Powered by Soul Spotlight – Jeffrey Woods

I’ve known the King of Cardio for several years now.  I call him the King having witnessed him in action in cardio hip-hop class on a few occasions and he goes HARD.  Jeffrey is a diehard Falcons Fan, a supremely talented artist, a southern gentleman and guy whom I’m fortunate enough to call a friend.   Introducing Jeffrey Woods in his own words


My name is Jeffrey Woods, 56 from Atlanta Georgia. I’m a GIS Specialist.

Tell us about your fitness routine/program.

I attend cardio classes four days a week.  The other two days I’m walking, running or doing strength training.

Do you follow a particular nutrition plan?

I work hard at eating vegetables and drinking water, instead of going for non-nutritional foods.

How long have been active?

The past 10 years

Do you have a success story/testimony you’d like to share?

Since I have been active and working on developing a healthier body I’ve successfully run and completed the Peachtree Road Race (10k) for the past 11 years. I’ve lost weight and have had successful health reports from my doctor.  My blood pressure has lowered and my energy has improved.

What motivates you to stay active?

The good feeling I have after exercising, plus I enjoy it and want to maintain my good health.

Do you have a personal motto/philosophy that you live by?

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

Powered by Soul thanks Jeffrey for sharing his story with us.  You can catch him at the 45th Peachtree Road Race here in Atlanta on July 4, 2014 if you dare :-).

J Woods PRR002
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Photo: Jeffrey Woods collection

15 of 44 – 2013 Peachtree Road Race

This year’s Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta, Georgia had the potential to be different from recent years. In light of the Boston Marathon bombing there would be a greater police presence for this race (the largest 10K in the United States). Mother Nature was also expected to change the race as the forecast called for a 100% chance of rain. How did it all turn out?
Just fine.
There was rain for the wheelchair race and for the 7:30 elite starters, but by the time the rest of us queued up, the rain had stopped and we were treated with overcast skies for the entirety of the race and temperatures in the low 70s.  As for the police presence? I wouldn’t have known they were there had it not been for the news coverage I saw afterwards.
The Sights

Pre-race was the same as it’s ever been, people lining up at the Marta stations, folks in costumes and beer.  I’ve never understood how these folks can do it but the beer drinkers will not be stopped.  Holy water was also sprinkled by a catholic priest right before he ascent to cardiac hill (I get it every year), the street apostles warned us that the end was near and there were some folks politicking against using tax money for a new stadium. All par for the course.

The Sounds
Live music along the course was more sparse than usual, I’m assuming because wet conditions were expected, however the radio stations were in full force.  All runners and walkers were treated to cheering spectators along the course, though fewer in number this year.
The Finish
Anybody who participates in races, knows what the finish looks like.  A full on SPRINT.  Folks who may have walked the entire course turn into Usain Bolt at the end.  I never stop chuckling at this.  Once in Piedmont Park, we all trudged through the mud to get our t-shirts, drinks and snacks.  On my way out I stopped at the medical tent, for good measure this year as I experienced no problems (except for a hip thing which is a nagging injury), there was only one person in the tent while I was there and my blood sugar and pressure were A-OK.  New reports indicated that one person suffered cardiac arrest I hope they’re ok.

As is custom I usually stop some random person to take my picture, to show the aftermath.  This year that random person was Loren, who was really nice.  She had run multiple Peachtrees and shared with me that she’d lost over 70 pounds running.  GO LOREN! Thanks for humoring me but mostly for sharing your victory with me.
Overall this year’s Peachtree was enjoyable, relaxing almost.  Not having to worry about the effects of heat and humidity were a relief for this runner and I would imagine the same for many more.  As I’ve said the last few years, this is my LAST one.  Let’s see if I stick to that when registration begins in March 2014 and sign up for #15.
Until next time see you on the trail (or the road).

The end of the affair… with the Peachtree Road Race (maybe)

Greetings and salutations to every one on this very American Holiday.  As I have done for the last 14 of 17 years, I spent my morning running down Peachtree with a bunch of hotties.  My 14th Peachtree Road Race started off pretty well and ended, not so well (that may be relative though).

