East Coast Beat the Blerch 10k

In the past I’ve talked about the differences between North and South Jersey. Besides sports team preferences (don’t tell anyone but I give not one iota about sports), city preferences, and the way you say water, there is also a very vast terrain difference.

Which normally is not a big deal. A non-issue really.

Except if you sign up for a run in North Jersey.

When you’re from South Jersey, you’re used to all smooth sailing with the occasional bump that we call a hill down here. But if you sign up for Beat the Blerch at Lewes Park in Morristown you can expect trails, hills, and rugged terrain.

Which I knew when I registered because my dear friend Sharon hosts the Phillips 5k/10k Trail Run/Walk there each year. I’d seen the pictures.

But um, I sorta forgot.

Until we were driving up a deep winding road to get to the parking and the reluctant runner, Jay, turned to me and asked, “So, what do you think the course will be like?”

Not wanting to lie, I said, “Well, I think we’re in for an adventure.”

It's like Jersey, only NORTH!

It’s like Jersey, only NORTH!

At that point we made our one and only race goal: don’t get hurt.


We want to LIVE.

Solid plan, right? We decided that we would run where we could and just try not to get hurt and/or hurt anyone else. We arrived early (because we are those people, always) and it’s a good thing that we did because there was a bit of a line for the buses to the race site.

This was the first time that Beat the Blerch came to the east coast, based on the popular comic by The Oatmeal (if you haven’t read it, stop reading this and go check it out. Seriously. Go. I’ll wait!) so we expected there to be a few snafus on the inaugural race. And there were, but we rolled with it. Because it’s so much easier and we were going to expend all energy on the course.

The 10k was slotted to start at 9:30 but from what I understand, there was an issue with many people getting there in time for the half marathon (which started at 9am) so they pushed the 10k start time back to 10am. A small wrinkle as a 10k runner, but one that if I were a half marathoner, I would have appreciated.

We used the extra time to hit the line of portapotties. Given the size of the event, they probably should have had twice the amount, at least.

Visiting with the Blerch was a must and he even offered us a seat on the couch. What a great guy!


All races should have free pictures! MAKE IT SO, UNIVERSE.

Just go. I'll catch up. Never.

“Just go. I’ll catch up. Never.”

We somewhat reluctantly made our way to the start (those couches were really comfy) and soon we were off to the sounds of the Lion King and an announcer in a bacon suit. Mmmm, bacon.

Me = optimist Jay = realist

Me = optimist
Jay = realist

Very, very quickly we realized it was survival mode. Game on. We ran when we were able to. We walked when it wasn’t possible (for us – I’m sure those who run trails regularly were just fine). I stuck to the right hand side, trying not to fall off any slopes and also making myself as small as possible as to not be in the way of those who were confident to run.

I watched the trail runners for tips, their toes pointed slightly out and their quick light feet, especially on the downhill. The trails I have run are compacted dirt and this one was filled with roots and rocks so the tripping potential was high.

The trail was gorgeous but I can’t really say that I got the full beauty feel of it because I was busy looking at the ground the majority of the time. It was also very narrow at certain points so unless you decided to run through the brush (some did, I did not), it was very single file.


How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?

While neither Jay or I got hurt, we saw people getting busted up left and right. We saw bloody knees, bloody elbows, sprained wrists, twisted ankles. There were emergency vehicles placed throughout the route and they were being fully utilized.


This was right around mile 3. After I took this pic I ran up the hill because Jay texted me that there was CAKE.

This was right around mile 3. After I took this pic I ran up the hill because Jay texted me that there was CAKE.

The day was gorgeous but I felt a bit dehydrated throughout. Thankfully it was cool enough and the tree coverage made it less of an issue, but the tiny cups at the water stations weren’t doing it for me. The volunteers were trying their hardest to keep everything filled but I don’t think they were prepared for the amount of people coming through.

CAKE, you complete me.

You complete me.

We took a selfie at the stop, hitched up our boot straps and prepared for the second half of the trail.

Note: while I have the earbuds in, there was no tunes. I needed all my senses out there.

Note: while I have the earbuds in, there was no tunes. I needed all my senses out there.

Here’s where things got a little (more) hairy, because the half marathon and 10k routes converged onto one path. I hugged the right as much as possible while walking and made sure to check behind me if I planned to hit the left to run.

I questioned my sanity multiple times. The miles dragged and while I was fine endurance wise, around mile 5 I was ready for the race to be over.

Soon enough, we came to a clearing and we had about a quarter mile to go. At least that’s what the volunteers told me at the bend. My watch lost signal while we were romping around in the mountains (I might be exaggerating slightly but it felt mountainous).


