Sunday, November 22, 2015

Movers and Pacers 2 Year Anniversary Weekend

Two years ago, a guy in Atlanta had a close friend pass away of a sudden cardiac arrest.  The death shocked him and he decided to make some changes in his own life to become healthier.  And not only that, he decided to encourage the friends and family around him to make the same choice.  And how to do this?  Through running.

This guy, who goes by the name Kaos, started the running group in Atlanta called Movers + Pacers.  For those of you who have been reading for a few months, you know how much this group has come to mean to me.  I stumbled upon the crowd before even moving to Atlanta while searching for running groups in Atlanta on Instagram.  I nervously came out for a few runs here and there from August to January, and then in March, became more social with the group and eventually was totally won over after the Publix Half Marathon when the group came out in full force to cheer in the pouring rain.  I made the decision after that to go on "Runcation" even though I barely knew anyone, and ended up making incredible friends and left Tampa feeling like I had a family in the city of Atlanta.

This weekend marked the two year anniversary of Movers + Pacers being founded as a running community in Atlanta.  So, in the fashion that only M+P can -- we did it with a celebration!

The weekend actually was really packed and full of awesome times with friends, friends that I made from running, in addition to the official festivities.

On Friday evening, I joined a few M+P friends to celebrate India's birthday with tapas and margaritas at Eclipse de Sol.  An awesome restaurant I visited earlier this year when my friend Julia was in town.  We had a blast and I loved being able to kick off the weekend celebrating an awesome girl who has been so supportive, encouraging, and welcoming to me as soon as I started running with Movers + Pacers.  She's become a good friend in and out of running sneakers and I must say, we do clean up well when we are out of them.

Saturday morning started bright and early with a number of people from the run crew doing what we do - and head out on an 8 mile run on the Silver Comet Trail.  A few of my friends hadn't tried out this trail before so I was excited to be able to introduce them to it.

I was a little nervous about the run and the first 4 miles felt really hard.  I told myself that on the way back I would be able to slow my pace a bit and relax.  On the way out, I was running with a friend so I was trying to keep her pace.  I eased up, or so I felt, on the way back.  And I did what I always do and avoided looking at my watch.  I was pretty happy when I saw the pace at the end being an average of 9:05 minute miles!  I guess taking some time to rest has been good for me lately.  My last 4 miles were all under 9 minute when I thought I was going to be slower on the second half!!

Granted, it was a slight decline on the way back, but I was surprised with how easy it felt. I have been spending a lot of time lately trying to control my breathing and heart rate while running, and it seems to be helping me.

Following the run, I did a quick turnaround of showering and getting weekend day out ready, then met up with Brick and another friend for a girls day of lunch, Starbucks, movies, shopping and ice cream.  It was a super awesome afternoon and good to see the close of the Hunger Games movies.  Not gonna lie, I shed some tears!

Post daytime festivities, it was another quick turn around before getting dressed then heading out for the official anniversary party for Movers + Pacers. I was on the volunteer committee and responsible for balloons, so I first had to make a quick trip to fill my car with red and gold balloons.  You can actually fit quite a few more balloons in your car than you would think!  In case you are ever wondering, I fit 30 and still could see both my mirrors.

The evening was held at Apache Cafe which is a pretty cool venue that I have been to a few times for various shows.  The decorations and details put into the event were amazing and I had so much fun with my friends.  We had some of the various artists in our group contribute by performing for everyone.  There were superlatives and awards given out and the group was kind enough to honor me with an award for the work that I've done throughout the year, achieving new goals and pushing myself harder to achieve big things.  It was an exciting and really meaningful moment to be recognized by my group and among some other athletes who've done amazing things this year.

Today was a rather lazy day after last night going late into the night with dancing and celebrations.  I lounged around a bit, ate a giant brunch, and then went back out for the Movers + Pacers flagship run.  It was not a run that I necessarily needed, and was just really doing to support the crew.  I did 2-miles and ran/walked the route which was sufficient in maybe burning off a single bite of the blueberry french toast I had as part of my breakfast.  But, it was great to see the crew and laugh/talk about the shenanigans from the night before and do what we all love to do, which is run.

The group has been a huge part of what has made Atlanta feel like home to me.  It is where I have made some incredible friends, been motivated to keep working hard, become exposed to new people, ideas, music, and backgrounds.  And it is my home away from home and connection into Atlanta.  Happy 2 year anniversary Movers + Pacers!!!