What to Pack for a Hike

My new hiking pack, something I’ve desperately needed if I’m going to do the #52hikechallenge, arrived this week! I’ve been so excited about it that I’ve spent far too many hours gathering and packing and repacking it with all my gear. Then I realized this is information worth sharing, so here we go with what to pack for a hike!

First, let me give a shout out to a very important list you should refer to if you’re planning your own forays into the backcountry. The National Parks Service has posted this 10 Essentials to pack when you #optoutside.  I don’t quite have everything on this list, but I’m working on it and plan my hikes accordingly.

The spread. It’s very purple-y.

Here’s what I never leave home without:

  • Day Hike Pack – This pack from Camel has a space for a water bladder, has an internal frame, and is intended for day hikes. It’s a bright color (I love any shade of purple) so I can’t mistaken for an animal.
  • Water – In addition to my water bladder, I carry two, 32 oz bottles of water, too. Tip, if you store them upside down, they won’t freeze at the mouthpiece. 
  • Map & Compass – It’s important to know how to use them, too. Many local wilderness rescue groups offer classes on this topic, often for free. Always remember to tell someone where you’re hiking, how far, and when you expect to be back. Check in with that person when you get home.
  • Extra Clothes – Because I’m prone to blisters, I bring a pair of toe socks, as well as an extra pair of dry wool hiking socks. I also pack a down vest, an extra thermal beanie, extra thermal gloves, and a Buff.
  • Survival Gear – A lighter or matches, a headlamp, a basic first aid kit, a knife, some handwarmers, and an emergency whistle are what I keep in my pack at all times. On day trips I keep my survival gear to a minimum because I’m careful to follow the trail and be super aware of my surroundings and map.
  • Personal Gear – Sunscreen, Lip Balm, my asthma inhaler, my TomTom GPS watch, and sport sunglasses are all essential for a comfy hike at high altitude.
  • Snacks – The most important things! I’ve always got a nut based snack and an apple at minimum.
  • Fun Stuff  – A small notebook which is my Trail Journal, a pen, a selfie stick, and my #womenwhohike patch.

I hope that helps you decide what to pack for your hikes!

What gear is essential for you when you #optoutside? 

sNOw Problem

Disclaimer: I received free entry to 305 Half Marathon race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I knew it was too good to be true. Here in New Jersey, our mild winter has shifted right into the cold weather we are used to having this time of year.

Not only did we have snow over the weekend but this coming weekend’s forecast predicts not one but TWO more snowstorms headed our way.

No, thank you.

What’s a girl to do? Oh, that’s right, have a warm weather contingency plan!

As Ash alluded to in her post, it was not very difficult to talk me into coming to Florida to run this race. In fact, I think she just said, “I’m considering the 305 Half Marathon in Miami with BibRave.” That’s all it took; I immediately started looking at travel plans.

My parents live in South Florida so it’s very convenient for me to fly down there and stay with them (And they love having me – even though I’m not bringing my kids along.) (…I think).

I’ll be down there for a long weekend and back in time for family activities up yonder way. I’m hoping that I get the chance to visit with some of my Florida family as well. Even though it’s a short visit, I have a ton of extended family down there.

Registration was quick and easy through Athlinks. I’m automatically added to the start list, which is pretty cool and I’m looking forward to getting my results through them as well. Always nice to have things organized in all one spot.

Of course this means that I probably need to start getting some more long runs in. I’ve been running every day between 1-4 miles. But I’m thinking a couple of longer runs will only help matters when it comes to a half.

Ashley and I are ready to PR in fun with this one and with a generous 16 minute mile pace, I’m more than confident in our abilities.

This was the last time we ran a race together but we didn’t actually run together. It’s been a hot minute!

Want to escape to the warmer weather too? You can use the code BIBRAVE305 and take $10 off the half or $5 off the 5K!

Are you a fan of snow or would you rather be basking in the sunshine on the beach?

Racing Into the New Year

Last week Mer posted some of her favorite races that she’ll be running this year, so I thought I’d shared mine this week! One of my goals for the new year is to enjoy running again so I thought that signing up for a few races would make that happen. Sounds legit, right?

