Hiding behind a computer screen.

I was like a junior in college when this awful, terrible invention called “Juicy Campus” made its rounds around the internet.  10 points for anyone who remembers it.


Juicy Campus, one of the most evil concepts to hit college campuses, was an online forum, organized by college campus, which allowed folks anonymously, without logging in, to post threads on each campus’ forum, which would in turn, generate a lot of responses.  I attended Elon University, a small liberal arts school of about 4,500 students at the time, which meant that everyone was logged on, and everyone knew who was talking about whom.

As you can imagine, this modern-day burn book took off like wildfire, and no one was spared.  There was one poor kid, who was rumored to have had social problems akin to a disorder represented on the Autism spectrum,  who constantly was the source of these posts.  In another, an anonymous poster criticized a friend of mine, suggesting that she get a nose job.  And when I was juiced, it started off as a thread that stated that I was one of the hottest black girls on campus (out of all .5 of us, whoopdie-freakin-doo), and someone commented underneath that not only was I not hot, that I was annoying and asked for extensions on papers.


Juicy Campus is long gone, I think the rumor was some folks had committed suicide due to nasty posts.  I’m not sure if that was true, but it certainly hurt a lot of folks.

Fast-forward to now, when folks are still trying to hide behind computer screens to be nasty and bully others.

In a much more innocuous, but still snarky post on a local forum, someone posted that a duo that appeared on a local news segment was “annoying.”  A completely snarky, and unconstructive critical comment.  And for what?  I pointed out on the forum that local news folks could just as easily log into the forum as we could, and that such comments could hurt their feelings.

Here’s where I come in.  I blog.  I can be funny.  I have no qualms with making it very clear that I hate local morning radio for good reason, or that I’m a huge supporter of Rock n’ Roll coming to Raleigh in April.  But I can assure you that I will be transparent, that I will never hide behind the screen and bully or beat up on others of no reason.  I’ve poked fun at Lamar Odom, Olivia Newton-John, and every single Housewife of Wherever, but I do it with this in mind.  If this person were to read it (yeah right!) would they be in tears?  And if the answer is no, I feel okay.

So I challenge you folks, when you’re commenting on Facebook or Buzzfeed posts, when you comment on local blogs, or when you comment on Perez, that you keep in mind that celebrities, huge and small, are actual people.  If you might not like to feel like crap when you read something about yourself the way that I did, you might not like it either.  Okay?

Let’s hug it out.


PC Time Machine

Thank you God for Austin Samples, because my girl over at Olive to Run posed this question on her Facebook page.

What is the WORST injury you’ve ever had? [running related or not]

As i described my worst injury to her, I began on a quest to find the photo that would explain the injury.

  1. First, I called my mom, who allowed me to break into her email to see if I’d sent her the photo from my Elon email, since I’d been at Elon when the injury had been incurred.
  2. Then I logged into her email.  No dice.
  3. I emailed my Dad at work.  Except Papa Cheri would not be at work til like 9am.  Okay.
  4. I tried to log into my Elon email, knowing fully well that they’d shut us out of our email like 60 days after we’d graduated.
  5. And finally, I tore through my house, looking for an old PC that I hadn’t booted up since maybe 2010.  The thanks to Austin comes in where I realized I had no cords and no mouse to use the thing.  I got all of those things, and finally booted it.

photo 1

Time machine much?

photo 2

AIM was still on the desktop.  And Marilyn was asleep in the background.

But the main event, the only reason that I booted the PC in the first place?

Knee Injury

The worst injury I ever got.  

::clears throat::

I played rugby for a short time my freshman year.  During this particular game, where my boyfriend at the time was watching from the sidelines in horror, a girl tackled me from pretty high up.  Now take a close look at my right knee without getting nauseated.  So when she did this, I heard a loud crack, and went down.  I remember the coach asking me what was wrong, and I couldn’t tell her, all I could tell her was that I was in horrible pain radiating from my right knee.  It swelled up immediately, and what ended up happening was something called a tibial tuberosity, meaning that a bone that sat at the bottom of my knee had been pulled up and off by my ACL, accounting for that crack I heard.  I spent the next, like 8 weeks in an ACL brace and on crutches, and to this day, that knee gets sore from time to time.


