Views From Here

March 24, 2015
by Shalama Jackson

Are you an other?

I was scrolling through Facebook yesterday and came across an article that talked about the acceptance speech Kerry Washington gave over the weekend for the Vanguard Award at the 26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards.

Listen to all that she says.

I’m an other in several categories. Her acceptance speech resonates with me and has me thinking. I will work on being better by allowing my actions speak louder than my thoughts.

Are you an other? How can you help lift others up instead of excluding them?

March 23, 2015
by Shalama Jackson

Palmetto 200: Another relay in the books

palmetto 200The Palmetto 200 is complete. In 33 hours, our team, We Run SC, made it from Columbia, SC to Charleston, SC.

The team was a combined team of runners from Columbia and Charleston. We were a team that didn’t really all know one another but came together for one goal – to take the crazy running with very little sleep adventure.

We traveled all of the back roads to get us from the Midlands to the LowCountry. Actually, it was 206.2 miles but who is counting?


palmetto 200 runningI was leg number five and ran a total of 13.31 miles overall. My first leg was 6.25 miles. My second 2.43 miles and my last leg was 4.63 miles. The distance overall wasn’t horrible. It was basically running a half marathon. Call me crazy, but the half marathon has become a happy distance for me.

I ran pretty good splits throughout the entire race. I actually impressed myself because I had a lofty goal of running about 10:30 miles. In actuality, I averaged 9:50 miles. I never ever thought I would see nines popping up on my watch over and over again especially without anyone there to push me. I tried relaxing and focused on my breathing to keep me going. It did help even though some of those long steady inclines seemed to go on forever.

palmetto 200 yvonneI had a great time running with some of the ladies that I have run with for years as a part of Black Girls RUN! Columbia as well as meeting some new people that are a part of the running community. Yvonne, is one of those ladies, who at one time swore she would never run more than 5Ks. But over time she has made her way all the way up to a marathon.

Would I do it again? Not sure that I would do the Palmetto 200, but I’ll save the reasons why for later. I’d love to run some other relays including Hood to Coast in Oregon, Reach the Beach in New Hampshire and Ragnar So Cal.  I’m sure there are other relays across the country, but I have not looked into them.

Have you run a relay before? What was your favorite part?

March 19, 2015
by Shalama Jackson

Packed and ready to go for another 200 mile relay

Ragnar Relay clothes packingIn less than 24 hours, I will be out again on another 200 mile trek with 11 other crazy running folks as a part of a Palmetto 200 team. Our team, We Run SC, will be running from Columbia, SC to Charleston, SC.

I personally know a few people on the team, but the majority I will get to meet this weekend at some point along the 30 hour adventure.

This is not the first time I have done one of these relays. In February, I was a part of team for Ragnar Florida Keys and in September, I was part of a team for Ragnar DC. I must say the weather and scenes for the Florida Keys were spectacular.

There are many things that makes running a 12-person relay team interesting and challenging. But one thing that can make it or break it for you is being packed properly. It’s not like you can run/drive back to your house because you forgot something. If you didn’t pack it, you are out of luck.

What to Pack

The race will have a suggested list. Look at it and determine what you really need and what would be nice if you had them. You can live without more things than you think. Here’s what I’m packing this go round.

The Required

Safety Vest. Each person is required to have one. You know, so you don’t get run over at night running alongside traffic.

Headlamp or Flashlight. There are so many options to have. I would recommend a headlamp because who wants to really hold something in their hand the entire time?

Blinking lights. Tail light and one for the front.

The Essentials

Running shorts/pants, tops and socks in gallon size Ziploc bags. Preferably three sets and in different Ziploc bags so you have somewhere to put your wet and sweaty clothes when you are one

Running shoes. You definitely need one pair, but maybe two depending on if rain is in the forecast.

Flip Flops. Give your feet a break from your running shoes.

Warm layers and comfy clothes. It can get cold at night as well as something to change into when you aren’t running.

Wipes. Definitely consider this your mini shower. For Ragnar, there were showers along the course. For the Palmetto 200, not.

Toiletries. Of course.

Sleeping Bag/Tarp/Tent. Many runners curl up on the van seat to sleep for a few hours. But if you have 6-7 people in one van, it helps to offload a few to the designated sleeping areas of the major exchange point you’re stopped at. I’ll be honest with you: It’s really hard to sleep on an overnight running relay. Exhaustion plays in your favor, but the major exchanges are very busy places. With teams constantly arriving and departing, there are headlights, car engines, generators, doors slamming, people talking, cheering and all sorts of other nuisances to interfere with your ability to sleep. Other teams are NOT necessarily sleeping when you are, where you are.

Snacks. We usually stop for one meal at a restaurant during each Relay. The rest of the food is grab-and-go in the van. Having a variety of snacks handy is paramount to keeping your energy up, your salt levels normal, and a smile on your face. In addition to food, you should have plenty of water.

Cash. Food and just because.

For me, it is about having fun while being prepared. There are a lot of things that you could bring, but you have to remember that six people are sharing the same van and you also want to be able to stretch out some. As much as I want to participate in a future Hood to Coast relay, I think this might be it for relays for now. We’ve had a lot of trouble with people dropping out in last week.

Have you run an overnight relay? What was your experience like?