Saturday, April 30, 2011

Lazy Day

Mmm.  Today has been a fantastic day to be lazy.  After sleeping in, I watched the royal wedding, and drooled over how pretty Kate's wedding dress was.  Then I threw on my suit, a ballcap, and a Samford pocket tee and headed for the pool.  It was the perfect day to just lounge by the pool  reading the latest edition of Runner's world, sipping on a nice cold non-alcoholic beverage.  I got some nice sun, and of course some relaxation.  The wind blew consistenly so I didn't even break a sweat.  Like I said, the PERFECT day to lay out.  Then my favorite Carnes' kids showed up along with their cousins who are visiting from Huntsville.  They convinced me to get in, and the water was heaven on my semi-red skin. 

Perfect days mean perfect nights and the sunset was the bomb dot com tonight.  Loved it!  How was your day today? 

Hello, summer.

"Oh a sailor's sky made a perfect sunset, and that's a day I'll never forget

Beach Buddy

Gametime.  The girls (my mother and best friend) and I are going to the beach in 22 days!  Ah, the countdown is on and I'm getting excited.  Since we are going early, we are gonna beat the crowds, and the heat!  I must say that Ashley and I are getting pretty giddy about it, but my momma is even way more excited.  Yay for rest and relaxation.  So, for the next three weeks, it is gametime for me and Ashley to get in beach body shape!  Hoorah.  Go out and find a buddy to exercise with! 

Ashley and me on Easter Sunday.  Ready to get in beach shape.

Baby Dalton.  (my other exercise buddy).  Although I just push him in his stroller while we "stroll".


If you haven't heard about the series of tornadoes that went through Alabama, then come out from under that rock where you apparently live.  Tuscaloosa was destroyed, and the friends we have in Huntsville came to stay in Townsend for a few days due to the excessive power outages.  Even in light of all this tornado business,  I traveled to Birmingham, Alabama on Thursday to visit the campus of Samford University and got a taste of what being a Bulldog was all about.  Since Birmingham is on a time difference, it didn't seem all that long to drive there.  I stopped in Chattanooga on the way there for a quick visit with friends in the area, then made my way down south.  Upon arriving, I got an impromptu tour from Zach Brown, and got a better idea of the layout of the Samford campus.  After coffee and a tour, I met up with my good friend Joanna Reynolds.  We dropped off my stuff in her dorm, then sang a few worship songs with the girls in her Bible study.  Great way to start the night.

Joanna took me on another trip around campus and we spent a good portion of the night playing cards at the student center.  Everyone I came into contact with showed me an incredible amount of kindness, and it was obvious that Samford was the right place for them. I was able to meet with an advisor in the Journalism department and get an in depth look at the major.  Attending a journalism class also sealed the deal in me wanting to go there.

After eating lunch and a visit to the campus bookstore and admissions office, Joanna and I opted for a nap out on the quad.  It was a little too hot for me to sleep, but I got a free frisbee.  Free swag is always a good thing!  After visiting a few more places on campus, I took another class which made me want to go there even more!  What an eventful two days it had been, but it was time to leave.  I said goodbye to Joanna and came back to Knoxville, proudly donning my new crimson red Samford shirt. 

This little trip has made me fall in love with Samford and I really could not imagine completing my college career anywhere else.  Since it is a private school, finances are going to be a little more tough than if I chose to go to UT, but I'm going to pray about this big decision and pray that God provides the financial aid and scholarships needed to attend.  Birmingham or bust!!

Could there be a more perfect place?


The quad.  Most perfect place ever!


What an eventful week this has been!  Finals are just around the corner, then school will be over for the semester.  Yay for that!  Back near my birthday, Robyn Smith, a volunteer coordinator for the CHKM, sent me an e-mail asking if I wanted to go get pedicures as a birthday treat.  Uh, yeah!  So we met on Thursday for an hour of feet pampering.  I must admit that it felt mighty good to be such a girly girl, but I did feel sorry for the lady doing it since I have the ultimate sterotypical runner's feet, black toes included.  Also included in my present was a camelback water bottle that resembled a sippy cup.  It is definitely the bomb dot com.  Love it! 