And the Blerch was there, right near the finish line! He quite obviously missed me.beattheblerch8

He tried to sideline me with the offer of a selfie, which I happily accepted. Because when you can take a selfie with the Blerch, even if the finish line is 300 feet away, YOU TAKE IT.


And then I politely said, “Excuse me, I have to go beat you now.”

Me = optim

And then I got my medal and my banana (which tastes really good with Nutella) and the aforementioned Nutella and cake and purple drink.

So the good? The medal, banana, Nutella, cake, and purple drink. And free race pictures! And the Blerch! Also the fact that I didn’t die, fall off a cliff, fall in any which way (and trust me, that was a real possibility for me, the girl who falls often).

The “needs improvement” category is basically just logistics. The Interwebs rumblings are that transportation company that was originally supposed to work the race backed out. There were 6 school buses that were making the rounds for a lot of runners to get to and from the parking lot to the race site.

The line to get to the race was a bit long but bearable.

The line to get from the race site back to the cars was much more tedious.

Additionally, there were just too many people out on the course for the size of the trails. If everyone were going the exact same speed, I don’t think it would have been a problem (or maybe less of a problem?) but it was tough with everyone at different skill levels – it felt very “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”.

But despite all that, I beat the Blerch. And for that I call it a win!


Have you Beat the Blerch? What do you prefer, roads or trails? North or South? East or West?

Thanks for the Journey, Friends!

Somehow, September is over, which means that the 2015 #Journey2aMillion is over. We’re always sad to see the event end because it means our united hearts and legs won’t be working for this great cause until next September.  That said, we’re always so proud of our team and all the hard work they do fundraising and logging miles!


Aren’t these totals unbelievable? Every dollar of that money will go to fund childhood cancer research, helping little warriors fight a fight that no adult should have to face. Every mile we clocked helped contributed to the larger Million Mile community,  and every time we wore yellow, we hopefully brought some awareness into our sphere. Everyone worked so hard, and one even nea nea’d her heart out for donations at the eleventh hour! We are so very grateful to have a team with you guys.  It’s pretty much impossible to find words to show our appreciation for our team, so we give out prizes in a sincere thanks for your participation and generosity.

First off, we have Jenney, aka IrishRedSox77, racked up the most miles with an astounding 158.36! She won a Fitbit One, a anti-microbial workout towel, an a package of yummy Hemp Hearts!


Megan, aka @ritternation, takes home the prize for most funds raised with a whopping $1060.00! Megan, wow! Just WOW! You’ve done it again this year and we THANK YOU. Your epic nae nae moves are now legendary! Megan will receive a copy of Another Mother Runner signed by Dimity McDowell, a Boulder Running Company t-shirt, and a BAMRbands headband!


It was a great event this year, folks! We’ll be back next year with a new team and new yellow outfits to sport on Wednesdays. Best of all, we’ll (and by we I mean us and you) join up to do some good while feeling good together. Because together is always better!

Last Call On Our #Journey2aMillion

We’ve reached the end of September, Team, and you’ve been FANTASTIC. You’ve logged over 1600 miles and raised almost $1400. How awesome are you?!

Last Call

If I could, I’d buy each of you this shirt.


Best. Shirt. Ever.

But we’ve still got a few hours left to get in a run or raise a few more bucks. Get creative!  You can even register your kid’s sports team by adding a “participant without an email address” and log their miles for them. Or log our dog’s miles. If they run with you just double you miles! We won’t tell. Don’t forget to sport your yellow on Instagram today! We may dish out more prizes if you tag your photo #onwednesdayswewearyellow.

donations can be made right up to the very last second, so please pass this link around: www.alexslemonade.org/mypage/1156489

Tomorrow we’ll announce winners of our prizes for the event. Some of the prizes are shown below. Some are not. Some we’ve already given away. All are awesome. You know how we roll.

A peek at the giveaway treasure chest!

A peek at the giveaway treasure chest!


We know we have a wonderful community of folks who support us and our philanthropic efforts. Each year, we are amazed anew at your generosity, commitment, and support. We thank you so very much! <3

Recipe Box: Lemon Chicken Soup

When life gives you lemons, make soup.

Wait, that doesn’t sound right. Actually, it sounds exactly right. Carry on.


Where I live, lemonade weather is fading fast, and soup weather is upon us. So, when I was thinking of a lemon-y recipe post for September, an annual tradition during the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Million Mile Run-Walk-Ride month, this soup immediately sprang to mind.

