Allstate Hot Chocolate Philadelphia Cancellation

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Allstate Hot Chocolate 5k race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

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

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

That said, yesterday was a rough day.

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

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

Am I bummed? Yeah, I absolutely am.

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s a Wrap: 465 Challenge

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the 465 Virtual Challenge race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Disclaimer: I received Built Bar Protein and Energy as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

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

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

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

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

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

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

He was not even a little bit sorry about this.

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

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

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

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

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

Check out more reviews from BRPs:

Renee
Becky
Kelsey
Riley
Amy
Emily

 

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

Running Through The Weekend

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

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

Not.

One.

Bit.

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

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

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

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

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

As a quick recap…

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

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

Turtle fam before the start!

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

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

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

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

Thanks to Deb for grabbing this picture!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Plus, check out this VIEW!

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

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

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

(Almost) One Month Down with the 465 Challenge

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the 465 Virtual Challenge race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

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

You know the ones.

And…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I Did Peloton Bike For One Week… And Here’s What Happened!

Absolutely NOTHING.

Oh wait, that’s not how those click bait things are supposed to go, are they?

I’m clearly messing this up already.

Let’s try this again. My Peloton Bike arrived a week ago today, January 8th, 2020.

I’ve been dreaming of this for awhile now but the reality set in on Christmas when my husband gifted me the bike. Actually, he gifted me a Peloton hat and water bottle with the promise that the bike would arrive a few weeks later.

A few things to note:

  1. I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve gone to a cycling class.
  2. Actually, I might be able to count on one finger the amount of times I went to a class.
  3. I am beyond a newbie when it comes to this.

I’m also an adrenaline junkie and looking to change up my routine. If you don’t keep track of my every move, I lift weights, I run, and within the past year, I took up hiking.

Additionally, I get nervous about new things because I’m crazy clumsy and always factor that in to my decision-making but eventually curiosity gets the best of me.

WHAT TO EXPECT DURING DELIVERY

We had a great team arrive with my bike, ready to set it up. They gave us a time window of 4-6 and called around 3:30 asking if we were home to receive the delivery.

People, I love punctuality. And in this case, I was on pins and needles WAITING for this delivery so I was even more excited that it was arriving a few minutes early!

The duo quickly set up my bike in the space we’d chosen for it and then gave me a tutorial on adjusting the height and location of the seat and showed me how to set up my profile (um, I might have already done this on the app because I’m a planner).

They made sure I knew how to get on and off the bike, clip my shoes into the pedals, and answered all the questions that I had regarding maintenance and general care.

NOW WHAT?

Remember, I’m brand spanking new to my brand new bike. I was slightly intimidated. But curious. And since I was already on the bike, there was no time like the present to do my first ride.

There are over 240 classes in the Beginner category and based off friends suggestions, I went with the 20 min Beginner Ride with Cody Rigsby for my first ever Peloton bike experience.

It was a blast! I was talking back to my BFF Cody (it was a recorded class) and getting a feel for what it’s all about. My actual BFF, my husband, stood there shaking his head at me the entire 20 minutes and so he didn’t feel bored I had him get me water. And then a few minutes later, a hat.

Before the bike arrived he said he had no interest in using it but I could tell during that first 20 minutes of riding, he’s already considering it.

My second ride was the next day, another 20 minute Beginner Ride with Olivia Amato. I’ve heard of everyone’s favorite instructors and my friends all have differing opinions of who they love the best, so my goal for the first month is trying them all.

I’m still learning what the metrics are but I’m getting the idea!

A friend and I discussed doing a live class together because we didn’t want to be “alone” during our first go. We landed on a 30 min 80s Ride with Leanne Hainsby which was so much fun. I loved Leanne’s energy and her song choices were so much fun. What can I say, I’m an 80s kid, through and through.

THE PELOTON APP

In addition to the rides on the bike, I’ve been making great use of the Peloton App. With it, I’ve done a couple of Fun Walks on my treadmill (I have an adapter so I’m able to see the videos on my television set up). When they say “Fun”, they mean it!

I needed a rest day on Monday with no cardio whatsoever so I tapped into 10 min Restorative Yoga with Aditi Shah and it was incredible. While I’m checking out all of the instructors for the bike, I’ve been drawn to Aditi for mediation and yoga.

