Luv for Luvo!

Disclaimer: I received Luvo meals 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! All opinions are my own and no further compensation has been given.

The lazy days of summer haven’t exactly been lazy around these parts. I’m a stay at home mom and while I love having my kids home with me (mostly), means that I’m more “on call” than I am when they’re at school.

It means a lot of swimming, going to parks, visiting the aquarium and the zoo, and of course, the never-ending questions about food. “Can I have a snack?” “When’s lunch?” “What are we having for dinner?” These boys of mine like to eat. They expect to be fed three meals a day and multiple snacks thrown in for good measure!

There are days when we are all in agreement with what to eat, which is absolutely lovely. And then, there are (more often) days when I rattle off about three choices before resorting to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

It’s on those days, I’ve been treating myself to the Luvo meals that I’ve been able to try through BibRave!

Chicken in BBQ Sauce with white chicken, millet grits, and collard greens.

In the past, I’ve shied away from frozen meals because I’ve always found them to be… well, not very tasty. Before opting in for the Luvo meals, I perused the website and was pleasantly surprised.

While I am not vegan, gluten free, nut free, vegetarian, or dairy free, I do appreciate a company that caters to those who are. As for worrying about rather the meals would be tasty, it was a non-issue! The food was flavorful and the texture was how it should be (meaning that the veggies were crisp, the meat was tender, etc.)

Roasted Cauliflower Mac and Cheese (and a clementine, which I added)

My favorite of the bunch was the Roasted Cauliflower Mac and Cheese bowl. It’s cauliflower with brown rice noodles and panko style topping in a creamy sauce. If you’re a label reader, like I am, check out the nutrition facts.

Another Luvo bowl offering is the Chicken Harissa & Chickpeas. I am picky on my spice level and even though it says “a little spice” this was a bit too much for me. Never fear though, my husband came to the rescue and finished the bowl (and liked it just fine, thank you very much).

Chicken Harissa & Chickpeas

Red Wine Braised Beef and Polenta with Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Butternut Squash & Cranberries – yummy!

I attempted to step out of my comfort zone and pick Luvo meals that I wouldn’t normally try, including the Kale Ricotta Ravioli Bowl. It was really good! I wanted to try the Planted Power Bowls too, but sadly neither of my local stores had them in stock.

I heard from other BibRavePros that they were able to track down breakfast meals, which I would have loved to try, but sadly it seems that Luvo is no longer making them.

Kale Ricotta Ravioli – you lost me at Kale but pulled me back in with the Ricotta and Ravioli

These meals are about making good and healthy choices, without sacrificing time with my kiddos. Their 3-2-None philosophy is one that I think we can all get on board with, not only as athletes, but as people looking for the best options for our bodies.

Do you have a favorite quick meal? What do you try to incorporate into your meals? 

Join the BibRave team for the Luvo Healthy Meals Twitter chat on July 18th, 9pm, hashtag #Bibchat! I’ll be there under @scootadoot. It’s always a lot of fun and there will be a couple of Luvo giveaways for a few lucky participants!

Fellow BibRavePros had the opportunity to try Luvo Meals too! Check out their thoughts!

2017 Woodstown, NJ Firecracker 5k

On Father’s Day I was blessed with a gift from my older son, Lucas. Not sure why… but he agreed to do a 4th of July race with me. For anyone who knows me (and my son), you know what a big deal this is because he doesn’t always love the idea of running.

Which, you know, I get, because I didn’t always love the idea of running either.

Way back when: cheering with his little brother at the 4 miler.

At first I tried to sell him on the local 4 miler, the Pitman 4 Miler. When asked if there were hills though, I could not tell a lie. There are hills and lots of them. I’ve run it twice and it’s a thoroughly challenging course!

He quickly put the kibosh on that.

After looking around a bit, I found the Woodstown Firecracker 5k. Small, 20 minutes from home, less than $30 for both of us to run, and from what I could tell, fairly flat. SOLD! We registered immediately.

