Volunteering at Run the Vineyards Wagonhouse 10 Miler

This past weekend was the Broad Street Run – a 10 mile race that takes place on Broad Street in Philadelphia.

However, this post isn’t about that 10 mile race!

When I didn’t get into the Broad Street Run via the lottery system, I was bummed for a few days. Then I settled on the fact that it wasn’t meant to be this year and quickly shook off my disappointment.

I decided that if I wasn’t going to be running, I could and should volunteer my time at a local race. Good Day for a Run hosts their Run the Vineyards series at a local vineyard winery and knowing that, I clicked the volunteer form and signed up! The previous weekend I ran their 5 miler and as I am a “professional philanthropist” I was very much looking forward to lending a hand.

The race director, Ken, and his wife, Beth, are great with communication and for me, communication is key. I’m a planner and Type A to the extreme so I want to know everything. About a week prior to the event I heard from Beth with instructions of what time I should be at the site (7:45, the race began at 9am) and where to head once I got there.

Immediately after arriving at 7:45am, I found Beth at the bib pickup table. While last week’s 5 mile event had over 650 runners, this one was capped at 120, due to the space the vineyard had to host the runners at the after party. There was a bib pickup the previous day at the local Running Co. however many opted to get their bibs the morning of the race. I grabbed a spot at the table and jumped right in handing out bibs to runners.

For the next hour there was a steady flow of runners getting their bibs, checking out the course map, and asking general questions. Local races are always good for seeing familiar faces and while I didn’t know anyone personally, I did recognize people from other events.

You know when you enter an established crew of people and you’re never sure if you’ll fit in? The potential for it to be awkward is high. Thankfully that was NOT the case! Beth and the other volunteers (who were seasoned pros!) were so warm and welcoming, I felt like I knew them for years.

Once the race began we knew we’d have at least an hour and change, which is when we set up the tables for post-race which held water, KIND bars, soft pretzels, finisher’s glasses and medals.

The weather was not consistent at all – there were moments of sunshine but it was mostly cloudy and occasionally a brief shower came out of seemingly nowhere so we wanted to make sure that everything was covered (rain and soft pretzels do not go well together). We wanted everything to be just right for the runners when they crossed the finish line.

Once the runners started to come toward the finish area, we all stationed ourselves at different locations.

There was an area where you could very well turn and go to the finish, but there was a last little loop through the vineyards. I stood right at that area and clapped for everyone as I pointed them in the right direction.

I got a lot of smiles, a few people pulled their earbuds out so they could hear me, and I heard a lot of groans, too. “But the finish line is RIGHT THERE!” Oh, do I know that feeling all too well!

I’ve volunteered at a few races during my time as a runner and I have to say that this was far and away the most enjoyable atmosphere I’ve ever experienced. While I might not have gotten to run down Broad Street with 40,000 people, I can honestly say that this is where I was meant to be on Sunday morning. Other than being cold and having to wrap myself in my dog’s WALL-E car blanket, I loved every moment!

Another perk to volunteering for the Run the Vineyards races, besides feeling really good about helping out? I scored an entry to a future race! Now which one should I choose?

You know what I’m going to say here, don’t you? Considering volunteering for a race? DO IT! Haven’t considered volunteering for a race? Well, I hope you are now because it is absolutely worth it!

Next race for me is Ragnar PA! After Ragnar I’ve got a break on my race calendar until September when I return with the Shenandoah half and Rock ‘n Roll Philadelphia. Who will I see where?

Run for Rowan 5k

When I first started running in 2011 I looked for races that would entice me to run because, to be honest, running was not enticement enough. Shirts, medals, runner camaraderie? That’s what I was looking for. That’s what I needed.

Meeting up with friends, traveling, eating, and a side of running. It was more about the first three and the running just gave me the excuse. Mud runs, Disney races in both California and Florida, Color Runs, I was drawn to them all. The further from New Jersey, the better!

I came to enjoy running somewhere along the way and within the past year and a half, I’ve settled into doing races that are more “local” to me. If I can drive or take a train to the start the morning of the race, I don’t deviate too much from my daily routine with my family. Certainly, I still love to travel and race but there’s a comfort that comes along with running on familiar turf.

Pretty sure that 20 years ago Jay piggybacked me across this very spot when my heels got to be too much after a date party.

Which is why when I heard about Rowan University’s 5k (and the early bird rate of $20 per person) I registered myself and my husband, Jay!

When we graduated from school we planted roots not too far from the campus so it was not only convenient but also familiar. We’ve done training runs though the campus and it’s less than 10 minutes from home.

It was gray and rainy on Saturday morning for this 5k and I knew that I would be running the AC April Fools half the following day so I figured Jay and I could run together at his pace. He hasn’t been feeling well nearly the entire month of April so he hasn’t been training much (read: at all) but he was ready to do his best.

We caught up with old friends and then lined up to run. I’d wager a guess there were around 200 participants. It had a later start than most races I do; it began at 10am.

The route for the 5k was through the campus, to the perimeter of the campus, and then back through the campus. Since it’s hosted by the Rowan Alumni Association, they did a good job of highlighting all the newer buildings on the campus. There’s been a lot of changes since I graduated nearly 20 years ago!

