Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thankful Thursday: I'm thankful for...opportunities!

I woke up this morning quite humbled at all the things to be thankful for right now. The relationships with my family and friends, my job, being healthy enough to train for a marathon...going to Mexico in just a few days!!

I could write posts for several things today. But for the sake of keeping it short and sweet, I am so very thankful for the opportunities in my life right now.

This weekend, I'll be heading to Cabo San Lucas with my aunt and a few of her girlfriends. I am SO excited about this trip!! We originally planned it around the Cabo Half Marathon, which was supposed to take place this Sunday. The race has since been canceled, but we're still planning to run while we're there. Well...that and lay on the beach, eat at some amazing restaurants, drink fruity cocktails, visit the spa, and hopefully shop a bit. What an incredible vacation opportunity!

As far as work goes, I have been given the amazing opportunity to pick a few marketing conferences to attend this year. My first stop will be in Austin the first week of February. It's a three-day digital marketing forum, and I'm so excited bring back some new initiatives to implement within my own marketing plan. That just so happens to be another one of my New Year's resolutions! In mid-March, I'll be attending a search marketing conference in New FAVORITE city in the world! And then in June, I'm heading back to Boston for another fabulous conference. I am so happy in my professional life right now, which I know isn't an easy thing to come by. I get to do what I love, work with some incredible people, and I get to express myself creatively every day. I feel so lucky to be where I am, and I'm doing everything I can not to take it for granted.

In my personal life, there are so many opportunities in front of us...Brent and I have a chance to hang out in NYC together for the first time, we're both in our good friends' weddings later this year, and most importantly, we are making strides to grow in our faith together. I recently found out I was accepted into the NYC Half Marathon on March 20 (exactly two months from today!), and also found out today that one of my heroes, Kara Goucher, will be running it as well. How awesome would it be if I got to meet her?!?! My cousin Missy is also running it, and so is my friend Anna. I can't wait!! And then, as most of you know, I'm running the Country Music Marathon in April. Furthermore, my best friend Erika is living here for good, and we've had the opportunity to hang out a lot more...AND I get to help Kelly plan her wedding this year! :) So many wonderful, positive things to look forward to!!

Though I kept it sweet, it definitely wasn't always. What opportunities are you looking forward to this year?
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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

There's Nothing Like Amazing Customer Service!

I posted this on my Facebook page today, but I just have to reiterate...As a customer, it's worth your while to write a testimonial or sing the praises of a company/product you love. As a company, it's not only important to produce a great product, but also to take care of your customers and provide excellent customer service. I LOVE companies that care about their customers! :)

I briefly expressed my feelings about Gu Energy Gels, having run a few half marathons. After running my longest distance of 14 miles last Saturday (with a Strawberry Banana pack) and getting through it with more energy than I ever imagined, I decided to write to the fabulous makers of Gu and share my thoughts of gratitude.

Here is what I wrote...
To Whom It May Concern:
I have always been a fan of Gu when it comes to long distance races (just completed my fourth half marathon in December) for the incredible burst of energy it gave me. However, I would never think "I need to bring a Gu pack with me on this training run or race." I would simply receive some random type of energy gel, handed out around mile 7 or 8, and I would gladly take it despite the taste or not having heard of the brand. Recently, though, I have come to rely on truly appreciate the amazing effects of Gu. During my last half marathon (St. Jude, Memphis), I received a Strawberry Banana flavor pack at mile 8. After consuming it, it felt as if I could run for another two hours! Luckily I only had another 5 miles to go. :) I got a PR at this race...1:47! I am 28 years old, and I have signed up for my FIRST full marathon: the Country Music Marathon in Nashville, TN. This past Saturday, my running partner and I ran 14 miles (my longest distance ever!). I came prepared, for the first time, with Strawberry Banana Gu. This "tasty treat" as I call it, gave me the exact amount of energy I needed to stay on pace and finish my longest distance strong. Autumn, my running buddy, said she had never seen someone so happy when eating their Gu. I think it was the combination of good flavor and knowing the amazing benefits I'd be getting from my little pack of awesomeness. I have now purchased 10 packs from Fleet Feet, all Strawberry Banana of course, for my upcoming training runs. And I know I'll be able to get through all these tough distances thanks to Gu. So, I just wanted to take a few minutes to share my thoughts on your wonderful product, and thank you for providing such a tremendous training tool. Thank you!