He planned to train but didn’t train (at all), and when we woke up on race morning, he confessed that his sneakers were shot and he needed new ones (not exactly the ideal time to tell me).

On a wing and a prayer.

The race started at 8am at Marlton Recreation Park, with packet pickup beginning at 6:30am. We arrived at a little after 7 and were immediately able to get our bibs and shirts. After asking where the starting line was (we saw the finish, but not a start), we headed in the direction we were pointed. We saw an arrow sign and figured we’d just line up when we saw other people doing the same. There were a few portapotties but we didn’t need to use them.

Since we arrived early, we wandered around the park and found a few animals. Lucas likes chickens and roosters so he was content just watching them. In fact, I think if I told him we were going to skip the race and just hang out there, he would have been absolutely fine with that.

No such luck, kiddo!

There were 186 participants and the start was actually on the grass (which is why we didn’t see a start line). From the grass line, we were to run toward a path that we’d all eventually go on.

It was a little awkward because we were lined up length wise rather than what I’ve come to expect but it worked out well because people naturally fell into place rather than trying to self-seed. After hearing a few words from the race director, we were off!

The course was about a mile loop around the park, then a mile through a neighborhood, with the third mile being the same as the first but in reverse.

Lucas was unsure with how well he’d be able to do, so I suggested that we run intervals. We ran the first half mile before switching into 30 second intervals of running and walking.

Hanging in the ‘hood, just after the water station.

The first mile and a half were great for Lucas, he was feeling good and was fairly content. Just after the water stop, which was around 1.5 miles, he started getting down on himself.

You guys, I hate to admit this but in the past I’ve not been very supportive when he’s gotten emotional during a race. Which is not okay!

I know that self doubt can be a hell of a thing to deal with and while yes, he should and could have trained more, he didn’t need to hear that from me once we were in the thick of the race.

Before going to the race, I decided that there were only going to be positive affirmations and motivation coming from me toward him while we were running. If he was feeling discouraged, I’d remind him how great he was and what an awesome kid I think he is. Because that’s what he needed in that moment from me and I want him to feel good about himself when he’s running and accomplished when he’s done!

Last mile, running by our chicken friends, who were obviously cheering him on too!

He was not as happy as he appears in this picture, but then again, we runners have that “fake it ’til you make it” smile down pat, amirite?

I tried the best that I could to read him and what he needed to hear from me while we were in the home stretch. I didn’t want to be too strong or inauthentic with my motivating. I asked him his motto for the rest of the race and he started chanting “almost done” about a quarter mile from the finish line. So I joined him and we both chanted “almost done” until we crossed the finish at 41 minutes.

There were no timing mats, instead they kept track by collecting the bottom tab on our bibs. After handing over our information, we were given a bottle of water and continued to walk in order to cool down and get in the shade.

Stayed cool on a hot and humid morning wearing my super cute Minnie Bow tank! You can save 10% at Donna’s etsy shop with the code MRCScootaDoot.

The Woodstown parade was starting after the race was over but we decided to hit the road so I could make us a yummy breakfast. It was the perfect way to start our celebration of America’s birthday. He even told me that he was glad that he did it and he was looking forward to running another race with me.

“Next time, I’ll train…”

Mmmhmm.

What did you do on the 4th of July? How do you motivation someone during a race?

Fall Racing – VA, PA, NJ, and DE

I know, I know. Summer just started. So why, oh why, am I writing about fall racing? Well, quite frankly… I don’t race in the summer and there aren’t all that many races in my area at this time of year.

The one summer race I’m doing is on the 4th of July with my older son. ‘merica!

If a summer race comes along that woos me with fun stuff (wine, amazing medal, friends participating) I’m sure I’ll sign up. That’s just how I roll. Other than that I’ll be embracing summer training (and praying that I don’t melt along the way) in preparation for the fall!

My fall race schedule is filling up and I’m excited to say that it’s mostly with new-t0-me races. Which ones? Oh, so glad you asked…

September 2nd – Vacation Races, Shenandoah Half Marathon (inaugural)

When my awesome friend Rachel was looking for a race and travel buddy for the Shenandoah Half, I was happy to join her! Jenn has raved about Vacation Races as an ambassador (here, here, and here).

