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May 27, 2015
by Shalama Jackson

The benefits of a running with a group

BGR! Columbia in CharlotteI run with one of the best cliques around. No, seriously! We are a group of women at different levels, but yet we are supportive of one another.

What’s one of the best things about being a part of the running community?

The camaraderie.

It has taken some time to find my niche. But now that I have, I can travel almost anywhere and find a group to run with.

While I am at home, I typically run with my fellow Black Girls RUN! Columbia members. But there are times that I have found my way to run with several other groups.

brak pakHere’s an example:

When I traveled to San Antonio, I looked up running groups in the area and found a group that ran near the college I graduated from. It was fabulous. The Brak Pak, which runs in Brackenridge Park, were so welcoming. It might have helped that I lived in San Antonio for 10 years, when to school just steps away from the park and worked at the local newspaper for some time. Whatever the reason, they were very welcoming and asked me to join them for a race while I was in town as well as the next time I was in town.

What I have found is that as a part of the right group:

1. The miles go by quicker. You aren’t out there alone regardless if it’s three miles or 10.

2. You are more likely to participate. When you know a person or the group is waiting for you, you will stay motivated and show up.

3. You aren’t alone. On the really tough workouts and races, the group will pull you through

4. Helping others. Helping others who are struggling bestows an amazing sense of achievement

Olympian Jeff Galloway also finds that within groups:

5. Where running can take you. You’ll learn about some interesting races, places to run and can have fun running experiences.

6. The experience. Sharing the empowerment of finishing a long run can change your life.

Do you walk, run or workout with others? What are your experiences like?

May 25, 2015
by Shalama Jackson

Three miles for wear blue: run to remember

wear blue: run to remember 2015This morning I ran three quick miles as I joined at least 50 others for our local wear blue: run to remember Memorial Day meet up. It was great to have a group of individuals hit the pavement to honor the lives of American service members that have served our country.

gigiThis morning, I ran in memory and honor of my aunt, Georgette Marie Bess. Tomorrow will make two years since we received the call that she died.

gigi flagMy aunt, like many others, served her country. I remember visiting her in Texas before I eventually moved there. When I was in high school she was in the Persian Gulf War. I remember getting letters from her. I can still see her handwriting like it was just yesterday that an envelope had arrived.

run in blue BGR! ColumbiaEvery step of those quick three miles pushed by Sy, running friend/pusha, were great. Well, sort of. She’s like Eboni and doesn’t let you give up even when your brain tells you that it wants to. According to Sy, she clocked us at 9:16, 9:17 and finally 9:30 mile splits to make it my fastest sub-30 5K. I told Sy that I need her to run a flat one with me so that I can make it official. What does she say? Yes, but next time faster if it’s on race day. I’ll have to marinate on that for now.

Until then, you can commit your walking or running miles too.

Commit your miles

Commit to walk or run through the wear blue: run to remember website and be a part of 10,0000 in blue on Monday. One thing that I love is that anyone, anywhere and any distance will count. As of this morning, there were just more than 5,000 people that committed their miles. Join us.

Have you committed your Memorial Day miles yet?

May 22, 2015
by Shalama Jackson

The Farmer’s Market keeps things local

reasons to shop at farmers marketI love the Farmer’s Market. I love it even more because the Farmer’s Market comes to work every Thursday afternoon. No, seriously. It comes to one of our hospital campuses every Thursday afternoon.

One of the many things I love about working for an organization that emphasizes health means that it provides opportunities to meet your own personal fitness and wellness goals. The farmer’s market at work is just one of many examples that I cash in on.

The Veggie Patch, which started again last week, is from a local farm in a neighboring town.

Although I get vegetables from a local community supported agriculture farm, I still visit the farmer’s market.

sc farmers market peaches and strawberriesThree reasons to shop the local farmer’s market:

  1. Shopping local provides your family with delicious fresh food. Farmer’s markets offer the freshest food around, usually only hours from the field.
  2. Support local farmers and economy. By shopping at the farmer’s market, you get to meet and learn and support the farmers. You also learn about where the food comes from.
  3. Learn about food. Shopping at the farmer’s market allow you to learn more about growing seasons, what is grown in your area and when in the year things are farmed. Certain fruits and vegetables can only be farmed in certain climates and tempratures, which is why you can’t just go in the store and pick up certain fruits throughout the year.

Do you have a farmer’s market in your area? Do you go?

May 21, 2015
by Shalama Jackson

Three reasons why I’m giving up on Fitbit

3 reasons to give up fitbit flexFitbits are colorful and the community is great, but I am giving up on my Fitbit Flex. Actually, it gave up on me. So, I’m finally giving up on it.

Here are my three reasons why I am giving up on Fitbit

1. It’s broken again

Thank goodness I kept the smaller @fitbit flex band cause the one I was wearing is gone! #fitness #wearable #accountability

A photo posted by Shalama Jackson (@shalamajackson) on

Not the Fitbit, but the Flex band that holds it on my wrist. This is the second band in less than a year to break on me. If I were to purchase another, I would be starting on band number three  hoping and praying that it will last longer than three months. Is that how long they are good for?

2. The clasp on the Fitbit

On more than one occasion I had found myself in a panic because I would all of a sudden realize that my Fitbit Flex was not on my wrist. I didn’t take it off to shower or for anything, but it would just turn up missing. I would find it around the house and one time in the car.

3. I wear a Polar Loop

polar loop and fitbit
In the fall, I bought the Polar Loop as an added gadget because it would give me a little more information on my workouts and goals than the Flex was capable of. One of the things that sold me was the H7 heart rate monitor that I had to purchase separately. It has been well worth the money.

I have worn the Fitbit Flex on one wrist and the Polar Loop on the other without missing a beat. Well, except each time that the band on the Fitbit dies on me. I do like the Fitbit Flex, but not enough to keep replacing the bands especially when I have worn the Polar Loop without any incident. So, while many of my friends and challenges will remain with Fitbit, I won’t be an active participant.

What fitness wearable do you use?