Meeting Robyn was just another perk of being part of the marathon team, as she was on last year's team!  Getting to know her over the past two months has been such a blessing and although she says she is old enough to be my mom, I just consider her an older sister.  Love her!  :) 

Color: California Raspberry.  Yay for pretty feet!

Thursday, April 21, 2011


When I awoke to thunder nearly shaking my house this morning, I became a wee bit concerned over the fact that I had planned on going hiking.  Still groggy from my good night's sleep, I texted Missy to confirm that we actually were going to hike, and much to my dismay, we were.  The group ended up doing an "unofficial" hike to Schoolhouse Gap.  The rain was still coming down with thunder rolling in the background, but we set off on our "adventure".  The first part was basically an uphill gravel road, then we hit part of the trailhead.

My feet were completely drenched and the wet socks began to get somewhat uncomfortable.  Yet, we trudged on and eventually came to a bat cave.  Around the bat cave we also saw a couple of wild hog traps and then a whole multitude of different flowers.  Missy is an expert on flower identification so she was naming them off.  Then we found a waterfall which we affectionately referred to as simply "Waterfall".  After this small adventure, the real fun began. We tried to find a back way back to the trailhead and ended up getting on a path that virtually led to nowhere.  Did that stop Missy Kane?  No it sure didn't.

So to make a long story short, we essentially walked for a good 15 minutes through the woods, completely lost.  There was no trail, there were no markings, and there was no sign that we were going the right way.  The ground was incredibly deep with leaves and other branches, yet Missy led on.  Sharon Spezia and I were like 5 year olds lost at the mall and we were feeling pretty scared.  Eventually we found a trail that led back to where we came from.  Overall, it was a day filled with adventure, even if it was "unofficial".  Come join us on our next hike!

What a fun group!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Under Construction

Biggest Winner Kelsey is beginning an expansion process.  Over the next couple of weeks, my blog will expand itself and have a new format.  Any ideas for what should be included in the new blog are most welcomed.  Also, the blog now has its own email so be sure to email me any questions/comments/concerns and I will be sure to return your email, or post your questions to the blog itself. 

Stay tuned for all the delightful changes that will be made, and as always thanks for reading!  Looking forward to hearing from all of you wonderful readers.  Have a blessed day!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Boston Swagger

So I'll admit that I was a certified creeper today.  I woke up early just to track the live coverage of the Boston Marathon.  The elite women started promptly at 9:32 this morning and I was rooting for Kara Goucher the entire time.  In the men's field I had my game face on for the ever charming Ryan Hall.  Both of these fabulous Americans took a top 5 finish and both set new PRs.  Love them!  So with all this Boston stalking, it just makes me want to do a full marathon ten times more!  Although the qualifying time for my age group just to get into Boston would be 3:40 (seemingly impossible), nothing is stopping me from doing any other marathon!

I may never qualify for Boston, but a girl can dream.  All this swagger just gets me more excited and makes me really hopefull that I can do a full sometime soon.  We'll see where this summer's training takes us, but until then I can live vicariously through all those 26,000 runners today who survived Heartbreak Hill.  Jealous, to say the least.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Birthday Girl

Today was my 20th birthday!  Three cheers for being a brand new decade!  I started the day off right and did the Breakthrough Ribbon Run 5k race in Knoxville.  Outfit of choice was pink Norts, a pink top, and a princess tiara to celebrate my big day.  I ended up clocking a time of 30:56 which was good enough for 6th place out of 13 in my age group.  By the way, today was the first day of me being in the new 20-24 age group.  So scary!

