Road Tested: Knockaround Sunnies

Disclaimer: I received Knockaround sunglasses 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!

I will be one of the first to admit that this summer is just weird. Like most of…everyone, I’ve been home since mid-March. We started with an extended Spring Break (cancelling all trips, too) and then I never went back to school. It’s been hard, but now that summer is here I’m trying my best to enjoy it!

My new Knockaround sunnies arrived at the beginning of June and loved them immediately. I chose the Aquamarine/Fuchsia of the Sports line and was super excited to try them out.

I wear glasses on the daily and was pretty committed to my prescription (expensive) sunglasses that I sadly misplaced sometimes in February or March. Thankfully my eyesight isn’t too terrible and I’m able to use my Knockarounds for those every day sunning activities. (Not while driving.)

While I really enjoyed these super cute sunglasses, this campaign has really been a blessing. Knowing that I needed to get outside and take pictures made me actually go outside and take pictures. I spent many days at my local nature preserve that I hadn’t visited in a minute. I cleaned up my backyard and made it a nice spot to hang out and chill in my inflatable pool.

It’s silly to think that something as little as a pair of sunglasses had such a big impact, but this life has been so weird lately! Finding little things to keep me occupied and happy has been a challenge. Having something to look forward to, even just going outside to take pictures, has been a blessing in disguise.

It doesn’t hurt that these sunglasses are stylish and totally functional. You can get your own pair from Knockaround and use the code BibRaveKnocks5 for 20% your entire order. I think I’ll go grab another pair.

Run for the Zoo Virtual Race

Disclaimer: I received an entry to the Lincoln Park Zoo: Run for the Zoo virtual race 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!

Since we’re all stuck at home these days many of our favorite races have become virtual. This includes the Lincoln Park Zoo’s race in Chicago. As a Floridian who has only been to Chicago once…I’ve also never been to this zoo. It was on our list when I visited with my family in 2018 to run the Chicago Marathon however, the weather was rainy. I’d also just ran a marathon!

We are living in unprecedented times and this is the first time in 42 years that this race will be virtual. This race is one of the things that helps keep the zoo open every day of the year and keeps it free.

While you may not get to run through the zoo this year, there are still a ton of perks to take advantage of. Here are just a few that you can find on the Run for the Zoo website:

  • A 5K and 10K virtual race options to run, walk, or enjoy nature in your community and support the zoo!
  • A virtual Safari Stampede race to encourage kids to express their inner animal
  • Mailed race packets with themed tech shirts (with a brand new logo for 2020!)
  • Commemorative Supporter medals for qualifying participants
  • A special virtual race bag with incredible deals from our partners
  • Weekly motivational communications
  • Digital commemorative participant bib and finishers certificate

Don’t forget, this race if virtual so you can do it whenever and however you want! I know I’ll be looking for a new 5K route to run so it feels like I’m doing something new. (Seriously, I’m tired of seeing the same houses!) It’s also for a great cause. How can you pass that up? Look at this face!

If you’re interested, check out the link above and use the code BIBRAVE10 for 10% off your entry!

Home Tested: Nabee Compression Socks (Again)

Disclaimer: I received Nabee Compression Socks 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!

Like Mer, I’m also a BibRave Pro and had to chance to test out these adorable and comfortable socks. Unlike Mer, I did not use them to run a half marathon. She’s amazing!

A few weeks ago I was supposed to run the New York City Half Marathon with my best friend and take on the city with my boyfriend for a spring break trip. Well, that didn’t happen because of the current situation around the world. Since then I’ve been taking it easy, working from home, and trying my best to stay active.

Lately, I’ve been going on daily walks around my neighborhood to get some sunshine in and, let me tell you, it’s hot down here! I’ve also been doing some garage workouts. I’m stuck at home, might as well make the most of it for myself!

I’ve been using my Nabee compression socks during a lot of my walks and workouts. They’re fairly lightweight and not too constricting when I’m outside. We’ve had a couple of really hot days and I try not to wear too much when I’m out, but these socks are just light enough that I’m not too uncomfortable when I’m out there.

