Kick off 2020 with the 465 Virtual Challenge!

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the 465 Virtual Challenge 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 know how I’m starting off my 2020! The Inaugural 465 Challenge, here I come.

Or wait, it’s a virtual race, so I’ll just stay put. And run/hike/walk.

Virtual races are a great way to stay on the motivation train, especially in the cold winter months. I’m not a huge fan of run streaks but working toward a set goal is an awesome push and a great way to start the new year.

I’m aiming for a half marathon PR in the spring of 2020 and I know by dangling the metaphoric carrot in front of me, it will help me stay on course when it comes to training.

There are two tiers of registration, depending on what swag you may or may not be interested in:

  1. PREMIUM – $39.99
    465 Challenger Super Soft Finisher Shirt
    465 Race Car Slider Finisher Medal (for first 1,000 registrants)
    Super Cool Bumper Sticker
    Training Program
    Motivational Emails
    Virtual Bib
    Certificate of Completion
  2. BASIC – $24.99
    Super Cool Bumper Sticker
    Training Program
    Motivational Emails
    Virtual Bib
    Certificate of Completion

And of course, if you use discount code BIBRAVE, you’ll save 10%!

What’s the significance of 53 miles? That’s the distance of the loop around Indianapolis!

Can’t run but still want to get in on the moving? That’s perfectly all right – this challenge includes swimming, biking, somersaulting, and everything in between.

Who’s with me?!

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

Race Recap: Mushroom Cap Half Marathon Relay

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Mushroom Cap 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!

NAME: Mushroom Cap 1/2 Marathon, Relay and Charity 1 Miler
LOCATION: Kennett Square, PA
YEARS IN EXISTENCE: 4
NUMBER OF RUNNERS IN 2019: 469 individual runners and 107 relay teams

The Mushroom Cap 1/2 Marathon Relay is a race I’m not soon to forget! I love when BibRave partners with local races and being from New Jersey, when I saw the opportunity to run in Kennett Square, PA I was excited to jump on board.

There was no expo for this race but there were two packet pickups earlier in the week. The Sunday before the race was at a running store and the night before the race at the start location.

I think this race and its runners would benefit by offering a morning of the race packet pickup. I know it was a little difficult for some to coordinate with the times. Thankfully I was able to grab a friend’s bib who wasn’t able to make it to either of the times offered by showing a copy of her identification.

The swag was a long-sleeved quarter zip shirt (that has thumb holes and a small key pocket). We had the option of a dark blue or this powder blue above. It’s very comfortable and I like it much more than the standard race shirt.

It was a chilly 31 degrees on race day. I woke up before my 5am alarm, anxious to hop in my car and drive about an hour to Kennett Square.

Arriving with plenty of time to spare (as is my way), I sat in my warm and toasty car as long as possible. On the ride there, I drove part of the course. Hello hills!

I was nervous about the course, but overall I knew that I could trust in my distance training.

Mullet Crew – Party in the Back! Katie, Rachel, and me

Before the race I was able to meet up with friends and there’s always comfort in being with people you know and love. Rachel, Katie, and I questioned our sanity multiple times as we stood together, shivering.

Fellow BibRave Pro, Ken (of KenStandsonThings) joined us as in the race village; the was area set up with tents, tables, and portapotties. We timed it so we wouldn’t have to wait too long in the cold and made sure that Rachel had time to get on the relay shuttle bus and head to the exchange area.

The start and end point of the race was The Creamery. It was previously the Eastern Condensed Milk Company. In 2016 the current owners opened it after revitalization as a pop-up beer garden and community space. Really awesome spot!

Katie and I placed ourselves near the 3:00 pacer. During my training runs I’ve been keeping anywhere from a 11:30-13:30 pace using 1:1 intervals. Most of my training runs are flat though so I wasn’t sure how this I’d fare. I figured as long as I kept the 3:00 pacer in sight, I was doing okay. I wasn’t aiming to be a hero, I just wanted to get to the relay exchange in a decent time.

A few minutes after 8am, we started to run. Immediately Rachel texted and said she wasn’t getting the messages from the tracking app, RaceJoy. Rather than continually have it open on my phone Rachel, Katie (who was running the entire 1/2, bless her legs) and I decided that we’d occasionally text to check in.

Looking back at our text messages is amusing! There was a lot of cursing going on!

Katie and I stuck together for the first two miles. There was a killer hill in mile one and that set the tone for the rest of the race. Rather than getting too much in my head I decided that I’d take it easy on the uphills and cruise the downhills. Thankfully the roads were closed for the entire event and the runners were able to spread out.

Katie peeled off to use a portapotty as we turned into a neighborhood section of the race and instructed that I go on (up a large hill, I’m sure you’re shocked to hear). This portion was an out and back area, full of ups and down.

The aid stations of this race are phenomenal. Hosted by local groups and businesses, they were well stocked. I didn’t take advantage of them because I just wanted to keep moving and get to Rachel.

