Guest Blogger Series: 4 Months to 5K Chapter 4… Runner Down

Week 4 has not been great.

I lost a beloved aunt on Sunday.

Even so, I planned to run.

Then the cough started and I lost my voice.

Still planned to run.

Then the fever and aches kicked in.

And like that, I’m fighting a horrible bug that’s moving through the house (perks of having a toddler!)

While I’m still not feeling well I’m really thankful it’s not as bad as it could be. This is one of those moments where I have to listen to my body, rest, & recuperate.

Baby Girl had her shots yesterday so she & I are recuperating, resting, & napping.

So, instead of sharing my (nonexistent) runs this week, I figured I’d share some of my favorite all-natural germ-fighting remedies. I’m not a fan of dosing myself up with chemicals so when I’m under the weather I rely on these to get me better quick.

Probiotics

I take a probiotic every morning but when I’m not feeling my best I will take 2 in the morning & 2 in the evening. Stress & lack of sleep will trigger the gut & brain that the immune system is prone to attack. By increasing the healthy bacteria in the gut I’m giving my body the opportunity to fight back by absorbing additional nutrients & increasing serotonin (the feel-good hormones). My go-to vegan probiotic is from NOW Supplements.

 

 

 

Vitamin C

While Vitamin C does not cure colds & viruses, it does help boost the performance of white blood cells, those strong little fighters in our blood system who attack infections. When my WBC’s are in need of a boost, I cut up an orange, lemon, and lime, bring it to a boil in a saucepan with water & fresh garlic (another immunity-booster & infection fighter) and drink it down warm like tea.  Not only is this soothing to my throat, but gives my system the opportunity to fight.

 

Herbal Tea

When I reach for herbal tea there’s only one brand I grab…  T-We Tea!   T-We Tea has a great selection of delicious teas and tisanes with hilarious names and the perfect herbal/floral blends for whatever ails you.  This particular tisane selection is one of my favorites for cold busting.  Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant & anti-inflammatory to help with the fluish body aches.  Lemongrass also is a pain-fighter, while orange peel helps boost the immune system.  Chamomile blossoms are great for relaxation & sleep (much needed when sick) and carrot chips are filled with vitamins (K1, potassium, A, B6 to name a few) that help fight germs & boost the immune system.

 

Warm Mist Humidifier

I’ve been a lifelong asthmatic, so the humidifier has always been a constant in my home.  When I’m sick, I immediately get the warm mist pumping through the air to keep my lungs open and clear.  Since I’m battling the flu, using warm mist also helps to keep my sinuses clear.  What I love about this Levoit brand is that I can add essential oils on a side slot & pad to add to the healing element.  Currently, I have lemongrass and eucalyptus oil for helping to fight my fever.  At night I use some clove and rosemary to detoxify the air and surfaces around the house.  A much better & healthier option (for me) instead of spraying Lysol or using bleach.

 

 

Water

There’s nothing better than increasing your water intake when fighting the flu.  This is a number one essential for fighting any infections.  Water helps break up congestion and gives your body the energy to fight the nasty bug trying to take you down.  It also feels amazing when fighting that cotton-mouth-feverish duo that strikes.  I fill my bottle with ice cubes & drink it down.

 

 

 

 

 

I’m allowing my body and soul time to rest and heal before pushing it again.  Next week, I’ll get back to smashing my goals, not only because I want to, but because I know my auntie would be incredibly proud of me.

What are your go-to natural remedies?  Runners, how do you get back on track after a bad week?  Please reach out to me on social media @NJGardenTeacher & let me know!  (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat)

Get ready for next Friday’s update!

 

Guest Blogger Series: 4 Months to 5K Chapter 3… Dealing with Quitters

So runners…

Week three has been an interesting one.

Running three days a week has been wonderful. I’m serious. Really wonderful. I am shocked… like, REALLY shocked, that I crave it.  I love those moments when I’m able to be lost in my brain where I’m not only working through the jumble of thoughts in my head but I’m able to take in what’s happening at the moment.

