VLOG: September Doo Good Swag

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Scooby-Doo Virtual Race Series 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. Love. Animals.

And I love running. Animals rank higher in the order of things I love but let’s just say that it’s a close call.

Look at these amazing BIBRAVEPUPS! Thanks to Katy over at Run Katy Run for creating this awesome collage!

When our swag from the Scooby Doo Good Run arrived I was so excited! Naturally I used by best PUPPY VOICE to get Gemma hyped up about the unboxing. Was I successful? Well, you can see for yourself…

But that’s not all because during the month of SCOOBTOBER, we get the choice of doing either a 5k or 10k. Now Gemma isn’t ready to do either of those in one shot but we got out there yesterday for our first portion of the run and she was feeling the colder temps! We’re going to continue doing our run over the next week to earn this month’s swag and help out Best Friends Animal Society.

Human swag for October

Dog swag for October if you choose the add on

I am SO excited to put that purple bandanna on her! Purple is her color, after all.

There’s not much time if you want to join in this virtual fun race! Registration for October closes TOMORROW (zoinks!) so be sure to scurry over and register with code BIBRAVE to save 10%. A few people from my local running group are doing the virtual series as well and I’m LOVING seeing pictures of their dogs in their swag. If you are participating too, drop a comment so I can swing by and check out your pups.

 

Race Recap: Chicago Marathon

So. Last Sunday I ran a marathon. This shouldn’t really come as a surprise as I feel it’s all I’ve been able to talk about for the past few months. When I signed up to run the Chicago Marathon with a charity team, I knew I had to do something different than I did when I ran the Space Coast Marathon in 2016. Basically I knew I had to train. If you’ve followed my journey you know I started training earnestly this summer. I live in South Florida, so it basically sucked. I learned so much about myself, what I could do, what I needed to do to take care of myself, how hard marathon training is.

BUT – it definitely paid off.

 

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Post race pic, but I thought I’d start with something happy.

 

Last Thursday I took a half day off work and my mom, sister, and I got ready to fly to Chicago. It was typical hot weather here on the Gulf Coast, with a few showers. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 5:00 and we ended up being delayed until 6:50. It was about 8:30 Chicago time when we landed and we ended up taking a shady cab to the city. I’m not going to go a lot into the city and trip because I feel like there’s so much of the race to talk about, but we had a great time. It’s been sweltering down here recently and the change of weather was nice. Even if it was rainy and cloudy, it was better than suffocating in the heat. A true testament to my taper diet was the fact that I had to try on all my jeans before I packed to make sure they fit. Don’t worry, I also packed leggings…just in case.

We did the sightseeing thing Friday and Saturday, making sure to see the good stuff. We walked the streets, rode an architectural tour boat, and ate some good food. On Friday I met Michelle at the expo so we could pick up our packets. We also picked up some t-shirts, headbands, nuun – the essentials, ha! A lot of you also know that I signed up with the American Heart Association and I finally got to meet the team leaders at the expo. It was nice to talk to them about my story and to finally put a face to their names. I reached my fundraiser goal a week before the race, so that was a huge weight off my shoulders!

Saturday night Michelle and I planned to meet at the hotel restaurant for some last minute carbs, only to find it was closed for a private event. We took the opportunity to go to a pizza place around the corner to grab a slice (okay a whole pizza) and drinks. Beer and pizza seems to be our pre-race ritual, so this was spot on. (We did not get deep dish as it would have taken an hour to cook and I was starving.)

After dinner I went back to my room to prep and make sure everything was ready to go. And to set up my Flat Ash pic, of course. I went to be early, knowing I wouldn’t sleep well. Every time I woke up it felt like I’d been asleep for hours, until my alarm finally went off at 5AM. We’d planned to meet at 6 for breakfast and a walk to Grant Park. Our hotel was full of runners doing the same thing so we hung out a little bit in the warm breakfast area before getting ready to brave the cold.