 

My first race of the year is a 5K next weekend through Home Base Southwest Florida.

The mission of this company is simple: “The Southwest Florida arm of Home Base was created to empower local Veterans and Warriors to take control of their physical well-being, provide tools to help manage stress and provide a portal for more complex care for those in need of treatment for the Invisible Wounds.” 

The finish line to this race is at home base at the JetBlue Park at Fenway South, so that’s pretty cool if you’re a Red Sox fan.

 

In February I’m returning to Gasparilla in Tampa after taking a year off to run the runDisney Princess Half this year. Michelle and I ran the 15K in 2017 and liked it so much we’re going back for another one. It’s a fun course and I like the 15K distance. If I remember right, there were also donuts on the course. that’s always a plus!

 

Something NEW that I’m super excited about is the 305 Half Marathon that I’ll be running in March with BibRave. I’ve never run this one before, but I’m really looking forward to it! I haven’t done a half marathon in the Princess Half last February (and I don’t count those long training runs, either). I’ve already started looking up training plans, since the race is kind of close and I’m ready to get back out there! This race looks like a ton of fun as it goes through Miami and has some scenic beach views. I’m also stoked for this because it will the the third race Mer and I will be at together, and the first one we will be running together! It was pretty easy to talk to her into the race, so if you’re looking for a fun, full-Florida experience you should definitely check it out, too! You can use the code BIBRAVE305 and take $10 off the half or $5 off the 5K!

Disclaimer: I received free entry to 305 Half Marathon race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

 

In April I’ll be finishing up my second season of Girls on the Run and we’ll end that with a 5K (you’ll hear all about it!). I’m excited about the upcoming season and getting new girls in to learn about themselves and all they can do. This 5K is definitely going to be one of my favorites of the year.

Also in April, and this is a long shot, but I’d love to do the runDisney Star Wars Half. It’s the only race weekend I haven’t participated in yet and I’m kind of dying to. I’m thinking of starting a GoFundMe, just for it. Kidding, but seriously. I love Disney races, but my bank account doesn’t. I’ll keep you posted on that one.

I’m feeling pretty good for the beginning of the year and definitely looking forward to what everything else brings. I usually do some traveling during the summer, so it’s hard to nail down a race I like to do. I hope you’re getting ready for some great races!

2019 BOCO Gear Ambassadors

Have you heard of BOCO Gear? You may have one of their awesome hats in your closet and not even know it since they make headwear for many popular races. Mer and Jenn are new ambassadors, and share their  BOCO collections and what the like about the brand. There is so much to love about BOCO!

 

2019, Let’s Do This!

2018 started of with a bang and a whimper. The bang was me hitting the icy ground as I took out the recycling, one January morning. And the whimper was when I quickly realized that my arm really, truly hurt.

My 2018 goal was to focus on shorter distance races and while I did that, I feel like my training was somewhat derailed after the first couple of months were a wash. Simply put, my heart wasn’t really into racing. Yes, I was doing races but my level of of pushing myself was not there.

I was okay with that then.

I’m not now.

I’m ready to train harder and make achievable goals that I can hit. Not every race is going to be a RACE for me, but I know what I’m capable of and 2018 wasn’t it. I suppose my 2019 goal is to try diligently and train better.

I have a (surprise!) run streak going right now. I didn’t start on the first of the year because hey, why be normal? Instead I started on December 28th and for the past 11 days I’ve run at least a mile a day. I have a good feeling about 2019!

So far, here’s what’s on the race calendar. Of course, I have my eye on a few more races so this could/will need to be updated soon.

february

This will be my 3rd year returning to The Chili Run. It’s a hilly two mile race (you read that right, two miles!) and it starts/finishes at a restaurant, Carolina Blue.

Run out a mile, run back the same mile. Chili and beer await at the finish line!

Good Day for a Run is a local NJ race company and they always put on quality events. Last year runners got a hat, the year before the swag was a chili bowl and spoon. This year it’s a medal and shirt.