While I’m a little nervous for the “challenging uphill course” that the race description boasts, I figure that as long as I am with Rachel, it will be all good! I’ve never run a race in Virginia before and if Ragnar, PA taught me anything it’s that the scenic views from the top will be well worth the hills.

If you’re interested in challenging yourself in Shenandoah Valley, registration can be found here.

September 16th – 17th – Rock n’ Roll Marathon Series, Philadelphia Half Marathon

This is a race that I ran in 2012 and am looking forward to returning to 5 years later! I’ll be honest, the first time that I ran this I didn’t train the way I should have so I struggled through the race. It was a tough one for me so this will hopefully be redemption!

Prior to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Race Series taking over in 2010, it was known as the Philadelphia Distance Run and this will be the 40th consecutive running of the race. Race weekend has been expanded in recent years to include a 5k and 10k (this year is the inaugural 10k) on Saturday, while the half will take place on Sunday. Of course, that means that there’s the opportunity to run more than one race in the weekend. I’m currently floating the possibility of adding another race because GO BIG OR GO HOME, right?

Registration for Rock ‘n Roll Philadelphia can be found here. Which distance would you chose to rock? If you go for the half, the code “BIBRAVE15” will save you $15 until 8/27.

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia race as part of being a BibRave Pro. They’re currently looking for more BibRave Pros so feel free to learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews. You can tell them I sent you!

October 8th – Good Day For a Run, Run the Vineyards Destination Enoteca 5k

While I have not raced this particular location before, I am a huge fan of the Run the Vineyards series! Not only have I run the Run the Vineyards 5 miler twice, I’ve also volunteered with the race series as well. This local series knows what runners want and it’s always a good time to run and then be rewarded with wine and entertainment. And free race photos!

I’m particularly excited for this race because a group of my local friends have registered for it as well, so I know I’ll be seeing lots of familiar faces during the race and after! Without a doubt, it’s going to be a good time.

The space for the Run the Vineyards events is limited (this one is capped at 300 runners) so if you’re interested in registering, earlier is always the key.

October 15th – Run Inspired 10k for Operation Warm

The 10k is my favorite race distance, which is only one of the reasons why I’m pumped to run the Run Inspired 10k.

Winterthur, DE is less than an hour drive from my home in New Jersey and I’m looking forward to my first ever DE race. This is a young race, last year was the inaugural run. The course will be beautiful and challenging through Winterthur’s 1,000-acre natural preserve and it’s one that I’m really looking forward to running.

Run Inspired supports the Operation Warm which distributes coats to local children living in poverty and the thought of that is something that will keep me pushing over those hills during the race. The Finishers Party sounds like it’s going to be amazing too!

If you’re considering running this race, register now to get the Early Bird registration. Prices jump on July 1st! And you can use the code “BIBRAVE” to save 10% on your race entry.

Disclaimer: This is another race that I’ll be running as a BibRave Pro, I received an entry to the Run Inspired 10k through BibRave. Want to learn more the BibRave Pros (ambassador)? Be sure to click the links and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews. You can tell them I sent you!

Will I be seeing any of you in September or October at these races? November and December are usually hectic so I’m actually trying to keep a little less on my plate as far as races are concerned but I’m always open to suggestions!

Road Tested: 2Toms FootShield (with coupon code)

Disclaimer: I received 2Toms FootShield 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! All opinions are my own and no further compensation has been given.

There’s no nice way to say this so I’m just going to…

Runners smell.

We just do. And in the warmer weather, woo-wee, it gets so much worse. Seriously. SO. MUCH. WORSE.

As much as I like working up a good sweat, I am also well aware that people around me don’t want to smell me. Heck, I don’t want to smell me. Plus, extra sweat equals higher chances of chafing and blisters. No thank you!