My kiddo and I did her 5 minute Sleep Meditation and Sonya and I took a break from non-profit work to do Zen in Ten.

I believe the app has a month free trial and then run $20 a month. If this is something you’ll use on a daily basis, I highly recommend it!

FINAL FIRST THOUGHTS

It’s only been a week but I’ve been on the bike 6 out of 7 days! There are thousands of workouts to choose from and I have a list a mile long of ones that I want to do so I don’t think that I’ll be getting bored any time soon.

Sweaty selfie, complete with fogged glasses.

It’s challenging but you’re able to listen to your own body too. There are times when the instructors suggest a certain resistance and I try to follow their instructions and quickly regret that decision. So I do what I am feeling but I love that I can always push myself a little bit harder.

The metrics that are on the screen help put a numerical value on what you’re doing AKA a ranking. There’s a competitive aspect to it, if you want there to be. You are able to see others who are riding with you and where you land among them.

That’s not what I’m about though and it’s never has been what I’m about. As we were all saying a few years ago, YOU DO YOU.

It’s convenient. I belong to a gym but that’s mainly for weight training and HIIT. I like not having to think all the time when it comes to exercising. My mind races throughout the rest of the day so it’s always nice when I’m exercising to push myself and just listen to someone else tell me what I’m doing.

My biggest challenge? There are two.

  1. Getting out of the pedals at the end of the ride. For the love of Pete, I wish I were joking about this but I’m not. Remember the aforementioned clumsiness? I was so sure I was alone in this struggle but my Instagram buddies assured me that I’m not and that it will become more second-nature as time goes on. Yesterday I was able to do it and nearly threw myself a party. Then I walked from the carpet to the tiled bathroom and nearly slipped on the floor in the dang shoes. *Puts away party hat.*
  2. My tush hurts. Yeah, I said it. It does. I got a gel seat. I hope it helps.

Cheers to 2020!


I have this weird thought that odd years are good and even ones are notoriously bad for me.

Hear me out.

Good things happen in my life in odd years. I could go through a list but I won’t. I started attributing the bad things that were happening in my life to evenness. Which is stupid and totally not a thing until I made it one. It made me loathe even years and let me tell you, a year is a long time to deal with negative thoughts because of a made up problem.

Anyway, I’m done with that.

Because I KNOW that 2020 is going to be amazing.

The momentum that I’ve carried through the last few months of 2019 is going to push me right into 2020, and I am here for it! I feel like I’ve made smart choices in 2019 (including focusing on shorter race distances rather than automatically going for the half marathon) and it’s helped me remain injury free and ready to conquer some new PRs in the new year.

So what races are ahead for the first few months in 2020? Well, pull up a chair and let me tell ya!

january

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the 465 Virtual Challenge race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I’ve spent the month of December streaking, which is something I never, ever thought I’d say again. After streaking through the holidays in 2013 and 2015 I was ready to be done with streaking forever.

But then I started with my 10k steps per day on December 1st and something magical happened… I’ve (mostly) enjoyed it. It’s day 30 and then tomorrow is the last day of this self-imposed challenge.

The reason why this time it’s working so much more is that I’m streaking with steps rather than with running. As an added bonus, I have been running a lot more this month, but I don’t feel like I HAVE to but rather that I GET to.

The 465 Challenge is a virtual event that takes place in January and February. The goal is simple – 53 miles between the two months; walk, run, hike, bike, you name it. Given that I’ve been rocking this December streak, I think that I’m going to carry it into January. Who knows, maybe I’ll even do two loops (53+53= 106 miles).

We don’t have many January races here in New Jersey so this is the perfect way to stay engaged in my training. If you want in, use discount code BIBRAVE to save 10%.

february

This is one of my favorite winter races and I’ll be back again for the February race. It’s a two mile hilly run with great swag and chili and beer and the finish line.

Last year, Rachel and I did this one, I PRed the distance, and then we went on to run 5 miles through the town. I’d like to do that again this year too (the PR and the post-race run).

march

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Yuengling Shamrock 1/2 Marathon 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!

Remember earlier when I mentioned my training? This is what it’s all about! It’s time to reach for a new 1/2 Marathon PR and I hear that this is the place to do it! I’ll be road-tripping down to Virginia Beach for the weekend of March 21st-22nd.