The birds flying from tree to tree…

The Beyoncé playing in my ears…

The sock that has apparently decided to quit its ONE JOB and start creeping under my heel to build one cotton lump in my shoe.

That sock is a quitter.

Now my peaceful run has turned into a race between me & THIS. DAMN. SOCK.  Stop, fix it. Great!  I’m back on track!  Nope!  I’m not even halfway through singing “Come on ladies, now let’s get in formation!”  before this sock is sliding off my heel again.

DONE!

I stopped my run, got in the car, took off the shoe, & drove home without it.  I mean, I paid a lot of money for this pack of name brand socks & I can’t run in them? Why is this?

Fast forward to my conversation with Mer. I sat with her and wanted to know all things runner socks. What’s the best brand? Why is this needed? Where do I get them? And most importantly, why is this information not covered in ANY of the how-to-start-running information I scoured the interwebs for?

Where is all of the information about what essential pieces of clothing (and why they are essential) for beginning runners?  Especially for the Athenas like me… with the tatas that require 3 bras to contain the painful bounce.  And underwear!  Why does nothing tell you to not wear those cute little cotton panties when you’re running because your leg creases will chafe and burn from the friction?

Okay, runners… I know you’re a special group of people.  I consider myself one of you now.  But can a sista get some clothing advice?  I’m not trying to pay $128 for a pair of quality leggings (I wanted to scream when I saw that) but also paying $80 for a running bra (that didn’t work) doesn’t sit well either.  It really makes me feel like this area of the clothing industry has quit on us.  It also makes me feel that the running world is missing out on a group of people who really WANT to join it.  Is it possible that this club has quit on us before ever giving us a fair shot?

Luckily, Mer gave me tons of information and resources, and I won’t let a pair (more like five pairs!) of quitter socks get in my way.

What are your ESSENTIALS for comfort?  Please comment below or message me on social media @NJGardenTeacher.

See you Friday!

 

Guest Blogger Series: 4 Months to 5k Chapter 2… When Your Health Has Other Plans

One year ago today, everything changed.

I had experienced back pain for years.  So many years, I honestly can’t remember not having back pain.  I always chalked it up to the consequence of getting older & all of those gymnastic days/car accidents/falling incidents (yeah..I’m a klutz) of my youth.  Being a teacher, spending long days on my feet on floors with no more than carpeting or tile on top of cement didn’t help. Also, carrying all that extra weight was not helping, and I knew it. However, it was normal to me.

Then I started having trouble standing.

And walking.

And gardening.

And I couldn’t stand and teach a 20-minute lesson without stopping and attempting to stretch out my back.

And I couldn’t walk my students down the hallway without pain that made me want to cry.  

I knew something was truly wrong.

On January 7th, 2019 I had an appointment with a doctor whose specialty is spinal injuries.  She couldn’t even complete her evaluation due to the pain I was in from the tasks she needed me to do.  As the tears were rolling down my cheeks, she told me she was putting me on bed rest until she could review the results of my x-rays and MRI.  

Two weeks later she put me on bed rest for three months & gave me a referral for physical therapy.  She also told me that I had extensive nerve damage along with adult-onset scoliosis and I would most likely end up in a wheelchair within 6-12 months.  

What?!?  

No.

Luckily for me, my Aries personality does not like being told what to do or what will happen to me.  I believe in being the captain of this ship, and no one controls its destiny except me. That prognosis was not going to be my destiny. 

Time for a rewrite.

I did my research.  I went to physical therapy.  I followed (and still follow) every single directive, and then some.  A wheelchair, at this time in my life, was not going to be my destination…

Here I am, January 7th, 2020, and I just ran 1.5 miles on the treadmill, with a 40% incline, at a steady speed of 3.2.  Granted, it took a little over 20 minutes but what a wonderful victory! I am so proud of me and so grateful and thankful to the universe for not only being in this place where I was not supposed to be but for also blessing me with that stubborn, determined personality.  I don’t care if I’m labeled an Athena, or if my pace is slow, or what people may think of me. My story is mine to write and in this story, I am unstoppable.