Their response was immediate (within 24 hours), and they made me feel like I was their sole reason for being in business. Not only are they sending me a box of samples, but they offered such encouraging words that I will be a raving fan for a LONG time to come. "It is loyal and enthusiastic customers like you that keep us going in our never-ending pursuit to be the best." - Gu representative

So once again, it pays to take five minutes or less and send a brief testimonial about your favorite products. With the extreme viral nature of today's communication channels, a good experience with your company and/or product can lead to so many opportunities.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thankful Thursday: I'm thankful husband!

I feel so blessed to be where I am today, for my health, my family, friends, job, a roof over my head...the list could go on forever. So I thought a weekly post titled Thankful Thursday was quite fitting. (Side note: I found the butterfly and breast cancer logo image online. My mom said if she was ever to get a tattoo, this would be it...same for me.)

My husband, Brent, and I have been married for over three years now. We met in the second semester of our sophomore year at the University of Memphis and have been inseparable ever since...March 15, 2002 to be exact (it's the Ides of March and a day in between Brent's mom and my mom's birthdays, so we can't forget).

Since that time, we have been through ups, downs, so many fun times, and more laughs than I can remember. We've been there for each other through losses, family issues, bad jobs, new and exciting jobs, several moves, health scares, been to exotic destinations, raised the wonderful Buster the Boston Terrier, and so much more. Our first trip together was to Oxford, Mississippi...exciting, huh? Well, to us, it definitely was. We spent a semester in Orlando working for Walt Disney World, learning more about each other than we ever planned. We took a scuba diving class in my second to last semester at Memphis and were certified later that year in Key Largo, Florida. We went skydiving together. We've traveled to Jamaica, Mexico, and the Bahamas...not to mention the U.S. locales of Atlanta, Las Vegas, Key West, Charleston, New Orleans, Chattanooga, and probably a few more. We both LOVE to travel and explore, and we've been so fortunate to have done so much of both in the almost nine years we've been together.

Just about every day I come home from work, Brent has started cooking dinner, cleaned up the house, and taken care of everything from waiting for the pest control person to taking Buster to the vet to paying the bills to making sure we have the most pristine lawn in the neighborhood. If it weren't for my husband, we wouldn't be nearly as financially stable as we are...not that we have a lot of money by any means. But he is so wonderful about budgeting (a gene I severely lack), and for that reason, we've been able to pay off so many things, save money, and start planning for our future.

He is one of the most passionate people I have ever met. He is so loyal to his friends, he thinks the world of his brother and all his siblings (as do I), and he would give the shirt off his back to help someone in need. He can be incredibly spontaneous, which is one of the things I love most about him. Oh yeah, he's pretty buff, too. :) While he may not be the most romantic person in the world, he sure does have a way of surprising even himself...much like he did when he proposed to me. :)

We may have our differences about budgeting, when we want kids, and other silly things (like swearing :), but I can honestly say, there's no one in this world I'd rather be going through this journey with. I love you, Brent. And I'm so thankful for your love and friendship.

3-year anniversary trip to Bahamas!
Big Wig Ball :)
Brittney and Frank's wedding in Charleston!
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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Date is Set!

As 2011 gets underway, I'm proud to announce I have officially set a date to complete my first resolution...running a marathon!

Autumn and I will be running the Country Music Marathon on April 30, 2011. While this doesn't give me as much time as I'd hoped to train (mentally), it actually works out even better. We'll be training in the most perfect time of year before it gets too hot, we're already at half marathon distance, so it's not like we're starting from scratch, it's only a three-hour drive to get to our race locale, and we have friends to stay with while we're there!

While all my races up until now have been for time and to get a new PR, this marathon (most likely my one and only marathon) will not be run as such. I will be running solely to cross the finish line, paying no mind to time or pace. Well...maybe pace a little. :) Our plan as of now is to run a mile, walk a minute, run a mile, walk a minute, etc. My goal is to finish and remain injury-free during training. I'm so excited!!

I'll be sure to log all my training runs here and of course on my profile. Wish me luck!