I first found this recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks, Ellie Krieger’s The Food You Crave. And I really do crave this soup. It’s absolutely perfect anytime, but with the addition of the lemon (and thus Vitamin C), this truly does help me get over a cold. Just in case you want to tuck this one away for the coming season of a certain f-word that we don’t need to talk about.

Lemon Chicken Soup with Orzo from elliekrieger.com

4 teaspoons olive oil
8 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into small chunks
Pinch of salt, plus more to taste
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 ½ cups)
2 stalks celery, diced (about ½ cup)
1 medium carrot, diced (about ½ cup)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup orzo, preferably whole-wheat
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with the salt, add it to the pot, and cook, stirring, a few times, until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a dish and set aside.

Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the pot. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and thyme and cook, stirring, over medium-high heat until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add 5 cups of the broth and bring to a boil. Add the orzo and let simmer until tender, about 8 minutes. Turn the heat down to low to keep the soup hot but not boiling.

Warm the remaining 1 cup broth in a small saucepan until it is hot but not boiling. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs. Gradually whisk the lemon juice into the eggs. Then gradually add the hot broth to the egg-lemon mixture, whisking all the while. Add the mixture to the soup, stirring well until the soup is thickened. Do not let the soup come to a boil. Add the cooked chicken to the soup. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Serves 4
Serving size: 1 ½ cups



The broth is incredibly creamy and flavorful, and I love the whole wheat orzo instead of traditional rice or pasta. Go for the fresh thyme, too, it really makes a difference.

Yay soup! And yay for this month of kicking pediatric cancer in the butt! The month is almost over, but there are still a few days to log miles and make donations. We truly appreciate all of you joining us on this #journey2amillion.

P.S. I can’t take pictures while I cook, it completely messes with my flow. Plus, my 100 year old farmhouse kitchen has terrible lighting, hence the ‘before’ and ‘after’ shots.

Changing it up: Vic’s cross-training chronicles

You may have noticed that I’m not running as much.

Yes, I’m still running, but given the demands of my work life and home life lately – and a somewhat bothersome knee – I’ve been cross training A LOT more.

That means more swimming, hiking, paddling and yes, it even means yoga.

A little HikYoga action with my pal Amy!

A little HikYoga action with my pal Amy!

I have to say guys, I’m loving exploring. Perhaps I was in a bit of a running rut and didn’t even know it. In the last week alone, I went paddleboarding in the bay with a friend, hiked a nearby nature preserve, swam 2,200 yards in the YMCA pool, practiced yoga in the woods then hiked a stunning gorge.

Enjoying the view in this small but mighty town park by my house.

Enjoying the view in this small but mighty town park by my house.

I’m not training for anything. I’m just living life. I’m exploring Rochester, which I have to say, is damn gorgeous.

I fell in love with SUP yoga and went repeatedly this summer.

I fell in love with SUP yoga and went repeatedly this summer.

Sure, I’ve been trying new activities for work – sailboarding, footgolf, SUP yoga. I even tried Taekwondo AND broke a board! You can read more of my articles here.

Hiking through the gorge in Stony Brook State Park near Dansville NY.

Hiking through the gorge in Stony Brook State Park near Dansville NY.

I just went on a HikYoga outing last week, and plan to go target shooting this coming weekend. Stay tuned kids! This could get interesting.

I’ve been enjoying the change of pace, and not being a slave to a marathon training schedule. I even branched out to try my hand at a monthlong yoga challenge, where through a local health club I am posting a daily yoga pose every day in September on my Instagram feed. It’s been interesting and definitely outside my comfort zone, but I am so glad I gave it a shot.

The 30-day #midtownyogachallenge. Day 22: Plank in a waterfall in Grimes Glen.

The 30-day #midtownyogachallenge. Day 22: Plank in a waterfall in Grimes Glen.

Sure, I’m still running. I tackled 4.5 miles last night and witnessed a stunning sunset with my trusty running partner Gary. I’ve been running 4-5 miles at least 3 times a week and even ran a 10-mile race with Oiselle teammate Beth. It was a stunning course through rural Orleans County (including a mile through a fruit farm), albeit I could have done without the 10 am start time on a hot, humid summer day No matter. We’ll be back for sure!

Best race pic ever. We are laughing our butts off since neither of us were well-trained for this race. But we finished.

Best race pic ever. We are laughing our butts off since neither of us were well-trained for this race. But we finished.

Stay tuned for more adventures as we head into the next season. Welcome fall! What activities should I try in the cooler weather?

Are you in an exercise rut? What do you do to change it up? How do you cross train? What activity should I try next? Tell me in the comments!

