2015 – Run For Their Lives 5K/Walk Knoxville

Happy Human Trafficking Awareness Day!

For the second year in a row, I’ve had the honor of joining a couple hundred warriors running in the 2015 Run For Their Lives Walk/5k here in Knoxville. The event by Freedom 424 and The Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking is held around the country to raise awareness about the horrors of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation. On a local level, events like this raise money for better first responder training, relief efforts, and awareness in our community. They also fight for the rescue and support of victims both here in the States an other countries that have Freedom 424 programs.

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Despite the freezing cold weather, we had hundreds of outstanding folks run with us this morning in the name of Freedom. Local churches, running teams, athletes, and regular folks just like me took over Market Square and the downtown area in Knoxville. We shared the names of 3 remarkable young survivors who escaped Sexual Slavery and with their stories, we kept warm during the race.

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My job as a volunteer was to (try) and make sure every runner had a story to run for. Of course, the turnout was extraordinary. So, we didn’t get to everyone before the start of the race. All the survivors had a beautiful story card written in the reception room, so after the race, runners could go in and warm up, hear some great music, and celebrate such wonderful stories! We were reminded that our 3 names just represented a huge presence of injustice and abuse around the world.

Two of our honorees were from Virginia, USA and India. The third woman’s story stood out to me particularly because she is from Knoxville, Tennessee – My home town. She is currently my age, 20. And she was just a regular girl from a middle class home in my town. I encourage you to look up Sarah/Human Trafficking/Knoxville to read for yourself how very evident the problem of human trafficking is. Even here, in our own hometowns, in our suburbs, absent in our schools, we have individuals fighting for their body, rights, and dignity,

Thanks to the work of Freedom 424 and the passion from individuals willing to run in 14 degree temperatures, we can get this message out to those men, women, and children wherever they are.

Help is on the way.

You are not alone.

For a video of the crowd taking off, swing by here!

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Photo Credits: Julie Sanders and Phoebe Spooner

Bike Knoxville Now!

Buckle those helmet straps, kids.

It’s time for an exciting announcement for Knoxville!

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As of today, 8 beautiful bright green bikes are available to rent for your use around Knoxville. Just a month ago, the deal was designed but thanks to the partners Legacy Parks, Visit Knoxville, Regions, and Billy Lush Board Shop, now Knoxvillians and tourists can cruise the streets of Downtown Knoxville with ease. 

According to Metro Pulse, the bikes will be available for two-hour rentals, $19 for adults, $15 for teachers and military personnel, and $12 for those under $17. Friends of Legacy Parks will be able to rent them for half off.  Renters will get a lock and a map, and the first 100 renters get a Regions Bank backpack. 

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Four of the new lime green cruisers will be parked at the Outdoor Adventure Center on Hill Avenue. The other Four will be at the Visitors Center on Gay Street. Rentals will be managed both online by Billy Lush, or at the cash registers at the Adventure Center and the Visitors Center.

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All proceeds go towards Legacy Parks, a Knoxville group devoted to protecting our nature and wildlife, connect our Greenways, amp up fun recreational activities for Knoxville’s Outdoor lovers, and basically, raise the bar for Public parks and Green Spaces. (Can you tell I’m a fan?) That picture is one of the entrances to Legacy Park’s Outdoor Knoxville Center. You can’t tell me that’s not an awesome arch.

The bikes themselves are plain. These cruisers have a traditional diamond frame, with an adjustable seat. They are single-geared and have the pedal breaking system. There’s not racks but there are guards and fenders. They aren’t the toughest bikes on the streets, but I don’t think that will stop Knoxville’s Avid Cyclists from getting an extra ride into their schedule.

Directors of the program are hoping to expand locations sometime soon. According to Metro Pulse, they said they will wait and see how the Bikes are received throughout the fall. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for even more rugged bikes for those hardcore cyclists. Who knows, maybe in the future, Knoxville will step into a true bike share program! Such programs cost a pretty penny, I hear. 

