Race Recap: 2017 Rock ‘n Roll Philly Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Rock ‘n Roll Philadelphia 2017 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! All opinions are my own.

Way back, when I first started running and doing fitness related activities and prior to Scoot a Doot, I had a blog on tumblr. It was there that I blogged about my third half marathon, the Rock ‘n Roll Philly race back in 2012.

2012 RnR Philly

I haven’t been able to work it into my schedule since and to be honest, I had a tough race so I think I was a bit gun-shy. However, the stars aligned and I was excited to return this year, especially as it was my first race representing BibRave!

Rock ‘n Roll weekends always start with the expo experience, followed by the race. The Philly Rock ‘n Roll Health and Fitness Expo was held at the PA Convention Center in Center City on both Friday and Saturday. Runners are able to pick up their bibs, t-shirts, and other assorted race goodies. If you want to read more about the expo, swing by my last post.

This is the 40th year that this race has been run, having been known prior as the Philadelphia Distance Run.

Saturday morning were the 5k and 10k races. The 10k distance was newly introduced this year; I had friends who ran and had a positive experience.

Sunday morning it was half marathon time. Philadelphia is about a half hour drive from my house/nearby train ride. I chose to take the train and walk a mile to the start line, which is my standard mode of transportation for Philly races.

I always aim to get into the city about an hour before the start of the race and this one started at 7:30, so I made sure to get the train that arrived at 6:30. I knew I would have plenty of time, given that I was in corral 21 (I think there were 24 total).

Once I arrived I tracked down where I needed to go to get my race shirt after the snafu on Friday. Since I had a hydration pack, I decided to stuff it in there, rather than check a bag.

Rock ‘n Roll’s race village is huge and there’s plenty of things to do and see both pre and post race.

I wandered around a bit, chatting with plenty of random people aka new friends and seeing fellow BibRave Pros. Philadelphia’s Rocky Steps, aka the Art Museum, is always the backdrop of big races in Philly and this was no exception.

The race began on time and I casually wandered into my corral, knowing that I wouldn’t be starting for awhile. The announcers were enthusiastic (honestly, if I yelled as much as they do, I would have absolutely no voice!) and they were playing great music to get everyone pumped up.

The first 5 miles of the half course have to be my absolute favorite. I love running in Center City and the energy is always terrific.

From about mile 3.5 to 5 is an out and back stretch along Fairmount Avenue, which I love because you can see the other runners and the cheering from people along this stretch is fantastic. Very motivating and so much fun.

The second part of the course leads you along the Schuykill River on Kelly Drive, across Falls Bridge, and back the other side of the river on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. The miles seem to stretch here and while the scenery is picturesque, this is where I wish they would stack the bands and entertainment.

I appreciate everyone who was out there so much, especially the band who changed the lyrics to The Indigo Girls “Closer to Fine” to “Closer to the Finish Line.”

I knew I wasn’t going to break any personal records during this race so I enjoyed, took my time, and had my phone out nearly the entire time to take pictures and videos along the route.

I made a friend during the last mile that I had been leapfrogging with since mile 10 and we finished the race together, which was really nice!

The medals for this year were money, baby! The half marathon medal was Ben Franklin with a sweatband on his head 13.1 bill. Too funny!

Immediately after the finish line, they were handing out water and a sports drink. Directly after that there was ice cold chocolate milk, which hit the spot! They were also giving out ice cold RnR towels, which was perfect on my neck. There were snacks directly after but unfortunately, juggling everything became a bit of a challenge!

Post-race celebration included the band Big Head Todd and the Monsters (never heard of them before but they were entertaining). There was also a beer garden but I completely forgot about it until I was walking back to the train station. Whomp, whomp.

At least I got a banana phone!

Fun way to kick off fall racing in Philly! From here I have the Run the Vineyards, Destination Enoteca 5k and the Run Inspired 10k in October. Can’t stop, won’t stop!

Rock ‘n Roll Marathon Series Race Expo Philadelphia 2017

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Rock ‘n Roll Philadelphia 2017 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! All opinions are my own.

The 2017 Philadelphia Rock ‘n Roll half marathon is tomorrow; the 5k/10k are happening this morning in mere moments. While thousands of runners will be pounding the pavement today and tomorrow, they’ll also visit the Health and Fitness Expo at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

The expo is free and open to the public so I was able to bring my parents along for the ride into Philadelphia with me. Besides visiting the expo, we also went to Reading Terminal (which is a must do if you’re visiting Philly!).