If you’re near me and considering this race, register soon because the January date is already sold out and February is close to being capped. (And then let me know so I can look for you!)

april

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Philadelphia Allstate Hot Chocolate 5k race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

This is yet another race that I’m returning to for a three-peat. What’s not to love about the Hot Chocolate series? You get a run, awesome swag (I can’t wait for this year’s jacket), and at the end of the race, a big ol’ mug filled with treats and hot chocolate! The 15k runners also get a medal!

This race draws new and old runners alike. It’s a big name, the distance options are appealing, and the swag is fantastic. Plus, there’s chocolate on the course. Yeah, that’s right!

If you’re registering for the Philly race, code “BRHCPhilly” will get you a free armband like mine.

Or, if you’re looking at a different Hot Chocolate race, swing by the discount codes page and grab the code for your location.

Next up on April 13th is the Atlantic City April Fools 7k.

Usually I run the half marathon during this event. I skipped 2018 and this year I’m running the 7k for the first time ever. Instant PR! My son, Lucas, is registered for this one too and I have a couple of friends who plan to be there as well.

The 7k and 11k are on Saturday. With my Healthy Kids Running Series program running through April on Sundays, it just makes sense that I opt for Saturday races. I’m looking forward to returning to AC and running a familiar route.

Disclaimer: I also received race entry to the Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon 5k as part of being a BibRave Pro. Intrigued? Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

This has been a bucket list race weekend for quite some time! I live in New Jersey but have yet to participate, which just seems silly! Therefore, when the opportunity came through BibRave to sign up for the 5k, I knew this was the time to get it done.

The 5k is on a Saturday, which once again, works really well in my schedule for the spring. I’ve heard good buzz about this race from friends and on Twitter. While the BibRave reviews mostly focus on the marathon and half marathon, it seems like a fun, well organized event.

Want to join in the weekend events? Use code “NJMBIBRAVE19” for $5 off any distance (5K, Half Marathon, Marathon, Marathon Relay).

june

Hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s back to AC I go! I’m sure no one is surprised that I’ll be returning to Atlantic City for the Bungalow Beach Run!

2018 was the inaugural year and I’m looking forward to getting back and stretching my legs out on the boardwalk. Last year was a bit overcast but I’d much rather that than hot.

The finish is on the beach and I’ll admit, I’m a little nervous about that portion. Thankfully it’s a short distance!

Registration for the Bungalow Beach Run is currently $45. Not bad for a 5 mile race that includes a medal, shirt, and beer.

Crazy to think that brings me through the first 6 months of 2019! What else is in store? Only time will tell but I’m ready for whatever comes my way!

New Year, New Goals

Happy New Year! Are you tired of people saying that yet? I didn’t leave the house yesterday, so I only said it through various text messages. I’m going to be annoying right now, though. I’m going to talk about goals for 2019. Which is now, by the way.

I started 2018 getting ready to start training for the Chicago Marathon, something you all know about, obviously. I also started with a wellness program because I wasn’t happy with my body and how it looked. Marathon training and WW made me feel so much better about myself, let me tell ya.

Now? Ugh. I’ve hardly done anything physical since Chicago (okay, I’ve done three races, but they’ve been little ones) and with the holidays here, my healthy eating has gone out the window.

I know it’s typical to start the new year with health and fitness goals and a lot of people don’t stick to them. This is really about trying to make a lifestyle change to make myself feel better. I have purely selfish motives here! Here are some things I want to do:

Love running. When I first started running almost six years ago I loved it. It was something that helped me get rid of stress, it was fun to see what I could do, and I never worried about my pace or anything. This year running felt like a chore. I say chore and not job, because I love my job. Those 4AM wake up calls for training runs were the worst. I started to dread it. I started to dislike having to run with Girls on the Run. Running just wasn’t fun anymore. I want to love running again. I want to sign up for silly races that don’t mean anything or just get out there and go when I come home from work on on a weekend.

Less comparing. For me to love running again I need to stop comparing myself to others. It’s the same, I feel, about my teaching career. I just have to do what’s best for me. Stop comparing times, body types, how often someone runs. This is going to be a tough one for me.

Eat. Obviously this one. What I mean is: eat well. Eat the expensive groceries we buy every week. Try new recipes and keep leftovers. Meal plan. Don’t eat out, don’t waste money. Eat the good stuff. (But maybe sometimes order pizza.)