Since I’m spending most of my time at home, these socks have come in handy when just hanging around too. I was also worried about the fit of these socks. Since I’m just a little shy of 5 feet tall, I don’t normally wear compression socks or sleeves. These fit great and don’t make my knees look all squishy. (Yes, I know I’m very vain.)

Blue’s a big fan, too.

Also, Nabee is doing a super cool thing with their socks right now! They are donating TWO pair for everyone ONE you buy.

AND you can get 20% with the code BIBRAVE20.

Race Recap: Skyway 10K

 

Back in September or October, my friend Stephanie talked me into signing up for a race lottery. The race in question was the Skyway 10K, a race that benefits military families. All you have to do is run over the Skyway Bridge. If you’re a Floridian, I’m sure you know what that is.

Not my photo.

Now, again, as a Floridian I run mostly on flat surfaces. When a race calls for a bridge, I cringe. I’m not a fan of them.

I was also not expecting to get into this race.

But we did.

I feel like I’ve spent the better part of the year feeling crummy with some sort of cold or sinus thing hanging around. Of course I used this as an excuse to come home and nap and not run. (I will use anything as an excuse to not run sometimes!) Needless to say, I was not prepared for this race. That seems to be a theme for me so far this year.

My friend picked up my bib for me that Saturday, so I had a lazy day at home. Honestly, despite the nap comment up there, I don’t get a lot of lazy days. It was nice to just hang out and do laundry and cuddle my cat.

I headed to Tampa late Saturday afternoon and got to my friend’s family’s house a little after eight. We hung out a bit and then turned in early since we had a little bit of a drive in the morning. I was super grateful for these strangers letting me stay at their house because I still get so much race anxiety, especially when I’m on my own.

I sent this pic to my boyfriend, mom, and sister of me in my favorite pre-race place.

The morning was chilly but projected to get warmer, so I opted for my new SkirtSports Pocketopia capris in Vacay and a tank top. I took a throwaway shirt that I tossed before I got to the start line because I had already warmed up. at the start. Our start time was a little after 8AM and all runners were bussed over to the start line from Tropicana Field.

Flat Ash, pretending to be prepared.

 

With Steph before the start.

I had a good start with my friends, but was having some technically difficulties. That slowed me down a bit and I eventually lost them altogether. I knew it was going to be a tough race for me because I was so unprepared. Especially for this bridge!

I did manage to keep a pretty steady walking/running pace until I got to the base of the bridge. I didn’t even try to run that thing!

It was, obviously, smooth sailing going down the bridge. The view from the top wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought it would be, either. I struggled a bit toward the end but managed a strong finish across the finish line. (Of course!) Stephanie was waiting for me at the finish, so she and I hopped a bus back to the expo center where we had our free beer and snacks.

My pic from the top!

All the beer tickets!

To be such a young race, this was extremely well-organized. It was a cupless race and the water stops were mainly for refills. There were some heathens (me) that drank from the spigots like a water fountain and that was just fine. The expo was great, there were plenty of bathrooms, and the medals were awesome, too!

I highly suggested signing up for this race lottery if you get the chance to. The proceeds go to a great cause and you’ll be able to say you ran over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge!

Do You Skirt?

Recently I got to announce that I’m back for my third year as a SkirtSports ambassador. This is such a great company and I’m so glad to be back representing it. Skirt has a ton of amazing, quality products that are great for running, working out, or just handing around. The mothership of Skirt is located in Colorado and is in the process of moving, so they are having a HUGE SALE until March 1st.

I figured I’d highlight some of my favorite products if you wanted to go on a little shopping spree later.

 

Pocketopia Capri

Living in Florida, I don’t really need a lot of “pants”, but I really love these capris. I’m short, so they fit pretty long on me, but they’re called Pocketopia! They have POCKETS! The newer versions of these capris is made of the most amazingly comfortable and stretchy material. I’ve worn these capris to Disney, on hikes, and for races and they haven’t failed me yet.

Packed with snacks for my last Ragnar loop.