If you’ve never been to a Rock ‘n Roll expo before, here’s a small taste of what you can expect.

Rock 'n Roll Philly Expo

Signs, signs, everywhere signs. Rock ‘n Roll is great with expo signage.

Rock 'n Roll Philly Expo

Ready. Set. Rock.

Rock 'n Roll Philly Expo

Check in is first. With waiver in hand, you’re able to quickly find the line that matches your corral/bib number. Make sure to bring your identification with you because they will be checking!

If you aren’t able to make it to the expo, you can have a friend pick it up. The friend is able to pick up two packets for “free”, after that there is a $20 charge per packet. There is no mail option, but with more race series having that option, it’s something I know many would appreciate.

Within this section you’re able to visit the corral change area if you feel like you might be able to run faster than the time you originally estimated. I swung by there to move up one corral. I didn’t need to provide any type of proof of time, it was easy.

Rock 'n Roll Philly Expo

Mullet crew – party in the back! Holla!

Section 2 was supposed to hold the t-shirts, bags, and runner tracking.

Unfortunately, the t-shirts got held up on their way to the expo and weren’t there when I arrived when the doors opened. That took me by surprised and we stopped to chat with a volunteer to get the scoop.

She offered a few options: stay until 2pm when the shirts were expected to arrive (no dice, had to be home for the kids), come back to the expo tomorrow (a pricey venture from NJ), OR we could pick it up after the race on Sunday. Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

The Rock ‘n Roll series is usually terrific with communications, but the email regarding this was sent at 11:15 am so we were already in Philadelphia. I know that they aren’t set up for separate shirt distribution at the race so it will be interesting to see how they pull that together. I’ll keep you posted after tomorrow.

Rock 'n Roll Philly Expo

What am I doing here? “Running” for chocolate milk and beer and a medal (and my shirt too).

Rock ‘n Roll Marathon Series sets up huge black curtains, so you have to follow their pattern throughout the room and their sponsored vendors area. It’s a good flow and if you’re looking to buy additional race merchandise, you have ample opportunity.

Buy it here, buy it there, you can buy it everywhere!

Rock 'n Roll Philly Expo

I stopped by here to grab a pace bracelet. I probably won’t stick with a team since I do intervals but I’m always grateful not to have to do running math.

The Rock ‘n Roll expos are bigger than most and there’s many booths and information along the way. Some pertain to me, some do not… but I love looking around and browsing.

Rock 'n Roll Philly Expo

Bringing my parents with me means lots of pictures OF me. I took a moment to write my name on the large signing wall.

I am pumped for running through Philly tomorrow morning. Not so much for the early wake up time but I’m hoping it stays cool and I’m planning on wearing my hydration pack so that I don’t melt. I’m running solo so I’m ready to run by feel – if I feel great, I’ll push it. But if not, I’ll just enjoy the sights and sounds that the Rock ‘n Roll course has to offer!

Keep rocking!

Ready, Set, Go!

This past weekend I didn’t run a race.

However, that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t at a race! I always love volunteering at races whenever possible and the series that I love returning to time after time (I hope you’re singing with me) is the Run the Vineyards events, hosted by Good Day For A Run.

This year I’ve volunteered at three of their races and at each one I’m reminded of how much I love our running community. Most recently, Rachel and I were stationed at the mile 6 water stop of the 15k at the Bellview Winery Good Day For A Run 5k/15k Festival.

We brought along a cheering playlist (made especially for the occasion), a speaker, and a lot of sassy spirit!

It was SO MUCH FUN volunteering. Honestly and truly, if you have the opportunity to get out there and help out a race, you should embrace it fully! We danced, served up many, many cups of water, and cheered for the 250 participants.

So what’s up next for me? This coming weekend is the Rock ‘n Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon. 

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Rock ‘n Roll Philly 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!

And I’m really freaking excited! Because of these medals…

Philadelphia Rock 'n Roll 2017 medal

I’ll be getting the one in the middle.

And this shirt…

Philadelphia Rock 'n Roll 2017 shirt

And running in Philadelphia! I haven’t done a race in Philly since the spring so I’m looking forward to returning and having a rocking time. I don’t think that I’ll be PRing this race but that’s not really the goal this time around for me. The goal is to get out there and have FUN!