After coming home, Yvonne and I walked around 5.5 miles on the bike trail.  The wind was blowing really hard at us, so I like to think that we scorched double the calories.  Yvonne's treadmill recently broke, so hopefully she can go walking outside a lot more with me and leave the dreadmill behind.  :)   Hope y'all have had a blessed day and I love being twenty!

My birthday princess outfit.  Love the tiara!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Fan Club

I've mentioned my friend Yvonne before, and even her sweet babies a couple of times, but this post is ALL about them.  Halli, Braden, Kinsi, and Sophi have been nothing but supportive the entire time I was training for the marathon and the Biggest Winner.   Braden ran sprints with me, Halli biked with me, Kinsi ran hills with me, and Sophi just gave me sweet hugs.  These kids are so great, and part of my birthday/marathon surprise was shirts they handmade for me.  See below.

Go me!!





My support staff

Love these sweet kids

The backs of the girls' shirts.

"only 2 extra miles"

Famous last words. 

I met Missy and Sharon Spezia this morning around seven to go hiking with Missy's Get on the Trails program which coincides with the Friends of the Smokies.  I expected it to be a rather easy hike with little elevation change.  I was kind of right.  I stuck with Missy's intern Andy for most of the trip. We got a little ahead of the group and hiked about 5.1 miles up to a spot to eat lunch at and eat with the rest of the group.  The hike really was not all that strenuous and there was no super significant elevation change, so I figured that it was just an easy way to get a long day of mileage in.  On the way back down, Missy decided we should go do the loop trail thinking it was only 2 extra miles.  Wrong!

Yes, it did on 2 extra miles to the entire trip, but by doing that, it meant the loop trail was actually 4 miles long!  Andy and I definitely were not expecting that.  It seemed to go straight up hill for what seemed like hours.  Finally after coming out to a road off the trail, we made it back to the trailhead.  In total we put in around 13.5 miles today which is longer than a half marathon.  Super fun time to spend my day and looking forward to another hike soon!

Cute little bridge.

Group photo.

Sharon Spezia, Myself, and Mary Bond.

Monday, April 11, 2011

And the winner is....

 ME!  You heard correct, I am officially the winner of the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon's Biggest Winner Team.  A marathon volunteer party was held Thursday evening at Calhoun's on the River and it was there that the team was introduced to the public one last time and I found out I won.  FYI, there were no tears, just elation.  It was great to have my team there with me along with Missy, Barbara, Stacey, and so many members of the Knoxville Track Club.  My fellow blogging friend, Kim was there too with her hubby!  So exciting.

What did I win?  I won a sweet plaque with my name and picture on it along with a swag bag full of goodies.  Keith Urban tickets, movie tickets, photos, gift cards, protien shakes, and koozies were just a few of the goodies I walked away with.  I could not have been more honored to have been chosen for such a great title.  I'm sad that  my time with the BW is over, but its back to training for the summer/fall race schedule.

Final photo shoot and winner's pic!

Fellow Blogger!  Check her out at

I won!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Three Days Later

I'm alive!  I am still living on cloud nine after Sunday, but it is time to get back to reality (and hopefully training).  Monday was rest day and I barely moved all day.  It was nice to just take a lazy day and relax.  I also discovered on Monday that I have a little nagging injury in my left foot, so yesterday I went to the Parkwest Therapy Center for the post marathon clinic.  The pain is in the outside left of my foot and continues into the ankle.  I suffered a stress fracture on the same foot last year, so I was worried that it was resurfacing.  But after talking to my physical therapist yesterday, my mind was put at ease.  Apparently its a minor sprain/strain on the tiny bones in my ankle.  Her prescription: rest and ice.  She said I should be good as new in two weeks, just in time for my birthday.

