An Attitude of Gratitude

I don’t know about you, but lately things have been kind of stressful. I’ve noticed with a lot of my friends, in real life and social media, that life is just…rough.

I get it. I posted a couple of weeks ago about struggling with some weight gain, not wanting to work out, and so on and so forth…

Although it’s already November, I feel like 2019 has been a million years long!

It’s easy to focus on things like that, though. Being in a rut is something some people never get out of and I know, for me, it takes a lot of willpower to get out of it. I’ve been thinking a little more lately, however, about trying to be thankful instead of…meh.

Life is definitely not easy. We live in a time where all we see and hear is bad news and sometimes that is truly discouraging. There is always suffering, there is always pain…but there’s also always hope.

Why is it so easy to forget that? It’s so easy to forget to be hopeful? To be grateful? 

I mean, we moan and complain about things that disappoint us on a daily basis, right? Why don’t we do that for things that make us happy! I don’t even mean talking to people about it, or tweeting, Facebook-ing, or Instagramming it. Just us, alone. Talking to our closest friends maybe. Why is it so easy to focus on what pisses us off rather than what makes our hearts happy?

That is something I really want to focus on for the rest of 2019 and into 2020. Life is good, y’all. Any day I get to wake up under the roof I’m able to pay for, go to the job I love, and be with the ones who care about me, I should be grateful…and so should you be. I started a gratitude journal a while back, but never got passed a day. I’m going to make a conscientious effort to do it every day. Or every other day. Once a week? I’m a work in progress, guys.

So, today, Veterans Day, let’s be grateful.

XOXO

 

 

 

Fun in the Sun – Key West Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Key West Half 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!

Did someone say destination race?

I’ve heard nothing but good things about the Key West Half Marathon & 5K and I was totally stoked when it was offered through BibRave! Like I said in my write up of the Sarasota Half Marathon, I’m always looking for destination races that are close to my destination!

Florida may be hot and muggy right now, but I can’t wait for January to run this course! I haven’t been to Key West in ages but a race seems like the perfect reason to go!

This race comes with a ton of perks that you can check out over at the website. Some of the amazing things waiting for you at this race is an awesome finisher medal, live music, a super cool shirt, and unlimited free beer.

Yeah, you read that right. Not only do you get to visit and run Key West, but you get free beer (and drink specials during race weekend).

 

The course looks like an easy there-and-back with some great views and sights to see. I guarantee you’ll love watching the sunrise at mile 2 because that’s my favorite part of race morning! Trust me, this does not look like a race you want to miss!

Check out this swag you can grab!

If you’re interested, register soon! Prices increase on the first of each month leading up to race day. You can save 20% on the have with the code BIBRAVE20!

 

Race Recap: First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the First Watch Sarasota Half 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.

When I signed up for this race through BibRave I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I’ve ran a handful of half marathons, was looking for something close to home, and here was this fun coastal race! It helps that it’s sponsored by First Watch, which is my favorite place to brunch after training runs.

I convinced my running buddy to sign up with me and, because she’s such a good friend, she did. There was, of course, the fact that we got to run over a nice sized bridge. Neither one of us are crazy about bridges. We did try to train for this race, and wanted to work in some bridge work, but our best laid plans never really work out. Life got busy and our longest training run was only a 6-miler.

Little did we know that it would all work out just fine.

The night before the race I was prepping to go to bed early. We’d decided to drive up to Sarasota on race morning to save a little cash and not spend too much time away from home. As I was putting the finishes touches on some classwork, Michelle texted me an updated from the race’s official Facebook page saying that the half marathon had been…cancelled.

Well, that put a wrench in our plans!

Some further updates stated that the half marathon and relay had been cancelled, but runners were still welcome to run the 10K, though it was going to end up being a pretty pricey 10K for some.

We decided to just go with our original plan and do the 10K, so I got up at about 3AM and headed to meet Michelle. The drive is a little over and hour and we got there with plenty of time to get our packets and hang out awhile without feeling rushed. There were still a lot of people there and I was grateful that so many still wanted to run! We didn’t get a lot of details about why the half was cancelled, and I know there were people wondering because I was one of them!

I ran into another BibRave Pro at the start and we took a picture and chatted for a bit before the race started. We’d decided to do intervals because that’s what we were comfortable with. It was obviously still dark when we started, but you could definitely tell that the course was going to be a great one. As a native Floridian, I absolutely love the ocean view, even when I’m running a race I can’t help but stop and look at it sometimes.

We started off pretty strong for girls who hadn’t run in a few weeks and were feeling good despite the early morning heat. Once we reached the John Ringling Bridge, things…were still okay? We did a bit of walking up the bridge, but coasted down easily (of course). That was the biggest thing we were worried about and it turned out to be pretty fun! Expect on the way back when our legs were feeling a little like jelly.