Music, after party, beer: it’s like they know me.

Online registration is closed but you are still able to register at the Health and Fitness expo prior to the event.

Then in October I’ll be returning to the Run the Vineyards races, this time as a participant!

A 5k through 2 neighboring vineyards, free pictures, a wineglass award (with a glass of wine), long-sleeved tech shirts, and an after-party with music and food. Um, I feel like I should do this every weekend.

I registered for this race with a group of friends and I know that we’ll have fun because it’s always a party when we’re together.

The weekend following that I’ll be heading down to Winterthur, Delaware for the Run Inspired 10k.

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Run Inspired 10k race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

This is a new to me race that benefits Operation Warm which distributes coats to local children living in poverty. I’ve heard that this course is hilly but I’m looking forward to my favorite distance and also to the after party. Are you sensing a theme here?

I have friends that will be running this race too and it’s always great to see familiar faces along the route. If you want to be one of them, you can register now with the code BIBRAVE to save 10% on a race entry. (And then let me know so I can look for you!)

Fall racing, it’s your turn to shine! Let’s do this.

Road Tested: Stunt Puppy Go Dog Glo Collar

Disclaimer: I received a Stunt Puppy Go Dog Glo Collar 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.

Stunt Puppy Go Dog Glo Dry Collar

In February my best friend, Gemma, and I were able to test out the Stunt Puppy Leash, which we absolutely love. In fact, we love it so much that we recently gifted one to Jenn as a housewarming present. (I’m all about practical housewarming gifts.)

When I caught wind of another opportunity to try a Stunt Puppy item through BibRave, I was definitely interested. Although, when I saw it was a collar, I wasn’t sure that we’d be the right fit. Gemma needs to be on a harness when she’s walking or running; the harness gives me more control over her and she isn’t able to pull. She’s a small but mighty girl!

Once I was able to confirm that we could test it without hooking the leash directly on it, we were in!

Go Dog Glo Dry Collar in action

There were quite a few colors I could pick from when it came to the Go Dog Glo Dry Collar but I knew immediately that the Orange Reflective would really stand out on Gemma. And it does! They also have Yellow Reflective, Pink Reflective, Royal Reflective, Ocean Reflective and Red Reflective; there’s a good variety to choose from.

Orange is one of my favorite colors and it really stands out against her dark coat. Her visibility is important because we are often out in our neighborhood in the early morning hours. It has a 3M Reflective Edgeguard trim along the middle that catches the light at any angle. I use Brilliant Reflective on my clothing, it only makes sense that she has prime visibility as well.

Durability wise, she’s been wearing this collar for a little over a month and the reflective trim has started flecking off a bit near the adjustable buckle.

Not a big deal, but worth noting.

Stunt Puppy designed the Go Dog Glo Dry Collar with flat, quick release buckle collars.

Personally, I’m a fan of buckle collars for dogs because they aren’t able to slip them easily and if for any reason they get caught up on something like a fence or branch, I’m able to quickly and easily open the buckle and release her. It hasn’t happened yet, but better safe than sorry.

The overall feel of the collar is flexible plastic, which is how the collar is stink-proof and waterproof. Miss Gemma has a tendency to roll in disgusting things so this is a great feature for her.

If something smells like death, you can bet that girlfriend is going to drop to the ground and get that death smell all over her. It’s one of her less endearing qualities.

Stunt Puppy Go Dog Glo Dry Collar

Exhausted after a hard morning of running and playing.

The collar also comes with two D rings. One is for a leash and the other is for tags so they don’t get tangled and reduces jingle noise. You might notice that I have neither on Gemma’s collar at the moment. Her tag’s O ring that I use to attach it to a collar broke and as I mentioned earlier, I don’t use the leash directly on the neck collar. Even still, I’ve been happy with the Go Dog Glo Dry Collar and how it’s worked for Gemma.

Gemma and I are in agreement, the Stunt Puppy Go Dog Glo Dry Collar gets two thumbs and 4 paws up from us!

The collar retails for $26.00 If you’re interested in getting it, code BIBRAVE917 will save you 20% off your purchase at https://www.stuntpuppy.com/.

Tonight’s Twitter #BibChat is with Brilliant Reflective (doing my best to be a there!). Stunt Puppy’s #BibChat is happening on Tuesday, September 19th at 9pm EST and I can’t wait because I’m sure that there will be many, many dog pictures. You should join us, Gem and I’ll be snuggling and chatting.