Be active. As much as I love to sit around and read, I also really love the outdoors. Florida has so many parks and nature preserves that I’ve yet to explore. I want to take the time to do this in 2019, kind of like Jenn’s Hike Challenge.

Grow spiritually. My faith has been a huge part of my life for the past fifteen years. One thing I want to focus on this year is doing more devotional and journal time. My mind is always going a mile a minute, so sometimes when I sit down to read or think I’m thinking about a hundred different things. The new year feels like the right time for some spiritual growth.

Rest. I thought I was pretty good at getting enough sleep since I usually have an early bedtime when school’s in session. Wow, was I wrong. I was texting a friend yesterday after I woke up from nine hours of interrupted sleep. (And I didn’t even drink on NYE!) and she commented how we teachers just kind of bank our sleep deficits. I am loving this extra rest time during winter break, but I need to figure out how to do it when I get back to real life.

Okay. That feels like enough goals for right now. I haven’t finished my first cup of coffee yet because I’ve been working on that rest thing. I’m looking forward to getting started with all of these other things, too! If anyone is looking for an accountability partner, hit me up!

What are some of your goals for the new year?

 

Zwift Runpod – Interactive Treadmill Experience

Disclaimer: I received a Zwift Runpod at The Running Event to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

It seems that there are two types of runners in this world: those who HATE the treadmill and those who don’t.

While some people find the treadmill to be monotonous, I’m actually a big fan of the treadmill. I’m not sure why I don’t consider it the “dreadmill” like most people do – maybe it’s because I became a runner on the treadmill. From my very first mile to my first long run, it happened in my basement, on the treadmill.

Which is why I was beyond stoked to learn about the Zwift Runpod opt in through BibRave. Well, actually, my first thought was: What the heck is a Zwift Runpod? 

But as soon as I found out, I was really pumped!

Zwift was originally a cycling trainer program, released in 2014. At the beginning of 2018, Zwift introduced a running experience to the virtual game and it’s been gaining traction ever since.

There are a few ways to participate in Zwift’s treadmill game.

  1. A fancy Bluetooth treadmill that connects to the app. (I don’t have said treadmill, mine is standard regulation.)
  2. A Runpod which has Bluetooth to connect to the app. This is what was provided for the BibRave Pros who opted into this experience.

Additionally you’ll need iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, or Mac/PC to run the Zwift app and Zwift Companion app, if taking part in group runs.

I received the Zwift Runpod just before leaving for The Running Event in Austin, Texas in November so I didn’t have much time to play with it before then.

However, the folks from Zwift hosted a Welcome Reception for the BibRave Pros at The Running Event and it was there that I got a full understanding of the capabilities of Zwift.

Four BibRave Pros in attendance at The Running Event were chosen to run in a Zwift BibRave group run. The rest of the virtual people participating in the 3.1 mile group run were BibRave Pros across the country (and maybe even the world – we have a few Pros in different countries).

At this event the treadmills were Bluetooth enabled. As you can see, Chris and Brenda’s have iPads in front of them, which were hooked into big screens so everyone in the room was able to see the game.

The four runners took turns on the treadmills, making their way through the virtual world of Watopia along side of the other BibRave Pros.

We had the opportunity to chat with the Zwift representatives and ask questions. They suggested calibrating the pace of yourself, the treadmill, and the Runpod so that the game could get a sense of metrics.

It was so much fun to cheer Vanessa, Brenda, Chris, and Lindsay at the event and see how the app worked. It’s gave me a good sense of how the virtual running world worked and I looked forward to trying my own Zwift Runpod out once I got home.

We had a BibRave Tempo Run workout scheduled for mid-December but I wanted to get used to the app so I tried out the Zwift Runpod a few times prior.

Unfortunately, I had trouble with the connectivity of the Runpod at home. I was able to calibrate it but then mid-run my avatar would stop running and either stand there or stretch.

I wasn’t sure how things would go during the 2.62 BibRave Tempo Run but I planned to at least start with the group and try.