All the training and hydration was done, the best I’ve done since my return to Peachtree in 2008.  I slept well, I had none of the usual angst and in fact I was pretty chilled. I made my departure time, saw the remains of the full moon from the interstate and thought, oh this is going to be a good day.  Upon arrival at the Doraville Marta station, there was none of the usual jam of folks at the Breeze card machine.  Things were looking mighty fine at this point and once on the platform, I met some nice folks.

This couple (my assumption), was running their second Peachtree together.

This family whom I will call the New Balance family (they all wore New Balance running shoes), are multiple Peachtree veterans.

The wait for the train was not long, maybe 5 minutes and we were off.

At the next stop, Chamblee Station, we were packed in.

Then we arrived at Lenox, and that’s where things got a little bit funky.  The runners and walkers are routed up the side streets leading up to Peachtree Road. This year, was the same but my start wave was routed much further down then we had to back track to get to the wave (L in my case).  Once queued up I got my usual case of the bubble guts. Everything settled down once we hit the start line. 

The run was pretty good, mile one started at usual pace, mile 2 a bit faster.  Unlike last year every time there was a water station, I drank, not that warm water they serve but the Powerade that I was carrying with me (as I’m a sweaty diabetic runner).  Mile 3 I was feeling good my pace was good, enough for me to post a better time than last year.  Then just after the 3 mile mark, it hit me.  I started feeling dizzy.  I slowed down and then walked.  Caught my breath and got my bearings back.  I stopped, drank and walk after every mile thereafter and was not at all pleased.  Especially considering that the weather (though humid) was nowhere near as bad as last year because it was overcast during the time I was out there.  I ran about 5.5 of the 6.2 miles.

I did get the shirt.

I didn’t hang around and take any of those finisher photos this year, but I did manage to get this guy to take a photo of me.

I stopped at the medical tent for good measure.  I thought I could make it home fine but stopped anyway to get my blood sugar checked and it was SKY HIGH.  Honestly I think it was a meter problem.  I could eat cookies and cake all day and not hit 198, I’d just had labs done last week and had an A1C of 4.8 so this was really flukey to me.  When I got home, I was in the 70s. At any rate by the time I got home I had an additional problem, one that I felt approaching while in the medical tent.   

That didn’t keep me from eating though and getting my traditional post race nap.

Overall Peachtree is the same as it ever was, hot, crowded, but fun.  It’s unfortunate that I spent a half of it not feeling well, hence the title of this post. For two years in a row, I didn’t feel well, even after all the training and doing everything right (I did do something wrong yesterday, yeah that spinach salad).  I’m thinking at least right now, that this might be the end of me running in races of this size in the summertime.  The jury is out on this decision until March, that’s when registration for the 2013 race takes place.

If you ran in the Peachtree Road Race or another race for this 4th of July, let me know how you fared in the comments.

Until next time, see you on the trail.

#12 is in the Books

previously posted on the soon to be discontinued mssoulpower.com

On July 4, 2010 50,043 folks and I ran and walked down Peachtree to Piedmont Park in the 40thPeachtree Road Race in Atlanta, GA.  Always held on the 4th of July rain or shine, folks have been lacing up since 1970.  This year I completed my 12th and it was just as special as all others.

Puttin’ in Work

This year I got a little more serious about the training. I figured lighter equals faster so I worked on my diet and got started building up base miles a bit earlier.  I also made sure to stick to the regimen regardless of any distractions, outside/inside, physical and mental and trust me there were plenty.  I don’t follow any specific program or anything, just one that works best for me. Knowing that I’ll not be able to repeat any of my times from the mid 90s when I first started doing it, the goal was to finish faster than last year – that goal was attained.

