Girls on the Run (is still) So Much Fun!

The school year feels like it has flown by already, including a season of Girls on the Run! This was my third season with GOTR and it was, as always, so much fun.

For my third season, we ended up with a full team of fifteen girls. Michelle was my co-coach and it is honestly so much fun to coach with your best friend. We are able to throw ideas around pretty easily and we usually tend to agree on most things.

Our girls were a nice mixture of old and younger girls. The program is for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade. Since some of our girls aged out last year, we were open to some younger ones. Also, some of them were my students from the previous year and they signed up to be with me. We also had a nice mixture of previous GOTR girls mixed with new ones. It’s always nice when you have a few girls who can help to lead exercises and discussions because they’ve done it all before.

This season was full of lots of laughs, learning about ourselves, and running. The girls were able to work together in a big way and made holiday cards for people in hospitals and veterans as our final community project. They did an amazing job all season, practicing and setting goals. It’s so cool to see young girls set and achieve (or crush!) their running goals. Sometimes it makes me jealous that they are so committed!

Last month we finished out our season with our 5K and, of course, the girls crushed it. It was so much fun to see them out on the course with their buddies knowing that they could do it. Yes, they struggled. Yes, they walked. But in the end, they finished, and it was amazing!

We also have such a great support system with our parents and staff members. Everyone was there to either  run with or cheer on a girl. It was a great ending to a great season!

 

 

Some of our amazing teachers/running buddies

 

Race Recap: Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K Tampa

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!

This weekend I had the pleasure of running for chocolate! Now, I usually reward myself after every race I run…just because. To me, there’s nothing better than a post-run brunch with lots of bacon and coffee. This weekend, however, the Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K was giving out chocolate at the finish line.

I’ve never done a Hot Chocolate race so I was thrilled when the Tampa came up with BibRave! The race was super easy to sign up for through Athlinks and the rest was history. You’d think, of course, that since I signed up for the race a few months ago that I’d been training for it, right?

Well, it’s like you guys don’t know me at all. I did run a 15.9ish Ragnar Relay the weekend before, however. Does that count as training?

Anywho, I headed up Saturday to pick up my race packet since the race is a big one and they didn’t have race day pickup. I was going to be running the race alone, so my dude made the trip with me. I tried to convince him to run too, but no dice after the week before’s Ragnar. We still had fun walking the Riverwalk Saturday and prepping for the race with pizza and drinks. (My go-to prerace dinner!)

The next morning my dude dropped me off at the Tampa Convention Center for the start of the race. The course and start line were the same as Gasparilla and I knew parking would be difficult. Having a driver for the day worked out nicely. The morning was chilly and I seriously considered taking my sweet Hot Chocolate hoodie with me. I’d opted for my BibRave tee and my SkirtSports Pocketopia in Bonita print, knowing it would warm up once the sun was out.

Before the race started, I did my usual rituals: walk around aimlessly for a few minutes, visit the porta potty, and eat a bagel.

You could tell the crowd was excited and ready to go. (To the bathroom.)

Everything was great at the start line, despite still being cold. It was nothing like the temps for Ragnar, but I was still feeling chilly.

The sun was up once we started and I was excited for a strong beginning, too. I was nervous since I hadn’t run since Ragnar. After the first half mile I started with some intervals, knowing I wouldn’t be able to run the whole 15K without stopping. For intervals I went with a minute long high and a thirty second low. The intervals were perfect and I kept a fairly steady pace for the first part of the race and was happy with how things were going.

There were aid stations every couple of miles with potties and, of course, chocolate!

Chocolate and nuun – a combination you didn’t know you needed.

The course was familiar as I’d run the Gasparilla 15K twice before, so I was used to the road and the scenery. I do love taking those “sun shining over water pictures” though.

I maintained my pace and intervals for the majority of the race, even with stopping at the bathroom twice. Michelle wasn’t there to yell at me for going to the bathroom, so I did what I wanted! My pace was a pleasant surprise because, again, Michelle wasn’t there to yell at me! She’s usually the one motivating me on these long races, so I hope I made her proud. Ha!

There was the usual watching who/where others were around me that helped me know I was keeping a pretty steady pace. I always love to see the same runners throughout the course. It helps me to know that I’m still doing okay, even when I feel like I’m not.

It’s easy to get frustrated or fall behind when you’re running by yourself, but I felt like I did an okay job for this race. I finished strong and my pace was close to the other races I’d run on that course. After I crossed the finish line I headed to grab my chocolate goodies and wait for my driver. I was impressed at how well everything was organized and set up. It seemed much easier to navigate than Gasparilla (which is one of my favorite races).