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I know I said the cold was a relief, but not really when you’re running in a skirt and tank top. Michelle’s brother walked with us to the start line and we parted ways as we got ready to enter our corral. The crowd was already huge and it was only 7AM. Our start time was 8:35! We filed into gear check with everyone, sloshed through the mud, stood in line for the porta-potty, and finally shuffled into our corral. The energy just waiting to start was intense. Everyone was in sweaters and ponchos, taking pictures, and having a good time – in the rain, by the way. I met two Skirt Sport Sisters and chatted for a few minutes before we got shuffled up to the start line.

Our wave finally let out at almost 9AM. It had stopped raining by this time so I’d shed my poncho but kept my sweater for a while. We started out slow and steady, keeping a good pace with everyone around us. I chucked my sweater around Mile 1 because I was starting to warm up. About that time I – literally – ran into my Internet Friend Maura. We’ve known each other on Twitter for years and had been keeping up with each other’s training these past few months. I joked that we would “run” into each other and we did! (She also crushed Chicago, by the way.)

I’m not sure when it started raining again, but I seriously regretted throwing my sweater and poncho when it did. It got cold quick and didn’t let up for a while. Besides the rain, the course at the beginning was great! When you read that there are 1.2 million spectators you can’t really visualize that. But when you finally see all the people on the sidelines it gets a little overwhelming! The first few miles seemed to go pretty fast, even if my running wasn’t that fast. We made sure to stop for water and Gatorade and kept up with our fuel. Seeing so many different parts of the city was so much fun and the people at each turn were different in so many ways.

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At Mile 8 I met another Internet Friend with her amazing sign. We hugged for like two seconds then I ran away.

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By this time it had stopped raining, but I was definitely starting to slow down a little. We’d been running full (kind of ) speed and my body just wasn’t used to it. At Mile 13 my mom and sister were on the sidelines with hugs and a super fun sign for me. (Captain America is my favorite superhero so my mom had a nice Chicago resident make a sign for me.)

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Technically this is an after pic, but whatever.

A little after 15 I started to slow down a lot. I told Michelle to go on without me. I was sad we were getting separated but I just couldn’t keep up with her pace. My hips were killing me and there wasn’t enough BioFreeze in the land to make it stop.

Going on by myself was tough, but I managed. I set my phone to do intervals so I could take some walk breaks. I knew I had to keep a 15:00 pace so every checkpoint I peeked at my app to make sure I was scheduled to finish on time. We had chosen not to track through any running app (I usually use Nike Running) because we were told the GPS would mess up and we didn’t want to kill our phones, knowing we’d need to find everyone at the end. I let my sister and Mer know that I was on my own (and Twitter). Everyone’s encouragement was amazing and I knew that I had to get through it, if not for me it was to not disappoint others. I hate doing that. As we continued to move through the neighborhoods some of the crowds got smaller, but they were still enthusiastic. By this point pedestrians were trying to cross the street in the middle of runners, which I didn’t really care for. I know that life must go on, but some of them were a little reckless. My legs weren’t working that well and I didn’t want an injury when I was so close!

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I remember texting Mer when I was close to the end and visiting one last BioFreeze station. It was basically something like “I just BioFreezed my butt” to lather up my hip. I’m usually pretty modest, but I was dying. At some point it started to sprinkle again and I’d kind of lot track of where I was, mileage wise. There were bananas on the course and I ate a couple in the last few stretches. My friend Lily was tracking me and tweeting my progress, and Mer was texting me encouragement. Without them I probably would’ve ended up walking and not caring about my time. People around me were struggling, but there were still so many people behind us. I always makes me feel better knowing that I’m not the only one suffering!

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When I hit the Mile 26 mark I almost cried. Mostly because there was a big hill at the end and I wanted to die. But also because it was over. As I rounded the hill to come into the finish a girl next to me was crying. I told her “You got this!” and she said “I know, I’m just so happy!”

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That’s a marathon, y’all. It hurts and it sucks. It takes six months of your life and then suddenly none of it matters because you’re there and you’re trying not to cry or throwup or quit. It’s hard. I admire people who do more than one every couple of years. Whether you’re Sir Mo running your sub 5 or you’re me and my crew struggling to keep your 15 minute mile. You’re awesome.

