Thursday, June 6, 2013

Honoring a Sweet Friend

If you follow me on Twitter (mitzitwoods) or Facebook then you know I won a race entry to the Women's Running Series race in Nashville, TN. in September 2013. I love when things happen and we can see how God played a role in making it all happen! Let me tell you how this all came about and why running this particular race will be a special moment for me. 

Since joining Twitter I began following groups such as FitFluential and the Women's Running Series, among many other fitness / running related groups. Groups such as this post motivitating material all the time. It has been a total game changer for me, trying new food items and new workout routines that I otherwise would not have know about. This past Tuesday, FitFluential hosted a Twitter Chat along with WRS by participating in this chat I won the race entry for any of the WRS events. Part of our running crew is already registered for the WRS St Petersburg, FL Half Marathon later in November 2013. When we signed up we considered the Nashville run but for various reasons we chose St. Pete instead. Given that we are already signed up for one I thought maybe this was a chance to run the Nashville event. 

After I received the registration information from WRS I began to read through their website to check out the course and suggested hotels, etc... I was trying to gather enough information to see if a trip like this was even possible! While viewing the race information I realized WRS has partnered with The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America as the beneficiary of this race. As I read that (and as I type this) tears filled my eyes. I knew at the very moment that I had to make this trip happen! I quickly sent a text to my BRB and our trainer telling them I had won and to get registered; however, until they read this they will not know why I was so persistent on this trip. It took us all of about an hour discussing this via text and BOOM we had ourselves a road trip! 

Why was I so persistent, why did I have tears? I have sweet friend, Ashleigh-Anne Kirkland Hughes (AAK, as I have always known her by), who was diagnosed with Crohn's disease about 7 years ago. She has been battling the effects of this disease ever since, until recently I had no idea just how serious things had gotten for her. On April 15th she posted this blog with the latest update on her disease and latest diagnosis. I sat at my computer that morning in a puddle of tears; however, that was not the reaction that my friend needed. AAK needed me to suck it up and be strong with her, even from thousands of miles away. Ever since that morning I have been praying daily for her and her family. I have even drank a few Icee's just to have a special prayer moment between me and God for AAK. Why an Icee? It's her favorite drink! In all of this, I struggled with not being able to find out a way to help her. Yesterday when I read this race was going to benefit CCFA I knew that my winning the race entry was a "God Thing". He knew I had been struggling with how to really help her and her family. It gets even better! AAK and her sweet little family have just moved to Jackson, TN. Yep, only 2 hrs or so from the city I will racing be in! And, she is currently under the care of a new doctor at Vanderbilt in Nashville, TN. This was God telling me "this your chance to honor your friend!". 

So on September 28th, I will be running 13.1 miles in and around downtown Nashville honoring my friend AAK. I will be wearing pink and green as we share an extreme passion for those two colors. I will be wearing a monogrammed tank top with her initials on it. I may not live right around the corner from this sweet girl but I can pray for and certainly run for her! 

Ashleigh-Anne says it best in her own blog "He's going to turn my test into a testimony and my trial into a triumph!". You are 100% right!! God is going to be with you every step of the way and we will be sending tons of prayers along the way as well! AAK, we love you!! 

On top of the good news relating to the race itself, my family and I discovered there is a CCFA Team Challenge. We will be making a donation to the foundation on behalf of the Hughes family. If you would like to make a donation to the CCFA plus check out this link :



  1. This. is. incredible. God definitely had a plan here!

  2. Mitzi, this is incredible! I know your love for her has certainly touched her heart, as well as mine And many others! As a runner myself, I understand what a big deal it it to run in her honor. I will be running Tough Mudder Tamp November 2 to raise money for a friend of mines nephew. He lost his mom and sister two years ago in an accident, and lost his dad two months ago in an accident as well. Sometimes when we don't have words or actions that we feel are adequate to describe our love for them and desire to help, we run FOR them! Thank you for being there for AAKH all these years! She is dear to so many of us, and it's friends like you that get her through each day (along with our Lord and Savior!) (; love to you sister!