This is definitely a race I’m going to keep on my watchlist for next year. If you’re into tasty treats after a run, you should too!

Race Recap: Ragnar Florida Trail

About a year ago my BFF and RBF came to me with the idea to sign up for a Ragnar trail race. I say yes, obviously, because I’m a runner and we are insane. I did my first Ragnar in Pennsylvania with Mer and Cam (my first time meeting either one of them IRL) and had a blast. We had a little trouble getting our Ragnar trail team off the ground and ended up deferring from 2018 to 2019…which brings us to this blog post.

We were in limbo with a team for awhile, but managed to get it all taken care of just in time, ending up with our team of eight a few weeks before the actual race. We recruited people from work, who recruited people, who recruited people. I even managed to recruit a guy I’d been on one date with a few months ago. He’s my boyfriend now, so it all worked out.

My friend and I took off Friday since the race started that morning, and the majority of us headed up Thursday night. I know we were diligently checking the weather to make sure we’d packed the right things for our three loops, sleeping, and lounging.

Camping and running supplies for two people…

…and four people.

While we practically brought everything but the kitchen sink, what we didn’t do was check the weather again. Temperatures were projected to be in the forties and for this Florida girl…that’s rough, y’all. I’d packed capris and tanks for my night/early morning runs and a skirt and tank for my first run. I was not well-prepared! We’d also only taken a couple of blankets because I was afraid we’d be “too hot”. Insert straight-faced emoji here, okay? Thursday night was brutal, but we survived. I woke up the next morning and asked Ali to bring us another blanket because I could not suffer sleeping in a tent in 45-degree weather again!

Just a small part of the campsite.

In true Florida fashion, the weather was perfect once the sun came up and our team was ready for our 9:30AM start! The course was divided into three loops: Green – 5.5 miles, Yellow – 4.6 miles, and Red 6.1 miles. Each runner was to run each of the loops basically before the course closed. Sounds easy, right? Personally, I’ve never done a trail race…or ran on a trail before. I prefer my races and running to be on flat ground where the only thing that can trip me is my own feet.

Michelle started our team off on the Green loop and I followed with Yellow. Yellow was the “middle ground” as far as trails went, but there was definitely elevation and a few obstacles involved. I knew I’d be feeling it later on since I in no way shape or form trained for a trail race. Yeah, I said it: I DID NOT TRAIN. This really shouldn’t be a surprise to any of you.

Once I was through the Yellow loop, I was still feeling pretty good. I wiped down with my shower wipes and changed into my lounge clothes to hang out with the rest of our team and wait for everyone else to run their first loops. There was also a visit to the gear shop since I’d only packed tank tops and it was supposed to be in the lower 50s for my night run. I snagged a cute Ragnar long-sleeved shirt, but ending up wearing something of my dude’s that was snug and fleece-lined. I’m glad I did, because once I headed out on my Green loop, I stayed cold the whole time! Green was the easiest loop, but my run started at about 9PM. It was a struggle to get dressed in the tent. Then I had leave my comfy air mattress and kind of warm blankets knowing I was going out into the wilderness in the dark.

Most of this loop was nice and flat, but some of it went through a “forest” of sorts of a lot of tall grass. Naturally I was terrified and tried my damndest to run the whole thing. Did I mention I didn’t train very well for this? Obviously that didn’t work. And it was cold. So, I fell. Luckily I was so far behind any other runner and no one had caught up with me yet and therefore no one saw me. Of course, that meant that I was too nervous about falling again to move too quickly.

I trucked on and my dude met me at the transition with fresh clothes and hot chocolate. Did I mention there were no showers and only porta-potties? Each time I had to change I managed to commandeer the larger potty which made me feel a little bit cleaner, but not much. After my second run I settled into the tent to rest, knowing that I’d have to be ready to run again by 6AM or so.

Our group text kept us all updated and we managed to cheer each other on through all of our loops, too. It was nice to stay connected that way and definitely kept us entertained throughout the day/night. Only a few of us happened to be really close but there’s really nothing like a Ragnar race to bring you together. When it was finally my turn for the Red loop I went into it kind of…meh. I’d gotten my period the day before (sorry if that’s TMI, but we’re real over here at Scoot), couldn’t find my Advil, so my quads were killing me and I had cramps like nobody’s business.