Here I come 5K…

Click here to see Chapter 1.

You can find Sonya (NJGardenTeacher) on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

Guest Blogger Series: 4 Months to 5K Chapter 1… Not a Resolution. Just the way it’s gotta be.

I’m not exactly the kind of person who does New Year resolutions I feel like setting them just ensures your failure. However, I have set some serious goals for myself for 2020. 

In my younger years (and I’m talking young as in teenager young) I used to run. I was very athletic and loved the freedom that running gave me. After I had my son at age 21, running definitely fell by the wayside and I started picking up a lot of pounds. 

You may call that baby weight. I know I called that baby weight. My baby is 27 now… and I am still carrying that baby weight. 

I’ve decided to commit to discovering what I loved about running again. In the past 6 months, I have lost over 50 pounds in the quest to run again.

Although some people may consider this the easy way (trust me it wasn’t) I had vertical gastric sleeve surgery in February 2019. Because I have been blessed with the wonderful autoimmune disease, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and hypothyroidism, the struggle to drop the pounds is real. But, a goal without a plan is just a wish, and one of the main goals I had set for myself after the surgery was to run a 5k. 

Since my weight loss has not been as dramatic as I thought it would be, I had to pick myself up by my sneaker laces and figure out how I was going to achieve this goal. Setting a goal for running is much easier when you have friends who also run. I’m thankful to have such a wonderful friend in Scoot a Doot’s own Mer because she always encourages me and celebrates my small victories with the same (or sometimes bigger) excitement as she does large victories. She knew I wanted to get back to running. I happened to be talking to her about my goals on the phone today and somehow wound up signing up for the Hot Chocolate 5K in Philly on April 4th

Immediately after I messaged her to tell her I signed up, I was really concerned because I haven’t run since October.

Then suddenly it popped in my head… Get out there and run. Now the weather today is not the best. It’s cold. It’s raining. And I have natural hair. If you don’t know, raining does NOT go well with natural hair. (PS – I also hate cold weather!)

However, I got out there in the best running outfit I could put together, drove to my local park, and did the None-to-Run Week 1, Workout 1 interval walk-and-run for 30 minutes. There were times I could run a little more and there were times where I skipped the short-run and opted for the walk. 

Most importantly, I got out there and did it. It was far from pretty or quick, but I said to myself if you can do this on a day that is cold, rainy, and you know you’re going to get soaked, then you can do this no matter what. Guess what I discovered? I can do this, no matter what. 

Wish you could see this soaked Athena in the freezing rain?  Well, your wish has been granted!  See you next Friday!

You can find Sonya (NJGardenTeacher) on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Scoot a Doot’s 6th Blogaversary (+giveaway!)

We are so pumped to be celebrating 6 years of Scoot!

We’ve got a vlog, we’ve got our four pillars: fitness, food, friends, and fun… AND we’ve got a sweet, sweet giveaway! Watch the video to see what’s in the prize pack for one lucky winner (trust us, you’ll want to win).

After you watch us chat with you, click on the image below to enter! We’ll check to make sure the entry is legit and then announce the winner via social media channels on 2/6/19: Facebook, IG stories, Twitter.

 

 

Chick Chat – Where We Play

Growing up in Alaska taught me a lot. Primarily that being outside is better than being inside about 98% of the time. Like, inside is literally only better when its so cold outside your body parts freeze, but even then… just put on warmer clothes. I don’t know.

Alaska is full of so many cool things.

