feeling accomplished, I was a little down because my recorded time was 35:02, that means I didn't beat my last PR, and I have a strong feeling that I did beat it when I hit 3.1 in the race. Next time I know to make sure I set RunKeeper and Endomondo to 3.1 when I start the race. I am slowly but surely starting to put the race behind me and continue to train for my 10K next month. As of now I plan on doing it on May 20th. Since 3.1 miles is no longer a challenge I decided to do something about it and step it up! I shall keep you posted on how that goes.

Friday, April 6, 2012


You see those two beautiful young ladies to your left? Well, those are my linesisters Carmen & Kelle! First let me start off my saying, I love them dearly, no matter how much time we are apart and don't communicate that much, when we are around each other it's like we were never apart. I started running with Black Girls Run at the end of January because I was motivated by my fried Stephanie, and I knew I needed to be more concerned about my health. Never in a million years did I think that I would get a text one night from Carmen asking me about BGR and what to expect. In my head, I was thinking were my posts on Facebook and Twitter the spark that lit her fire and interest for joining BGR ( I'd like to think so). Never had I been so happy to share with Carmen all of the great benefits and MAJOR support she would receive by joining BGR. Like me Carmen was a bit nervous about getting out there and being among some of the seasoned members, I just knew I was going to feel like an outcast and they were going to leave me behind...I reassured her it was a go at your own pace and build yourself up type of deal and that "no woman is left behind" no matter what time you finish BGR will be there waiting for you. So it truly moved me when I got the notification on Twitter that Carmen was going out for her first BGR run!!! What was even better what the text she sent "I had fun, think I'm gonna get addicted"......
I love sharing my experiences I've had so far along the way and sharing tips to help make running a lot easier and fun.
Now Kelle's notification was bit different, one night I get notification from Facebook that Kelle has posted on my wall. I'm thinking oh maybe she tagged me in something or is sharing a post. Well, to my great surprise she wrote.. "Guess who joined BGR???? Gone twice so far". The fact that she felt the need to let me know shows she's been following my journey and was motivated (once again, at least I hope that's the case lol). Either way I have two more friends that are on this running journey with me who I can share stories with and support.

You never know who is watching you and just needs to see someone else go out and take a chance. Ladies I wish you the best of luck on this journey to a healthier life. I'm here if you need me even though we are far apart, maybe one day we can do a run together........

Monday, March 26, 2012

No Running for the Weary

I had my first involuntary week of rest from running. My body (knees) told me they needed some time off. That was the most nerve wrecking week for me. All I could think about was omg what happens if this pain and soreness doesn't go away and I have to go to the doctor and find out that I tore something. This moment let me know that I had really become serious about running, and that it is now my "drug". A whole bunch of thoughts ran through my head, what if I won't be able to run and train for my next 5K next month or worse be out of commission for a super long time like some of my fellow running mates who have recently succumb to injury. So I was not going to have another "after school special" moment so I rested, iced and elevated my knees and wore a brace on the one that was hurting the most. Well, Friday I woke up with a feeling that I was not use to.... I felt no pain! Lesson learned is take advantage of rest days, one day will not hurt your progress...listen to your body and you will be just fine!

Mile Challenge

So today, out of boredom at work I said "let me see how many miles I've ran/walked, since I started my journey". Well folks the numbers are in, and to date I have covered 47.02 miles. So the competitor in me now needs to set a goal on how many miles I want to do before the end of 2012. Considering I was able to cover this amount in about 3 months, I've averaged 15.6 miles a month so by Dec 31, 2012 I hope to cover 187 miles.....let the journey begin, very excited about conquering the pavement!!

