Tag Archives: Okatoma River Run 5k

What a Difference a Year Makes! – Okatoma River Run 5k


Saturday marked the last “scheduled” race on our calendar until this Fall and what a race it was! This year there were 38 walkers and 109 runners participating – lots of fast ones too!

The night before started out how so many race nights do. Late going to bed and then I couldn’t fall asleep right away because of nerves (see why here). Of course, we were running a little behind the next morning, but not nearly as bad as some race days. When I walked out the front door, Jason was already running up and down our street trying to warm up since it was obvious that we wouldn’t have time to when we got there. I decided that my warm up would probably have to be the trip from our vehicle to the table where we pick up our packets. (It was.) Adding to the stress excitement of the morning, that same gentleman who was at the Run for the Roses 5k in Prentiss (see my blog about that race here) and was announcing the whole time on a megaphone was there….on his megaphone again, lol. He certainly knows how to put me into high gear. There’s nothing like hearing how much time you don’t have to really get your heart rate going. I finally got lined up and ready to go with about a minute to spare. I didn’t get as close to the front as I had envisioned that I would be but it was good enough. One of my concerns was racing with my new Nike GPS watch. I think I must have looked at it five thousand times during the race! (I promise to do a review soon!) 

Looks like I'm doing some kind of strange march here.


The weather was really pleasant that morning, which was something we’d all been praying for (at least I know I had!). I started out a little faster than I should have but once I looked down and saw my pace, I reigned myself back in a bit because I knew I needed lots of energy until the end. This particular race course is no cake walk. It has lots of hills, some that are long, gradual ones that can wear you out if you aren’t ready for them. I actually felt like I handled the hills better that day than any other race that’s had hills before. I kept telling myself that my goals were this: 1. Finish 2. Beat my time from last year 3.Try and finish under 30 mins. I decided that if I could obtain even 2 of those goals, I could go home saying it had been a good race.

Lots of people passed me at first. I expected it but it still bothers me. I just kept telling myself to keep a steady pace and keep chugging along. By the time we were 2 km into it, I noticed that some of the people who had passed me early on were slowing down a little and now I was passing them. When I made it to the park, which was close to the half way point, I’d finally pulled away and didn’t have anyone immediately beside or behind me anymore (of course, I can’t be positive about the behind me part because I refused to look but I didn’t see anyone when I turned the curve, lol). I used that time to slow down for just a minute and take some deep breaths to get ready for the next really big hill that was waiting for us when we exited out of the park. I was dreading it but I knew that the sooner I could get up it, the sooner it would be behind me! Before I knew it, I was over the hill and on the last leg of the race. I was feeling a little tired but had no idea if I had someone gaining on me and because of that, I was afraid to slow down. I also was watching my time closely and knew that I had a good chance of finishing under 30 minutes. (In the back of my mind I was wondering if I’d made a mistake when I slowed down some in the park….)

Here I am coming up the last hill before reaching the finish line. (It seemed much higher at the time!)

As I turned on to the street and topped the hill, I saw the clock and it was still under 30. I saw my parents cheering, I saw Jason’s mouth yelling (couldn’t hear what because my music was too loud) while he was frantically trying to take pictures of me. It was going to be close. I ran as hard as I think I’ve ever run in my whole life. The clock seemed to be ticking away so fast!!! One last look up as I approached the finish line and I saw 29:58. That was all I needed to see as I ran under the clock. I threw my arms up in the air. I’d made it!! 

I have 2 pictures from that moment:

One from Jason here –

As you can see, Jason was a little too excited and missed me. Luckily, he did get the clock in the picture! 🙂 I couldn't help but laugh at this one...had to post it!

One from my mom –

My mom did a great job of documenting everyone's finish that day!

Jason finished in 22:27 and won first place in his age group!

Jason running for the finish line!

Several members of our family participated that day.  Our son Tyler ran it in 28:01, Jason’s sister, Donna ran with a finish time of 31:02, his brother’s wife, Delana ran and finished in 27:45 (winning 1st in her age group too!) and his mom walked it in 43:37 (winning 1st in her age group!). 

Tyler finishing strong.

Donna approaching the finish line. (She's only been running a couple of months now!)

Jason's mom heading towards the finish line.

Click here for a complete list of results from the race, courtesy of the Mississippi Track Club. They always know how to put on a great race!

