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!

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!