Consequently, I enjoy being outside for nearly all of my fun activities. Hiking, running, working out – you name it. If I can be outside, I’m a happy camper, in some cases literally. There’s really not a better place to start a conversation about where we play than The Great Land. In Alaska, I was lucky to have a mountain to climb literally out my front door and plenty of other trails to explore just minutes away.

In fact, one of my favorite training runs ever was back home. I did a 20-miler around Eklutna Lake, a glacial-fed body of water not far from my parents’ old home and a frequent recreational area for us. The park has a campground, biking trails, hiking trails, cabins, kayaking… you name it. I did my run in late August (early Fall in Alaska) and the weather was absolutely perfect. Sunny and cool but not cold. My parents rode their bikes alongside me. I put my feet in the icy water when I finished.

20 miles around Eklutna Lake? #AlaskaFTW

In Virginia, I tried to take advantage of our proximity to Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge mountains. Clay and I went hiking as often as we could when we still lived out east.

Having recently moved cross-country to Southern California, I’m finding myself taken by how beautiful this area is. We are maybe 15 minutes from the beach and I can see the coastline from our house. We haven’t been able to get out and hike here at all yet, but we have gotten to workout outside, which is something new!

Lifting barbells and doing burpees outside in the sunshine (when it’s not oppressively hot) is pretty amazing! I’m looking forward to exploring more of what SoCal has to offer in the years to come.

As a born and raised Florida girl there are a ton of places where I love to workout and play in, but also a lot of places I’ve yet to see! Most days I tend to be a homebody. I like the comfort of my couch, books, and cats. When I’m training or need to go for a run, my neighborhood works pretty well. I lived in an apartment for over ten years, but bought my first house almost two years ago. My neighborhood is a quiet little place that’s perfect for late afternoon runs. It’s fun getting to know new routes and waving to all my neighbors. And also meeting new friends.

I love this guy.

I spend a lot of time at school, teaching and coaching, and the rest of the time commuting. I live in Southwest Florida and, well, snowbirds. A lot of the time I get home too late to run so I like to find little parks or areas to pop into for a quick couple of miles. It’s fun and gets the job done. Also, when I’m out in “in the wild” I can’t just walk home. I’ve got to finish what I started.

  

 

Palm trees and sunshine for days.

School is definitely another place I workout and play. I play everyday with my students, but also with my Girls on the Run girls. They keep me young and I get to yell at them and pretend it’s motivation!

My classroom is one of my favorite places.


I try to always be on the lookout for new places in the area to workout or play in. My family frequents Disney and Universal parks, too, though most of the working out there is walking, dodging other park goers, and standing in line. Oh, and eating ice cream. Obviously. (Okay, and posing for silly pics.)

With Grete in Epcot.

I try as hard as I can to take advantage of all the amazing places to play near me. The Intermountain West has SO MUCH TO OFFER that it’s sometimes hard to choose where to go. Whether I’m running or hiking, I’m all about scenery and luckily scenery isn’t a problem here in Colorado. Most recently, I hiked a few miles of the Sourdough Trail with my sister as part of our #52HikeChallenge goal.

It was a perfect day for a hike. The temp was around 42, and the trails were not too snowy, icy, or crowded. Even though I had my microspikes sitting by the door I forgot to grab them, but I was fine with snow shoe poles.

The view from the top.

It is always so quiet and peaceful, and that is what I love about being on the trails. All you can hear is the wind blowing through the tops of the pine trees. It’s incredibly therapeutic. So much so that I forgot to turn on my GPS until we turned around, so double this and reverse it. Technology seems out of place here.

I love playing in the mountains because sometimes you also see cute animal butts and jaw-dropping sunsets.

When we first started discussing this “where we play” post, I was excited! During the warmer months, you’ll find me outside more often than not. I’m a fan of fresh air and the wind in my hair.

In my neck of the woods, New Jersey, I’m really lucky to live in a development that’s surrounded by farmers fields. If you walk out my door and head down the road a quarter of a mile during the warmer months, we have corn, squash, and a variety of other crops.

