Yuengling Shamrock 1/2 Marathon Goes Virtual… On a Treadmill

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon race weekend 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 past weekend was supposed to include a road trip with Rachel to Virginia Beach, a gathering of BibRave Pros, and a Personal Record at the Shamrock 1/2 Marathon.

It actually included two of the three things listed.

10 days ago I received word that both this race and the upcoming Allstate Hot Chocolate Philly race were cancelled due to the COVID-19 virus. 10 days feels like forever ago at this point.

Both races quickly offered virtual options. At first, my local friends and I planned to run on, we’d meet up as a group and do a half marathon. However as the week continued and our Governor stated we needed to maintain social distance/stay home, we scratched those plans.

I knew I wanted to run the half marathon distance but then it became a matter of WHERE. At first I defaulted to where I started out running, the treadmill. However, it’s been a long time since I’ve logged serious treadmill miles.

Outside on the trail would’ve been preferable, but I didn’t want to run alone, especially with the high anxiety I’ve been feeling lately. My 15 year old actually volunteered to run it with me; he’s been doing a lot of long training runs with me lately.

But the more and more I thought about it (while I was not sleeping at night) the more I decided that I didn’t feel comfortable with that idea.

After chatting with friends on Twitter, I landed on running the majority of the 13.1 miles on the treadmill. I actually thought that I’d do 12.1 on the treadmill and do the last mile outside. Spoiler alert, that didn’t happen because it was pretty cold outside and I was extremely warm and sweaty from my inside miles.

I decided to break the half marathon down into three sections, an hour, and hour, and then the last portion. I’d been training with a goal of getting finished within 2:30-2:39. With the knowledge that I could possibly fizzle out mentally on the treadmill, I wasn’t going into this expected a PR. Actually, I thought I’d just get the miles done and call it good.

My first hour I used the Peloton Tread app and did a 60 minute Fun Run with Matty Maggiacomo.

I definitely pushed harder than I expected to during the 60 minutes and wound up finishing the hour at 5.15 miles, which means I was keeping at 11:39 pace. Knowing this, I started to think that a PR for this run was actually attainable if I kept up the positive vibes and spirit.

While I was filling my water bottle I quickly tweeted out my progress and got a whole slew of responses from our running community, which I was able to read on my Garmin as I ran.

For my second 5 mile segment I tapped into my playlist that I made specifically for the Shamrock 1/2. It’s an eclectic mix of everything from big band to Lizzo to Franz Ferdinand. I was able to accomplish that in 58:38.

Which meant I only had 3 more miles left to go! After filling my water bottle one last time, I got on the treadmill once more. My legs were getting tired and my lower back ached but I knew that unless something went terribly wrong, I’d be able to hit my goal time.

And I did! All together I ran 13.1 miles in 2:34.22. While it’s not official, it’s absolutely a PR for me in the half marathon distance. The fact that I was able to do it on the treadmill makes me believe that there is no doubt I could do it within a race setting.

My cheering squad was waiting for me when I came upstairs to celebrate. They wouldn’t hug me though… not because of social distancing but because I was very sweaty.

Today is #MedalMonday and while my medal isn’t actually physically here, it will just prolong the happiness of this particular accomplishment when it does arrive. And right now, I’ll take what I can get.

Hope you are all safe, well, and staying home.

Allstate Hot Chocolate Philadelphia Cancellation

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the 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!

If there’s one thing you should know about me, I’m a Type A personality. Schedules and unwavering plans are what I thrive on. Actually, in a community of runners, I think you’ll find that to be true about many of us. We HAVE to be that way if we want to train well and excel during a race.

But life throws you for a loop sometimes and that’s exactly what’s happening now with the COVID-19 virus. Before I get too much further into this post, let me state for the record that I absolutely understand the reasoning and logic behind canceling events. I’m always one to err on the side of caution. Making decisions like these are not easy and I feel for the race directors who need to make the call.

That said, yesterday was a rough day.

In the span of a couple of hours yesterday I got the news that two of the races I’ve been training for have been cancelled: the Yuengling Shamrock 1/2 Marathon (the plan was to PR at that one) and the Allstate Hot Chocolate 5k in Philadelphia.

I requested cake and wine for dinner and my husband did not disappoint.

Am I bummed? Yeah, I absolutely am.

But I’m also trying really, really hard to look on the bright side of things. I think what I appreciate most about these races is that even though they can’t happen the way that we intended them to, they’re doing their darnest to make things as right as they can for the runners.