So, back to the race. Coming across the finish line I felt a lot of emotions. I felt strong, tired, hungry, and delirious. Michelle was waiting for me right after medals, so we took pics and got our free beer. We sloshed our way through the mud to get our gear and WALKED DOWN THE STAIRS to get out of Grant Park. My mom and sister were waiting with the crowd outside and we grabbed and Uber with Michelle and her brother. It was fun piling into someone else’s car all gross and smelly for once.

Everything after that is kind of a blur. I took a nice Epsom salt bath while my mom went across the street to grab me food. It was still early in the day, but I stayed in my pajamas and ate a cheeseburger and fries in bed. I answered all my texts and tweets, assuring people that I was still alive in some way. After it all I managed to pack my suitcase to prepare for leaving the next day. I even walked to the Nike store the next day on my own, albeit slowly. My flight was excruciating to say the least. I got stuck with a middle seat and we were pretty much confined to our seats due to turbulence the whole flight. There were some inhuman noises from me once I was able to stand up.

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Once we got home Monday afternoon I didn’t move from the couch. I elevated and binged Brooklyn 99 while my sister brought me things so I would stop moaning and groaning every time I got up.

Everyone at work this week has been amazing. They are all so congratulatory and don’t care how long it took you or if you walked any of the race. Sometimes the kids ask “Did you win?” and you just have to laugh. This past Wednesday my class talked about setting goals and it was really perfect timing! They’d known all year that this was my goal and it was something I got to share with them. As far as my race goals are concerned, I was really hoping for a sub 6. I ended up with a final time of 6:26 and some change. While I didn’t reach my goal, it was still a 33 minute PR! I’m pretty proud of that.

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BioFreeze cheers from my people.

If anyone is thinking about running a marathon, I’d definitely look into Chicago. The course was amazing, the people were great, and the city is beautiful. Even if the runners totally destroyed it.

Thanks to all of you for following this journey and all of your kind words!

Don’t ask me if I’m ready for another one.

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Take Joy Where You Find It

This year, in many ways for may people, has been the worst. As Kyle pointed out on Monday, most of us are in need of a little pick-me-up. Some happiness. Some good cheer. I’ll continue Kyle’s theme, by sharing what happy plans are occupying my thoughts when I’m not yelling at the news, my elected officials, my general acquaintance to vote, or my contractors to finish my house. In other words, I’m almost never not yelling, but still.

Also, PLEASE VOTE.

Aaaaanywayyy, right now, my thoughts are consumed with planning for the Holidays. I know, I’m not usually one of those people, but here we are. Take joy where you find it. And reminder, Christmas is a mere 77 days away, people. I have kinda been prepping for this Christmas since last Christmas when I went a little nuts at Michael’s post holiday sale. Plus, my family has been not so casually mentioning how they can’t wait spend Thanksgiving and Christmas in the mountains at the new house. I say FINE WITH US!

Luckily for them there are TONS of Christmasy activities around the mountains where I live, and my husband and I are going to do alllll the things. When Meri came to visit in August I told her ALL about my plans, of which there are many. It’s a month-long itinerary where folks can pick and chose what they want to do with us, if anything. No pressure, of course. But who could resist stuff like:

  • Holiday Parade the day after Thanksgiving to start things off right
  • Tree cutting and sleigh ride high in the Rockies – I dare you to come up with anything more Christmasy than that
  • Holiday Hike to the Boulder Star – I’ll bring along adult hot cocoa for the top
  • Ice Skating and Pond Hockey – We’ll hike a mile to the pond near the house and pack spiced rum wassail and pasole. (Mine is a hiking/hockey playing family)
  • Cookie Decorating contest with rotating trophy

 

  • Last year’s Boulder Star hike with my sister.

I have more, but I thought I’d start slow. I’m most looking forward to the sleigh ride, tbh.

 

 

Things to Do When Everything Feels Terrible

If you’re like me and have been living in the sadness –> outrage –> dumbfounded –> rage –> sadness cycle for the last couple weeks, this past weekend has probably felt like the worst cherry on top of the shittiest sundae in hell.