Want to hear more about the Stunt Puppy Go Dog Glo Dry Collar? Swing by BibRavePro’s blogs:

Lindsay

Race Recap: Vacation Races Inaugural Shenandoah Half 2017

A race recap of the Inaugural Shenandoah half marathon, hosted by Vacation Races.

I’ve had my radar focused on Vacation Races for quite some time. Jenn is our resident Vacation Races ambassador and she swoons about their races.

Seriously.

She’s done multiple challenges, including their Rocky Mountain race and Yellowstone race. My plan is to eventually get out to Colorado to run with her. But in the meanwhile…

My local pal, Rachel, received a race entry for herself and a friend after a registration mix-up at the 2016 Yellowstone race. She reached out to me in February with a “What do you typically do over Labor Day weekend” message.

I responded with “Not a whole heck of a lot!”

So then she said, “Let’s take a road trip to Virginia, do this half marathon together, and have a blast!” Well, how could I say no to that? I was in!

Except the code they provided didn’t work! Agh, maybe I wasn’t in?

There was about a week of back and forth emails with a few people being looped in along the way. I’ll be honest, it was frustrating and we even questioned if it would be worth the time and effort (this was after a registration snafu for Rachel the first time around, so you can see why we were disappointed). I was given a few different codes to try before finally being manually entered into the system.

THEN I was officially in. Rachel and I were able to breathe easy once more and looked forward to our September trip.

As our trip grew closer, we ironed out travel details and of course, kept our eyes on the weather. Which wasn’t looking great. Rainy. However, the temperature was cooling considerably and I’d much rather run in 55 degrees than 80. We had high hopes that the rain wouldn’t be too bad.

Rachel drove to NJ from PA and our road trip, which we affectionately called “Meatball Road Trip 2k17 (if you watch Big Brother this season, you’ll understand where this originated) officially commenced.

We talked, sang and car danced all the way down through Delaware, Maryland, and into Virginia. The ride was about 4 hours and we went straight to the expo to grab our shirts and bibs.

Of course, it started to rain, which we were less than impressed with… but it was expected.

Shenandoah Half Marathon expo

Rachel’s face accurately captures our unimpressedness. Why do I look so happy?

The shirt reminds me of St. Patrick’s Day, which is probably when I’ll wear it. Sadly, green is not my color.

Shenandoah Half Shirt 2017

The expo was small but fun. I think we would have spent more time there had it not been raining but we decided to save up our rain time for the half.

Shenandoah Half Expo - Vacation Races

After learning how to turn a t-shirt into a bag (totally going to do this activity with our Cub Scout den), making s’mores, and finding our names on the inaugural Shenandoah design, we took some time to ask a few questions to announcer/race coordinator, Kaelee. She’d run the course in the morning so she was able to give us some pointers and let us know what to look forward to the next day.

We took the time to be tourists and visited Luray Caverns, which was pretty amazing (and of course we commented how cool it would be if we could run through it).

From the get-go we knew we wouldn’t be racing this half. Our mantra was “have fun and get it done.” This was going to be a “mullet crew” experience – as in, a party in the back! No shame! After a delicious dinner we decided to hit the sack, knowing we’d be waking up at 5am.

The race began at 7am and was a point to point race and almost entirely on road, save the first and last 10th of a mile. You could park at either the start or finish and they had school buses to shuttle runners from one point to the other. We decided we’d rather shuttle before the race than after; we parked at the finish and shuttled to the start.

As we made our way from the parking lot to where the shuttles were, it was before sunrise and I found myself wish that I had brought my Knuckle Lights, just to see where we were going. We shuffled to the shuttles and were able to grab the last two seats on the bus heading toward the starting area.

At the start, there was coffee and hot chocolate. They also offered bananas and things like Vaseline and thoughtful touches that runners might find useful.

Just as we got our beverages, huge raindrops started plopping on us. At first, neither of us could comprehend what was happening, our brains weren’t full awake yet! We quickly found shelter nearby and chatted with other runners as we did our best to stay dry. We both had plastic rain ponchos yet neither of us had them on when the rain had started. It caught us all by surprise!

Rain at the Shenandoah Half Marathon.

It’s raining, it’s pouring.