It was all sidewalk running so it was a little tight for the first mile as people tried to figure out their pacing and where they landed within the pack of runners.

Although the day was gray and dreary, overall the campus was a lot prettier than I remembered. It seems like there’s been a lot of attention paid to beautification projects and updating sitting areas and gardens. Every time I visit, there is something new!

The engineering building was brand new 20 years ago. Now it’s expanded to a second building with a walkway connecting the two.

This walkway as not quite as extensive when we were students.

We even got to run past the building we met at as Resident Assistants (so romantic!).

At that point we were about a 10th of a mile from the finish so we didn’t get too wrapped up in nostalgia, we just pushed to the finish line. We finished in 37:36, which was what we expected.

Look, it’s the Rowan Prof!

Thanks to Rowan University for hosting its running alumnus. No matter how many changes have been made, returning to campus is like going home.

I’ve decided that I should focus more on the 5k distance. My body and mind are so conditioned to running longer races that when I run shorter distances; I don’t know exactly how to tap into the speed. I think it comes down to training and speed work.

Of course, that’s not exactly what I was trying to do for this race but looking ahead, I would like to sign up for more 5ks and finally break my 2012 PR. It’s time.

Speaking of PRs, I achieved a significant PR the follow day at the AC April Fools half marathon! Recap of that race is coming up on Friday. Woohoo!

Any advice on how I can work on my 5k speed?

Keep Calm and Love Our Earth

What are you doing to help our Mother Earth? That’s the question that we’ve been asking ourselves lately and been getting a lot of good ideas from one another. Here’s a compilation of what we are doing to make an impact.

As I’m sitting here typing this, the East Coast is preparing for a late-season snowstorm. A snowstorm in a winter that has been relatively void of snow. Or even cold weather for that matter. Now, weather and climate are not the same thing, as we know, but stronger, more unseasonable storms are certainly an indicator of a changing climate. It’s also hard to imagine that human activity, particularly since the Industrial revolution, hasn’t had an adverse effect on the planet. Between searching for and harvest natural resources, to filling landfills and urban sprawl, humanity has certainly made an impact on the environment that we share with a world’s worth of flora and fauna.
I have a minor in Environmental Studies, and during my time in school, I spent a lot of time studying the interplay between humanity and our planet. During one class, we were asked to keep a daily journal of the small ways in which we were changing our habits to be better stewards of the planet (I went to a Franciscan Catholic university). Some of the habits I developed then, I still practice now. Particularly, taking public transit when available – living near DC, this is pretty easy to accomplish, fortunately. While my commute is no longer on the metro system, any time we venture in to the city, we take the train. And while in the city, we walk everywhere.
An academic at heart, I also make a concerted effort to stay informed about environmental issues. Having grown up in Alaska, I’m very in tune to the important balance that exists to maintain resource sustainability over time. Whether I’m reading about current environmental projects, or engaging in environmental advocacy, I’m always doing my best to better understand the impact I have on the world around me, and how we, as a society, as a people, can practice stewardship over dominance and ensure that we have a healthy planet for generations to come.

Saving the planet is my day job. I spend a good portion of each work day looking for ways to operate our business in a more sustainable and socially responsible way. Today, I organized a latex paint recycling event for 1800 employees. Tomorrow, I’ll be booking speakers to educate my people on how to protect our local watershed. Later this week, I’m meeting with folks to see how we can reduce the amount of carbon emissions our businesses generates. You might say that I’ve leveled up when it comes to being green, and my job has taught me a few things along the way.

Afternoon at the Boulder Flatirons. This is why I’m a Sustainability Coordinator.

If you want to make a big impact and you’re concerned about changes to environmental policy, I strongly urge you to attend your local city council and county planning meetings. Most environmental policy is created at the local level; the EPA only dictates minimum requirements for regulations. Go and tell them you don’t want fracking in your community, or that you expect existing protections to remain in place. Get vocal locally!

Vote for your values with your dollars. If you make it clear that you only support sustainable companies, it teaches other not-so-sustainable companies that they’d better get on board if they want to stay competitive in the marketplace. Easy things like buying locally sourced food, getting your next pair of shoes from Toms, or your new pair of eyeglasses from Warby Parker. You have lots of power here, use it!

And lastly, one of my favorite easy things to do is pick up litter I see when I’m running. It’s easy to help keep the road and trails clean and maintained.

Recently while running a particularly race I couldn’t help but notice how many cups I slogged through at each water stop. There were some runners that had handheld personal water bottles or hydration packs but overall, many took cups and cups of water (me included). Fast forward a few weeks and while signing up for another race, the Shenandoah Half Marathon, I noticed that they have a cup free policy.

Looks cool but creates a lot of waste.

I’m looking to make changes within my home where I can. My kids bring their lunches to school most days and the amount of plastic sandwich bags we were using for snacks (one for the classroom, another for lunch) was ridiculous. It felt wasteful and unnecessary. Instead I picked up a set of Tupperware and I’m sending their snacks in those instead. It was just a small little change but we are reducing the amount of plastic we’re using, which feels great.

