Asheville Marathon and Half

Biltmore Mansion from 2014 race

Biltmore Mansion from 2014 race

I’ve posted this on various social media sites but want all you readers to know that I am so excited to be an ambassador for the Asheville Marathon and Half at Biltmore Estate again for the 2016 race. There are some big changes for y’all to look forward to.

The first year of this race there was just a full marathon. The weather was cold as it can be in March in the mountains of western North Carolina. The second year, as you can see from my photo above, was wet. I think the rain started just as “The Star Spangled Banner” ended and we runners took off. This year, and hopefully future years as well, it was absolutely gorgeous.

As the weather has finally come around, the race evolved from initially only a full marathon to a full and a half starting at the same time on a Sunday to what is coming in 2016. The expo will be Friday and Saturday in the afternoon. The races will be the half on Saturday and the full on Sunday. There will be special bling for those who take the challenge and run both.

I know y’all are dying to run this favorite race of mine with me so through the end of July you can get the biggest discount available all year on the race fee by using the code NICKI2016AMAROCKS when you register. This will give you a 15% discount on the half or the full or the challenge.

Looking forward to racing with you next March! What races do you look forward to every year?


Goal Revisit

The year is half over and I need to check in with my goals and challenges that I started at the beginning of the year. Things are not looking good but I can turn this year around if I concentrate and am consistent.

... Keep trying.

… Keep trying.



I’m sticking with my not running a full marathon this year. I have only run one half marathon. I have my sights set on two different ones in the fall – one local, one not.

My goal of 1500 miles this year is not at all realistic. I have come to the conclusion that my body is not made for running more than five miles a day if I am running more than four days a week. If I only run four days a week, I can go with running longer distances. Unfortunately, I have only run 279 miles so far this year. Since there are only six months left to the year, I am thinking I will be lucky to hit 1000 miles this year. I am not happy with that type of a miss but I will not push and injure myself. As I said in a tweet a few days ago, in August 2010 I ran 194 miles. Now I’m lucky to hit 100 in a month. I will get above 100 in a month but I am going to do it easy so as to not have to spend a lot of time not running.

My cross-training has not been as consistent as I would like. I’ve tried yoga, Pilates (just recently started back on these), and my Rockin’ Body DVD. I have to be more consistent or cross-training is useless.


I have not gone back to menu planning. I should. I cannot eat out all the time. I do not have the finances or the desire for this type of lifestyle.

I have gone back to tracking my food and exercise on I put on some weight due to stress and winter. I know the only way to get it off is to WRITE IT DOWN.


This category is a total bust. Not only am I not saving, I have had issues getting gigs and have demolished what little savings I had.


I have gotten together with the kids quite a bit this year. It is a bit odd as only one lives at home now and getting the other five together is near impossible. We are heading to Buffalo next month for a family gathering.

Happy July!

Where has the first half of 2015 gone? I know it is gone but I cannot believe the year is half over. This also means I am only three months out from getting a year closer to an age group change. Ha!

Today, while I look over my goals for the year and see how I’m doing, I am going to leave you with a preview of what to look for in July. First, the tale.

I live in a fairly rural – not “my neighbor is miles away” type of rural but the “there are spots for a good half mile where no one lives” type of rural – area. I’m lucky the roads have center lines. In most spots they do not have lines for shoulder edge of the road – those white lines we runners run along. In many places, the roads do not have shoulders. There are guide lines and rails in most locations.

I set off today to get my run in before the storm that now looks like is about to hit came. Weather here, while not usually of the tornadic variety, can get rather severe. It changes quickly in the spring and summer so I always go out with my eye to the sky. I was planning a 45 minute run. I ran out 20 minutes and turned around as the sky was getting an ominous look to it. I was approaching the road leading up the hill to the hermitage on my way home when a white utility van pulled out of the road. The driver barely slowed at the intersection with the road which is, in itself, a bit odd as the intersection is not clear in both directions. Then, the van pulls off to the side of the road on the wrong side. This set off warning bells in my head. I slowed my pace. I hit pause on my mp3 player so I could be more aware of sounds around me. I don’t care what my overall pace on a run is as long as I am safe. A car passed. The van turned its flashers on and then off and then made a three point turn. Still on the side of the road I am running on, but now facing me, the driver’s door opens. I really freaked about now. Another car was coming, this one towards me, so I waited patiently, waved to the passing car like I knew them and crossed to be running with traffic. The driver of the van was standing on the side of the road I should be running on with a dog on a leash. Yes, he may have only needed to let the dog use the woods but there were no houses near by and I didn’t want an encounter with a stranger in a place where it would be a half mile sprint to get to houses. The man and the dog went into the woods. I ran past the van and then crossed back to be running against traffic. I could hear, with no music, the dog breaking branches in the woods. I just ran a bit faster.

The lesson learned is be aware of your surroundings. Most likely this person was not a threat to me but I did not put myself in harm’s way, either. I crossed the road so I was not on the van’s side. I paused my music so I could hear outdoor noises better. I took control as much as I could and just kept going so that I was back to where there were houses and people.

I’ve run a lot of places where people say things to me like “I can’t believe you ran there” but I never run where I do not feel safe.

Now on to what you can expect out of the blog this month.

  • I have two new release book reviews coming up this month, both with associated giveaways.
  • I will review my 2015 goals and see how I am coming with these.
  • Goal review also means the distinct possibility of re-setting them to be more achievable.
  • I’m in a summer tea swap so will be writing about that here.
  • I’m going to race a this month – if only this Saturday – and will recap the race.
  • My man friend  – Seriously, is someone over 50 a boy? If so, not sure I want to date him. – is on vacation for a week so we are going to do some vacay type things. Look for photos and ideas for day trips here locally.
  • I’m looking at a local fall half marathon and will detail a training plan here.
  • I’ll be following the Tour de France as I love that bike race.