While I was running during the Tempo Run, the same thing happened. I jumped out of the Companion App and over to the regular Zwift App to see if re-calibrating would help but when I returned to the Companion App, I was locked out of the run.

Waittttt for me!

I was bummed that the BibRave Run was a bust for me but more determined than ever that I would get this to work for me. Type A personality shining through, I know.

The Zwift app has a figure 8 course that you can jump right on or you can choose a session that you’d like to run. I decided to try different things with the Runpod, including switching it from my left shoe to my right, making sure that it was facing a certain direction, and also focusing on shorter runs.

While my runner stopped a few times, I was usually able to get her back moving again by stepping off the belt and back on.

With all the stopping and starting, it doesn’t give me a true sense of time it takes for a workout so I don’t feel like my pace is “true”. Over the past three days I ran in “NYC” for a half mile, did an “easy walk/run” session, and did “The Hills Are Alive” workout.

I was two hills down, one to go during “The Hills Are Alive” when the pod lost the signal. Frustrated, I called for my engineer husband because I thought he might be able to assist me in figuring out what to do.

We took the Runpod off my shoe and found that it was blinking red. We switched the provided lithium CR-2032 battery and I was able to finish my workout.

Speaking of my husband, I was telling him how difficult it was to see everything on my phone screen while running. Staring down at the tiny screen perched precariously on the ledge of my treadmill wasn’t cutting it. He was able to hook it into the HDMI TV I have over my treadmill. This is a game changer!

There is chat capability with others on the course but I’m in no way skilled enough to run and type.

In summary, I love the concept of the Zwift Run app and I really want to get it working consistently for me. Once I do, I’d like to plan a few virtual runs with fellow BibRave Pros (or anyone else who has a Zwift account). I have so many friends that are not close by in proximity but who I love running with and this would be a great way to run “together.” If you want to give it a try, code “BibRave15″ to get 15% off the cost of the Zwift Runpod from Zwift.com.

I’ll keep you all posted on how things go as we head into 2019!

Zwift BibRave Pro Reviews: Matt, Jenn, Steph, Mai, Lissa, Lisa, Andrea, Tedrick, Corey, Jen, Jessica

 

Recovery: The Running Event Product Reviews

Disclaimer: I received items from Addaday, Arcanum, and Nuun from The Running Event as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! No further compensation was given and as always, all opinions are my own. 

Ahhh, recovery days. It’s a time for my muscles and body to relax and to recharge in both the physical and mental sense.

Once upon a time (aka when I first started running in nearly 8 years ago) I didn’t embrace the recovery mindset as much as I should have and I wound up with overuse injuries and overall fatigue. I’ve learned from my past mistakes and now I love recovery days as much as I do a good sweat.

In fact, I’m using the time between Christmas and New Years to settle deep into the recovery. Sure I’ve been working out but the balance is finally resetting. It’s the first time in at least a month I haven’t had to be at least three places at once and I’m taking full advantage of this down time. I’ll say it again, ahhh!

I received a few products at The Running Event that I’ve been using to aid my recovery. Read on to learn about each!

Arcanum

Sarco Breeze 4 oz: $40, Sarco Freeze 42.5: $35, The Quill: $50

I’ll be frank with you, I knew next to nothing in regards to activated hemp/CBD oil before meeting Arcanum representative and fitness professional, Lindsay Minz, at TRE Influencer Day.

Through Lindsay’s presentation, I learned the different uses and benefits for each of the products we were given and I’ve been putting them to the test since returning home from Austin a month ago.

The Sarco Freeze soothes sore muscles when I’ve been a little too overzealous at the gym. It occasionally happens! Additionally, this month has been full of wrapping presents and that means sitting on the floor, stretching, twisting, and generally doing things the “difficult” way instead of the easy/smart way. The Sarco Freeze is my go-to to help ease my aching back.

(Yes, I feel old when I complain about my aching back.)

The Sarco Breeze is not only a sports massage oil but also a moisturizer. Lindsay shared that she uses it on her face and it’s helped her skin significantly. This intrigued me and I don’t have any set skin care regiment so I went for it – applying it before bed every night. I’ve been really pleased.

No make up, no filter!