Okay, enough of me walking down memory lane.

What is the worst injury, running or not running related that you’ve ever gotten?

10 things I wish I’d known at 20.

I feel really reflective this time of year.  Not in a bad, I’ve screwed up my entire life kind of way, but in a, look at what I’ve done this year kind of way.

I was on Twitter yesterday, and noticed a friend of mine, still a student at my wonderful alma mater, lamenting that he couldn’t wait til he graduated to get out of there.

I was there.  I think we all were there, especially toward the end of undergrad, when you’re 25-pounds plus more than when you entered the door, and your liver is revolting for all the awful things you’ve done to it, especially that second semester of senior year.  Yikes.  But here are 20 things I wish I’d known at 20 (or technically 21, which was when I graduated, but 20 kinda rolls off the tongue better.)

  1. Take care of your body.  A lot of the weight I gained during undergrad didn’t just have to do with my horrid diet, but it had to do with the fact that I never worked out.  I would work out once in a while, get super sore, and not embark on another workout adventure for weeks at at  a time.  Had I figured out that working out would transform my body and my palate, I would have saved my self hours of lifting up my shirt in front of the bathroom mirror, sucking my belly in, and telling myself I could never get my stomach to look like that.
  2. While you’re taking care of your body, quit hating on it so much.  Putting crap in and never working out also served to create a thick, greasy, layer of hatred and self-loathing for my body.  Now that I work out, you can’t tell me nothing.  Cause I am extremely fly.  Extremely fly.
  3. Networking is so important.  I ran into this kid at homecoming who was starting the job search and I gave him my dad’s email address, since my dad is pretty high up at a financial institution.  I don’t know why he never contacted my dad, but when someone gives you an email address or a phone number and tells you to call it for a job, do it.  I learned this the hard way.  But use everyone around you as a resource for your job purposes.
  4. Do your thang.  There was a time in my life when someone making fun of me would have sent me over the edge.  But if I had allowed it to tear me up so badly that I never taught a Zumba class, for example, I would not be sitting on my sexy behind writing to you all.   So make fun of me for my running, my love of coffee, hummus, and three-quarter tights, I will not be giving any effs any time soon.
  5. Don’t take that breakup so hard because…
  6. You’re not in love.  I have not been in love until I met my husband-to-be.  And I wish I hadn’t taken it so hard when I broke up with my two serious boyfriends in college.  With both, I suffered incredibly crushing heartache, and I literally thought that the pain of the situation was going to kill me.  It didn’t, and I grew back stronger, kinda like a weed.
  7. Cherish good friendships.  I have a ton of friends.  But the quality friendships, I like to nurture, water, and feed.  Good people who will support you when, for example, your mom has a stroke, are hard to find.  Keep them close.
  8. Dump bad friends.  Nobody’s forcing you to stay friends with the butt who lived on your hall your second semester of freshman year.  Dump them on Facebook, dump them and real life, and laugh in their faces when they try to get themselves invited to your wedding 6 years later.
  9. Work hard.  Play harder.  That’s not just the rule in college – it’s the rule in real life.  If you don’t play enough, you will turn out to be super stressed and super broken.
  10. When in doubt, run.  Don’t run fast if you can’t.  But just run.  You will be absolutely shocked at the things running can fix.

What 10 things do you wish you’d known at 20?  

Greensboro Marathon – DONE

I have never been so glad to be done with a race in my entire life.

Following the conclusion of the race, I kept running, and ran directly into the medical tent, where I calmly informed the EMT that I needed fluids.

Here’s how it went down. 

Saturday morning, I woke up around 5 with a stomachache.  SHOOT!  So I ran down to the car, grabbed some Tums and a Prilosec, and waited for them to kick in.  They kinda seemed to, and by the time we’d made our way to a very chilly start line, I decided that I felt okay.  And off we went.

It was cold, but not unbearably so.  I’d dressed perfectly. A thin, long-sleeved Brooks top, a Brooks Nightlife Vest, stuffed to the gills with goodies, gloves, and 3/4ths tights.  On the feet were the Glycerin 11 (an excellent choice of a shoe), and some Smartwool socks.  When it felt like my hands were going to fall off, I palmed my boobs under the vest, and as silly as it seems, the warmth made the ride really comfortable.