Tomorrow the Biggest Winner is announced, so stay tuned for a post about that.  Also in other unrelated news, I am leaving tomorrow night for Nashville and will be there until Sunday.  I am volunteering as a college staffer for the Youth in Government Conference so I will actually get to spend some time on Capitol Hill and in the Senate chambers.  AND, Sunday afternoon I am meeting my friend Valerie who lives in Nashville and we are going to her gym to ZUMBA.  How fun!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Race Day Recap

Official Time:  2:31:17.9

Today was my day to shine.  Today was the day to show all of Knoxville what I have been working for the past four months with the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon Team.  Today was recordbreaking for me.  The goal was to break three hours since even after doing five half marathons I had yet to accomplish.  But I was shooting for the moon and hoping to finish in 2:30.  So here is the story of a girl who ran a half and changed her whole world.

The day began at 4:45 with my blaring alarm clock telling me it was time to run.  After meeting up with my best friend Ashley, we headed to Knoxville hoping for a good race.  Ashley really is a true friend because no one else I know would ride a bike alone around Knoxville watching someone else run.  Thanks Ashley!  After some team photos before the race, I thought I had missed the start, but it was just the handcyclist start.  I quickly hopped in line near a pace group and was ready for the gun.

Once the cap sounded, we were off.  As I crossed the start line, I was greeted with a big "Go Kelsey" from Kristy Altman, which was a great start.  Right as I was about to ascend the hill right from the bridge, I realized that I had failed to turn the satellite on for my Garmin watch.  That being said, I had to actually turn it off, load it, then wait for it to start again.   This minor malfunction made my distance off the entire race, but I recovered and pretty much nailed every mile split.

The first five miles flew by.  I was breathing great, my legs felt light and loose, and most importantly, I was on target to break three hours. After mile seven, I had almost reached the top of Noelton Drive when I looked up and saw Ashley and my momma!   I was overcome with elation and tried to smile for the camera so I could have some good race photos.  After passing mile eight and hitting the greenway, I was still feeling great, although my legs began to tense up.  Somewhere around mile ten I pretty much hit the wall and had to incorporate a lot more walking.  Right before mile eleven, I saw Ashley and that boosted my spirit, then just down the trail I saw my momma.  Mile eleven water stop was the best because Anesia McDonald was there screaming my name and yelling for me all while handing me som much needed powerade.

As I could see the thirteen mile marker in sight, I start hearing cheers only to look over and see the one and only Stewart Ellington whizzing past me.  For a brief moment, I imagined I was elite and running right next to him.  So exciting.  Entering the stadium to a crowd full of people and the finish line in sight was so exhilerating!  I tried to enjoy every moment of it.  Once I crossed, I looked up and saw that I had a clock time of 2:32 and some change, meaning that I had almost met my "shooting for the moon" goal.  Ed Leaver, president of the KTC, quickly grabbed me for a hug and expressed how proud he was of me.  At this point, everything in me hurt, and the only thing I wanted to do was walk off my legs.  I got escorted to the VIP tent for water and got a chance to catch up with Phil Kaplan.  

After walking around like a crazy woman to get my legs back to normal, I saw my momma and Ashley in the stands with a big orange shaker.  I might as well have been a UT football player.  Right before leaving the stadium, I said bye to Tonya, and had my photo taken right by the finish line.  On my way out I grabbed a chocolate milk (which might I add I have never even drank before) and went to meet my fan club.  We took a couple of photos then headed to the post race party.  On the walk over, I began to feel a little sick, but pulled through enough to go grab an orange and some powerade. 

The chaos died down, and Ashley being the good friend she is drove me home.  Today was incredibly exciting and filled with so many emotions.  I crossed the finish line feeling triumphant and proud.  The weather could not have been more perfect and I was so blessed to be surrounded by so many wonderful people.  A special thanks to Jason and Kristy Altman, Knoxville Track Club, Ed Leaver, Missy Kane, Tonya Stoutt-Brown, Chip Gibson, Robyn Smith, my marathon team, Ashley Latham, my momma, all my friends and family, and all the volunteers who made this event possible.  Even bigger, thanks be to God for giving me courage to attempt it and strength to complete it. 