Not even two miles away is a vineyard. I have yet to run there but that is on my bucket list. (Maybe I’ll Uber home.) Good Day for a Run holds a Run the Vineyards race there each spring and I either run or volunteer each year. With it being so close to home, how could I not?

Last winter and this one, I’ve been hibernate. I actually love running in the cold weather and one of my favorite places to run is the boardwalk. But I’m still a bit of a Nervous Nelly with winter and ice after breaking my arm last January.

So yeah, lately where I play has mainly been inside. I’ve been sticking to treadmill running in my basement and training at the gym. It doesn’t produce nearly as interesting Instagram photos as the great outdoors but it works for me!

Tell us about where you love to run/hang out!

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!

Guest Post: Oops! I Did It Again!

Last time you all heard from me I was complaining about how I hate running. Well, don’t you worry… not much has changed. But let me explain what happened.

So one day, I was minding my business when my buddy, Meri, sent me a text about the Philly Hot Chocolate 15k/5k. Without hesitation I agreed to do the 5k. My excited 6 year old self immediately turned to my husband and said, “I’m doing a Hot Chocolate 5K in Philly with Meridith!” He spontaneously laughed out loud and said, “Why? You hate running.” My response was simple. “They give you chocolate and marshmallows as you’re running,” and I proceeded to walked out of the room like a boss.

For those of you not local, the Philly Hot Chocolate run was in early April and last winter was frigid and forever long. But I wanted chocolate and had to train. Therefore, I ran laps inside my house (which is not big at all). I ran up and down the stairs to better my cardio! I even ran outside when the temperature hit 40! Could I have trained harder? Of course, but that’s all I had because I hate running with my soul.

Now, if you want to hear all the details about how we got there, weather conditions, etc, read Meri’s blog. She’s great at that kind of stuff. I’m going to tell you what I learned.

I run for swag. That’s right, I said it. I’m in it for the swag! I can’t explain how excited I was to receive my first race packet in the mail. I open up the envelope to find a drawstring bag, sturdy enough for multiple uses, stuffed with my goodies. The first goody I pulled out was the super warm purple shirt. Next I pulled out my first bib, which I was ecstatic about. 

And FINALLY, the hat that almost never happened. You see, Meri was kind enough to share a code that would award me a hat. Being who I am, I forgot to enter the code during check out. A few seconds after the infamous Homer Simpson palm to the forehead “D’OH”, I sent an email to the magical beings that host these events. I was thrilled with the quick response and generous accommodation for my error. Great customer support!

I have the best friends in the world and I love running with them. Meri didn’t have to run with me at all and I would still love her, but she did. As we patiently waited for our start, she planned out our run asking what intervals I would like to try first.

We started with 1:1 (one minute run one minute walk) which I quickly grew impatient with. We moved up to 2:1 which worked better for me. I’m not sure if it was the intervals, the chocolate, the great crowd, or Meri’s company but I really had a great time.

The run did not feel like torture and I did not dread the next mile nor the last. I have tried running the same intervals at home and it isn’t the same. I love running with a buddy. Maybe it’s the distraction. Maybe it’s the laughs. Or maybe it’s both. Either way, I had a great time and would have run 4 miles that day….OK let’s not get crazy. Strike that.


Lesson Number Three was not realized until Sunday night and affirmed last month when summer arrived. I don’t mind running in cool weather. Actually, I prefer it. Over the years, I have avoided outdoor activities once it get below 55 degrees because I am ALWAYS cold! Don’t get me wrong, I was layered up for the Philly Hot Chocolate 5K, but it was tolerable. Actually it was enjoyable. Now that  I have experienced cold weather running, I no longer fear it.

Lesson Number Four,  I WILL BE RUNNING THIS RACE EVERY YEAR! Where else can you go that they hand you chocolate and marshmallows as you run? Not the cheap Halloween candy kind either! And after you run? You get hot chocolate, fudge, a banana, pretzels, and a Rice Crispy Treat in a nifty little bowl! Jackpot! If you haven’t experienced this race, you should!