I was very happy that several in our family participated and lots of our friends did too.

Here's Jason with his sister, sister-in-law and mother after the race.

I was super excited that my parents were there to watch me!

My parents and me.

Jason with his 1st place trophy.

My sister-in-law, Delana with her 1st place trophy and me.

Tyler and me after the race. (He'd already changed out of his running clothes.)

Here I am with Cherie who (beat the socks off me) won 1st Place in our age group with a time of 26:20!

This is my friend, Lakeisha Barnes, who signed up this year as a runner in the race!! She has been on her own fitness journey in the last year and is one of the strongest, inspirational women I know!

After being a bundle of nerves and not sleeping much the night before, and running behind that morning, I have to say that this year’s race was a drastic improvement over last year’s. Not being in pain is the biggest thing I’m thankful for but I’m also grateful that I’m a little bit faster too..or maybe just a little less slow!

First goal: Finish – CHECK

Second goal: Beat my old time – CHECK

Third goal: Finish in under 30 – AlmostMy official race time was listed as 30:01, even though I initially thought it was under 30. It’s ok though and you want to know why? Because I won my FIRST TROPHY with that time anyway!!

Holding my trophy for 3rd Place in my age group.

Two out of 3, plus a trophy isn’t a bad day at all in my opinion!!

Last but not least, here’s a picture of the girl I beat on Saturday:

This is me finishing last year with an official time of 32:54.

“It’s very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit.” – George Sheehan




P.S. Look who I ran into after the race, talk about my lucky day!


I was shopping for my mom a Mother's Day gift and Elvis just happened to walk in!


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Okatoma 5k Race tomorrow – I think I can, I think I can!


Here I sit on another race day eve and our vow to “go to bed as early as possible” seems to have fallen through…again. We have a sweet baby girl that seems to just know when there’s a race the next morning or if I need to go run, lol. Maybe she just doesn’t want to miss out on something exciting. 🙂 I guess it’s probably a good thing that we didn’t go to bed too early because I’d nearly forgotten to put my running clothes in the dryer. That would have been an unpleasant little surprise in the morning, especially if we’re running late. 

I must admit that I’ve had a little anxiety going on over this race tomorrow. I really don’t know why. We have run in a lot of races this season and it’s only a 5k. Maybe it’s because last year’s race is associated with lots of pain, physically and emotionally, for me. Also, it doesn’t help that Jason has been talking about it non-stop about it being a huge race for weeks, lol!! Oh, and my parents will be there to watch me race for the first time ever too so, of course I’d like to do really well for that reason. I’ll be using my new Nike GPS watch, which I’m not quite used to yet. I’ve run with it twice but still find myself waiting to hear my Ipod count down the distance for me. So…maybe I do know why I’m a little amped up after all, lol. The last couple of mornings have been really cool and I’m hoping that we can squeeze in one more for the race tomorrow. It would be so nice to have the weather working in our favor! It’s supposed to be 49 tonight…so we’ll see! 🙂

As I drove my son Tyler around the race course today, I kept saying, “Now here’s another hill but just remember to pace yourself and you’ll be fine.” Finally, he stopped me and sweetly said with a smile, “Mama, the hills just don’t bother me. I never really even think about them.” What?? It made me wonder if I should think (or not think) more like he does. I’m working hard tonight to think positive and remind myself that I’ve done this many times and I can do it again. I ran hills in a race last month that put the ones in tomorrow’s race to shame…and won 1st place in my age group. I can do this!! (That’s me thinking positve. :))

Besides trying out a new watch this week, I’ve also tried a new food. I bought Chia seeds yesterday after reading about them and learning how great they’re supposed to be for us. I ate some this morning mixed up in my oatmeal and then actually drank some in my water this afternoon. They aren’t bad at all! I did feel super full after drinking them but I think that’s part of what they’re supposed to do. No tummy problems to report and that’s always a good thing for me. Since today has been the first day of me eating them, I’ll let you know more about what I think of them as time goes by.

Tomorrow isn’t just a race day, it’s also a huge milestone for Tyler. His first prom is tomorrow night! He also won a trophy in band on Monday night for most improved. It seems just like yesterday that he was Zach’s age, who by the way, graduated from K-4 last night! It’s been an exciting week and we’re so proud of both of them (and the rest of our children, of course). Time really does go by so fast….