Eclipse Tank

This tank is super lightweight and soft, like you aren’t wearing a tank at all. This tank doesn’t have a built-in bra, which I don’t mind at all. Built-in bras don’t always work for me so this works out well. This tank also comes in some great solid colors that go well with patterned skirt.

Lioness Skirt

The Lioness was my first skirt. It’s made of a thicker material with shorties underneath. The pleats make is super cute and girly but I still feel like a badass when I wear it. I swore I’d never run in skirts. Once I slipped into this one I never looked back.

Jette Skirt

The Jette is my absolute, all-time favorite skirt EVER. It’s cute and girly like the lioness, but made of a much lighter and more breathable material. I wore my Jettes all through my training for Chicago and even for the Chicago Marathon. It is definitely the skirt I gravitate to most, no matter the weather.


So, there are a few of my favorite Skirt products and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Skirt has so many amazing things and right now you can get ANY OF IT for 50% off! Use the code LEAP50 at checkout.

If you’re still looking to buy after the sale, use the code SSA15Ash50 for 15% off.

Happy shopping!

Be Kind – Random Acts of Kindness Week

If you didn’t know, yesterday was Random Acts of Kindness Day. I spent the day lounging about the house being kind to myself. After a twelve-day work week and a busy Valentine weekend, I deserved it!

I’ve seen a lot of posts about this being Random Acts of Kindness Week, so I thought I’d put together some ideas of how you can celebrate it. In my classroom we have a poster that my students can earn a sticker for if they are caught doing an act of kindness. Our goal is one hundred acts. Like a lot of things we do in school, they asked if they get rewarded when they reach one hundred. I said, “Yes! You get the reward of knowing you did one hundred kind things!”

They weren’t thrilled about that answer, but I digress.

In our SkirtSports group we’ve had a ton of ladies sharing ambassador gear and all kinds of fun stuff. I love that sometimes our go-to is free things, but I also feel like there’s so much more we can do.

  • Take out someone’s trash/Bring in trashcans.
  • Mow someone’s lawn.
  • Return your/other’s shopping cart.
  • Compliment someone you don’t usually talk to.
  • Smile at a stranger.
  • Open/hold the door for someone.
  • Pay for someone’s coffee.
  • Text a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while.
  • Write a note for a coworker.
  • Clean up a mess you didn’t make.
  • Donate to a charity.
  • Go for a run with a friend.

There are just a few things I can think of that will be sure to brighten someone else’s day.

What can you do this week to make someone smile?

Slow Down

 

I’m feeling frustrated tonight, which is why this post is here at *checks watch*…okay, it’s probably late. Lately I’m feeling like I’ve just got too much going on and I’d like to pick only the things I actually like to do, thankyouverymuch.

After my hour commute home today, I sat down at my computer to work on a few things. I’m taking a couple of district courses for an endorsement and I try to get it done early-ish in the week. That means I have more time to do absolutely nothing on the weekend, yay! Only this weekend we are doing an extensive training at work aaaaaand I want all of this stuff done before then. Of course I was met with technical difficulties. That is just how my day seemed to be progressing at this point.

I’m not complaining, though. (Really.)

I love my job and I’m always looking for ways to improve as a teacher. It’s just like I said…lately there feels like SO MUCH to do. This topic is probably more appropriate for my person teaching blog, but I haven’t posted on that in a long, long time. So. Here were are.

My problem is I’m kind of really bad at time management and I forget things. I bought super cute, nifty desk calendar from my best friend Amazon and I am really good at filling things out! Am I good at reading the calendar and doing the work? Jury’s still out, y’all.

So many things to check off.

So, here’s what I’m taking away from tonight and what maybe I want you to also:

It’s okay to slow down. I got so frustrated tonight that I started feeling down on myself for not doing better on my assignments. Look, I haven’t been in school for a long time. I am trying my damn best. It is hard, especially after I spend my day trying to wrangle little humans.

Tonight, instead of hate-studying, I took a nice shower. I scrolled through social media and texted some friends. I sat down to write this cathartic blog post that doesn’t really have a point to it. Often times I turn to books, naps, or even runs to help me gather myself. Mental health is just as important as physical health and it’s so easy to forget that sometimes.