Everything is just awful.

I’ll be honest – I thought I’d felt the worst of it after election night in 2016… boy howdy was I wrong. I suppose that, as bad as 2016 felt, there was still a sliver of hope that perhaps our elected officials would protect us from the inevitable insanity of the incoming administration. Now, it’s evident, that they will not – and we will have to live with those consequences for decades. I am incredibly disappointed in the shortsightedness of the leadership in Congress, and my heart is broken for every survivor who has put his or her story into the world and hasn’t been believed, has been laughed at, and has been told their trauma doesn’t matter.

Getting out of this rage cycle has been difficult – and isn’t being made better by the fact that everything else this weekend seems to be imploding too (I’m referring to the Packers, because good grief this game is painful to watch). Football is usually a good way for me to distract myself… but apparently not today. THANKS, GREEN BAY.

So, instead of football, I’m relying on a few other tried-and-true things to help me feel a little less despairing about what is happening in the world.

Baking

This is an easy one – I’m tapping in to my sourdough recipes and making some loaves to share. This particular recipe is actually one from my mom, so it’s special in that way, too. Anything that reminds me of my mama is a good way to make me feel better. Since I’m still alone for another month and half, I can’t eat two loaves of bread by myself in a timely enough fashion, so I’m sharing the fruits of my frustrations with my coworkers. Few things are better than fresh, home-baked bread. That’s a fact.

Westworld

Clay and I watched season one of Westworld when it came out last year (or the year before? I can’t remember.) but when season two started, life was just a bit too hectic to find time to sit down and watch it. I’ve found that’s generally the case with most shows on tv – I’m either too busy, or I’m prioritizing sleep, but I don’t have (or make) time to watch tv when it’s on. So. Clay and I decided to “watch” Westworld together while he’s gone – though he finished season two this weekend, so I’m currently working on catching up. It’s not exactly and uplifting show, but it is REALLY good, so it works for the distraction-from-reality thing.

The Gym

This should come as no surprise to anyone, but the gym is the place I go to take a break. Nearly every day, I know I can go in there and just focus on the work I need to get done. Each workout is a task – and I can just put my head down and grind until I get every task completed. This past week, the gym and the people I work out with have been necessary in finding something positive in every day. Lifting heavy things and getting my heart rate up are also just really good outlets for the aforementioned rage – it’s pretty good fuel when you need it.

Registering to VoteI’m registered, but I’m doing my damnedest to make sure everyone around me is, too. Helping people make a plan to get to the polls or securing their absentee ballots if they will be out of town. Election Day is less than a month away. The only hope I have to hang on to now is that come November, we will see some big changes in Congress. Something has to give – where we are right now is untenable. It won’t happen without people actually showing up to the polls. If we want change, we have to make it ourselves.

Anyways. This post has little to do with running – and I’m sure plenty of readers aren’t interested in hearing (reading) my politics, but avoiding what’s happening right now is a pretty privileged position. I’m not going to give up, even though right now it feels like we are in the darkest timeline.

We may very well be, but to quote Albus Dumbledore, “Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

I’m choosing to find and be a light.

Scooby Doo Good 5k September Recap

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Scooby-Doo Virtual Race Series 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 month of September was packed with adventures and while I accomplished a lot (Bird-in-Hand half, start of Healthy Kids Running Series, getting my children off to school, seeing my parents off to Florida) one of the things that helps to keep me motivated/grounded is getting outside with my best girl, Gemma.

Nearly five years have gone by since we adopted Gemma and one of the main things we looked for when were searching for our new family member was that we wanted an active pup. We definitely got that with her; anytime you even utter the word “walk” or she hears the jingle of her leash, she come flying.

We had mucho amounts of rain in New Jersey the month of September but then the skies finally cleared and we had some nice fall weather. The Scooby Doo Good 5k was the perfect way to welcome fall! With a portion of each registration going to Best Friends Animal Society we were ready to get out there and get moving.