For my friends north of the border:


How do you stay safe when you run? Have you ever had a driver or a pedestrian give you the creeps as you were running? What are you up to this first month of the second half of 2015?

Mad Libs, #SweatPink style

One of the things I love about the #sweatpink sisterhood is some of the challenges involve mad libs. Trust me when I say these are huge hits around my family table at holidays, non-#sweatpink style. To start the 1 Million Minutes challenge that runs from June 21 to August 21, here’s the latest mad lib.

I am so excited to join #1MillionMinutes with #sweatpink! This summer my goal is to do 30  (number) minutes of  running (activity), while wearing my favorite blue (color) sister(noun).

I predict that we’ll win (Verb) the goal of #1MillionMinutes – we’ll actually hit 3 million (number) of minutes this summer! I predict that sailing (activity) will be the top-logged movement.

I’ll get extra minutes in by swimming (verb) to Enfield’s (place)!

My favorite way to get extra minutes in is by walking (verb) with Lydia (person). Elise (person) is my BEST activity partner because he/she is so hyper (adjective). Our favorite way to relax post-workout is to dance.

I tag Paul, Angie, and Josh ( people) to help us reach #1MillionMinutes… or more!

Coffee, Anyone?

About ten days ago, I ran out of coffee in my house. Now, my normal pattern is to get up in the morning and immediately make a French press of coffee. I prefer a dark roast. I drink the entire press, about three mugs, without any additives. Black and dark – just how I like my coffee.


Anyway, I was a little broke. Just how you get to be a little broke is beyond me but I was. I didn’t want to spend what little cash I had on coffee and wasn’t sure I had enough money to buy coffee anyway. I decided for about seven days to make a huge mug of tea instead. Out of those seven days, I made a tea with caffeine in it four of them. The other three I drank an herbal tea. Then, I got sick of hot tea in the morning and just stopped. I’d get up and have a huge glass of ice water.

Yesterday, I had my first coffee in ten days. It was good but I wasn’t craving it. I didn’t feel like I needed the coffee to get my day going. This morning I got up and did my morning ritual items and was up for almost four hours before I made coffee.

I guess I have learned that I do not need coffee to get the day going but that I enjoy drinking coffee.

Have you ever given up coffee or tea? Do you like hot or cold beverages in the summer heat?

Who’s Your Just in Case?

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book electronically for review purposes. All opinions are my own. The giveaway is across multiple blogs.

Small Southern towns are full of charm and full of secrets. Just in Case by Elizabeth Marx shows that Crossroads is definitely a small Southern town that has both charm and a ton of secrets. Scarlett left Crossroads, Alabama when her mother committed suicide. She never gave it a second thought but was brought back by the deaths of her grandmother and her grandfather in a house fire.


Scarlett’s mother had raised Scarlett in the north in Chicago and they only went back summers to visit with Scarlett’s grandmother. Her grandfather was a fire and brimstone preacher who had to have control over everyone’s lives. No one wanted to visit with him. It was on one of these trips that Scarlett met Revell and her life would never be the same.

Scarlett, who found her mother, suffered greatly from her mother’s suicide. She, after subsequent hospitalization, needed to be sure she had everything planned out, all contingencies covered. Her purse was the outward sign of this turmoil as it was huge and had a little bit of everything in it –  her just in case purse as Revell called it.

What Scarlett didn’t realize was that Revell was her just in case person. He was always there to support her and help her, even when she didn’t want him to be.

We all have a just in case person. In some cases, you may have heard stories of friends saying “if we aren’t engaged/married/settled down by a certain age, we’ll stay together as more than friends.” Just in case the future doesn’t pan out the way I think it should, you’ll be there for me. The “just in case” person – always there for you.

I had to stop and think long and hard if I had a just in case in my life. I am sure I have had several but right now, at this exact point in my life, my just in case is in the process of moving. I know we will never be more than friends – which makes him an odd just in case – but he would do anything for me. He and I have known each other just about 20 years and I would do anything for him also. I care for him so much I told him I was not his best choice at one point in his life. I told him I could not support him the way he would need going forward in his life to make the changes he was planning. Looking back now, that was the best thing I could do for both of us. His life has been wonderful and mine has also. We lost touch for a bit but now communicate more frequently and he always holds a place in my prayers.

Who is your “just in case” person? You can enter to win a $75 Charming Charlie gift card.

You can purchase your copy of Just in Case at any of the links below.







Summer Reading Programs

I love to read. I’ve never hidden that fact and, if you visit my house, there is physical proof of my love. I do not have enough book shelves for all my books.

As a child and teen, I loved the public library. Of course, that was well before the internet and definitely pre-ebooks. I would, as a young mother, take my kids to the library. While I like having ownership of books, I’ okay with borrowing and loaning. Only a few – relative when you see the totality of what I own – are required returns.

Many years ago – maybe as far back as ten years – the two libraries in my town formed, via a public vote, a library taxing district. Funding from other areas was diminishing. Even with the advent of electronic research and books, libraries still needed money to run.

I look forward to the spring/summer newsletter from these two libraries as I’ve always looked forward to summer reading programs. I enrolled my children in them all the time. I love to see what themes are being used and how children’s reading has adapted to electronic formats.

This time I was excited to see adult summer reading programs also. This may not be the first year but it is the first time it caught my eye. Your Home Public Library has a program that requires adults to read three books to gain entry into giveaways. The George F Johnson library, the one I go to, has audlts reading five books to be entered in a drawing. George F is also hosting dinner and a book on August 4th. Registration packets are available June 29th so you know where I’ll be on the 29th – literally running to the library.

Do you visit a library frequently? What about participating in a summer reading program?