I stuck to the plan.  About 6.5 miles in, I started with my first bit of nutrition, and the nagging tummy ache that had been bothering me started to flare up.  I tried everything to push it away.  I breathed the cool, fresh fall air.  I house shopped.  I focused on music.  But it wouldn’t leave.  By the time another 6 had passed, and it was time for more nutrition, I couldn’t do it.  I nibbled at another piece of Clif Shot Bloks, and the stomachache started up, worse than before.

15 Miles.

The stomachache was too real.  Katy Perry came on with ‘Roar’.  And I dissolved into tears.  I’m not sure if I’ve ever shared this, but I get hyper-emotional during races.  It’s an introspective period of time, and the thought of the message of the song, the stomach pain, and the fact that I was over halfway in the race got to me.  Get it together, Cheri.  Someone is going to see you crying and think something is really wrong. 

18.1 Miles.

I literally pulled over in a field, and the stomachache was just too much.  I barfed in a field.  Everything I’d eaten, all the water, and all the nutrition was gone.  A cop looked on, sorrowfully.  But I couldn’t give it up, I was only like 8 miles from the finish!

So I knew that I’d lost all my nutrition and all my water.  And the thought of eating was producing more vomit.  So I kept up with my water, and trudged through the last bit of the marathon.

I did it. 

It was abysmally slow.  I was a little sunburned.  But I did it, run-walking that last 8 miles or so.  Once I finished, I med-tented, explained to them what had happened, and let them check my levels.  I was fine, understandably a little dehydrated, and not feeling like eating ever again.

I finished.  I’m a two-time marathoner!! And upon an appointment with a gastro, I am totally ready for the next running adventure.

Marathon Couple

Wedding Venue Teaser!

I think I may have found a wedding venue.  But sorry guys, no pictures in this post, at least not until my fiancé sees it.  But let me bring you on this journey I’ve been on for the last few weeks or so.

Austin and I got engaged in July, and very soon after, my grandmother died, and my mom was very ill, so we really just not have begun some of the planning we need to do before we get married next year.

So you do the thing.  You go to all the venues you’ve seen folks getting married at, you take suggestions, and you visit all the venues on your list.

The photos.

The pictures of the place on the website will almost always be deceiving.  Beautifully lit, a white couple dancing happily while all of their white friends dance about.  And then you pull up to the venue.  “This….is it? Are you sure we’re at the right place hon?”

The visits. 

We visited a few venues.  There was the venue where the chain-smoking coordinator pranced out of the women’s bathroom with still-wet hands.  Declining to shake my hand, she gestured grandly to the room, which looked like a high-school auditorium, and she referred to it as having a “country-club feel”.  There was a stain on the carpet.  A large, mysterious stain.  This perhaps, was a country club in hell.  But not for our wedding.

I spoke with a woman who was nonchalant about the $20,000 food minimum we’d have to hit on a Saturday evening.

visited a restaurant where I’m pretty sure the guy I was speaking with was high as a kite.  Didn’t do a whole lot to make my comfortable about our big day.

And I visited a place where the woman, a “close-talker” breathed her cigarette-breath in my face the entire meeting.  Would should be breathing on my guests in this same manner?

Last night. 

I pulled up to the venue.  The venue actually looked like the pictures.  (Point)  This was new!  I toured the facility, where I was greeted by a jolly guy with a southern accent.  (Another point)  He was playing John Legend’s new album over the speakers.  (Yet another point) And I began to visualize myself getting married there.  Bingo.  Just to make sure, I drove to Elon and went for a run around campus to make sure I still loved it, to mull it over.  I still did.  And Elon’s campus was gorgeous, even despite the fact that it was dark.  Next step?  Get approval from the fiancé, and make this thing official! Pics to come!

Destination Run – Elon Univeristy!

So yesterday, I went to see my friend in the bustling metropolis of Burlington, NC to see him in The Music Man.  Great show.  Great music.  Good-looking cast.  Absolutely bizarre ending.  You know what I mean if you’ve ever seen it.