It’s not always easy to slow down. To stop and smell the roses, or whatever that means. Life is busy and we sometimes feel like we have to gogogo or we aren’t making the most of it. Sometimes it’s so nice to just…stop. I live for the weekends when I get to do nothing but curl up with a book, my cats, or my dude and just…nothing. During the school year those little moments feel so few and far between. I seriously bow to those who do it all with children. I’m so tired and I only have cats.

I don’t really know if I’m going to get my coursework done tonight. The more I sit here and write (something I like to do) the more I think that I might just take a pass on it. I should really try to take my own advice sometimes.

I should also be training for the NYC half and a pretty large bridge race I have coming up in a couple of weeks…I’ll get to it.

What’s your favorite way to relax?

Race Recap: Key West Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received free entry to 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!

My initial post about this awesome race was promoting as a destination race, and it was totally on point. As a born and raised Floridian there isn’t much I don’t like about my state. I know there are plenty of things to not like about Florida, but you can’t deny that we’ve got some great scenery.

For this race I asked my mom to come with me for some fun mother-daughter time. She grabbed a hotel, I’m sorry motel for us in Marathon, which was still a drive for us on race morning, but worked out just fine.

We headed down early Saturday morning in hopes that we would have some time to explore Key West. It had been a while since either one of us visited! The drive was nice, though Florida traffic is an entity in itself so it obviously took us longer than expected.

Grabbing my bib was easy (besides a mistake on my part) and we were free to walk around and hang out. Luckily we’d been having some excellent “winter” weather and it wasn’t too hot. We had lunch at a little hole in the wall pub close to packet pick-up, drove around a bit, and then headed back to our motel. Again: traffic in Florida.

Back at our room I prepped my outfit, snacks, and myself. I was sorely under-trained for this race and it definitely showed on race day, but I was determined to make the best of it.

Getting ready to start!

 

A quick BibRave Pro meetup!

We arrived early to the race with plenty of time for coffee and breakfast, plus a couple of trips to the bathroom. The sun was just starting to come up as we began the race so I knew things were going to warm soon. I’d hydrated with Nuun the day before and was feeling pretty up to whatever the humidity might do.

I started off strong enough with some decent intervals. I knew I wasn’t going to push myself and didn’t really set a time goal for the race. I just wanted to not be the last person finished. Seemed like a decent goal right?

The city was beautiful as we ran down the streets and I tried to take in as many sites as possible. The buildings were all so cute and running through the neighborhoods was a great way to see all the chickens hanging out. (I mean it.)

Once we hit the beach the sun was out in full force and I was thankful I’d remembered to put on sunscreen. Water and electrolytes were available at nearly every mile along with Stinger gel for energy. I grabbed a couple, but only ate my Stinger chews while on the run.

This was a super easy and flat course and for that I was thankful. We ran on the road for the most part, but at the turnaround ended up on the sidewalk near the water. Everything seemed super organized and safe. There were a ton of volunteers directing runners and giving out water, too. For the most part I felt okay. I stopped thinking about my pace around mile six and just decided to do what my body could. By mile ten I was walking a lot and definitely struggling to finish.

All the mile marker signs had fun facts on them!

I saw a friend who’d ran the 5K downtown just as I was coming into mile twelve. She’d messaged me and I managed a wave as I struggled by her. I was texting my running buddy, boyfriend, and mom at this point so I had plenty of encouragement. By that time I just ready to finish, though!

My mom was waiting at the finish line (and took a picture of half of me) coming around the corner. I grabbed my medal, a beer, and took a break before we began our touristy things. Since we’d checked out of our hotel at 4AM I found a nice little place for brunch (and to change my clothes in) and we settled in for a little drive around the island (and all other islands before heading home).

 

This was a tough race for me. It’s been a long time since I’ve got into a race completely unprepared and I was definitely disappointed with myself. In March, Michelle and I will be running the New York City Half Marathon, so I know I’ve got to get my butt in gear.

Despite my own mistakes, this was an amazing race. The course was great, the view was perfect. 10/10 would recommend. Okay, the drive kind of sucks, but the rest was amazing.

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!