Someone once told me that “Everyday you learn something new”. Well, this race taught me five lessons. What’s the fifth lesson you ask? Getting to that.

That I’m a glutton for punishment and signed up for the Run the Vineyards – Good Day for a Run 15K/5K in September. Don’t worry… I signed up my sister too! Maybe both of us will start to like running one day? In the meantime, I have to figure out how to tolerate running in this humidity. YUCK!

Want to join Meri and Ana at the Philadelphia Hot Chocolate Race on April 6th? You should register NOW because the code FALL2018 saves you $5 through tonight, 8/10 at 11:59pm CST. AND, don’t forget to use the code BRHCPhilly to get a free phone armband!

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, as can be determined by this blog post as well as her previous one!

What We Do When We’re Not Scooting

It’s hard to believe but Scoot a Doot has been in existence since 2013! When we aren’t Scooting our Doots, we can be found putting our time and effort toward other notable endeavors. Like what, you ask? Well…

A few years ago I got involved with the Bullock Children’s Garden at my younger son’s school. We have since moved to a different school district but remain involved with the Bullock Garden, as it’s something that is near and dear to my heart.

Therefore when my friend and gardening mentor, Sonya Harris started the Bullock Garden Project, Inc., a non-profit that assists in bringing gardens to schools, I was 100% on board. In fact, we just helped the new school my son is in with their Reimagination Garden. I absolutely love being on the board of the BGP and helping with the social media/marketing aspects. It’s not only personally enjoyable, it’s also rewarding to see the kids getting so much from the gardens that they help create.

My children during the recent garden build. At this point they’re just like – what has mom signed us up for now? Ha!

I’ve been asked (by more than one person) if I’m a teacher. Maybe it’s because many of my friends are teachers? Anyway, no, I’m not.

At least, not in the traditional sense. I used to teach Stroller Strides, which was a workout class for moms with kiddos in strollers. These days, I’m the coordinator for the non-profit Healthy Kids Running Series – Mullica Hill/Mantua.

It’s perfect because it combines two things that I love: running and kids. Oh, and being in charge. The Healthy Kids Running Series is something I’d heard about over the years (my location started in 2015 with different coordinators).

When I took over as coordinator for this spring, it became a family affair. It is not a one-person show and I have no delusions that I could do it alone. My support system consists of my family and an awesome group of volunteers and sponsors – and that’s important when you have over 250 kids to manage!

Planning for the fall has already begun and I’m looking forward to introducing more kids to the love of running!

I started a personal blog when I turned thirty. I wrote about life, teaching, books, and my new found running obsession. When I started writing for Scoot, I turned it into a blog about teaching. There’s always plenty to say about the best job ever. My feelings are all over thisgirlashteaches.blospot.com.

I also grew from that blog been writing and rambling about books for about three years. I’ve always loved to read and I also love to talk about books. I could talk about books all day. Of course, not everyone wants to hear me wax poetic about what I’m reading, so I started typing is all up. You can find my randomness at www.thisgirlashreadsstuff.com. As you can see, I’m really serious about it.

For my birthday this month, I decided to fundraise for Planned Parenthood. PP is doing work that so many women (and men) in our country depend on for their overall health. They provide safe access to abortion services as well as birth control, STI/STD screenings, cancer screenings, pregnancy tests, and treatment for a number of other health issues.