On the same train of thought I’ve been focusing on remembering to bring my reusable bags into the grocery store. I know in some states they don’t even have a plastic bag option or there is a charge if you need one. That’s not the case in New Jersey but just because the convenience is there doesn’t mean that I need to take advantage of it. If I buy something at a drug store, rather than getting a bag, I opt to just throw it in my purse. It might be small but imagine if we all do things like that – it can really add up!

We’d love to hear what little (or big!) things you are doing to help our environment! Have any ideas to share with us and Scoot a Doot readers? Please comment below. 

A Walk in Her Shoes Feeds a Village

We love doing good, don’t you? We knew you’d say yes! We knew that because our readers are the kindest and sweetest. It’s true. Pat yourself on the back.

We know you like to give back, especially when it’s super easy to give. And we especially love when our training miles count for something. That’s where this fantastic charity event comes in. It’s called the Walk in Her Shoes Challenge, and its goal is to bring awareness to the struggle women and girls face in some of the world’s poorest communities. The Challenge’s goal is to bring equal opportunity and human dignity to women and girls in developing countries. Here’s a quick video to learn more.

One of my Skirt Sport Sisters started a team called the Sole Sisters, and we’d love to have you join us. It’s free, and you don’t have to donate or raise funds if you don’t want to, but your walking and running miles are valuable and count toward the Challenge. You can join our team here. We have already raised enough to build a well for clean drinking water! What I love about this Challenge is that it helps women and girls get access to necessities like clean water, good hygiene and basic medical care so that they can spend more time in school and earning a living than gathering food and water. It’s an empowering program that helps enrich communities around the world.  If you’re so inspired, you can donate to our team by clicking on the graphic below.

I hope to call you teammate soon! Do good, feel good, always, Scooters.

What are your favorite charity events? Have you ever participated in a virtual fundraising event before? Tell me all about it!

Journey 2 a Million Giveaway Winner

If you’ve been hanging out with us here in our little corner of the interweb for a while, then you likely know we are big supporters of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and their annual September event, Journey 2 a Million. The event encourages folks all over the world to track and donate the miles they walk, run and/or bike throughout the month.

To support the event, we always create a team and give away prizes for most miles. This year’s winner is @Jeasmada93who racked up 130 miles for the team. Jenny, you are amazing, and we hope this little prize will show you how much we appreciate you and your miles!

alsj2mprize

Tank from Oiselle, Hat from Skirt Sports, and Wrap from Momentum Jewelry

Thanks to those that participated, and a BIG thanks to our prize partners, Momentum Jewelry, Oiselle, and Skirt Sports.

Until next year! <3<3

Things I Care About: Domestic Violence Awareness Month

dvamOctober is Domestic Violence Awareness month. For a number of years, I have been involved in advocacy and crisis intervention for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, and in doing so have been outspoken about my work and the organizations that work to provide resources to survivors and their loved ones. In this time, I’ve also become acutely aware of how many of my friends have been affected by this violence, and I’ve done my best to create a safe, affirming space for them to share their experiences.

As friends and family have come forward with their own stories, I have felt more and more frustrated by the fact that such violence exists in our world. My heart has broken a little bit with each new story I hear, but as it breaks, it makes room to carry a little bit of the weight alongside my survivor friends.

It has been a while since I’ve written much of anything on the subjects of sexual assault and domestic violence, but with the election bearing down on us it seems appropriate to shine a light on these issues, because your vote (not just for president, but all the way down the ticket) will be your voice in how resources for survivors and their families are funded. Just a couple of years ago, the Violence Against Women Act sat in committee in Congress because the Republican leadership refused to bring it to a vote, ultimately hurting victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.

As Domestic Violence Awareness Month continues, I feel compelled to share this sobering set of facts:

– On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.

– 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.

– 1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

– 1 in 7 women and 1 in 18 men have been stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime to the point in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.

– On a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide.

– The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide by 500%.

– Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime.

– Women between the ages of 18-24 are most commonly abused by an intimate partner.

– 19% of domestic violence involves a weapon.

– Domestic victimization is correlated with a higher rate of depression and suicidal behavior.

– Only 34% of people who are injured by intimate partners receive medical care for their injuries.

All statistics come from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Domestic violence doesn’t discriminate; men and women, young and old can be abused. Talk about healthy relationships with your kids, ask questions, and, most importantly, listen. If you, or a loved one, is experiencing something that looks or feels like domestic violence, please know that there are resources for you.

And know that you will always have a safe space to talk about it with me.

656 Miles Together for #Journey2aMillion

Way to go, team! This year, we blew our mileage goal away. After adding in some numbers from some folks who are having site difficulties, we ended up with 656!! We were aiming for 625, so this is fabulous! WAY TO ROCK, EVERYONE! <3

picmonkey-image

 

If you haven’t added your miles yet, please do so. Prizes for most mileage will be announced next Monday. You can click here to sync or add your miles  manually. We’ve got great stuff from Oiselle, Skirt Sports, and Momentum Jewelry to give out to the top 3 miles moved! Good luck!