As the sun came up, that view started to get to me and I had to stop and snap a few pictures. You can never have too many sunrise-over-the-water pictures, in my opinion.

 

The rest of the race went well, and we even made a few friends on the course. We met another Skirt Sports ambassador and laughed with a few runners about how we didn’t have to run a half marathon and how everyone who signed up for the half and relay got a FULL REFUND!

Once we crossed the finish line we stopped for some pictures on the water and then headed to grab some food. Since First Watch sponsored, I knew there would be some goodness waiting for us and they did not disappoint. We met up with the other pros and took a few more pictures before taking a visit to the beer garden because runners drink beer at 9AM, obviously.

The pizza box is just random. Not ours.

All in all, it was a good race. I know there will still be a lot of speculation about the cancellation, but offering a refund to runners is a big deal. I feel like it was handled very well. I’d love to revisit this race again.

Maybe next time I’ll actually earn that half marathon medal.

Meh.

I been thinking all day with what to post about, so here it is. We usually like to have our posts ready in the morning and I’m usually pretty good at that, but you can probably guess what I’m going to say about it all:

I’m struggling, y’all.

It’s normally around this time of the school year (the beginning) that the teachers start to look a little less bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and a lot more…stressed and tired as hell. Well, I say “normally” and “the beginning” but in reality we’re like that all year round. Teaching is great and rewarding, but also hard and stressful as hell. I feel like the consensus down my hallway is…tired. We’re all just tired. It’s been a rough year and it’s only October. We’ve got a long way to go.

Right now we’re in the early stages of Girls on the Run, which is two days a week. I love coaching the girls and Michelle and I have a great group this season. A few of the girls are my former students and it’s so much fun to watch them grow and learn in this program. While the girls are learning about positive body image and running their little hearts out…I’m trying to get it together.

My workouts and running have seriously declined since school started. Michelle and I were doing a good job of completing some long runs on the weekends to get ready for a few races we have coming, but that’s stopped too. Real life keeps getting in the way: families, trips, other engagements, life.

Last year at this time I was recovering from Chicago and getting my life back from six months of marathon training. I feel like I’ve taken this year off to “find my love of running” again. I’ve done a race every month this year and it’s been a lot of fun to just kind of get out there every once in a while, run a 5K, grab a medal and an Instagram pic and be done with it. We’ve got a couple of big races coming up through the rest of the year and I know I need to get my head on straight, especially if I’m going to be running a trail Ragnar in a month and a half.

I’m definitely looking forward to getting things back on track, but I’m also still trying to figure out the “how” of it all. I know it all starts with me and that I’m the only one that can control my actions. Sometimes I’d like to have someone follow me around and slap snacks out of my hands or tell me to workout or run!

It’s not always perfect, but I know I’ll get there one day. It feels like a lot of my posts are about how I can’t get my fitness life together, so if you are a struggler, just know you’re not alone!

Any tips for getting back on track? Comment them below!

First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon, Here I Come!

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the First Watch Sarasota Half 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!

I am so excited to be running the First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon in a couple of weeks! I signed up for the race through BibRave and I can’t wait to check out this new-to-me course through Sarasota.

I’m always looking for races close to me and this one checks all the boxes.  The course is right on the water and, as a native Floridian, I’m a sucker for an ocean view. I’ve been training for the past few weeks with my trusty run buddy, Michelle. We haven’t gotten too high in our mileage but we’ve also been busy during the weekends. On this day last year we were running Chicago, but this year’s training has been kind of slow going. I’m not minding it, though!

This course looks great, despite running over the John Ringling Causeway. There aren’t a lot of places to run over bridges around here so I’m definitely not feeling prepared for that. I know that, no matter what, it’ll be a great race. I haven’t run a half since April, but I’m looking forward to trying something new as my race for this month!

The swag looks great, and I’m also excited that the race is partner with Girls on the Run! As a GOTR coach I’m happy to hear that the race will be giving a portion of their registration fees to Girls on the Run, a great program for young girls.

This race is super easy to sign up for, and you can use the code BRSARASOTA19 for $10 off the half and $5 off the relay. I hope you check it out!

 

Gearing Up for the Allstate Hot Chocolate Tampa 15K

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Allstate Hot Chocolate 15k 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 am so excited to be representing BibRave at this year’s Hot Chocolate 15K in Tampa on December 15th! I’ve never ran one of these races before, but I’ve seen so many of my friends on social media and it looks amazing! I’m running the race in Tampa, which is just a couple of hours away from me, so I’m definitely stoked for a little mini-vacation in December!

Recently I’ve started training for the Sarasota Half Marathon at the end of October, so being in training mode will hopefully beneficial! The course for the Tampa race is right on the water and it looks similar to the Gasparilla 15K I’ve done in the past, which is a course I love!