A few years ago I was bit in the face by a dog and I’ve been using Sarco Breeze on my entire face but paying special attention to my scars. It’s helped break up some of the scar tissue, so that’s an added bonus.

Finally, I’ve been using The Quill which is a gel pen that releases just the right amount of activated hemp through the skin. Applied to the wrist or anywhere there is thin skin, it helps with recovery and boosting your system with natural ingredients. This assists in regulating inflammation.

All of the Arcanum products have a very light, mild scent. I’m learning more about CBD every day so if anyone is knowledgeable and would like to share information with me, please comment!

Addaday

Type C Massage Roller: $42

Addaday Type C Massage Roller is touted as a “runners favorite massage roller” and after just one month of use, I can see why.

I’ve been using this roller after tough gym sessions, especially on my lower body to help with recovery and muscle soreness. This roller has the small red gear that helps is good for shins and calves while the larger grey/blue ones are good at helping with lactic acid buildup.

This particular Addaday roller is a little over 18″ long, which makes in easy to pack in a bag for traveling. I love my huge foam roller but it’s not very easy to transport.

When it comes to using the roller it’s definitely a “hurts so good” mentality – sometimes rolling hurts more than the actual muscle soreness but it also assists in healing faster. Pairing this the products from Arcanum has taken me to the next level in terms of fast recovery. When you’re not able to get a massage, the roller is a fantastic substitute.

Nuun

Nuun tubes: $7 each, Nuun hydration bottle: $7

We here at Scoot a Doot are not new to Nuun Hydration, in fact I think we first reviewed it way back in 2013.

I use it during my workouts for hydration because Nuun helps you absorb fluids and nutrients faster and contains the optimal blend of electrolytes. In addition to that, I’ve also been dipping into my abundant Nuun supply on recovery days.

Nuun Vitamins are a newer product that provides 11 vitamins and minerals and are good for any day of the week. I capital L-O-V-E the Blueberry Pomegranate flavor!

Nuun Immunity I was excited for the opportunity to try this one after reading Ashley’s review in September. Nuun that gives my immune system a boost? Absolutely, sign me up.

I was raving about it to my husband and then (wouldn’t you know it) he got sick with a gross stomach bug that’s making the rounds in this area. My blueberry tangerine Nuun Immunity quickly became his because, without going into too much detail, it was literally all he could stomach for a few days.

At the suggestion of the Nuun folks at TRE, I tried the orange citrus Immunity with hot water, making a “Nuun tea.” Not something I would have ever thought to do but it was tasty and really nice now that the weather here in New Jersey is chilly.

I hope that your days are filled with relaxing and recovery, especially now that the holidays are winding down. Just a few more days until New Years and I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that I can’t wait for 2019 to arrive. I’ll be back on Monday with a review for Zwift’s Running Pod.

In the meanwhile, be sure to swing by Jenn’s 2019 goal post – she plans to do 52 hikes next year! Ash just had a great first Girls on the Run season! Kyle has been busy with her move across the country (gulp!) but I’m sure we’ll get a life update once she’s settled. 

2019 Goals – 52 Hike Challenge

A few weeks ago, my sister texted me a link to the 52 Hike Challenge and asked if I wanted in. Being one to take on huge challenges without much forethought, my first instinct was to immediately reply with a HECK YEAH! For once, I paused and realized this sounds like a hike a week thing, which, if we’re honest, can be hard to accommodate schedule wise. Intrigued nevertheless, I clicked on the link to learn more.

The 52 Hike Challenge is what I suspected, it’s a yearlong challenge to hike 52 times with intention to connect with our environment, and others who share a passion for outdoor sports. This spoke to me because I want to transition from running to hiking in 2019. Running has become monotonous for me, and frankly, I’m horrible at training diligently. Because I’m fortunate to live where I do, there are tons of hiking trails literally at the end of my residential road, and I need/want/should take advantage of them.

All of these trails are an 8 minute drive from my house. I literally have zero excuses.