Friday, March 16, 2012


I participated in my first early morning run today, 5:45am to be exact. When I went to bed last night, all I was thinking was am I really going to get up and do this? It's sooo early and I'm on Spring Break. After going back and forth with myself I set my alarm and went to sleep, with thoughts of I'll do it, and just go back to sleep when I get home (which I DID do). Two others showed up, thank God because it was super dark out there because of the time change, and boy did we had a great time. Something about the morning air made my run a bit more enjoyable and I must say I've never felt so refreshed after a run. I now have something to think about once I return back to work, if I want to sacrifice some hours of sleep to get in a better run. I have to be to work at 8am daily and we were done with 4 miles before 7 am, so it is doable. Now it's time for me to see how serious I am about running and it's looking like I'm officially addicted because if my crew can do this at least two mornings each week, I'll be in! I also want to thank my friend Shashu Franklin (in the pic with me) for pushing me to go the extra mile literally. I usually stop at 3 and today we did 4, a little more each time and I'll definitely be ready for my half. That's it for today, hope this has inspired some of you who dread getting up early because you love sleep like me, to get up and give an early morning run a try.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Some Like it Hot!?!

Some like it HOT!?! Well, even though I live in S. FL I hate being hot! However, I am quick to check out the latest workout crazes I learn about, as I partake in my healthy journey to a new me. About 2 weeks ago I checked out Bikram Hot Yoga, oh boy, the longest and worst 90 minutes of my life. Oh Apryl, you are being so drastic, but hey it was just too damn hot! I found no pleasure in working out in a 105 + degree room. I found myself wiping away sweat and slipping and sliding from my own sweat then actually being able to get the correct forms. I can honestly say I didn't get much out that class. Just when I was going to throw the sweaty towel in and say down with Bikram hot yoga, some ladies in BGR suggested Sweaty Fusion Flow. It's a milder hot yoga; 75 minutes and the room is not 105 degrees.

Today I ventured out and went to Sweaty Fusion Flow yoga and I have three words after going "I'm in LOVE"! I don't know if it was the change of temperature (the room is still warm) or the time difference, or it could've been our great instructor Mara. I really felt I got all the benefits of yoga that people are always talking about. I can't wait for my next class on Monday night, I liked it so much I'm even going to rearrange my Monday training sessions with my trainer ( he will get over it). Now some like it hot, this girl likes it warm, but I say try Bikram and Sweaty Fusion Flow and see which kind of girl you are!

If you live in S. Florida (Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, Weston, N. Miami area) I suggest checking out this class http://www.danieldavids.com/yoga.htm the first class is FREE and they are willing to give you a discount on the classes you attend if you are a member of a gym on your second visit. Check it out and let me know how it went!

Monday, March 12, 2012

After School Special- NO GOOD

So one of my sister's nickname for me is "After School Special" if you are old enough to remember this show, it came on every day "after school" and taught us some kind of lesson...well I have yet to learn my lesson of eating enough when training, working out, or running. Yesterday, I knew I hadn't had much to eat but felt fine. I was like let me just eat a greek yogurt before this run and I should be just fine. Well, if things turned out just fine, I would not be here writing about it. I did 3.7 miles in 46 minutes, during this run I cramped up on my right side, but I was like ohh yes this is runner's pain (yes, I'm crazy) and I can run through this... no pain no gain!!! Well, after my 3.7 miles I was feeling just fine and waiting for the others in BGR to finish their miles. So every Sunday after our group runs we do a mini boot camp in the parking lot before we go home, I made it halfway through the 2nd set and was like "oh boy" somethings is so not right with my body right now. I took a sip of water and sat out the end of the second set thinking of this will pass. Well me being superwoman had to do the last set I just had to I'm not a quitter, long story short, my body made me quit! It took all of me to sneak away from the group and make it to my car. I have yet to learn how to drop the "P" and ride and let others help me so I muster up enough energy to drive, well nobody but God took my wheel, as I'm driving my eyes start rolling I'm assuming because all I started seeing was a little bit of the road and a whole lot of white. Luckily, I made it to the gas station on the corner into a parking spot. I laid their for at least 10 minutes thinking, 1.) should I call someone to come get me, 2). will I be able to shake this off and make it to Panera (closest place to eat) and put something in my system. I chose option 2 after resting up and composing myself and of course thanking God for watching over this fool!