Rather than do the whole 5k at once, we chose to split up the miles over 3 days. And when I say “we” I mean that she did. She’s very good at being the boss.

Kisses after a Scooby Run!

Naturally, we had the best time out there together. We also do! I was rocking my BibRave shirt. I attempted to put my BibRave BUFF®️ on her but she was having none of that. I think she’s holding out for the Scooby bandanna that’s coming her way soon!

While we are done with our September Doo Good 5k, we have more on our agenda with the Scoobtober 5k/10k!

With the start of the spookiest month of the year, Gemma and I are ready to rack up the miles! The swag is looking awesome for this month and we can’t wait for it to arrive. The purple is going to look amazing on her black fur!

Dog swag for October if you choose the add on

Human swag for October

Want to join us in October? Registration is open now through the 20th! I’ll be checking back in over the next few weeks to let you know how it goes for us and maybe even a short video from our run. Oh, and if you register you can use the code “BIBRAVE” to get 10% off registration!

Lots of awesome runners heading to Chicago for the marathon this weekend, including our very own ASHLEY! So excited for you all!

What is your favorite month? Have you ever done a virtual run? Are you running Chicago? Drop your name in a comment and I’ll send you a message!

Girls on the Run is So Much Fun!

At the end of last year I was out on a run (and probably complaining about it on Instagram) when I got a message from a parent from my school. She mentioned that students in her class at the local university were coaching Girls on the Run as part of a class project and thought it would be something I’d like to do at our school.

I had heard about GOTR through social media and a few other things, but hadn’t really thought much about coaching or getting involved. I coached Cross Country at my school last year and that was my first experience with coaching anything, so I was interested to see what GOTR was all about.

We got in touch with the director, met with my principal, and applied for our school to become a site for GOTR over the summer. I also learned that a new teacher we’d hired was previously a coach and would also be interested in coaching…and Girls on the Run was born at my school.

Coach Ashley and Coach Randee in our matching shirts!

There were some logistical things to work out (still are) but we wrapped up our first week on a positive note and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season!

If you’re wondering what Girls on the Run even is, here’s a little information for you about their core values:

  • Recognize our power and responsibility to be intentional in our decision making
  • Embrace our differences and find strength in our connectedness
  • Express joy, optimism and gratitude through our words, thoughts and actions
  • Nurture our physical, emotional and spiritual health
  • Lead with an open heart and assume positive intent
  • Stand up for ourselves and others

Now, I’m a second grade teacher and the program is for 3-5 and 6-8 grade girls. I love these values and everything GOTR stands for. I believe it’s something my school tries to instill in all of our students and I’m so glad we got to bring this program in to help empower some of our girls.

I was nervous about whether or not we would have girls sign up, but we actually had so many that we had to bring in another coach and waitlist some girls for next season. A lot of these girls I’ve known since they were either in kindergarten or second grade, and some of them are my former students. I love the fact that some of my girls signed up because I was the coach, but I truly hope that they learn and grow from this program. What we’ve seen so far has been a lot of fun. The girls are eager to learn and participate in the lessons (even if I’m still learning them too!), they are already helping us problem solve (because it rains in Florida every afternoon), and they are learning how to encourage others. They had fun running inside last week when we had to move for rain and made the most of it!

It’s been one week. Two days! I am so looking forward to seeing these girls grow. I know there are some who will only enhance themselves and their own values, but there are also those that struggle. The older girls are getting to points where everyday is a challenge and there’s always something new to discourage them. Some of these girls are doing a lot of activities and are already learning to make choices about what they are good at and what they want to do. Some of them just need to know that someone is there for them to lend them a positive outlook on life.

The program allows girls to set their own running goals each week as they increase their time spent running and build up their stamina. So far our running has been minimal, but the girls are still having fun and setting goals for themselves.

Kyndall kept us (me) entertained while running and exceeded her run goal.

Presley set a goal and exceeded it. She’s a rockstar!

I’m already loving seeing these girls and their passion for running and fitness, and it’s only been one full week. Like I said, I can’t wait to see what these girls can and will do. I feel privileged to be their coach.