The Allstate Hot Chocolate Race Series recently announced a virtual option for their races. With things currently the way they are, they’ve switched the entirety of the Philadelphia race to being virtual.

I’m no stranger to virtual events, having just wrapped up the virtual 465 Challenge!

I love that the Hot Chocolate Race Series will be mailing out all of the goodies to our homes, especially because their swag is always the best. I still plan on getting outside on April 4th and running my 5k. There’s a perfect spot near the river here in New Jersey and as long as it’s safe for me to do so, that’s where I plan to be.

I’ll just have to wait to see these guys next year in Philly!

If you want to join in virtually, here’s the link to register. Be smart and be safe!

Race Recap: Skyway 10K

 

Back in September or October, my friend Stephanie talked me into signing up for a race lottery. The race in question was the Skyway 10K, a race that benefits military families. All you have to do is run over the Skyway Bridge. If you’re a Floridian, I’m sure you know what that is.

Not my photo.

Now, again, as a Floridian I run mostly on flat surfaces. When a race calls for a bridge, I cringe. I’m not a fan of them.

I was also not expecting to get into this race.

But we did.

I feel like I’ve spent the better part of the year feeling crummy with some sort of cold or sinus thing hanging around. Of course I used this as an excuse to come home and nap and not run. (I will use anything as an excuse to not run sometimes!) Needless to say, I was not prepared for this race. That seems to be a theme for me so far this year.

My friend picked up my bib for me that Saturday, so I had a lazy day at home. Honestly, despite the nap comment up there, I don’t get a lot of lazy days. It was nice to just hang out and do laundry and cuddle my cat.

I headed to Tampa late Saturday afternoon and got to my friend’s family’s house a little after eight. We hung out a bit and then turned in early since we had a little bit of a drive in the morning. I was super grateful for these strangers letting me stay at their house because I still get so much race anxiety, especially when I’m on my own.

I sent this pic to my boyfriend, mom, and sister of me in my favorite pre-race place.

The morning was chilly but projected to get warmer, so I opted for my new SkirtSports Pocketopia capris in Vacay and a tank top. I took a throwaway shirt that I tossed before I got to the start line because I had already warmed up. at the start. Our start time was a little after 8AM and all runners were bussed over to the start line from Tropicana Field.

Flat Ash, pretending to be prepared.

 

With Steph before the start.

I had a good start with my friends, but was having some technically difficulties. That slowed me down a bit and I eventually lost them altogether. I knew it was going to be a tough race for me because I was so unprepared. Especially for this bridge!

I did manage to keep a pretty steady walking/running pace until I got to the base of the bridge. I didn’t even try to run that thing!

It was, obviously, smooth sailing going down the bridge. The view from the top wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought it would be, either. I struggled a bit toward the end but managed a strong finish across the finish line. (Of course!) Stephanie was waiting for me at the finish, so she and I hopped a bus back to the expo center where we had our free beer and snacks.

My pic from the top!

All the beer tickets!

To be such a young race, this was extremely well-organized. It was a cupless race and the water stops were mainly for refills. There were some heathens (me) that drank from the spigots like a water fountain and that was just fine. The expo was great, there were plenty of bathrooms, and the medals were awesome, too!

I highly suggested signing up for this race lottery if you get the chance to. The proceeds go to a great cause and you’ll be able to say you ran over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge!

It’s a Wrap: 465 Challenge

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the 465 Virtual Challenge 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!

The start of this year has been fantastic. I’ve been healthy, happy, and active.

The 465 Challenge helped immensely with that! To refresh, the 465 Virtual Challenge was a 2 month event in which the goal was to complete 53 miles via running, walking, or bike (or swim, but that wasn’t happening over here in the winter!). Those who continued on to do more than that were considered, LOOPERS.

At the end of January, I’d completed 3 loops totaling, 189.54 miles.

My miles increased even more in February. I was consistent on the Peloton bike (which I got in January) and increased speed, miles, and output.

I’ve also been upping my miles since I’ve got the Shamrock Half Marathon coming up in just a few weeks.

As the added cherry on the top, my son has joined me for the last few long training runs. He’s running his first ever 10 mile race in May and he’s already thinking, planning, and training.

I wish I had his drive when I was 15 years old!

By Leap Day, I’d reached 7 loops, totaling over 371 miles!