This time really did it for me, guess the third time really is a charm, so take the advice of this "After School Special" please be sure to eat and fully hydrate before taking part in any vigorous exercising!

Just one of the many obstacles I'll face on my journey to my half marathon, I pray that this series will be canceled and that there won't be a rerun of this episode.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Workouts to keep your Body Strong and Away from Injury


1st 5K- ICare ICure Feb 12, 2012

February 12, 2012- I Care I Cure 5K- Bank Atlantic Center Sunrise, FL

My nerves were everywhere the morning of my first 5K, and let's just say the fact it was 40 degrees didn't make it any better. That week I prayed God please don't let it rain, all I need is a reason for me to not go through with it and I felt if I couldn't do the 5K I wouldn't build up the courage to do another one, I'd just put it off as much as I could. I remember when I went to register for the 5K online and how I kept hesitating before I hit the submit button, but pushing that submit button wasn't as liberating as crossing that finish line February 12th.
As I lined up in preparation for the race, thoughts like : did I eat enough, is my iPod playlist right, and most of all oh God please don't let me come in last!. I set the goal for myself to try and finish in under an hour (45 minutes to be exact) thinking about how long it took me to run/jog a mile on the treadmill I thought that was an achievable goal. So I'm looking at all the seasoned runners thinking I need to make sure I'm out of their way so I don't get trampled.

Time to line up, I'm next to my fellow BGR members who are encouraging each other and saying "run your race" stomach in knots and then I hear "GO!" We were off I took off like I was a freaking pro, in my head I'm like "umm Apryl, you know you don't run this fast, but hey just like when driving, just go with the flow of traffic. I was off to a great start I jogged the first mile and was ever so happy to see that water table (even though I think most of the water landed on me instead of in my mouth) which made me even colder. I slowed down a bit but I told myself, no matter what KEEP MOVING, now the goof ball I am bust out laughing because mid way through the race they have cheering squads telling up we could do it, and one of the squads were cows that said "KEEP MOOOOO-ving" as me and grandmother say "that tickled me so" and actually gave me a little more boost!...anywho moving along, I came to the 2nd mile marker and saw the time and was like wow Apryl don't get too comfortable you still have a long way to go....then finally I see the finish line and I see I WONT BE LAST lol, I push a little harder, there is no way I am going to walk across that finish line. I walk for about 1 minute then tell myself "let's get it" and I give it all my might and run across the finish line! What do you know, I crossed at 37:57 THANK YOU LORD!!! Not only did I not come in last or pass out during the race, I beat the goal I set for myself!
The first person I texted was my sister she had to know and her excitement got me even more crunk. From that point I knew this is something I want to continue doing!

Overall my net time for the race was 37:30 with 12:04 avg per mile.

Running from the Old Me

Let's just say it all started with a "vision". Yes, cliche I know, but it is true! My sister has had me and a group of our friends do vision boards at the beginning of the year for the past 3 years. Each year I kept saying "oh, I'll get in shape". This year, however thanks to our friend Stephanie Henry I was able to actually make my "vision" a reality.

I joined the group Black Girls Run (which I'll be referring to as BGR most of the time) toward the end of January 2012. I had no clue what I was getting myself into, but I am so happy I did! To date I have run 2 5Ks and set a new PR (personal record) for each of them.

I am now a runner, I NEVER would've thought I'd be saying that! However, I must say it has been one of the best new activities I've brought into my life. I finally have a HEALTHY HABIT!!

With all that being said, this blog is to track my journey, hence the name"Running to a New Me" as I train and prepare for a 1/2 marathon at the end of 2012.

As a part of this journey I will participate in at least one 5K a month, and participate in all BGR weekly runs and runner's clinics, just to make sure I stay moving a motivated.....In my next posts I will be back tracking a bit, but mainly to catch you guys up to where I currently am... thanks for coming along with me on my journey.