The Trump Administration is working hard to take access to this healthcare away from us. With a new gag rule, he and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar are now trying to make it official government policy. The gag rule is an attempt to take away women’s basic rights. Period. The new gag-rule announced this week would block patients from care at Planned Parenthood, and it would prohibit medical providers across the country from being able to refer their patients for safe, legal abortion.Women must be able to have agency over their bodies and be able to control their own health. We don’t live in Gilead… yet. Let’s keep fighting to make sure we never do.
Parkland. Santa Fe. Las Vegas. Newtown. Columbine. Virginia Tech. Thurston. 
This list goes on and on and on. Add these to the growing number of black men and women that have been unlawfully killed by police? It’s evident we have a gun violence problem in our country. I’m ready to change that. Don’t at me. 
For years, my main hobby was showing dogs and educating folks about responsible dog ownership and ethical breeding. It was a fun ride, but as my dogs aged and my hubby and I got sick and tired of the politics of showing, we retired and stepped away from our officer roles with the Rocky Mountain Pug Dog Club. It was time to try new things.

Me and my Archie, CH Palace’s Brocade in Blue, raking in the points!

Honestly, 97% of my time these days is dedicated to finishing my house. The other three percent is reserved for pursuing my dream of becoming a published author, and leading the writing critique group I co-founded, Tall Pines Fiction Writers. We meet every other Wednesday to support, commiserate, and provide feedback on one another’s work. I didn’t always know I wanted to be a writer. I love reading and excelled in English and literature classes in school but never tried to write fiction. My boyfriend (now husband) kept telling me I should write because I love to read. He didn’t really get that the two are not the same thing at all.

In 2009, I decided to write a short story for a contest online. I sent it off, nervous because I knew my technical skills needed a lot of work.  With the help of a great editor who became one of my best friends, I won the canon category of the contest! Yes, it was a Twilight fan fiction story. Judge me all you want, I regret nothing. It sounds silly, but winning that contest changed my life. It taught me that maybe I had what it took to really be a writer. Since then, I’ve published two short stories!

There is nothing quite so special as seeing your name in print in a real book that wasn’t published by your friend’s indie publishing house.

Right now, I’m focused on finishing the first draft of my young adult paranormal sci-fi novel, and trying to learn about the publishing business. I launched a website earlier this year,  Author J.L. Perez, where you can follow along on my crazy writing adventure, and I’m on Twitter at @Author_JLPerez. I’d love to see you over there!
That’s what we’ve got going on these days! We’d love to hear about what you are up to so please, leave links for us in the comments and we’ll swing by. 

Chick Chat: First Race Ever

We didn’t choose the running life, the running life chose us!

Actually, that’s not true. I think that anyone can tell you that it’s a decision, and sometimes a struggle to get out there day after day, year after year and run.

It’s a love/hate relationship. There are times when it’s awesome and there’s other times when it sucks and we dread every minute of it. But being that it’s Valentine’s Day, we are going to focus on love and share our very first race experiences with you.


When I started training with C25K (Couch to 5K) in the summer of 2013 I’d signed up for a The Color Run with some friends. There were three of us that would be running our first race together so we kept up with each other on Facebook and through texts to see how our progress was going. Before we got to the race in which we would get colored cornstarch thrown all over us, we found a different race.

The local fire department supports a charity each year and does a Pink Heals 5K, so we figured we’d go for it. We’d all done the training and we were ready. Right?

Well, yeah. Right.

This bridge! I’ve been back to it at least four times with different races. Still gets me.

The race was in October so the weather was, well, I live in Florida so it was warm and muggy. I was feeling pretty confident, especially being surrounded by all of my friends. There was no pressure, really. It was the first time for a lot of us and we thought of it as a “practice run” (get it?) for our upcoming race. The course was simple: down the street, over the bridge, and back. Only…I didn’t train for bridges! I remember feeling so defeated because I ended up walking some of the bridge and hating that it was happening.

When all was said and done, though, I felt such a great sense of accomplishment. I was also sore and having my first experience of being rungry. It’s a thing, okay? Looking back, I am so glad I had those friends to train and run with. Having support for a sport that is about mind over matter, truly matter.

My training buddies! I could not (and still don’t) do it without them!