What was especially great about this virtual race was the community that came along with it. The directors created a Facebook group, just for those participating in the challenge and we were all able to cheer for each other.

The interaction in the group was great and because it was over a 2 month span, I really got a chance to connect with others. I’ve done a few virtual events and this quickly grabbed the number one spot in terms of community, support, and feedback from the race directors.

The shirt, medal, and sticker arrived on Friday, February 28th – just in time for a medal Monday.

Stick a fork in this challenge, it’s done. But I’m not; I’m just getting started!

Have you done a virtual event before? Which one? Why did you choose it?

Do You Skirt?

Recently I got to announce that I’m back for my third year as a SkirtSports ambassador. This is such a great company and I’m so glad to be back representing it. Skirt has a ton of amazing, quality products that are great for running, working out, or just handing around. The mothership of Skirt is located in Colorado and is in the process of moving, so they are having a HUGE SALE until March 1st.

I figured I’d highlight some of my favorite products if you wanted to go on a little shopping spree later.

 

Pocketopia Capri

Living in Florida, I don’t really need a lot of “pants”, but I really love these capris. I’m short, so they fit pretty long on me, but they’re called Pocketopia! They have POCKETS! The newer versions of these capris is made of the most amazingly comfortable and stretchy material. I’ve worn these capris to Disney, on hikes, and for races and they haven’t failed me yet.

Packed with snacks for my last Ragnar loop.

Eclipse Tank

This tank is super lightweight and soft, like you aren’t wearing a tank at all. This tank doesn’t have a built-in bra, which I don’t mind at all. Built-in bras don’t always work for me so this works out well. This tank also comes in some great solid colors that go well with patterned skirt.

Lioness Skirt

The Lioness was my first skirt. It’s made of a thicker material with shorties underneath. The pleats make is super cute and girly but I still feel like a badass when I wear it. I swore I’d never run in skirts. Once I slipped into this one I never looked back.

Jette Skirt

The Jette is my absolute, all-time favorite skirt EVER. It’s cute and girly like the lioness, but made of a much lighter and more breathable material. I wore my Jettes all through my training for Chicago and even for the Chicago Marathon. It is definitely the skirt I gravitate to most, no matter the weather.


So, there are a few of my favorite Skirt products and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Skirt has so many amazing things and right now you can get ANY OF IT for 50% off! Use the code LEAP50 at checkout.

If you’re still looking to buy after the sale, use the code SSA15Ash50 for 15% off.

Happy shopping!

Road Tested: Built Bar (with 20% discount code)

Disclaimer: I received Built Bar Protein and Energy 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 have done my share of protein/energy bar “investigating” in the past. Back in 2014, my husband and I tried a variety of bars, which naturally we reviewed here.

Then last year while Bec was visiting, she introduced me to Built Bar. The rest, as they say, is history. I have been hooked on Built Bar ever since! I tend to go with what I know so I’ve always ordered a few of my standard favorites in a mixed box – Salted Caramel Chocolate, Coconut Chocolate Creme, and Vanilla Chocolate Creme.

When BibRave teamed up with Built Bar, I knew I had to opt-in to check out their newest flavors and find some new favorites. Seriously, when it comes to flavors, they have MANY!

The low calorie, high protein content is absolutely a draw but that would mean little if they didn’t taste good. Built Bars are extremely tasty! Of course I still love my old standbys, but a few of my new favorites are Mint Brownie Delite, Peanut Butter, Coconut Almond, and Black Cherry Chocolate Creme.

Other than wholesale, Built Bar is primarily an online order business. When they weather is warmer, they take great care to get your bars to you quickly and include a cold pack so they don’t melt.

When you get three boxes of Built Bar, you have to share the wealth! Immediately my older son who works out with me was interested in trying them. I noticed that they were disappearing quickly and soon found out why.

He was not even a little bit sorry about this.

I brought an assortment along with me on a long run to share with my running buddies. I wasn’t surprised at all to hear rave reviews from those who tried them.

One of my friends said that she had a Sleeve Gastrectomy surgery a few years back and has to be very careful about what she eats. She was very excited to read the Built Bar’s ingredients and see that it worked for her!

The outside of each bar is coated with chocolate while the inside is nougat-like. When warm they do tend to get a little sticky. During our Twitter #bibchat it was suggested to try putting a Built Bar into the refrigerator or freezer to cool it down.

The freezer made it a little too difficult for me to bite into but I love keeping them in the fridge and have a stockpile in mine!