Our 8 little cruisers were completely free, a gift from our friends at Regions! (That’s my bank. I feel so proud!)

Thank you Regions, Legacy Parks, and everyone else involved in making Knoxville a more bike friendly place!

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The Green Bike Lane added on UT Campus

All Photos from Outdoor Knoxville Facebook Page 

Special thanks to Metro Pulse Staff Blog and Legacy Parks and Outdoor Knoxville

Take Me Kayaking!

Summer has officially begun. You know how I know?

Because I am now the best friend of the owner of a BRAND NEW PAIR OF KAYAKS!

That’s right, my very best friend’s family sprung for a beautiful set of Kayaks. It’s really like they read my mind. I’ve been searching for a good deal on kayaks since October. See, when I’m not dawned in lace, fringe, pink, and gold/silver trimmings, I’m super outdoorsy. Hikes, Lakes, Mud, Kayaking (if I had one), and nature. I really enjoy getting away from the traffic and chaos.

So, I’m absolutely thrilled that my friends love me and will let me go out with them! In fact, I’m probably more excited than all of them. We live in a beautiful area by the Tennessee River, Smokey Mountains, and a handful of lakes. I don’t think we’ll have any trouble finding a place to jump in! A few calm waters, and more rapids as well for once I become a pro! My advice to all of you is to stay tuned for Kayak trip adventure photos!

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Dive Training Shots

To be so honest, I just wanted to brag about how much cooler I am than you. Scuba Training was one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had! I could write all day about it, but I thought I would just share pictures instead! But feel free to ask questions! I’m trying to hard not to be like Howard from Big Bang when he came back from space. I literally have made every sentence for the past 2 days about how I can breathe underwater now… So I’m sparing you, trust me! Instead, Just look with your special eyes.

 

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All these were taken by my Pentax Optio-wg1 Camera. It’s basically Phoebe-Proof. Water, Shock, Dust, and Freeze Proof! So far it’s living up to my expectations! Plus it’s so stinking cool looking! Gotta l0ve Pentax for making a camera that can handle this life!

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I Would Look So Good In A Wetsuit.

First, I should say that nothing is set in stone. But since we’re all dreamers here, I just wanted my followers to be the first to know my next big adventure!

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If everything goes according to plan, I will be Scuba Certified by May! I met with the instructor yesterday and we worked out a deal. I’ve got a few session dates to choose from but hopefully I’ll be ready in case I find myself in the Caribbean this coming summer. Who knows what will happen!

It’s been on the bucket list since last summer when I found out my friend’s entire family was certified. He was at the end of his training when I found out, so of course I bombarded him with questions. Finally, he let me go with him to get equipment and see for myself (maybe not his best idea). But did I not look so good in the attire? Is that not enough to sell the idea?

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They also invited me to watch his final dive!

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So when my opportunity came, I was pretty excited. I was a little hesitant at first. Getting dive certification isn’t cheap. Especially since I happen to live so far inland I’m an entire Mountain region away from the east coast. However, my friend made a convincing argument. I can’t even consider going to the Caribbean without first getting certified. So, I finally caved and did some looking into the matter. Now, to be honest  I will probably be obsessing over it every day until I am petting a sting ray.  Or manta ray. Or 0ctopus.

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The ocean has always fascinated me but I’ve only ever been twice that I can remember. I  feel like such a poser, I have no right to say I love the ocean! You know those people, who just don’t know enough about something to be as fanatic as they are? Well once I am an official diver, I can be as thrilled and wild and excited about the ocean as I want!

I can say, if things stick to the plan, I will be going through The Ski/Scuba Center. They’re known for there excellent instruction and equipment. Not to mention they’re nice as can be! I think the instructor was as excited as I am to have me on board.

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http://www.skiscuba.com

So, stay tuned if you’re up for following my adventure. I won’t know too much more until closer to summer, however. I do know this. If this works out, my friend will have made a monster.