I have a really hard time coming up with my first race. I honestly can’t remember what the very first running race I ever did was… I would have been very little, probably running alongside my mom, in some local 5k in Anchorage. That was just my childhood – running with mom, doing triathlons, cross country skiing, playing basketball.

Having said all of that, as a kid I also didn’t like running. Like, at all. It made me tired, there wasn’t a whole lot of “fun” in it, I wasn’t scoring points… yeah. It was lame. My mom dragged me out there and I complained the whole time (until I could horse-to-the-barn back to the car when we were almost done).

I ran as training for basketball in college – still hated it. I ran after basketball (still in college) to kind of stay in shape – it just made me feel really OUT of shape.

I graduated college, realized that I missed being fit and strong and decided that running was an easy way to find those things again. So I started on the treadmill in my friends’ basement, ran at the gym, cleaned up my diet, ran outside, and finally decided to sign up for a race.

In 2012, I’d just moved back in with my parents and was making the most of the comfortable Alaskan running weather and knew that the Run for Women – a five-miler – was right around the corner. I hadn’t run a race in a long time and really felt as though I could run this one and feel good about it.

And I DID feel good about it! I had signed up alone, but about a half mile into the race found a friend of my mom’s and ran with her for a bit. After a while, we split up, but I felt comfortable and confident and by the time I crossed the finish line I’d not only enjoyed myself, but I done so much better than I thought I would. After I got home that morning, I told my mom I wanted to run a half marathon… and that was that.


It was 2013 and the Color Run was all the rage, so when some friends asked me if I wanted to join their team, Team Scrambled Legs, for the Denver Color Run, I was IN! I trained using Couch to 5k, too, and my team mates were much faster than me. I remember finding them before the start was the most stressful part of the race.

Not only was it the best team name ever, but it was a great intro to road racing. I was slow as usual, but it didn’t matter. I think my time was around 42 minutes. I was hoping to be closer to 35 minutes but meh. I had fun, got dirty, and gave a little girl my gumball necklace. It was a crowded race, and aside from the BOLDER Boulder and Run Disney events, I tend to stay away from big race crowds.

Running through Denver City Park is always enjoyable, the  park is gorgeous and the weather that day was warm. My husband, saint that he is, got up with me and made the 45 minute drive to the race start. That day, he became my personal race photographer.

I think I might be the only person in that photo who still runs. When I ran that race, I never dreamed I’d run a half marathon. Five years later I’m planning to finish my 10th half this year, and embark on lots of trail adventures. Looking back, it’s great to see how far I, and my running goals, have come!

My very first race was a 5k. But not just any ol’ 5k. It was the Down and Dirty Obstacle Race in Philadelphia.

The year was 2011 and while I’d been working out for a few years before that with Stroller Strides, 2011 is the year I started running. I’d begun training on my treadmill during the spring and by the summer event, I thought that I’d be absolutely FINE.

I was absolutely wrong.

Why am I smiling? I don’t know.

The hilly, rough terrain running was honestly the least of my problems. You guys, the obstacles… the first one was a low wall which I not-so-gracefully threw myself over and landed on my knees.

However, I had Cam with me for this race so while I might have been ill-prepared for the obstacles, I had a really good time! Well, not a good time, but we entertained each other and made sure we both survived.

My husband was a spectator, so he snagged a few pictures of obstacles that I was actually able to conquer and not hurt myself on.

Up and over!

This felt a lot more steep than it looks here.

It was a tough, tough race but I had the determination to finish and then sign up for another race, the Rothman 8k, about 4 months later.

After the Down and Dirty, on my old tumblr, I wrote:

Something I learned this weekend is that it’s always important to challenge yourself because you hold yourself to a higher level of achievement each time. Things get easier every time you do them and that’s when you have to kick it up to the next step.

Also? I’m pretty freaking bad ass.

We love you! Tell us about YOUR first race ever? Was it love at first run or did it take some time to settle into the relationship?