If you haven’t ran a Hot Chocolate race (like me), you are seriously missing out on some swag! I’m seriously excited for some of this stuff!

I cannot wait to snack on this!

Check out this tasty medal!

 

This fleece is adorable!

 

Like I said, I’m really excited about this race and I hope people in the Tampa area are ready to party in December!

Use the code BRHCTAMPA19 a free Hot Chocolate running hat

Road Tested: FBOMB Macadamia Nut Butters (Part Two)

Disclaimer: I received a 16 pack of FBOMB Macadamia Nut Butters 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!

Hey, you’re not seeing double! Like Mer said in her post about the yummy FBOMB Nut Butters, I had the pleasure of testing them too. Let me tell you, if you’re looking for something quick and tasty, you need to check this product out.

I’ve been back at work for just over a month now, so that means I’m just really tired and cranky. It also means I’m not really working out or running because of the aforementioned tired and cranky stuff. I got FMBOMB at a perfect time because I’m back to meal prepping and getting back on track with eating at designated times. Summer kind of leaves me to my own devices which is basically crunchy snacks, okay?

The FBOMB came in four flavors, all with the macadamia base. I’ll admit that the coconut one was definitely my favorite, but I adore most things coconut. At first I was trying them with simple things: on fruit and rice cakes. Eventually I branched out and tried a smoothie bowl like Mer, but I’m not big into blending my fruit so it turned out to be more like “FBOMB cereal”. It was still tasty, however. No complaints from me.

I love that this is perfect for on-the-go snacks. It doesn’t have to be a big production. My drive to and from school can sometimes be up to an hour long and a little FBOMB is a great way to keep me satisfied on the long ride. I also showed up to a few meetings at school with a little FBOMB because snacks are almost always needed when I have to sit, be good, and listen.

Lesson planning with a little Macadamia Pecan!

I’ve totally enjoyed grabbing one of this tasty things whenever I’m in need of a pick-me-up or just need a quick snack. No prep required! Like I said, if you’re into something tasty and quick, give FBOMB a try!

*If you’re interested in trying these out, use code BRP10 to save 10% off the 16-count FBOMB Nut Butter Variety Pack on their website.*

Looking Ahead (At Races)

I loved reading Mer’s post about writing her actual post and how she finished it on Monday morning instead of Sunday night like she usually does. I’m sure I’ve said it before, but we usually have a “schedule” for posts. It’s pretty simple, really. Of course, when you’re like me and you literally have no schedule…the schedule kind of gets away from you. Point being: I’m a day late. Oops?

Summer, for me, is kind of coming to a close soon. I’m heading off on vacation next week and I’m already itching to get back to my classroom and start setting up my room for the new year. My official start date is the first week of August, only I know I’ll be in way before that. I procrastinate on a lot of things (this blog post) but my classroom set up is not one of them.

This year has been about loving running again and so far it’s been okay. I know, that doesn’t sound very promising, but I’m working on it! So far this year I’ve done a race every month and that’s really helped to keep me accountable. Here are a couple of things I’m looking forward to for the rest of the year!

July

I’ve actually already done a race for the 4th of July, but I’m looking forward to completing the Eagles Lakes 5K as part of a summer series that I ran one of the races for last year. My running buddy and I did the first one on a whim toward the end of June and are ready to sign up for the next one. It’s a series of 5Ks in some of our beautiful parks in Southwest Florida and it’s definitely worth getting out early in the morning for. The views are great. Just stay away from the water, you never know what lives in it!

August

The Rampage 5K is the final race of the series, the one I ran last year. I actually managed a 5K PR with this race, my best time in the six years I’ve been running. It’s difficult to get hyped up about these races because it is so hot down here right now. On the plus side the company that runs the races, Elite Events, have begun starting the races earlier in the morning and for that we runners are grateful!

September

September is up in the air right now, just because there are a few races to choose from. So far I’ve done a lot of 5Ks and that is a-okay with me! Last year this was peak Chicago Marathon training time and there was really no way I was doing any extra running. Life was hard enough as it is! I’ll be on the lookout for something fun, though!

October

“Disclaimer: I received free entry to Sarasota Half Marathon 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!” Use the code BRSARASOTA19 for $10 off the Half and $5 off the 10K!

I’m excited to run this race with some BibRave Pros and my BFF. The course is beautiful, right on the water, and has a pretty lengthy bridge run. Those can really be bad or good. Either way, I’m excited!

November

I usually reserve November for runDisney’s Wine & Dine 10K, but I was too late for registration this year. It doesn’t help that runDisney raised their prices and I’m a teacher in Florida. (Woe is me, right?) I’m still considering this one with a charity team because it’s one of my favorite races. Plus, it gives me an excuse to visit Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival one last time before it ends.