Built Bar is constantly evolving and introducing new flavors to their mix. The only bummer is that some of my favorites don’t last for very long. They do retire flavors and have limited releases too. However, there’s always something in the rotation that I love!

Check out more reviews from BRPs:

Renee
Becky
Kelsey
Riley
Amy
Emily

 

Have you tried Built Bar? If so, what’s your favorite flavor? If I had to chose one, I’d go with the Salted Caramel Chocolate. If you haven’t tried them yet, which flavor would you try first? Order with code BUILTNOW and it will save you 20%! 

Be Kind – Random Acts of Kindness Week

If you didn’t know, yesterday was Random Acts of Kindness Day. I spent the day lounging about the house being kind to myself. After a twelve-day work week and a busy Valentine weekend, I deserved it!

I’ve seen a lot of posts about this being Random Acts of Kindness Week, so I thought I’d put together some ideas of how you can celebrate it. In my classroom we have a poster that my students can earn a sticker for if they are caught doing an act of kindness. Our goal is one hundred acts. Like a lot of things we do in school, they asked if they get rewarded when they reach one hundred. I said, “Yes! You get the reward of knowing you did one hundred kind things!”

They weren’t thrilled about that answer, but I digress.

In our SkirtSports group we’ve had a ton of ladies sharing ambassador gear and all kinds of fun stuff. I love that sometimes our go-to is free things, but I also feel like there’s so much more we can do.

  • Take out someone’s trash/Bring in trashcans.
  • Mow someone’s lawn.
  • Return your/other’s shopping cart.
  • Compliment someone you don’t usually talk to.
  • Smile at a stranger.
  • Open/hold the door for someone.
  • Pay for someone’s coffee.
  • Text a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while.
  • Write a note for a coworker.
  • Clean up a mess you didn’t make.
  • Donate to a charity.
  • Go for a run with a friend.

There are just a few things I can think of that will be sure to brighten someone else’s day.

What can you do this week to make someone smile?

Running Through The Weekend

First off, it’s February! Not only that but it’s February 10th already.

Not quite sure how that happened but we here we are. I mentioned in my last post that I feel like 2020 has been flying by. That has not changed.

Not.

One.

Bit.

Ashley blogged about SLOWING DOWN. And Ash, I’m trying. I really am. But the schedule is packed and I’m not feeling much wiggle room. I’m trying to make time for it all but something always falls by the wayside.

In the past, I’ve pushed running to the back burner but this year is different. I’ve changed my mindset. So my house might be is slightly more messy but I’m taking the opportunities I’m given to run and that’s made a difference in my overall well-being.

This Saturday I returned to The Chili Run for the 4th year in a row. Each year I’ve progressively gotten faster during this 2 mile race and so my goal for this year was to beat last year’s time.

Thanks to race photographer Chad for grabbing this picture of us!

Now ya’ll know me, I’m not one who is ruled by the clock. However, I do know what I’m capable of and this 2 mile course is a great baseline test of where I am fitness wise.

As a quick recap…

2017: 25:16
2018: 24:49 (with a broken arm!)
2019: 23:14

Going into Saturday’s race, I knew at the very least I’d hit 23:13. My training runs have been a good indicator of what I was able to do and I’ve been consistent with cross-training during the week also.

Turtle fam before the start!

The Chili Run is such a popular race that the organizers decided to have two days dedicated to the race. It’s hosted at a local (to me) restaurant, Carolina Blue, and the big draw of this race is that after the 2 miles of hills, there is chili and beer. Not to mention the fact that they’re always upping the ante when it comes to swag. This year all runners got a Boco Gear neck gaiter.

While I was running I decided to listen to Peloton’s Outdoor Run app. Yeah, it was the first time I’d ever done. (Thankfully it worked in my advantage!)

The course is an out and back so I was able to see Lucas as he crushed it. He finished in 17:02

I was surprised when I looked down at my watch at the turn around and saw that I hit my first mile in 10:46. With my previous pace averaging 11:37, I knew that unless something terrible happened in the second mile, my course PR would happen.

Thanks to Deb for grabbing this picture!

I crossed the line with a clock time of 22:16 so I knew I’d done it! Results were posted immediately and shockingly, I hit a chip time of 21:54.

2017: 25:16
2018: 24:49 (with a broken arm!)
2019: 23:14
2020: 21:54

Will 2021 be the year I’m in the 20s? I guess we’ll find out… next year!