The Details

Being in a late time group (slow runners, walkers and folks who didn’t turn in times from previous 10ks) my schedule is always the same, get down to Lenox about one hour before my time group gets to the start line, chill out, talk to the folks around me and start running when they say go. This year the weather was perfect. Having suffered through most of June with 90 degree heat daily and high humidity, this morning felt more like May, trust me I was THANKFUL.  The only glitch was GETTING to Lenox. You must have a BREEZE card to get on Marta (our rail system) all of the machines weren’t working at Doraville, the line was a MILE long and it took nearly an hour from arrival in the lot to boarding the train.  Back in the day, prior to the electronic set up, you got a token or placed exact change in the bucket and went right through the turnstiles.  That was a BREEZE – the BREEZE card, not so much. This card has been in use the last three years that I participated in the Peachtree Road Race but this year, was a hassle.

Once getting to Lenox, for the first time I believe EVER I had to go to the bathroom – the long wait without any sweating took its toll and let me tell you the Port-a-John’s were as nasty as ever but you have to do what you have to do.  Did I say that the weather was perfect?

Outside of the long Marta lines, the course was fine, the runners were fine, no one fell out that I know of, there was no ambulance activity.  The music was great, the crowds were there to cheer all of us on and give us the energy we need to get up the dreaded Cardiac Hill.  For the first time since 1996 I think I was able to run the entire course, no stops, no walking and it felt GOOD!

Why I do it

Because I have to.  There were four years since my first in 1995 that I didn’t run or walk it for various reasons, all of which in hindsight were lame. I say I have to do it because it gives me a reason to stay on track with my fitness goals.  I have to do it because training for it keeps me sane. Many a problem, many a bout of depression as well as many good days have been spent on the road or in the park or on the treadmill running.   Besides, the years that I didn’t run Peachtree I felt like something was missing on the 4th of July.

This originally appeared in my soon to be phased out blog mssoulpower.com

Going forward

As long as I’m upright and above ground, healthy and living in the metro, I’ll be waking up and running down Peachtree Street with all the other nut jobs, talking about long Marta lines, nasty Port-a-Johns and laughing at some of the silly costumes seen in route and of course copping the coveted Peachtree Tee.  I love it, wouldn’t trade it for the world and if you’re in the area, I invite you to join me next year for Peachtree 41, my 13th. Registration is in March.

Happy Running!

Lived to Tell about #13

This originally appeared on my soon to be phased out blog mssoulpower.com
On July 4, 2011 the 41st running of the Peachtree Road Race had the the largest field of runners/walkers/crazies collected in one place at 60,000 registered and 55,090 finishing.  This one was unlike any of the previous 12 I’d participated in, but they never are.

Pre-Race – it’s all mental

All the training was done.  I was set to take about 2 minutes off last year’s time.  Did the whole hydration thing on Sunday to the point of floating away, simple meals with vegetables, protein and carbs and adequate rest.  I was ready as far as my body was concerned.  My mental state not so much… Disgusted, disappointed, depressed and dismayed YEAH all the D words but what the hey, it wouldn’t be life if stuff didn’t go wrong, but I digress.  When I woke up race morning I was fairly skittish.  The temperature but more so the humidity this year was not going to be in our favor.  In some of the hot races past, I’ve seen people pass out on the course, toss their cookies and though I didn’t see it, I was on the course a few years back when an otherwise healthy man had a a heart attack and died.  So by the time I hit the car I was in full froth, lathered up with anxiety.  In fact I almost turned around at Jimmy Carter Blvd because my stomach was really acting in lieu of the turnaround I put on My Favorite Things (John Coltrane, McCoy Tyner et al) and proceeded to Doraville station.  I’m a wily veteran, I did some heat training.  No PRs (personal records) today, I would slow it down, complete the race and get my shirt.
The Sights
There’s plenty of visual stimulation at Peachtree.  At Doraville station, the end/beginning of the Northeast line, it was the usual mayhem.  Long lines queued up to get Breeze cards, police directing traffic, folks running late and using all their energy to run for the train or back to the car for forgotten items, families prepping, people telling war stories of Peachtrees past, and the train conductor who always sounds bored to tears to be working on the holiday.  Upon arrival at Lenox station and heading to the start waves it gets even better.
There are costumes, flags waving, plenty of silly head gear and something that I’ve never really paid much attention too but did this year, folks looking for race numbers.  I stopped and talked to one guy, who had a number but whose buddy, a member of the armed services wanted to run with him but didn’t have a number so he was hustling to get one for his friend, which was really cool.  I suspect that he got one as well because some of the other folks I saw hustling for numbers ended up on the course with one.
The Sounds
There’s a number of radio stations, live bands and people along the route who cheer all of us on.  It’s fantastic.  I’ve been in the very back before with an 8:50 start and they cheer and play just as hard for the whole 50-60k people.  This year’s musical selections included Temperature (Sean Paul), Power in the Blood (of Jesus), Jungle Boogie (Kool and the Gang) and all other manner of genres of music as well as bongos, congas and such.  I had a chance to talk to a lady while queued up for the start who also had been running Peachtree for some years and she shared that all though she’s done this numerous times, she still gets nervous this year she even felt sick at one point we laughed together and at each other for the silliness.
The Race