The first part of the Red loop was the same as Yellow, so it was nothing new. I started this loop before the sun was up and it was a struggle to get warm. Once the trail parted and I was on the official Red loop…I knew what all the fuss was about. Red was 6.1 miles of ups and downs, bridges, ledges, and buzzards.

Yep, buzzards. Just waiting for us runners to die. I sent a picture to my teammates of them around three mile marker and kept on going. It felt like I’d been at it for a long time, but it turned out that I was only at mile “4ish”. This was a little disheartening considering I felt like I was working SO HARD. I’d started texting Michelle telling her that I felt like I was behind on time and was feeling slow, but she always does a great job of cheering me up. I knew we had plenty of time to complete our loops, but there was still six runners after me and I didn’t want to hold anyone back.

Even though the Red loop was tough, it was pretty. You can always count on me to stop and take nature pictures, no matter if they all look like the same damn tree.

 

Getting out of the Red loop was hard, but I made it and our team finished strong, in my opinion. I mean, we weren’t called the World’s Okayest Running Team for no reason, you know?

After my loop I grabbed some breakfast with a few teammates and a delicious cup of REAL coffee. (Sorry, Ragnar – your coffee is weak.) There were food trucks on the grounds the whole time and we had a great time picking from them. Breakfast was a variety of waffles on sticks and it was pretty magical.

Gimme alllll the bacon.

I manged to clean up, have a nap, and start the slow process of packing while everyone finished their loops. In true Ragnar fashion we joined our last runner crossing the finish line, then picked up our really sweet medals and took our group picture.

World’s Okayest Running Team

 

I know there are a ton of things I’m missing here, but it all feels like a blur. I know some of us had our struggles but the best part of Ragnar is the team that keeps you going, even if some of them are strangers! All I wanted to do when we got home was shower and sleep for a few days. This was definitely a fun time and I would probably do it again. Like…95% sure. Maybe.

Just…not any time soon.

What’s on Your Wish List?

With the holidays just around the corner, I’m sure everyone is busy prepping and buying gifts for their friends and family. It’s such a great time of year to shower others with gifts and, hey, maybe you’re picking up a little something something for yourself while you’re at it. I know I have been.

So, what’s on your wish list as an active person/athlete/runner? I thought I’d put a few things together that I know I’d like to have!

New Kicks

My current shoes trained and ran a marathon, and still have a lot of love left in them. I’ve also got some great cross-trainers and I’m the proud owner of a brand new pair of trail running shoes (to be used this weekend!), but I know a runner will never say no to new shoes!

How adorable are these Christmas Brooks?

 

Fresh Clothes

As a SkirtSports Ambassador I get a great deal on any Skirt product, but who wouldn’t love to get some awesome gear as a gift! I know I love funny running and workout shirts, and gift cards are always a plus.

Headgear

Since testing AfterShokz with BibRave last year I’ve been IN LOVE with mine. I’m sure there are plenty of other products like them out there, but these are definitely my favorite.

 

Socks

I love the fun socks from Sox Box. They have great compression and funny sayings! You can’t go wrong!

Race Entry Fees

If you really love someone, find out a race they want to run and pay for them! There are a ton of races out there that people are dying to run!

Coffee/Snacks

Getting up for those early runs or staying up late to take care of those workouts can be tiring and also leaves us a little hangry. Feed us and tell us we’re strong.

What’s on your list?

 

Will Run For Chocolate

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!

Who’s excited to eat some delicious foods next week? I know I am always up for something tasty and I can’t wait until Thanksgiving. It’s hard to believe that my favorite holiday is just around the corner. It really feels like 2019 is just flying by and, before you know it, we’ll be planning out our races for 2020!

It’s also hard to believe that in less than a month I’ll be running my very first Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K! This race seriously looks so fun and I can’t wait to get into it. Granted, I haven’t been running like I should be (at all) and I know nine and some change miles might be a challenge for me, but I’m really looking forward to meeting up with some BibRave Pros and, obviously, grabbing some tasty snacks at the end of the race.

Look at this haul! I cannot wait to shove my face with all this deliciousness! Obviously I’m going to be really proud of myself for running a 15K with minimal training (I’m going to run tomorrow, I swear), but I also can’t wait for the fun! This year has been all about making running fun again, and I feel like it’s been going well. I’ve done a race every month, although I’ve got three lined up for December, and I’ve had no pressure on me for anything. It’s been great and I’m really looking forward to whatever next year brings.

But first, chocolate.

Use the code BRHCTAMPA19 a free Hot Chocolate running hat

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!