I decided last minute to join a group run on Sunday because it was at the Ben Franklin Bridge. I’ve run the bridge before during races but never as a training run.

Nearly 30 runners met at the base of the bridge and off we went! There’s a pedestrian path that goes over the bridge to Philly. The bridge is about a mile and a half over so going there and back equals 3 miles.

My next two races I have coming up are the Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach and the Philly Hot Chocolate 5k so I’ve been keeping steady with my training runs.

Sunday’s run was about getting the miles in and spending time with friends. Both missions were accomplished.

Plus, check out this VIEW!

Changing up the scenery is good and motivating! I’m so glad that I jumped into this run.

This week has more workouts on tap. I’ve got Peloton rides on the agenda, weight training sessions with my trainer, and a visit with the chiropractor for maintenance.

2020 is throwing a lot my way but so far, so good!

Slow Down

 

I’m feeling frustrated tonight, which is why this post is here at *checks watch*…okay, it’s probably late. Lately I’m feeling like I’ve just got too much going on and I’d like to pick only the things I actually like to do, thankyouverymuch.

After my hour commute home today, I sat down at my computer to work on a few things. I’m taking a couple of district courses for an endorsement and I try to get it done early-ish in the week. That means I have more time to do absolutely nothing on the weekend, yay! Only this weekend we are doing an extensive training at work aaaaaand I want all of this stuff done before then. Of course I was met with technical difficulties. That is just how my day seemed to be progressing at this point.

I’m not complaining, though. (Really.)

I love my job and I’m always looking for ways to improve as a teacher. It’s just like I said…lately there feels like SO MUCH to do. This topic is probably more appropriate for my person teaching blog, but I haven’t posted on that in a long, long time. So. Here were are.

My problem is I’m kind of really bad at time management and I forget things. I bought super cute, nifty desk calendar from my best friend Amazon and I am really good at filling things out! Am I good at reading the calendar and doing the work? Jury’s still out, y’all.

So many things to check off.

So, here’s what I’m taking away from tonight and what maybe I want you to also:

It’s okay to slow down. I got so frustrated tonight that I started feeling down on myself for not doing better on my assignments. Look, I haven’t been in school for a long time. I am trying my damn best. It is hard, especially after I spend my day trying to wrangle little humans.

Tonight, instead of hate-studying, I took a nice shower. I scrolled through social media and texted some friends. I sat down to write this cathartic blog post that doesn’t really have a point to it. Often times I turn to books, naps, or even runs to help me gather myself. Mental health is just as important as physical health and it’s so easy to forget that sometimes.

It’s not always easy to slow down. To stop and smell the roses, or whatever that means. Life is busy and we sometimes feel like we have to gogogo or we aren’t making the most of it. Sometimes it’s so nice to just…stop. I live for the weekends when I get to do nothing but curl up with a book, my cats, or my dude and just…nothing. During the school year those little moments feel so few and far between. I seriously bow to those who do it all with children. I’m so tired and I only have cats.

I don’t really know if I’m going to get my coursework done tonight. The more I sit here and write (something I like to do) the more I think that I might just take a pass on it. I should really try to take my own advice sometimes.

I should also be training for the NYC half and a pretty large bridge race I have coming up in a couple of weeks…I’ll get to it.

What’s your favorite way to relax?

(Almost) One Month Down with the 465 Challenge

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the 465 Virtual Challenge 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!

Usually I feel like the memes that are floating around about January.

You know the ones.

And…

But not this year! The first month of 2020 has been flying by for me. Maybe it’s because I’ve been NON-STOP.

We are in the last few days of January and I’m proud to say I’ve been moving all the way through. My training for the Shamrock Half Marathon is going runningly (it’s like swimmingly… you get the idea) and I’ve had a really nice mix of miles on the Peloton, trail, treadmill, and Disney Parks. Yes, those count too.

Because of this, I’m now into loop 3 of the 465 Challenge.

IT says Loop 2 because I need to submit my most recent miles!

Taking part of this challenge has been a really refreshing way to start the year. The Facebook accountability group and cheers from all participating, have been extremely motivating.

A loop is 53 miles and currently I’m at 189.54 miles of intention. Some of these miles have been alone but I know that I always go far with friends so I’ve been meeting up with my running group as much as possible.

If you are looking for motivation, it’s not too late to sign up for the 465 Challenge and join in for February! Head on over and use discount code BIBRAVE to save 10%!