The rain tapered off just in time for the National Anthem and I really loved that this guy got to stand on top of the box truck and hold the flag.

Mother Nature couldn’t decide what she wanted to do – one minute it was drizzling, the next it wasn’t. Rachel and I kept muttering to each other “this is stupid” as we lined up near our pace sign. Seriously, sometimes I question my sanity. My socks were already wet and it was cold! I knew once I started moving I’d be fine, it’s just getting to that point.

There was a guy near the start that was telling us, “It’s just a really long 5k” which made us chuckle.

Sure enough, once we started moving, we were good to go. Actually, really good. Actually, really, really good. As in, we hit the mile marker and were shocked that we were already at a mile.

You guys, this continued for miles 2-8. We would come to a mile marker and be amazed that we got there as quickly as we did. Which, for the record, wasn’t quick; we were having conversational miles. But we were feeling good and powering up the uphills/taking advantage of the downhills.

Virginia was lovely, with lots of local flair that we northerns aren’t accustom to seeing on a daily basis.

Shenandoah Half Course

We saw llamas (or were they alpaca?), plenty of cows, and were graced with the presence of a kitten in the middle of the road near mile 7. This kitten sat smack in the middle of the road and got attention for each and every single runner that came through. He had life all figured out for such a little guy.

If the kitten didn’t have a collar on, I’m pretty sure that Rachel would have a third cat right now.

The aid stations were perfectly placed. Vacation Races is a cup free race, so they offer hydropouches or you can bring your own hydration system. I opted to get a pack (I’ve been considering it for awhile and this was the perfect reason) and ended up not needing to fill the bladder of it at all – it was the perfect amount for the half distance. They had Honey Stingers available at every aid station, as well as cut up bananas and orange slices at the later stations.

At the mile 3 aid station they even had a bin where runners could drop clothes that they’d then drive to the finish line of the race! I didn’t need to take advantage of that but they really seemed to think of everything.

The course was quiet, although it was on an open road so cars were allowed to drive along the course. In the early morning, there was not much traffic. We all looked out for each other, calling “CAR!” when there was a car either behind or coming toward us. Some runners had their earbuds in and couldn’t hear the warning until the cars were right behind them and honking. Yikes!

Locals sat on their porches, watching the spectacle. It was an endless parade of over 1,100 people streaming by. We waved to people as we passed.

The hills were alive with the sounds of music.

I think this was around the time we started singing “HandClap” by Fitz and The Tantrums. The first time. There were multiple times.

Mile 10 onward felt like a continuous uphill. I know that there was some downhill too but I don’t really remember much of that. It just felt like we were constantly climbing. Having looked at the elevation map ahead of time, we knew that it was coming but, whew, my hamstrings and glutes acted like they weren’t made aware of the situation!

You better believe we flew down that last hill!

We turned into Lake Arrowhead Park for the last stretch of the race. The support here was incredible with lots of finishers cheering us. Volunteers pointed us in the right direction since it was along grass and gravel. We turned for the last 10th of a mile and crossed the finish line with huge smiles on our faces!

Shenandoah Half Marathon finishers medals

We did it! Check out those AH-MAZING medals!

Immediately after crossing the finish line we were able to get our medals and our snack boxes that were filled with lots of delicious treats.

From start to finish, this getaway was an awesome! Despite some reservations at the beginning with registration, everything else was absolutely flawless. Vacation Races knows about hosting a quality event and they’ve zeroed in on the things that stand out to runners. I’m grateful to Rachel for inviting me to join her and I’m definitely impressed by Vacation Races!

Inaugural Shenandoah Half medal - Vacation Races #Shenandoahhalf

Next race for me is the Rock ‘n Roll Philadelphia half marathon on September 17th. Then in October I’ll be at Run the Vineyards, Enoteca 5k and Run Inspired 10k in DE (code BibRave saves 10%). Fall racing, you have arrived! What do you have on tap this fall?

Road Tested: AfterShokz Trekz Titanium Wireless Headphones

Disclaimer: I received AfterShokz Trekz Titanium wireless headphones 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.

BibRave - AfterShokz Trek Titanium wireless headphones review from scootadoot.org

Can we talk about this picture?

This is a picture from my half marathon this spring, the Atlantic City April Fools half. I achieved a hard fought PR during that race and when I look at this picture, do you know the first thing I think? (Besides that was a great race!)