Music Man

So I decided to do a “destination run” thing to change my long run Sundays up. That always seems to put a little extra pep in your step, and I finished 10 miles a little faster than the last few weeks have allowed me too. I found myself at my old gorgeous alma mater, Elon University, and something about being back in my old place gave me a little extra runner’s magic.

Marathon Hair

First, I had to decide on my hair. You guys know, my hair that keeps growing and getting heavier by the minute, had caused me a little stress during this marathon prep. So I called on my good friend Kerri Walsh to inspire a hair style, and as always, she came through.  My stuff’s too thick for a braid, but I enlisted the help of a highly specialized device created by Scunci to help me maintain the overall look.


Thanks, Doll! You’re the greatest!


This is Elon.  The photo, that I took as I did my first loop through campus, simply doesn’t do the University, or the spirit of the University, any justice.  Elon is literally a botanical garden, and the facilities are to die for.  The blue of the sky?  We always have it.  On orientation weekends, it’s said that Jesus smiles, so birds sing, the swans come out, and the food in the dining halls is actually good.  I remember days where it had just snowed, and the sky looking like that less than a day after.  I almost went to University of Pittsburgh, and after laying eyes on Elon, I decided that that was where I was going to end up.  I don’t think I’d be half the person I was without what I was taught here.

Elon House

I ran past this little house I lived in after my senior year with Emily Main, still to this day one of the sickest roommates ever.  Right behind  this house was the house belonging to my acapella group where I spent most of my junior and senior year Saturday nights.

I also discovered (as you do when you run a place instead of rushing around everywhere in your car) that Elon also houses a forest?!  How in the heck did I miss that one?

Anyhoo, try this if you’re feeling a little bored with your running routine.  If you’re going out of town, like to the beach or to do laundry at your parents’ house (guilty!) map a run in an area you’re pretty sure is safe, but new to you!

Is working out for White people? (hint:nope)

What a lucky week!  We have not one, but two guest bloggers this week!  Let me start by introducing our topic.  ::sips Crystal Lite:: Ahem.

I’m training for a marathon (number 27 of the list of “Stuff White People Like”).  And I get mostly encouragement from my friends and family, but I get the occasional hate from folks, and a whole heck of a lot from other black women.  Saying I’m crazy, saying I work out too much, and that I’m too thin.  But for doing a seemingly good and healthy thing for myself, I’m getting a lot of discouragement.  So the past few weeks on the road, on the treadmill, and in the studio, I’m looking around, and I seem to be in the minority in these places.  And according to stats on obesity, it looks like I’m right, we (black women) are not doing a whole lot of working out.  So I asked Facebook, I asked Huffington Post, and I asked my pretty friend Theresa what the deal is.  Why are we (black women) in the minority at the gym and in races?  Why is the gym so white?  Why don’t black women work out?

Helmer Graduation

T: “I’m not sure how many times I’ve heard/read that black women don’t work out. Countless times I’m sure.  But I’ve never really understood it because for me personally, and all the black ladies I know, this isn’t necessarily a reality.

After reading an article from Huffington Post, (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/06/black-women-exercise-hair-bronner-brothers_n_1747535.html),  and seeing a few threads on reddit




I wanted to say my piece:

This whole ‘black women don’t do exercise because of their hair’ is a tired narrative, y’all.  I mean I get it, our hair requires a different kind of maintenance and products than advertised in our society, therefore people think we have the short end of the stick in the appearance and hair department (we don’t, IMO).  I don’t want to go on a hair rant because I’m here to talk about my experience and observation as a black lady who exercises.  I started swimming in the 1st grade and did so competitively until 10th grade.  During this time (3rd grade-10thgrade) I was getting my hair chemically straightened and I would blow dry my hair and straighten it every time I swam.  It’s honestly a wonder I even had a hair on my head with all that chemical damage, but I digress.  After I quit swimming, I took up working out at the gym.  Nothing deterred me because I viewed physical fitness as part of my life and something that everyone in my family was always interested in.