Road Tested: Nuun Immunity

Disclaimer: I received Nuun Immunity 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!

As a teacher staying healthy is pretty much key to do, well, anything. I was really excited when BibRave offered the new Nuun product Nuun Immunity to try! I try all kinds of things to keep me healthy (like crossing my fingers and using hand sanitizer abundantly) during the school year and I was stoked to try this.

I was a little wary of the flavors at first, I’ll be honest. My favorite Nuun is the strawberry lemonade, so that’s normally all I buy. When the citrus and blueberry tangerine showed up, I wasn’t so sure! I tried the citrus first and was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. It reminded me of the lemon-lime flavor I’ve tried before. It took a while before I mustered up the courage for blueberry tangerine, though. I’m not a huge fan of blueberry for reasons I’m not sure about. It grew on me, though. I even tossed it to a co-worker who said she was feeling a little icky last week and she liked it. So, two thumbs up here!

I’m also at the end of my marathon training (AW YEAH IT’S TAPER TIME) and have been drinking Nuun Immunity the day before my long runs and during my long runs to keep me hydrated. I’ve found myself feeling great during most of my runs, even in the South Florida heat. Some of the days are just sweltering and the extra boost from nuun definitely helped get me through some challenging miles.

For the most part, I’ve felt strong and healthy! I can’t say that I’m always one hundred percent because teaching is like bathing in germs, but I’m grateful for the extra boost that Nuun Immunity has given me! And I’ll be taking it to Chicago with me, so stay tuned!

Check out www.nuunlife.com and use HYDRATEBIBPRO for 20% off! Enjoy!

Guest Post: Ana Gets a Medal (and Wine)

I’m back and I’m happy to say I no longer sit the bench on Medal Mondays!

In my previous guest blog, I mentioned registering my sister and I for her first 5K. Looking back, I’m not sure why I did that because she probably hates running more than I do. But if you ever want to learn about someone, you bribe them to do something they don’t like with wine and bling. Oh, the fun we had!

I decided Run the Vineyards Bellview 5k/15k hosted by Good Day for a Run in early September was something we would both laugh through. Assuming the weather would be cooler and the vineyards would be loaded with delectable grapes, I envisioned an entertaining time with awesome big sister.

We had the option of picking up our race packet on the morning of but I couldn’t wait. Our pick up was at Running Co. of Mullica Hill. To my surprise (and my husband’s misfortune), the entire store was 20% off on pick up day! Needless to say, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity for new inserts and adding to my wish list. The packet consisted of our bibs and a shirt. We both opted for a tank top instead of the t-shirt.

My sister and I decided we were going to jog/walk this race at her pace because this was her first outside run. Because we have never run together and often dispute our paces, we decided to figure out the intervals once we started moving. This worked out well for us as race day was about 20 degrees colder than the previous days and it rained the entire time. She was comfortable and I was cold. I wanted to run faster and get it done and she wanted to run slower and enjoy the rain. (I’m starting to believe all the stories they told me about being found in a box as a baby.)

This is when I have to give Good Day for a Run credit for a job well done! It had rained nonstop for days leading up to the race. I received countless emails with course conditions and an updated map of the new course. GDFAR did everything possible to keep the runners safe and maintain the feel of running the vineyards.

With the said, we did better than expected on the first half of the race which was on the road. At the halfway point, there was a super fun DJ and water station. We slowed down here as the path took us through the vineyards on the soggy grass.  At this point we decided it was safer to walk this part. This is when I learned that my sister loves rain and finds being out in the rain sexy. She started making plans on how to train outdoors, when our next 5k should be, etc. The smile on her face was worth every raindrop!

After we crossed the finish line, we headed straight to the area with the medals and souvenir wine glasses. There, we were graciously offered KIND bars, Skinny Pop Popcorn, Bark Thins Chocolate, and bottled water. Every vendor had a smile on their face regardless of the rain. With snacks in hand, we made our way to the wine.