Must haves at Ragnar – 2Toms FootShield, Knuckle Lights, Road ID

When BibRave mentioned that they were looking for BibRave Pros to test out the 2Toms FootShield, it stands to reason that I jumped at the opportunity. I’ve had my share of blisters from wearing the wrong socks while running and if there’s something on the market that can help keep my feet dry, odor-free, blister free, and happy – I’m definitely interested!

2Toms FootShield was one of the first things in my bag while packing for Ragnar PA. Spending over 35 hours in a van with 5 other people while running can definitely get smelly and I wanted to be sure that I did my part to stay as odor-free as possible.

The roller ball applicator made it easy to roll on my feet and I remained blister free and fresh smelling. (Well, at least my feet did! I used wipes to help the rest of my body.)

What I love about 2Toms is that it’s not just for when I’m running or working out. I’ve been using it while wearing my flats or summer sandals daily and there’s a noticeable difference when I take my shoes off at the end of the day. Is it the jojoba (what a fun word!)? The grape seed? The tea tree oils? All I know is that it works and I like it!

*Warning – foot picture ahead. I know some people are squeamish when it comes to feet.*

Honestly, I think my kids and husband might need bottles of their own. They develop “foot crud” (as they refer to athlete’s foot) and 2Toms FootShield is known for alleviating that! Such a simple fix!

Want to try it out? The bottle costs $15 and the discount code 2Toms20 will save you 20% off online purchases. (expires 9/30/17). Join us at the BibRave 2Toms FootShield Twitter #bibchat on June 27th at 9pm EST.

Oh, and also, BibRave is accepting applications for new BibRave Pros right now! If you’re interested, be sure to click on the link at the top of this post. I’ve been involved a little over half a year now and it’s been a fantastic experience. Love the BibRave community!

SPARK Crew at Ragnar PA

At the beginning of June, I embarked on an adventure that was a long time coming. RAGNAR, PENNSYLVANIA. 

Since I’ve known Cam, she’s been talking about participating in Ragnar Relays and finally, I was able to join her and 10 of our teammates at Ragnar PA. We’ll be writing about the experience as soon as we get our collective act together, but for now, I need to tell you about Momentum Jewelry’s SPARK Crew.

I’ve been a Momentum Jewelry fan since I first saw their wrap bracelets right around the time we began our blog in 2013. A few years ago I was fortunate enough to be chosen as a brand ambassador.

You will never find me without at least one (usually multiple) pieces of their jewelry somewhere on my person. The company’s mission is to inspire and motivate and encouraging you to “living your passion”; that’s something that the jewelry does for me on a daily basis.

It only stands to reason that when I first heard about Momentum’s SPARK Crew, I knew that it would be a great fit with Ragnar. For those of you who don’t know what a Ragar Relay is, it’s when a team of 12 people (or less, if you’re an ultra runner) do a 200(ish) mile relay from point A to point B. It’s about runner camaraderie and “a free-spirited desire to get out there and experience an outdoor adventure with friends.”

Passion, adventure, friendship? Check, check, and check!

My van mates and I decided that we would morph from Ninjas (our team’s theme) into our SPARK Crew gear just before leg 13 of the race.

It was getting close to dark on the first day and we knew that many people would need an extra boost to make it through the night hours. Our task as the SPARK Crew was simple: to share the SPARK(lets) and encourage our fellow runners.

Donning our bright green shirts, we approached folks left and right, handing out the SPARKlets. At first we all felt a little awkward walking up to people but that quickly dissipated once we saw how well received and excited runners were to get the “you got this” SPARKlets.

We briefly explained our mission and wound up having some great conversations along the way. Some teams even gave us little things in return (not at all what we were expecting!).

Proceeding to the next exchange and we continued to hand out SPARKlets there, along with holding on to a few for when we saw someone struggling or just looking like they needed a boost.

We cheered “you got this” out of our van windows to runners as we drove to our next exchange. It became our van’s mantra as we wound our way from the hills of Lancaster to the hills of the Pocono Mountains. Are you sensing a theme here?