Why is there a wire coming out of my nether regions?!

Not that it diminishes any positive vibes I feel toward the race or about my PR. However, dude, seriously? Not the cutest.

Therefore, when I had the opportunity to opt in for the wireless AfterShokz Trekz Titanium headphones I raised both hands in the air… and waved them around like I just didn’t care. And hey, I’m able to do that because there are no wires on my headphones now!

I was curious to see how they would work. As soon as they arrived, I charged them for a couple hours and then they were ready to go.

The AfterShokz Trekz Titanium headphones easily paired with both my iPod and iPhone. Personally, when I’m running I’d rather have it connected to my iPod so I don’t drain my phone battery, even if it means carrying an extra device. However, I do love that it will hook up to my iPhone because they got rid of the headphone jack on the latest phone.

I’ve been wearing them for all sorts of activities: running (obviously), weeding my flower beds, walking the pooch, vacuuming the pool. Anything and everything. With my old earbuds, I’ve accidentally yanked them from my ear during activities. That doesn’t happen with these!

Conclusion: It is so much easier to maneuver with wireless headphones.

AfterShokz are not only wireless but they are bone conduction headphones. What does this mean? Unlike ear buds or headphones that sit on top of the ear, the earpiece of AfterShokz sit in front of the ear, on the bone. How do they work?

Transducers guide mini vibrations through the cheekbones to the inner ears, delivering sound without plugging or covering them. – AfterShokz Technology 

It’s fantastic to have my ears open so that I can be cognizant of the people, cars, and other things around me. I actually stopped doing a lot of my training runs with music because I wanted to be aware of surrounding noises and now I can be while enjoying music.

Since the earpiece sits outside the ear rather than in/on, I wondered if my music and podcasts would be heard by others when I wore them.

For this test, I asked my husband if he could hear what I was listening to while I stood next to him. When I had the sound low, but still able to hear, he wasn’t able to hear much. As I increased the volume, he was able to slightly hear muffled noise of what I was listening to but he said it wasn’t a distraction.

Occasionally when I move the wrong way (bend over to tie a shoelace, for example) I’ve lost the sound for a moment or two. I’m not sure exactly why, maybe the Bluetooth wasn’t able to connect for a moment? Either way, it’s so minimal that it doesn’t pose much of an issue.

Conclusion: You can be aware of your surrounds while running and stay safe, while enjoying music and podcasts. (And also not be rude to others around you!)

Other AfterShokz Trekz Titanium specifics that I found useful (and you might too):

  • they hold six hours of charge before needing to plug in
  • extremely lightweight (so much so that I’ve forgotten they’re on my head a few times!)
  • flexible, durable, and sweatproof
  • you can receive phone calls on them
  • 2 year warranty

Interested in getting a pair of your own? If you order now and use the code FREECASE you can score a BONUS portable storage case (as seen in the video below). On the rare occasions I’m not using my headphones/iPod, this is the perfect place for them to be! (And no more wires in odd places!)

Join us for the Twitter AfterShokz Trekz Titanium #bibchat on Tuesday, August 29nd at 9pm est. Never taken part of a Twitter chat before? Use the hashtag #BibChat and follow along with the questions posted by BibRave and share your responses! I’ll be there as scootadoot so be sure to say hello!

Don’t just take my word for it! Please feel free to swing by other BibRavePros and see what they’re saying.

City Fit Girls Fit Retreat PHL

Every August, some of my favorite local fitness peeps, the City Fit Girls hosts their annual Fit Retreat.

I attended in 2015 and was bummed that I had to skip last year’s event (although I was in Germany, so I suppose that’s a good reason).

2015 City Fit Girls Fit Retreat – held at a makerspace in Fishtown, Philly

This year the stars aligned once again! Tickets sell out fast; when they went on sale in May, I quickly purchased mine. The Fit Retreat has both VIP and General Admission tickets – I opted for the VIP ticket which cost $53.50 this year.

There was a FitRetreat pre-party held on Friday evening with a workout followed by a party at Philadelphia Runner. Those who attended the pre-party were able to pick up their event tank tops and entry wristbands. I was not able to make the Friday night pre-party but I was looking forward to waking up bright and early to spend a Saturday getting sweaty!