Can we talk about wine for a minute? Remarkable reds, wonderous whites, and everything in between! With your race bib, you get one ticket allowing you to taste up to 8 wines and another for a glass of wine. We also had the option of skipping the tasting and getting 2 glasses of wine instead. If you are ever at Bellview Winery, I recommend you try their warm wine with spices. It was described as Thanksgiving meets Christmas in your mouth. It did not disappoint! With our wine in hand, we visited one of the food trucks which was phenomenal! They even had a video game truck. If it hadn’t rained, this  would have been a great race for family spectators of all ages!

Despite the weather, my sister and I had a great time and. I think I created a 5k monster… and I don’t regret it.

Ana Soley is an entrepreneur who opened her own business with her husband, Fast Response Plumbing, LLC She’s having a great time raising 2 kids and 2 stepkids while trying to keep her humble abode from imploding. Loves the outdoors, kayaking, archery, walking the dogs, and hiking. She’s a big fan of a good sweat but hates running. But loves medals!

Some of My Favorite Things

You guys. Since Clay has been away, I feel like my life is very routine. This is a good thing – I like routine, I thrive in it, I enjoy knowing what my life is going to look like day to day and I really like going to bed early.

That said, my routine means that I’m not doing anything toooo exciting. Work, gym, home, food, bed. The gym is probably the most exciting part of my day. (Because whats NOT exciting about the gym?!) I’m not training for anything specific right now – though the CrossFit Team Series just started and I am participating in that… standby on how much that effs me up.

Since my routine is pretty well set, I’ve been hermiting hardcore. But in that hermitage, I’ve been able to dig in to some of my introverted interests. So, I figured I’d pull an Oprah and share some of my current favorite things with you!

Listen

My Favorite Murder – Murderino here. If you’re like me and you’ve harbored a seemingly taboo interest in the slightly macabre, serial killers, or true crime, Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark are the gals you want to listen to. Every week they share… you guessed it… their favorite murders. They are hilarious and sassy and advocates for mental health, among a great many other things. Dark humor abounds. SSDGM, fam.

Serial – Season three is live y’all! This time, Sarah Koenig and crew head to Cleveland: “A year inside a typical American courthouse. This season we tell you the extraordinary stories of ordinary cases. One courthouse, told week by week.” I’m two episodes deep and it is SO good to be back. I’m ready for more.

Read

The Hate U Give – This might be the most genuine story I’ve ever experienced. I say experienced because it so accurately captures what America has been living through – not just recently, but for a long time.

This book should be required reading. Like “To Kill a Mockingbird” or “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” are required reading for students because of their literary merit and important social and racial commentary, so too is Angie Thomas’ story of race, poverty, gun violence, and learning to use our greatest weapon: our voice.

If you read one book this year, read “The Hate U Give.” I have a copy – borrow mine. It’s too relevant/important/beautiful/horrifying to ignore.

WatchThe Good Place – Holy forking shirtballs. I’m a huuuuge KBell fan, have been since Veronica Mars, and you guys, this show is so good. Creator Mike Schur (of The Office and Parks and Rec) puts Bell’s Eleanor Shellstrop (who is dead) in The Good Place. But is she really? Hilarity ensures.

This show has filled the void Parks and Rec left – it’s hilarious and smart and creative. And Kristen Bell is delightful, per usual, and Ted Danson is Ted Danson. If you’re not watching this, there are two seasons on Netflix, so quit wasting your time and get on it!

The Great British Baking Show – The most pleasant reality competition show to ever exist. There are five seasons on Netflix and each one is just delightful. Not to mention these home bakers create some of the most incredible and delicious-looking bakes. I’m so impressed by their skills and jealous of their kitchen space. And I want Mary Berry to be my grandma.

So, that’s where I’m at these days. When I’m not at work or at the gym, I’m embracing my introvertedness. Fortunately, there are a lot of things to do when being around people is exhausting. What are some of your go-tos?