If you thought I was kidding about the hills, Ragnar even shared 50 Photos that Show How Ragnarians Tackled the Hills of #RagnarPA on their site. The picture above makes an appearance! But seriously, look at those hills. Insanity.
I loved having the chance to make an awesome experience even more awesome for others. When we push ourselves to our limits, that’s when great things happen. Thanks to Momentum Jewelry and of course, my ninjas. Cam and I will be back more with Ragnar thoughts ASAP. And remember… you got this!

Road Tested: XX2i Bahamas1 Optics Sunnies (with coupon code)

Disclaimer: I received XX2i Bahamas1 Optics to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro, and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! All opinions are my own and no compensation has been provided.

The summer is quickly approaching and with it, the end of school is less than a week away. As a stay at home mom, I have mixed feelings about this because while I’m able to get a lot more accomplished during the school year, I do love summertime with the kids.

The summer bucket list runneth over with fun activities we just don’t have the time, or weather, for during the school year. Lots of swimming in the pool, gardening, going to Six Flags Great Adventure (we have passes this year!), and hopefully lots more.

I feel like the past few months have been a whirlwind of activities and while I know that summer will be as much, if not more so, filled with things – I’m going with the thought process that they’ll be more enjoyable and less stress inducing.

About a month ago we were having a particularly stress filled week and I received a delivery from XX2i! It was the Bahamas1 Optics Sunglasses with tortoise frames. These sunglasses were a reminder to hang on, summer’s just around the bend.

XX2i are traditionally known for their sports sunglasses. Now, when I’m running I need to wear my regular glasses. It’s just a fact that if I want to be able to see and not trip, my vision needs to be 20/20.

However, the Bahamas1 are casual wear and therefore I can rock them when I’m throwing caution to the depth perception wind. Of course, before I could even put them on my face… the boys asked if they could try them.

Two thumbs up from the 12 year old. Lucas says, “I like how they’re brown inside and they’re comfortable. They’re stylish and look good… I look pretty rad with them, huh?”

Gabriel, age 8, says: “The clouds are orange. I like being able to look up at the sky without it hurting my eyes.”

What’s great about these is that even though they’re casual, they still have the polarized lenses which means that there’s little to no glare. I never had that with casual sunnies that I’ve owned in the past (although to be fair, many of my casual sunnies are the cheap ones from the drugstore).

Your eyes can actually sunburn and while I take great precautions when it comes to my skin, I never really thought about my eyes before. For shame! As I get older, I’m trying to get better about doing the little things to protect myself.

In the short month that I’ve had them I’ve worn them in Disney, at a Ragnar relay, and of course, in my yard.

Memorial Day weekend

My favorite time to wear my new sunnies is while I’m relaxing in and around my pool in the backyard. We opened our pool a few weeks ago and since then I’ve been outside nearly every day, whether it for vacuuming the pool, swimming, or the most necessary, being lifeguard/referee for the kids. (Next I need to get a whistle.)

The Bahamas1 are durable and while I try to treat my glasses with care, accidents do happen. These seem like they’ll stand up to the Daniel family lifestyle. However, if they get scratched or damaged, there’s a lifetime warranty!

Personally I’m a fan of the matte tortoise rims but there’s a few to choose from: crystal/black, matte black, and white/black. Which would you choose?

If you’re considering getting a pair of your own, code “xx2irocks” gets you 50% off purchases on XX2i.com. Sweet, right?

Also, mark your calendars! The Twitter BibRave #BibChat with sponsor XX2i is on June 20th! I’ll be there (@scootadoot) and they’re always a good time. Make sure to swing by and say hello!

Check out other BibRavePro reviews: Tedrick – Danielle – Angie – Matt – Vanessa -Nicole – Emily

Wordless Wednesday: June StrideBox

The June StrideBox has arrived! Ever wonder what’s packed into those little boxes of awesome? Wonder no more! (And if you’re interested in grabbing a StrideBox for yourself, there’s a coupon code in honor of Global Running Day down below.)

In honor of Global Running Day, get 50% off the first box today only with coupon code: RunningDay17