I have been doing my research by reading reviews on BibRave and talking to people about this race. Every single person that I’ve spoken to about Shamrock is a big fan. I’ve heard NO negatives. Not one. It’s been on my bucket list for awhile now and I’m so looking forward to experiencing it for myself.

I’ll be traveling down with my road-trip buddy, Rachel, and there’s a BRP Summit happening that weekend so I’m might explode from excitement. Brace yourselves.

april

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Allstate Hot Chocolate 5k race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

Moving right along, April is my birth month and brings more fun races!

I’m returning for my 4th year at the Allstate Hot Chocolate 5k in Philly. It’s one of my all time favorite Philly races with terrific swag and fantastic people. I’ll be honest, the course is not my favorite location in the city but since I’ve opted for the 5k distance, I know I’ll be ready to go. This is a race I usually do with Ana and this year she’ll be achieving her legacy status!

Furthermore, they’ve added medals to the 5k distance, which is a fun addition. Everyone in my area is usually at this race, it’s a good “starter” event and for those of us who have been running for awhile, it’s a good time too. I never expect to PR at the Hot Chocolate races in time, but in fun it takes the cake! (Or the chocolate!)

If you’re planning on registering for the Philly Allstate Hot Chocolate race, be sure to use code “BRHCPHILLY20 and get your free Hot Chocolate running hat with registration.

Another tried and true one for me, the Atlantic City Marathon Series puts on fantastic events. I love the ease of these races. It’s a quick hour drive, easy parking, and the run is mainly on the board walk.

I’ll be running the 11k distance on April 25th. When I registered, I signed up for this, the Bungalow Beach 5 mile race in June, and a race during their fall weekend. I’m nothing if not a planner and when I saw the special pricing for the three races, and the extra bling for taking part in each of their race weekends, I was in.

Take my money, Atlantic City!

I’ve got my eye on more races in the second half of 2020 (and a few that I’ve registered for). It’s going to be a great EVEN year and I can’t wait to see what’s ahead.

What’s on your calendar for the first few months of the year? What are you doing to ring in the 2020? I’m planning on hanging out with my family and maybe staying awake until 10pm. 

 

I Forgive Myself

Last week I was planning to write about the hikes I’ve done recently.

I didn’t though.

Today’s post was supposed to be about The Light Run.

It isn’t though. Not in the sense I meant it to be.

This time of year is filled with family and winter concerts and get togethers and shopping and wrapping (for both Hanukkah and Christmas) and plans plans plans. And plans that are forgotten until it’s 5:13 on Monday morning and you realize “Oh shit, I was supposed to do xyz for today. And I didn’t.”

I forgive myself.

I forgive myself for the thing that fall by the wayside this December.

I remind myself that there are people who have far greater things to be worried about.

I impress upon myself that not everything has to be perfect and not everything will be perfect. It’s the imperfect that makes me who I am and my family who we are. And that’s okay. Actually, it’s more than okay.

And I hope that as you’re going through your days and maybe struggling a little bit with getting everything done, you are forgiving yourselves too.

Kick off 2020 with the 465 Virtual Challenge!

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the 465 Virtual Challenge race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I know how I’m starting off my 2020! The Inaugural 465 Challenge, here I come.

Or wait, it’s a virtual race, so I’ll just stay put. And run/hike/walk.

Virtual races are a great way to stay on the motivation train, especially in the cold winter months. I’m not a huge fan of run streaks but working toward a set goal is an awesome push and a great way to start the new year.

I’m aiming for a half marathon PR in the spring of 2020 and I know by dangling the metaphoric carrot in front of me, it will help me stay on course when it comes to training.

There are two tiers of registration, depending on what swag you may or may not be interested in:

  1. PREMIUM – $39.99
    465 Challenger Super Soft Finisher Shirt
    465 Race Car Slider Finisher Medal (for first 1,000 registrants)
    Super Cool Bumper Sticker
    Training Program
    Motivational Emails
    Virtual Bib
    Certificate of Completion
  2. BASIC – $24.99
    Super Cool Bumper Sticker
    Training Program
    Motivational Emails
    Virtual Bib
    Certificate of Completion

And of course, if you use discount code BIBRAVE, you’ll save 10%!

What’s the significance of 53 miles? That’s the distance of the loop around Indianapolis!

Can’t run but still want to get in on the moving? That’s perfectly all right – this challenge includes swimming, biking, somersaulting, and everything in between.

Who’s with me?!