#Journey2Million Round-Up (Hint, We Still Rock)

We know it’s not news, but Team Scootadoot continues to be amazing! We’ve logged over a thousand miles for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation’s #Journey2aMillion event, and the month is not over yet!


You guys own us. It’s true. To show our love, we’re handing out a few tokens of appreciation!


The event wraps up next week, but we’ve still got 8 days to knock it out of the park. And we will, because we’re awesome like that! If you’d like to join us, it’s not too late to help us make an impact. We’re doing great things together here, folks.



Cooking & Prepping & Eating, It Must Be Fall!

You guys, fall arrives this week! Are you ridiculously excited and on your eleventh Pumpkin Spice Latte? I know, me too! Which is unusual for me, spring is my favorite season followed by summer. Something is different this year, though. With the cooler nights and my garden producing its late-planted bounty, I’ve been cooking and meal prepping and eating A LOT.  I thought I’d share my recent escapades and ask for you to share with me; I’m on the hunt for an amazing pumpkin scone recipe.

Our first garden ever!

Our first garden ever!

For the record, I’m not a great cook but I’m a passable cook. Yes, it’s hard to admit that. I recently told my husband that for me, hearing him make yummy sounds over my cooking is just as important as hearing him make other sounds when, well…you know. It’s a pride thing.

These Spaghetti Squash Fiesta Bowls are a current favorite!

These Spaghetti Squash Fiesta Bowls are a current favorite!

He did make some fantastic yummy sounds when I made my great grandmother’s banana bread recipe for the first time this week. I had never attempted Grandma Maxine’s family favorite but my mom and aunt had with limited success, theirs didn’t turn out as moist as grandma’s. Since I had some ripe (but not super ripe) bananas around, I mustered up the courage to give it a go. I must say it turned out as close to grandma’s as we’ve tasted in 15 years since her passing.


Add the buttermilk when you add the egg and oil.

Looks pretty perfect if I do say so myself.

Looks pretty perfect if I do say so myself.

I’ve been experimenting with meal prep, too. The evenings are so short, and when we’re busy we tend to grab what’s easy. The solution in my house is to make healthy easy stuff we can grab. Well, relatively healthy anyway. I figure if I can at least cut out the preservatives and fake food factor that comes with packaged convenience foods, it’s an improvement. Homemade pizza is always a winner in my house so when I make it, I make a double batch and freeze half of it. Each batch makes two generous sized personal pizzas, and we can each put whatever toppings we want on them. I let the dough rise once, punch it down and put it in a Ziploc freezer back. It may continue to rise a little in the freezer but that’s okay. The night before we want pizza again, I pull out the dough and thaw it in the fridge. When I come home from work I pull out the dough, punch it down, roll it out, and viola! Works like a charm every time.

I like mine with pesto, fresh basil, goat cheese crumbles, and bacon.

I like mine with pesto, fresh basil, goat cheese crumbles, and bacon !

My husband LOVES breakfast burritos, and I always seem to run out of time to pack a lunch. I decided to try making my own breakfast and lunch microwave burritos. For breakfast (disclaimer, NOT healthy), I scrambled eggs, made ranch potatoes, fried up some bacon and shredded some cheese. For lunch, I browned some ground turkey and seasoned it with a packet of organic burrito seasoning. I cooked some brown rice with red chili powder and seasoned salt, and used a can of black beans and a can of corn. After building the burritos, I wrapped them in cellophane and then in foil before putting them in a gallon freezer bag for storage in the freezer. In the morning, they are ready to pull out and toss into our lunch bags. These may not be the most healthy burritos ever, but you can certainly experiment with whatever ingredients you like. I feel better knowing exactly what’s in my burrito, and it’s better than going to the Wendy’s one block from my office which seems to happen way more than it should.

You'll have to pry bacon from my cold, dead hands.

You’ll have to pry bacon from my cold, dead hands.

We add the salsa and hot sauce on the side. Because I’m a wimp.

I’m freezing all the raspberries I harvest from our bushes to make jam, and my mom gave me a TON of Roma tomatoes for making and canning sauce. I have enough zucchini to for fritters and ratatouille, bread and frittatas. I’m determined to use my bread machine constantly this winter. I feel oddly self-sufficient. We’re saving money and I’m being incredibly domestic. Taking a more active role in where my food is coming from and making as much homemade food as I can has been very rewarding so far. Next on the agenda, homemade pasta!


What is your go-to meal prep option? Do you find prepping helps you stay on track with your nutrition goals? Have a favorite recipe to share? Tell me all about it in the comments!