My biggest question was what do they consider a “hike”? I was happy to learn their definition is lax. To count toward the Challenge, a hike must be at least a mile, and can be done in any setting from urban bike paths and parks to snowshoe hikes and full on mountaineering expeditions. There are three different levels of Challenge depending on fitness level and if you’ve participated in the Challenge before. The tracking is done on an honors system using social media posts and hashtags, and there are different levels of swag you win based on registration level.

I want to see views like this in 2019!

You don’t have to pay to register, but there are three levels of paid participation that get you additional stuff. The “Starter Package” for $11.95 gets you a 52 Hike Challenge Patch, and 4 stickers, as well as access to the resources on their website such as tips finding trails, and the Challenge Guide. The “Standard Package” at 52.00 gets you all their resources plus a Finisher Medal, and the “Ultimate Package” gets you all that plus discounts from their sponsors: REI, Mountain House, Sawyer, and Arc’Teryx.

After mulling it over, I texted my sister back and said I’m in! I’m excited to connect with this community to help me stay motivated to get outside. I’m determined to see more of my beautiful state of Colorado this year, and to strengthen my bond with my sister. All around, this is going to be a win/win for 2019!

Race Recap: Girls on the Run 5K

At the end of last school year a friend approached me about bringing the Girls on the Run program to our school and, before school let out, the plan was put into motion. I discovered early on that a new teacher that was coming to my school was also a coach and, soon enough, our plan became a reality!

When we started in September, we weren’t sure how many girls would sign up, but we actually ended up having TOO MANY and had to turn a few away until next season. Needless to say, it’s been a great experience for me as a first time coach. Some of our girls have grown tremendously in their confidence and athletic ability. They also (hopefully) learned a lot about themselves and different ways to deal with the things around them.

This past Saturday was the culmination of all of their hard work and it was amazing!

We’ve been prepping for weeks for the girls to run their final 5K. Girls on the Run isn’t a “running club” as much as it’s a way for young girls to feel empowered. There were some days where we didn’t run or days where we only ran a little. We did a practice 5K and, though it was around our track at school, the girls did really well. For the actual 5K each of the girls was assigned a running buddy. This buddy was a friend, teacher, or parent who was willing to support them in their run. Myself and Coach Randee, my awesome co-coach, paired ourselves with girls and we’re also lucky enough to work with some amazing women who partnered with girls as well.

I’m so thankful for amazing coworkers that support our girls!

The energy at the venue on race morning was unlike any race I’d seen before. I’ve done plenty of family races and large races, but this was so different! Our GOTR team is the only one in our county (which is kind of cool), so our meetup was with the neighboring county. Hundreds of girls, coaches, and buddies out in the early morning to run and have fun!

There were craft stations, hair stations, hot chocolate, and just lots and lots of giggles. It was so much fun to watch, not only our team, but all the girls run around before the race and just be with each other!

We got together for some silly pics at the start line and soon we were off! I ran the practice 5K with my run buddy, a 3rd grader who is a little kindred spirit to me, so I knew we were going to take it easy.

 

She did great for the first half mile, then we started to slow down a little. The course was fun and full of girls going at a lot of different paces. We passed a couple of our own girls (and had them pass us back a few times) but kept a pretty decent pace. I was probably an over-encourager, but I wanted my buddy to know that she was awesome. Everyone once in a while, she’d take off at a sprint and I’d have to catch up, but we managed to make it the whole way. Once we rounded the track and she saw all the people cheering for her, she was off! (And I had to do the catch up thing.)

At the finish line were plenty of our other girls, families, and our school principal taking pictures and cheering everyone on to finish strong. I got to watch a few more girls cross the finish line before our whole team was through. Seeing them all after, congratulating and hugging each other, made me feel so proud.

I remember when I started running and ran my first 5K. I was 30. THIRTY! These girls are in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade and they crushed their runs. (We also had a few buddies running their first 5K, which was amazing!) This season has been such a learning experience for me and I’m so glad I got to do it. Encouraging girls to not only incorporate fitness into their lives, but also kindness and self-respect, has been so uplifting for me. It wasn’t always easy, as working with kids (especially pre-pubescent girls) never is, but man was it fun.

I’m looking forward to what the next season has in store for us and our girls.

Until next time: Girls on the Run is so much fun!