My official time was 2:31:17.  Not too shabby!  However, roll with me while I try to explain this little coincidence I discovered today.  When I began the Biggest Winner, I weighed 232 pounds.  When I crossed the finish line today, I did it in 2:32 (unofficially).  232 pounds=2:32 time.  Cool, huh?  There's more!  From the first weigh in to our final one, I lost a total of 36pounds.  Today I beat last year's time of 3:07 by 36 minutes.  36 pounds lost=36 minutes gone.  How cool is that???  Did a little math today and figured that out.

It was seriously one of the greatest days of my life and I'll leave you with my theme verse of the day:  
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished my race, and I have kept my faith." -2 Timothy 4:7

Marathon Pics!

Kelly Beddingfield and me before last year's half.  Clearly, I've changed A LOT in a year.

Ashley and me pre-race.  (Notice the difference from first picture)

Photo op for my best friend!

All smiles!!

Just getting to the top of Noelton.

Crossing the finish line!

Love my medal!

Best friends!  Team Kelsey!

Fellow blogger Kim and myself post race.

Team pre-race.

Where's Waldo or Kelsey

Thanks for the inspiration.

Miles with a purpose

*****Full race report coming later, with lots of fabulous pictures******

I recently read in a magazine that some people who run long distances often dedicate each mile to someone/something.  Apparently it helps the time go faster and gives you a reason to run each mile.  So, before I give my full race report, I wanna let you all know what each mile was for me.

Mile 1: Chip Gibson.  He has been with me from the very very beginning.  We started with a FIT test and ended at the fifty yard line.  It is unbelievable how much he has made a postive impact on my life.  So since mile 1 is the start, I thought about him since he was my fitness guru from the very start.

Mile 2:  My aunt June Cromwell.  Aunt June's favorite Bible verse was the popular Phillippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me".  I saw that on a shirt shortly after the two mile mark and it really gave me a boost throughout the rest of the race and God definitely gave me strength, while I know Aunt June was proud of me in heaven.

Mile 3: Chris O'hearn.  He was the one who first told me I could do anything I wanted to.  Whether it was running 3 miles without stopping or running an entire half marathon, he believed in me and after hitting the 3 mile mark and knowing that 3 miles was one of our goals early on was really refreshing.  Thanks for the motivation Chris.

Mile 4: Missy Kane, Tonya Stoutt-Brown and my entire marathon team.  Mile 4 is when the crowd began to thin out along the course so I really thought about where each of my teammates were along the course.  I also thought about all the fabulous support that Missy and Tonya have offered over the past four months, so I figured a mile for each month.

Mile 5: Jaena Headrick and Tahnee Jones.  These lovely ladies know how much I love them and am constantly grateful for their humility and their support.  They both are exceptional runners and devote a lot to their health and overall well being.  Throughout the entire marathon training they were always there to support me and offer some spirit, so mile 5 was definitely for them.

Mile 6: Valerie Fowler and Kim Emert.  Valerie has lost loads and loads of weight and we met online and then we finally met.  She has been nothing short of spectacular as far as constantly motivating me and offering encouraging words.  I'm so proud of her.  Then Kim is my fellow blogger who I got to meet in person too and she was right ahead of me during mile 6 and the whole time I was thinking about how far she has come in her own personal journey. 

Mile 7: Kylie Ghering.  Kylie is my best friend from MC and is a fitness goddess and a collegiate soccer player.  Even though she is sooo pretty and so worthy to be adored by others, she is still humble and does not judge a book by its cover.  When you look at the two of us, we seem like pretty unlikely friends, but she has been the greatest during my training.  Every single time I weighed in I texted her the results, knowing she would have something great to say in return.  Love me some Kylie.

Mile 8: Yvonne Carnes/the whole Carnes family.  This girl is the absolute first person I call whenever anything good (or bad) happens.  Upon being picked for Biggest Winner, she was the very first person I called.  She has spent many nights walking the bike trail in the dark with me and many many hours listening to me ramble about the training process.  Not only this, but her 10 year old son, Braden helped me a lot while training too.  Here 4 kids even made shirts to support me (pics posted later about that).