Unless you’re running and then it can go pretty slow. 🙂

I think it’s finally bedtime for us. Have a wonderful weekend!






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Columbia’s Relay for Life 5k recap – A family thing


Another week is beginning to wind down around here and that means that we have another race day coming up on Saturday. The Okatoma Festival River Run 5k is Jason’s hometown run. He calls it his “Super Bowl” of races mainly because it’s a race he’s run in since the very first one which was about 15 years ago and because this race usually signifies the end of our racing season. (Although we are kicking around another race or two in the next few weeks this time.) Last year’s Okatoma race was awful for me. If you go back and read my very first blog, you’ll see that, besides being a new runner (only 3 months), I was injured with a stress fracture too. Obviously, I thought I only had horrible shin splints and ran it anyway (not a wise choice). This race on Saturday will be a sort of redemption for me, which puts a little pressure on me, to say the least. I know I can run faster than I could last year. I’m not in pain. So, now it’s time to put my positive thinking cap on and start focusing. I had been doing hill training pretty faithfully in the last few weeks but I didn’t do hills last week and I didn’t do them this week but I’m going to trust my body, my legs. I’m thinking it’ll be an appropriate race to listen to “Tick, Tick Boom” by The Hives for a little bit of motivation: “You know I’ve done it before and I can do it some more, I’ve got my eye on the score…”  The last few days have been really cool in the mornings. Hopefully, that cool weather will hold out for Saturday morning (even if it’s just until 8:30)! I’m just going to keep visualizing a great race.  I’ll update you in a few days on how it went. 🙂


The race last Saturday in my hometown was a good one as far as race courses go and the weather was really pleasant. It’s also fun getting to go stay the night with my parents and visiting with them. There were 61 people in the Relay for Life 5k put on by The Columbian Progress. Our oldest son, Tyler joined us for this race. My sister-in-law, Donna even drove over and ran in it with us too. She’s only been running for a couple of months now and is doing great! I keep telling her that I’m glad we’re in different age groups because she’s getting faster very quickly and I’d have to start worrying about some serious competition. We actually ran together for a large part of the race and finished pretty close together. I did a better job on this race of pacing myself and not feeling like I was going to collapse towards the end. I had just enough energy saved up to finish out my last km really strong. My time was 30:32 and Donna’s time was 31:16. She’s already reaching times that took me nearly a year to even get close to!! There’s no telling how fast she’ll be in a year. Like I said, it’s just a good thing we’re in different age groups! 🙂

Donna and me in the background of this picture. (Pink shirt & green shirt) *This picture was taken by The Columbian Progress

Donna approaching the finish line!

Jason running in with me towards the finish line.( I don't even know what to say about my hair that day!!)

Almost to the finish line! (I loved this picture for only one reason - both of my feet are off the ground!! Woohoo!)

Jason had a great race that day. His finish time was 22:25 and he finished 3rd overall!! He’s never done that before so it was a huge deal. I’m so proud of him!! He’s been working really hard. Tyler had a really great finishing time too. He hadn’t run in 2 weeks and still had a time of 27:49. I think he has the potential to be really fast with just a little practice.

Here's Tyler getting ready to cross the finish line. *Picture taken by The Columbian Progress

Top 3 Finishers Overall *Picture taken by The Columbian Progress

The disappointing thing about this race is that after paying $30/entry fee, they didn’t have anything but water (no bananas or oranges) afterward and no awards for age groups…actually no awards for anyone. I know it was more of a charity race but it’s nice for runners that have worked hard and done well to be given just a little something to recognize it. (Even a certificate printed out would have been ok.) That’s just my opinion though. I’m not much of a complainer about races so as Forrest Gump would say, “That’s all I have to say about that.”

Besides those things, it was fun and of course, helped out towards a really good cause which is Relay for Life.

My best buddy, Stephanie, showed up to cheer us on. (I somehow got Jason's number stuck on my skirt when I gave him a hug, lol)

Jason and me after the race.

Tyler and me

I received my new Nike GPS watch in the mail 2 days ago so I plan on blogging about it soon and letting y’all know what my thoughts are on it. So far, I think it’s going to work great. I still haven’t gotten everything figured out on it but I will. I’m definitely going to miss my Nike lady’s encouragement in my ear but I do like the GPS.


More to come on the watch….





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