A few Run856 friends and I traveled to Philly from South Jersey; we met up and shared a Lyft together which worked out perfectly. We had a group message going so we reminded each other to bring our yoga mats, towels, water bottles, change of clothes, and other little things I might have otherwise forgotten at 7am when my brain is on autopilot. Thank goodness for them!

I am IN LOVE with this year’s tank!

Fit Retreat has grown in size, even from two years ago. This year’s Fit Retreat hosted close to 200 attendees (in 2015 it was around 150) and was held at Independence Live! on Market Street. The location has rotated in the past and it’s fun to see where each year’s event will be held. The doors opened a little past 8am and we all eagerly entered the space.

We were able to peruse the schedule of events prior to the day and I made a list of the classes I wanted to attend. Because of space restrictions, some of the classes were limited so we needed to sign up for those pronto. The workouts were split into 45 minutes sessions in the morning, with the afternoon being a bit more low-key and conversation based.

There was a light breakfast provided by Melanie’s Medleys (YUM), various vendors had booths, and we were welcomed by the founders of City Fit Girls – Kiera and Takia.

Kiera kicking things off.

My morning consisted of The BPM Bootcamp, which was a combination class of AMRAPS (As Many Reps As Possible) and Tabata (which is time based. Example: 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, for 4 rounds). This was a high energy workout and reminded me a lot of the things I do with my personal trainer twice a week.

Jen was my buddy for the morning and we tried some new to us moves (including a downward dog push-up). She and I were hooting and hollering the entire workout. Sweat was flying all over the place! It was great!

The space we had for this and the next session was a bit challenging because there was a desk right smack in the middle of the space. The BPM ladies (Shoshana and Erin) got creative by getting on top of the desk!

BPM came to an end and the rest of our Jersey crew joined our area for Barre with Megan. While not as high energy as the first session, this was intense! We focused on working our legs, core, and hip flexors. I’m pretty sure my muscles were screaming the entire 45 minutes. Holding and pulsing is a big part of barre work and while we didn’t have an actual barre that we were working with, the workout was just as challenging as the barre classes I’ve taken!

Speaking of challenging: throughout the day off the instructors and motivators called attention to doing what you, yourself, are capable of. At a retreat like this, there are so many different fitness levels and rather than worrying about the person beside you, you can and should modify and do what feels good for you.

After barre, Jen, Brandi, and I joined 27 others in Double Shot [Abs + Butt] which I’m sure you can probably guess worked our… Abs and Butt! The ladies from Freehouse Fitness led us through exercises like lunges, squats, twists, band squeezes, and more.

My abs and glutes were already shaking from the earlier workouts but I did my best to show no mercy and try my absolute hardest! I could feel the blood pumping through my veins.

The floor under our mats was really hard and weirdly textured (which you can see in the picture) so that didn’t feel particularly good. Next year I might want to bring a thicker mat or even double up on my yoga mats!

After the third session it was time for… DRINKS! The ladies of City Fit Girls acknowledge and embrace the fact that many of us enjoy a nice drink or two after a couple hours of working out. This year there was not only mimosas but also lemon shrub. I’d never had lemon shrub before but now that I have, I might need to track it down. It was delicious and garnished with mint. Nice and refreshing!

From there it was lunch time and while the line was long and the space a bit squishy, everyone seemed to be in good spirits and living high off the endorphins from the morning’s multiple work outs. The food (catered by Chef Joy Parham) was delicious breakfast tacos! I love breakfast and I love tacos so this was a no-brainer. And there was GUACAMOLE. SO GOOD.

After a dance party with DJ G33K, we all split off into our afternoon sessions.

My afternoon was geared toward the empowerment side of my well-being. I chose to spend the first session with Melissa Alam and learning about brand building. I recently helped establish the nonprofit Bullock Garden Project, Inc. and I knew that I’d pick up tips and tricks for marketing in regards to that and Scoot a Doot, as well. It was great to hear not only Melissa’s ideas but also some of my peers input as well!

My final session was with City Fit Girls founder, Kiera Smalls, regarding Body Positivity. This was an emotional session and one in which I felt a strong connection with my fellow attendees. The time flew by and I was so grateful to end the day’s journey surrounded by the women that chose to be a part of this session.

Without a doubt, the City Fit Girls Fit Retreat is one of my favorite days of the year – it ranks right up there with my birthday and the first day of school. I’m already looking forward to next August! Until then, train hard, brunch harder!