Archive for the ‘Tennessee’ Category

Ragnar Relay Recap

In Running, Tennessee on November 13, 2012 at 3:47 pm

I’ve tried 3 or 4 times now to write (or blog) about my Ragnar experience. I still can’t find all the right words to describe this past weekend, but EPIC is a good one to start with.

Team “I Thought This Was a 5k”

I can’t really tell you who had the original idea, I don’t remember. I just remember getting a phone call from Chris (fellow team runner) that he had booked a flight to Tennessee for Ragnar and thus begin this adventure. Along with telling me I had to organize it. I didn’t mind, I was happy to do it.

I knew it would be hard trying to find 12 people in Tennessee to run with us, we had 6 total that at least knew someone. The other 6 were complete strangers. Once I registered our team, it didn’t take long at all to fill the runner slots.

Our very random, but awesome relay team at the start line in Chattanooga.

I started off Leg 1 with an 8 miler out of Coollidge Park in Chattanooga. The scenery was gorgeous and I felt like I ran strong but conservative. I had no idea how I would feel as the relay progressed and couldn’t risk wearing my legs out first thing. I stayed with my target pace though, so I was satisfied.

Getting ready to start…

Van 1.

Van 2.

This trip wouldn’t have been possible without our two amazing drivers. Lindsay Fullen (van 1) and David Daniels (van 2). They navigated us 200 miles with little to no sleep, endured us yelling at them (when they ran red lights or didn’t have their headlights on), and never once complained about how bad we all smelled.

Back to the relay – I passed off to Jenny who started her 1600ft climb out of Chattanooga and rocked it. We stopped to cheer her on several times, each time she had a smile on her face and just kept knocking out each mile. Then it was on to Kelly who flew down the other side of said mountain and passed off to Marc. Marc to Michael, then Michael to Jayney (who by the way was running her second ever race).

Kelly, Jenny, & Jayney

Meanwhile, van 2 was killing time waiting on us to finish. Jayney passed off to runner 7, Chris, who started the second leg of the relay. He had an extremely tough climb as well.

I was passed the baton again around 7pm (??) to start my second leg. By this time, it was completely dark and I just wanted this run over with. For some reason, it was my least favorite leg, even though it was the shortest (or what I thought would be the shortest). After passing off to Jenny, I literally ate 3 donuts, 1 bagel, some trail mix/cranberries and downed a bottle of water. Little did I know, I’d be running again very shortly.

Jayney started feeling bad, feverish and sore throat. It wasn’t long before I knew, she wouldn’t be able to run her second leg. I don’t remember much, except telling her I would take this one for her and for her to get some sleep. Those donuts were a bad idea.

I have to say, I learned more about perseverance from Jayney then any marathon training run could ever teach. She stuck it out with us for the next 15-16 hours so we could finish the race. She was extremely sick, stuck in the back of a van that smelled (I’m sure) terrible, and never ONCE did she complain about it. We would find out later after she was admitted to the hospital, she had strep. She was our MVP for sure. So Jayney, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for allowing us to finish.

I would end up running her last two legs, it was the least I could do.

Last exchange for van 1. Running my (Jayney’s) final leg. 4.5 miles of rolling hills in HOT Franklin, TN.

Hearing my teammates cheering was amazing. I love each one of them!!

If Chris didn’t have to start his final leg, I would’ve hugged him. I was so happy to be done running and headed for the finish line in Nashville.

Also another shout out to our awesome teammate Kelly, who allowed sweaty runners in to her home to shower and clean up. That was the most glorious shower. You’re the best!

Van 1 at the finish line. Minus one sick Jayney…

Chris Daniels brought it home for us in Nashville, finishing our 200 mile relay. We set out to accomplish one goal and we came together and did it. We may not have been the fastest, but we each ran our personal best. The camaraderie between endurance runners is one like no other.

Finish line shot.

So, while epic sums up how this experience was for me. Fellow teammate, Sho, said it perfectly… “Thursday, I met up with over a dozen strangers. Saturday, I went back home saying goodbye to over a dozen friends. That was one heck of a trip/race.”

All I have to say to that is…’Sho nuff’.

Thank you Lindsay, David, Joel, Sarah, Jenny, Kelly, Marc, Michael, Jayney, Chris & Chris, Sho, & Spencer (and their families for sharing them) for an incredible weekend of unforgettable memories. This has been the highlight of my year and quite possibly my life. No other race will ever compare, and I wouldn’t want to share the memories with anybody else.

Joel, me, & Sarah – thanks for being crazy enough to say yes!

Me and Holman – I’m glad we can share another “sport” together. Softball being the first… 😉


Chris and I. Thanks for suggesting we do this!

Until next year…







Ragnar Relay Team Name?