Countdown to Chicago

Hey! It’s been a hot minute since I’ve jumped on here to share some nonsense. First off, I’m super thankful for the Scoot Chicks and all the amazing things they’ve been sharing. Since school started I don’t feel like I’ve had much to share or much time/energy to do said sharing. As I type, I’m sitting in my pajamas wondering if it’s too late to make coffee. (It totally is.)

Here’s the thing though: CHICAGO IS IN EIGHTEEN DAYS!

I know, I’m freaking out also. I’ve kind of been documenting my training progress here and on Instagram. This past weekend my running buddy and I ran out longest run of our training we’re officially in taper territory now.

To me, this means a couple of things:

  1. I can reclaim Sundays.
  2. My legs will stop hurting everyday.
  3. It’s time to amp up the anxiety.

I haven’t been looking forward to weekends for a long time. Maybe that sounds crazy to some of you who loooooove running, but I am so ready for a little break! My weekday running has seriously been slacking, so the weekend long runs are always challenging. We had a fun (LOL) 18 miles last weekend and this weekend was our 20 miler.

I usually get up about 3:45 on Sundays. Yes, that’s in the AM. Marathon training in the summer months in South Florida has proven to be brutal. I’m pretty sure we’re ready for anything Chicago has to throw at us.

This Sunday was a bit of a dress rehearsal. I wore my American Heart Association tank and my Skirt Sports Jette Skirt in Holiday Print. I got a new pair of Brooks Ghosts before my 18 mile run and I’ve fallen in love. We’ve both been wearing hydration vests for fueling during long runs.  (Did I mention it’s hot here?) I won’t be running Chicago with it, however.

5AM. Ready-ish to rock.

We’ve been doing intervals of two-minute run and thirty-second walks and pacing pretty steadily. We do get off sometimes, but for training purposes we’re mostly worried about the mileage. Once we get to Chicago the adrenaline is going to be pumping and we’ll be ready. I really think that Michelle and I have learned a lot about ourselves from this training. We know that we’re capable of running a marathon, since we’ve done it already, but this feels kind of different, I guess. We’re running a lot smarter than we have in the past and I’m feeling really good about our progress. And we’re having fun. In the end I think that’s what matters most.

We’ve been using McD’s for their bathrooms…and also their OJ.

This weekend started out strong. The route we’ve been using is a little different than what we started with some shorter runs, just because we know we can get the mileage in with no guessing. There are multiple stops on our way for potty breaks and if we need a little boost. I’ve been experimenting with different fueling and trying to find something that doesn’t make me sick afterwards. Lately I’ve been using Stinger Chews and those seem to working well! I always carry a bottle of water and nuun to keep me hydrated also. I like the new route because it’s a little more lively and there’s a bit more to see. I definitely feel safer than I’d been feeling in the past couple of weeks.

I always snap a pic at my alma mater. #GOEAGLES

Once the sun came up on Sunday all of my strength seemed to leave me. Michelle and I both could only think about how heavy our legs had started to feel at about mile 12. It was brutally hot and we still had so many miles to go. A week before our 18 we bailed out early due to knee problems (her) and stomach issues (ew, me) and it was a smart thing to do. There was no way we were doing it this week, though.

SEE YA REAL SOON, CHICAGO.

After I made Michelle take this pic at a bus stop she told me to, and I quote, “Get your ass up and let’s go.” My biggest motivator!

 

We stopped for sodas at about 17.5 miles and the extra sugar kicked helped a little. It wasn’t as great as it was the week before, but it was still fun running down the road with cups of loud ice. Once we made it to the park where we do our final mile, we’d both shed our vests and shirts. We were literally dripping sweat and praying we didn’t run into any students at the park while we were running in our sports bras.

H E L P

So, we finished the 20 miles. It happened and it’s done. It definitely wasn’t the best but I know it won’t define Chicago for me. I’m excited about the course and everything I’ll get to see up there. My family is planning a mini-vacation with a lot of fun things crammed into a few days before and after the marathon.

I’m nervous but also pretty excited because I truly feel prepared for this race. I haven’t been this prepared since I ran my first half marathon and stuck to my training. It wasn’t easy, but we made it! Stay tuned for the recap and to make sure I survived!