December

December is where it gets tricky. Last year we planned on running Ragnar Alafia Trail but had trouble getting our team together. We transferred our registration to this year in hopes of making it work. I’m excited to do another Ragnar, HOWEVER, I saw people posting pictures from last year’s race and the GIANT ALLIGATOR on the trail made me glad I missed it.

That’s what I’ve got up my sleeve for the rest of the year. I’m also hoping to do a Hot Chocolate race with BibRave (fingers crossed) and I’m sure there will be a Girls on the Run 5K in there somewhere. Who knows!

Do you plan your races in advance?

Celebrate Your Independence

With tomorrow being Independence Day in the good ol’ US of A, I thought I’d take some time and think about about how we can celebrate our own independence. Right now I’m on summer break, so most of my days are spent alone. It’s not so bad, but sometimes I get bored and sometimes there is only so much TV I can watch. Obviously I sometimes do other things, but right now I’m really into the “relaxing” part of summer. It’s hard because I feel like I’m on for nine months out of the year, so the change to summer is always an interesting transition.

If you don’t know what it’s like to be a teacher on summer break: sometimes I have to force myself to leave the house at least once a day.

Some days are more productive than others, obviously. I’ve managed to workout or run almost every day which is kind of a big deal for me. Sometimes summer brings a twinge of depression which basically stems from me not having anything to do and my mind getting away with me. It’s fun finding things to stay busy, though, and here are a few things I’ve been doing.

Crafts

I don’t tend to be a super crafty or patient person, but I’ve recently been in the business of making little button portraits of my favorite characters. I can listen to a book or binge watch a show while I work with tiny buttons and a lot of glue.

Thrift Stores

I’ve been in the market for a new bookshelf for my classroom and I’d rather grab something secondhand than something brand new. Of course, when I can’t find what I need, I find things I want. Like some cute new shoes or a final book in a trilogy I was collecting.

Workout

I touched on this earlier, but I’m having a lot of fun with the Nike Training Club workouts in my garage. They have a great variety of different workouts for different levels of athletes.

Movies

The only movie I’ve seen this summer is Avengers: Endgame and I’m okay with that. I love going to the movies alone and matinee prices are always a little bit better than regular movie times.

Parks/Beach

Living in South Florida we had no shortage of nature preserves, parks, and beaches. The heat index has been at least 100-110 these past couple of weeks, so I haven’t really been outside much.

Reading

Last summer I started an book club on Facebook and picked that up again this summer. We’ve already read one book together and are getting ready to start a new one. I read a lot of books during the summer and I usually blog about them over on my book review blog. It’s nice to have someone to talk about the book I’m reading with.

Those are a few things that I’ve been trying to work on.  I’m  still managing to be lazy and not do much of anything, however!

Oh, and naps. I take a lot of naps.

What are some things you do alone or to take care of yourself?

Road Tested: BUFF Coolnet UV+ Headband

Disclaimer: I received a BUFF Coolnet UV+ Headband 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!

Being a BibRave Pro has such great perks, especially when it comes to testing products. I live in south Florida, where it’s basically summer year round and I’m always looking for ways to keep cool when I’m running or working out. This summer has already proven to be a scorcher and technically it just started!

I was super excited to receive my BUFF Coolnet UV+ Headband and thankful we got to choose the style and color. I chose the headband because it was less material and seemed like a better fit for me. I have short hair and headbands don’t always work out in my favor. I think it’s the shape of my head, IDK.

Just leave me in my driveway to melt, y’all.

I’ve basically used my new BUFF for everything. Last week I started some new workouts and ran a couple of times (including two 5Ks, go me) to try and restart my fitness regime. I wore it with every workout and, for lack of a better term, it “worked out” great.

The material is super lightweight and stretchy, so I never felt like it was too tight or uncomfortable. One of my issues with head wear is that it has to feel comfortable with my glasses or sunglasses as I need to see things. This BUFF headband fit the bill and held my glasses in place during sweaty workouts or runs.

As far as the UV+ and cooling is concerned, I’ve definitely noticed both of these while using the product. My moisturizer has an SPF, but I don’t tend to put sunscreen anywhere above my eyes when I’m running. Last time I did, I spent the last two miles of a 15K in terrible pain because I was sweating sunscreen into my eyeballs. The material has definitely protected my forehead while out and about. Too bad it can’t do anything about my sunglasses’ tan on my nose.

Hats and other heavy head wear make me extremely hot, but I didn’t have any issue with this BUFF product. It was just the right weight and has magical cooling properties! This is definitely a great product to grab, whether you’re running, working out, or just running errands. It’s versatile and conducive to all your styling cooling needs.

You can get 15% off one of your own by visiting BUFF USA and signing up for their newsletter. Check out the hashtag #BUFFBR for some other great reviews!

This pattern really goes with everything.