Mile 9: Cameron Langley and Brett Morgan.  These two guys are your typical good looking, in shape, popular guys.  But they have been incredibly kind to me throughout my marathon training and weight loss.  Their simple yet so kind words have really touched my heart over the past four months and has really really boosted my confidence.  I will always be grateful for them accepting me as I am and for just being supportive. 

Mile 10:  My AWANA kids.  Wednesday night at church, all twenty of them stood and high fived me and wished me luck for today's race.  They were just in awe that someone would actually travel 13.1 miles by foot and not by car.  (They are 9-11 years old).  They had faith in me and knowing that I had their support really carried me through the last 3 miles.

Mile 11: The elites.  At this point it dawned on me that the winner would probably finish before me.  The mere fact that anyone can have their stamina, speed, and overall fitness is just baffling to me.  But later on as I was about to hit mile 13, my personal running hero, Stewart Ellington, came whizzing by me.  I didn't have much left to give so I mustered up the loudest "Go Stewart Ellington" that I possibly could.  I hope he heard me.

Mile 12:  Ashley Latham.  My best friend came to watch me today.  Having someone there was not only motivating, but it just really really made me feel good.  I had a spectator.  She isn't too familiar with the area of Knoxville we were in so I was a little concerned that she would get lost while trying to read the map and pace times I gave her.  But she didn't let me down and right as I was about to reach the top of Noelton, I saw her there with my momma cheering me on. At mile 12 I started wondering if she had made it back to the stadium.  Thankfully, she had.  Her being there was such a highlight and I'm so glad she got to share my big moment with me.

Mile 13: My mother.  Really, none of this would have been possible without her.  She is the one who made me get out to exercise every day.  She is the one who buys my healthy groceries for me.  She is the one who took off work just to watch me run across a finish line.  She is the one who did her own marathon thirteen years ago.  I have been so blessed to have her in my life and to have her share my triumphant finish today.  I love you Momma!

.1:  (We cannot forget the .1).  Myself.  The last little bit before running into the stadium, I thought about all the hard work I have put in over the past four months.  All the hours spent at the gym, all the healthy meals I consumed, just everything.  Knowing that I worked my butt off (literally) put a pep in my step and a smile on my face as I rounded the corner and ran into Neyland.  At that point, the pride that others felt for me was instilled in myself.  I saw the clock time and I realized that I had beasted last years time by almost 40 minutes.  Go me!

So the next time you run a long distance, who will your miles be for?

Marathon Day!

Well, it is here!  The big day is finally here.  To say that I feel like a little kid at Christmas combined with a small case of nausea would be an understatement.  My marathon outfit is super cute of course, and I could not be more excited about crossing that finish line.  I hope you all will keep me in your prayers today and cross your fingers that I hit my target pace all day.  Post marathon report shall come tonight (Lord willing I'm alive). 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Memory Lane

It's marathon eve.  Tomorrow is the day to see how far I have came over the past three months.  At this point in the game, my emotions are running rampant.  It is such a bittersweet thing because the day I have worked so hard for is finally here, but I'm sad that my time as part of the marathon team is coming to an end. Given that yes, the marathon team is ending, my life is just beginning and to me, that is so exciting!  Thinking back over the past three months, I never dreamed that I could come this far.  I'll never be that person again, and I'm so excited to see what the rest of my life holds.  Even going through photos proves to be emotional for me.  Take a look at memory lane to see where I was and where I am now:

Remember this???  This is when it all began 3 months ago

Look at me now!  Toned arms and tiny waist.

My time as a member of the CHKM Team has been nothing less than fabulous.  I cannot express enough how blessed I am to be a part of it.  Not only has it changed my life, but it has given me the confidence and knowledge to help others change their lives too.  Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my life!