There’s no way to get around it, the race was an absolute BEAST this year. 75 degrees and 78% humidity dashed all hopes of making my time so I took it easy.  By mile 3 (where you climb to Justin’s restaurant and Piedmont Hospital) I was on pace to hit my time, I was feeling good.  By mile 4 I’d slowed considerably and considered walking because something just was not right.  Even though I had run through all the sprays (including the holy water) I just couldn’t get right.  Then that silly thing called EGO kicked in and said hello…. you can run 7 miles, what’s 6.2?  What’s your problem? Finish running this thing and get that shirt.  4 to 5 was a struggle. Miles 5 to 6 were a bit better but I just didn’t have the juices going to push me in the last .2 between the photographers and the finish line, I made it though.  

Post Race

I was supposed to meet up with some of the Shed fam to take pics after the race and had a little time to kill.  I proceeded to pick up the coveted shirt, took some pictures and then it hit me, my HEAD was SPINNING.  I said ok, I just need some Powerade, maybe the blood sugar is low or something.  So I headed all the way back to the street to get the Powerade and started to head back to get one of those finisher photos.  On my way, and after drinking some of the Powerade I felt worse.  Turned right back around and went straight to the medical tent, which was next to the Powerade.  I have NEVER been to the tent, EVER!!!!  They checked my blood sugar, normal, blood pressure fantastic.  It was a little bit of heat exhaustion,  which made sense because at a certain point before I headed back to the medical tent, I couldn’t hear anything anymore, and I was a bit disoriented.  The folks in the medical tent were the BOMB.COM.  They got me cooled down with multiple applications of icy towels and regular Powerade (not the 0 cal stuff I was drinking) and eased my nerves.  Once I was sufficiently cooled and advised to keep drinking I was released and headed home.  Unfortunatley I didn’t get to meet up with the gang, but they were real cool and tried to locate me at the tent (thanks, Alicia, Shauna, Jeff, Dominique).

Thoughts on #13

Well it HAD to happen, I mean 13 is supposed to be an unlucky number.  I did all I could to make it go wrong in the beginning but it didn’t happen, it never really did.  Heat exhaustion doesn’t qualify as a “go wrong” and 13 really didn’t prove really unlucky at all in fact I was fortunate and blessed.  First I ran the entire course, finished and got the shirt. Second, the Creator gave me the good sense to know that there was a problem and as such sent me to the tent to help me avoid ending up face first in the grass.  Third, they have a bang up group of volunteers in the medical tent who get you back on your feet to make the sojourn home and fourth I got some great friends who had my back and undoubtedly would have found me had I remained in the tent.

So #13 is a wrap, it wasn’t the best ever but it was an experience and at the end of the day, it is all about the experience, whether good, bad or in between.  You can believe that if I’m on this earth in 2012, I’ll be headed down Peachtree street again with 59,999 of my closest friends.

For more pics of the race, please go to thesoulpower.tumblr.com