Around the 4 mile mark I passed the 3:00 hour pacer and according to the app, I was on pace to get to Rachel in 1:26 for 6.6 miles.

This hill had a hill on top of it. Yay.

This hill greeted me in mile 5. Once I hit the gravel, I knew I wasn’t far from the exchange. I was more than ready to be done and when I saw the signs telling the relay runners to stay to the right, I happy obliged.

Rachel was waiting for me in the exchange area and helped me take the timing chip off my ankle and transferred it to hers. Before she left on the second half of her journey I thought I should impart some words of wisdom. But apparently, it came out like this.

Mer grabbed my arm and with terror in her eyes, said something like “The hills. It’s so hard. The hills…..Don’t even try to run them. Just walk the hills and run down…” then she hugged me and yelled “good luck” as I ran away.

Whoops?

I was so busy giving Rachel this amazing pep talk I forgot two very important things:

  1. to shut off my watch
  2. to look at the medal

It wasn’t until I was comfortably seated on the bus that I realized/did both! I chatted with the folks I was seated near and we all lamented the hills.

Once we arrived back at The Creamery I stood near the finish line and cheered for a bit. I was able to meet back up with Ken and see lots of people from my local running group. I even got to meet Instagram friend, Alexis (beer_runner85)!

All the while, I was in contact with Rachel and Katie via text. They informed me that they were the last ones on the course and had a line of police cars following them. Once I knew where they were on the course, Ken and I headed into The Creamery to warm up and grab our complimentary beer. We had the choice of an Ale or IPA and there was a great band entertaining the masses!

We also had the chance to meet the Mushroom Cap Half’s social media director – it’s always fun to meet the face behind the Instagram account!

I heard from Rachel that they were nearing the finish line so I headed back to claim my spot just past the timing mats. Sure enough, I could see them about a quarter mile away, with their police escorts behind them!

I was hooting and hollering and telling everyone at the finish their names so they could cheer as well. I’m pretty sure everyone thought I was crazy and they’d be right. I was so happy to see my Mullet Crew!

Party in the back!

Please note that while the course limit was 3:30, they were the last ones to cross at 3:11. We were so PROUD. There’s two ways you can look at being DFL and I think we were all very happy that things shook out the way that they did.

Because we were very last relay team to cross the line, we got a PRIZE. We were awarded mushrooms and a $50 gift card to Sovana Bistro! That was a really nice surprise.

All in all, the race was incredible. Great communication, awesome aid stations, loved being a part of a relay team, and the afterparty was amazing!

The only complaint I have? THOSE HILLS. Again, not in any way, shape, or form a shock. Just very, very difficult!

Thanks to BibRave and Mushroom Cap for the great opportunity to check this one out! If you’re looking for a challenge, be sure to put this on your bucket list.

Next up for me is a local 5k (William T. Nace Tin Man) and the Rothman 8k during Philadelphia Marathon Weekend. What’s on your race agenda?

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.

Mushroom Cap 1/2 Marathon Relay

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Mushroom Cap 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!

Once upon a time, way back in the cold of February, I registered for the Mushroom Cap Half Marathon in Kennett Square, PA.

My dear friends, Rachel and Katie also registered and we were excited for our (affectionately dubbed) Meatball Road Trip 2019. You might remember Meatball Road Trips from years past!

Bird-in-Hand 2018

We had a late start to spring, summer showed up in a hurry, and before I knew it, it was SeptemberOctober. I’ve been consistent with running and cross-training but not following any particular training plan. More-so, I’ve been doing what’s comfortable mileage wise and pace wise. My focus is feeling good during runs… and I HAVE.

My longer training runs have been landing between 4-6 miles. I have a 10k in Atlantic City next week and I think I’ve been focusing more on that than the 13.1 lurking just a few weeks later.

Can I push through a half marathon? Yes, I know that I can. But I’m trying to run smart and pushing through 13.1 miles isn’t smart.

Earlier this week we received a check-in email from the Mushroom Cap Half race management which said the following:

If you had planned to run the half marathon but life got in the way of training or maybe your running more that you ever imagined and want to tackle the half,  you can transfer your registration between events.

Do you picture me nodding my head at all of this? YES, YES, and more YES!

I knew Rachel wasn’t feeling the half marathon distance either so I ran the idea of switching to the relay option by her. We both jumped on RunSignUp. Rachel created the team and transferred her registration. I transferred mine and now we are officially the Meatball Mullet Crew!

I’ve never done a half marathon relay before so I’m really looking forward to the experience. I feel a lot more confident taking on the shorter distance and while I’m bummed that we won’t be running together, I know Rachel will be waiting for me at the exchange.

Haven’t registered yet? Let’s make sure you save some money when you do – use code “BRMushroom19” for $10 off!

Have you ever done a half marathon relay before? Any tips for me?

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.*