In 2012, endurance, Road race, Running, Tennessee on September 22, 2012 at 11:24 pm

I need your help!!!! Help me name our Ragnar Relay team. If you don’t know what Ragnar is, it’s a relay race. We are running the Tennessee one and have a 12 member team. I’ve comprised a poll (below) but need help making the final decision.

Ragnar Team Running Name

Thanks in advance!!


Get your ZUMBA on!!

In Fitness, Life, Tennessee, Weight loss on September 10, 2012 at 2:33 am

I asked my dear friend if she would write a guest post for my blog and she happily obliged. Rachel and I have known each other 10+ years and have remained close as adults. She is truly an inspiration to me and many others! Here is her story…

Hey Ya’ll! Greetings from Northeast Tennessee! My name is Rachel O’Dell and I am so excited to be Cayla’s guest blogger today! I am a Pre-K teacher by day and a Zumba instructor by night. I want to take a few minutes and share with you my fitness story. I danced for 15 years-from the time I was in preschool thru my freshman year in college. When I say I danced, I literally danced everywhere I went. After my freshman year, I decided to give up dancing and focus on my studies. When I gave up dancing, I also gave up any type of fitness and physical activity that I could be getting. I kept up this lifestyle for several years and eventually, this lifestyle caught up with me. I gained a lot of weight, had a few health problems, and lacked self confidence. In the Fall of 2009, I decided that I needed to change the way my life was going-I needed a lifestyle makeover and change! I started walking each afternoon after work. When I first started walking, I could only walk for about 25 or 30 minutes, but I did this each day. After a couple of weeks, I was able to bump up my time. During the winter months, I kept up my walking, but this time on the treadmill. Once spring and summer came, I was able to resume my walking outside. I even started running-just for about a minute during each walk. Then, during the fall of 2010, I was introduced to Zumba. I was told I needed to try Zumba because I had a dancing background. I went into my first class thinking, “This is crazy, I am not going to like this Zumba. It is not real dancing!” Boy, was I ever wrong! I came out of my first class HOOKED!!!!! Eventually, I was taking 3 or 4 Zumba classes each week! I just couldn’t get my fill! I also started loving exercise! I was noticing a difference in me and I liked the difference I saw! In January 2011, I decided that I wanted to help people get fit, lose weight, gain confidence, and live a healthier life. I decided to get my Zumba Instructor License! Now, I mentioned earlier that I am a teacher. That does not mean that I like to be in front of people talking or leading exercises! So, becoming a Zumba instructor was definitely out of my characteristic and comfort zone. I have been teaching classes for a year and half and I usually teach between 5 and 6 classes each week! I love teaching Zumba! I love helping people get fit and burn calories and lose weight. I love Zumba because it is a non-threatening exercise program-meaning, you can be in this class and be with people from all various exercise and fitness levels. If you don’t know what Zumba is, let me share with you a little bit about it! Zumba is a Latin-inspired dance fitness party! You just come into a Zumba class and you get ready to shake it. It doesn’t matter if you are the most fit person in the class or if you are just a beginner at physical fitness, you move how your body allows you to move! Zumba is a class for anyone! 

Since beginning my fitness journey, I have lost 80 pounds and I have toned up my body as well! I credit a lot of success to Zumba! I might have lost a lot of weight, but I have also gained some things. I have gained my health back-I can breathe easier, I feel like I have more energy, and I can move around with my students better because I am able to now! More than that, I have gained my self-confidence back! I love that I am able to help others gain that confidence as well! I know that I am doing my job when they share with me their success stories! When my students leave Zumba, they leave laughing and smiling, and sweaty! That is what exercise is all about! Also, because of Zumba, I have more endurance and I have started running. I have completed several 5K and 8K races. Now, I am training for my first half-marathon in December!

 If you want to try out a Zumba class in your area, go to , click on Find Instructor and enter your information. If you are in Northeast Tennessee, look up my schedule, I would love to have you join me and my Zumba classes!    



Rachel’s visit to San Diego

Auntie Rachel

Hope you enjoyed reading Rachel’s fitness journey.

Have you taken Zumba classes before?

Day 1

In Arkansas, Tennessee, Traveling on September 19, 2011 at 1:25 pm
We left Tennessee this past Saturday for our move out West. Our first day, we drove the state of Tennessee and stopped in Little Rock, AR. 
Loaded up!
Our first stop (for lunch). Somewhere around Nashville.
So happy to be out of the truck!
This was our stop for dinner. Re-united! LOL We stopped at Cracker Barrel, right before Memphis.
Running around.
Letting the kids play.
Memphis Pyramid
Crossing the Mighty Mississippi in to Arkansas.

Onward to Little Rock!

Mississippi River

(sorry the pictures are messed up.)

Home sweet home – Tennessee

In Tennessee, travel on September 14, 2011 at 2:41 pm
Our first stop on the move was Tennessee. Also happens to be home for us!

Some pictures of Sophie around Nana and Granddaddy’s house.