After reading through those reddit posts, it seems that many women are interested in exercising whether it is running, classes, or sports.  The main thread throughout is like I said above, exercising isn’t viewed as a priority.  And until it is, I feel we’ll still be here spinning our wheels and waiting for some different result (that really won’t happen unless there’s some sort of grassroots effort).

My expert opinion? It’s really not all that serious.  People are making all these excuses for black women not exercising like hair and other appearance factors when I personally think it has everything to do with cultural indoctrination that exercising isn’t fun or it’s too hard AND that it would seem that some black women don’t have support systems encouraging health and fitness.  Without someone laying the foundation in the home, how is the idea supposed to diffuse amongst the general population?”

Theresa makes some excellent points.  As a woman who exercises, she doesn’t feel that the hair thing is a good excuse.  I’m honored to have perspective from another woman of color.

Here a few bullets from other ladies that we’ve gleaned from our research.

Black women don’t exercise because:

  • They think exercise is for white people.  Yoga, Pilates, and Zumba are perceived as being for skinny white girls. Not so, but that’s the perception.
  • Like we said before, the hair thing.  They don’t want to spend a ton of money on their hair on Saturday to sweat it out in my Zumba class on Monday. (I hope everyone recognizes that this particular line of reasoning means you’re choosing your hair over wellness)
  • Exercise isn’t viewed as being valuable.  Why go work out when you can go home and take a nap instead.
  • Exercise sucks/hurts (but you feel so good after)!
  • Black culture reveres a more curvy shape. Being thin is not necessarily considered a good thing.  And working out may cause you to lose your shape.  (You can still have a nice shape if you work out).
  • Exercise wasn’t a thing in a lot of our households! I grew up mainly in the suburbs.  But a lot of minorities and a lot of people with lower SES status live in areas without yards, sidewalks, YMCAs, and all the other good stuff that cultivates a good relationship with diet and exercise.

Long story longer, four out of five African-American women are overweight or obese. In 2010, black women were 70 percent more likely to be obese than their white counterparts, according to the US Department of Health.  That’s bad.  That’s really bad. Obesity influences rates of cancer, Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack, high cholesterol, and hypertension.  All that to avoid sweating for an hour a day?  Not really worth it.

So here’s the deal.  Just…MOVE.  You don’t have to run a marathon to get the bennies and perks of working out.  Walk!  Dance!  If you like to shovel, shovel your way to fitness, I don’t know.  The point is, get moving so we’re not suffering all for the sake of a good perm.

Guest Blogger

Me and Ashley

The beautiful young woman pictured to my right is one of my best friends in the entire world, Ashley Little.

We met freshman year at Elon University, and it has been nothing short of a pleasure to be her friend.  Ashley Little is beautiful, smart, like-minded, hardworking, and did I mention, beautiful?  And I am honored to have her guest blogging here today.  Ashley, who is also a wonderful writer, honored me by speaking on why Haiti still needs our help.

“You might say that the tiny nation of Haiti was born out of struggle.

In 1804, after a bitter, long fought battle, Haiti became the first black republic to declare its independence. Sadly, the country (the poorest in the western hemisphere) has been plagued by political, social, and economic turmoil ever since.  And in January 2010, it was dealt yet another devastating blow: A 7.0 earthquake descended violently upon Haiti, leaving behind an unimaginable, and catastrophic path of destruction.

In the days and weeks to come, the worst earthquake to hit Haiti in 200 years became a fixture in national news.  And the global response, (particularly in terms of humanitarian aid) was extraordinary. But even a natural disaster of this magnitude proved to have a short shelf life, quickly fading from the public conscience.

Amongst all of the rubble, Haiti is a country of endless beauty; manifested especially in the resilience, and optimism of its people. However, there is still much work to be done:

40 % of the 10 million people in Haiti do not have access to clean water. (source: http://www.waterandhealth.org)

Cholera is rampant, and has claimed over 7,000 lives while afflicting 6 percent of the population.

Hundreds of thousands of Haitians remain housed in camps and otherwise overcrowded, and deplorable conditions.

(sources: http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/news/article.cfm?id=6362&cat=field-news)

Out of struggle and tragedy also comes triumph.  And together, we can continue to rebuild, and restore Haiti. They are still in dire need of our help today.  Let’s start one mile at a time.”