Race Recap: 2018 Chili Run

Last year’s Chili Run was a great one: great weather, great running with my buddy, Rachel. All around GREAT.

This year? 50 degrees and RAIN was in the forecast for the January Chili Run. Additionally, this race had an extra challenge because… I can’t get my arm wet.

It sounds so silly but yep, it’s true. You can learn more about my injury here and here. It’s been 3 weeks since I initially fell. I finally had the MRI last week because the X-Rays didn’t show enough; it’s a fracture of my radius. I’m going back to the doctor later today and we’ll see what they have to say.

Anyway, what was I saying? Oh yes, I’m dealing with an injury, it was raining, and my reluctant runner husband, Jay, was signed up to run this race after he agreed to it after drinking a few beers. (If you want to get Jay to agree to something, that’s usually the best time to ask.)

All signs pointed toward a DNS – Did Not Start.

But c’mon. Is that me? No. No, it is not.

That’ll do! I even was able to put my thumb through my jacket’s thumb hole. BONUS!

Before I was injured, my goal was to try to hit the 22:00 minute mark for this two mile race. That would have been fast for me and a course PR. Honestly, even before I was injured, it would have been a bit of a stretch.

But given that I haven’t run for the past 3 weeks and I’ve been babying my arm because it hurts, my main goal was just to RUN. I was nervous going into this so I decided that I would stick with Jay, in case I needed to stop for any reason.

This year’s swag: The Chili Run beanie hat! Additionally you get a bowl of chili and a beer after the run!

The convenience of this race couldn’t be better for us. The start and finish is located at Carolina Blue, a local restaurant that is 2 miles from our home. With a start time of 10am, we rolled out of the house at 9:30am and were there minutes later.

We had friends running and I messaged with a few but we decided rather than going inside, we’d stay warm and dry in our car until the last possible minute.

If he looks less than impressed it’s because he is.

I knew my husband planned to listen to his music rather than chatting with me, so I brought along my AfterShokz and paired them with my phone.

About five minutes before the start of the race, all of the runners came out from the warmth of their cars and the patio to line up for the start. It was steadily raining but thankfully it wasn’t freezing cold.

My outfit consisted of capris, Bib Rave tank, running jacket, Momentum hat, and plastic bag.

There are no pictures from the race but if you’re really curious, feel free to visit last year’s post from the same race. My phone was safely tucked away in a plastic bag!

Something to note is this race doesn’t have a timing mat to cross when you begin. Therefore your time begins as soon as the race starts. Jay and I crossed the finishing timing mat at 24:49. To give you an idea of the speed of some of the runners, the top male finished in 11:13 and the top female was smoking fast at 13:19. Wowza!

After crossing the finish we cheered as a few friends crossed the finish and then we quickly jumped in the chili line. The line snaked outside into the rain so I kept my plastic bag firmly in place! We saw even more friends while waiting in the line and that’s another reason why I love this run so much, it’s got a great community vibe.

I just realized i didn’t have a picture of this year’s chili so last year’s will have to do!

Overall, despite the rain and in spite of my arm, this is always a fun race and well worth the $40 entry fee. A few spots just opened for the February race but I know they’ll go fast!

Have you ever done a 2 mile race? What’s something you look forward to eating/drinking after a run?

Race Plans in 2018

I’ve written it on my heart and I am ready for all that 2018 has to offer.

Thus far I’ve signed up for 9 races for the upcoming year. That’s right – NINE. I have plans, my friends! While my goal for 2016/2017 were PR based, my goal for 2018 is to focus on shorter distances.

january

2017 was the first time I did a Good Day for a Run’s Chili Run, a 2 mile race which is just down the street from my house. I decided to return again this year and when my husband had imbibed in a few beers one night, he agreed that I should sign him up as well.

I love when that happens!

Last year’s swag was a really cute chili bowl and spoon. This year all runners will receive a Chili Run Beanie with an embroidered logo! While the January date is already sold out, there is also a February date that appears to have availability left at this point.

The race ends at Carolina Blue restaurant and each runner gets a hot cup of chili and a beer ticket!

march

You might recall I did The Light Run a few weeks ago. While at the after-party, my friend Beth won an entry for The Lucky Run. She isn’t quite at the “timed event” mark so she graciously offered the entry to me!

I’m very excited for this one because it will be my first 5k of 2018! Unless something else jumps in there ahead of schedule (which is always a possibility). It takes place at the park where I used to teach Stroller Strides so in addition to an awesome event, I’m sure I’ll be a little sentimental too.

In 2017 I was so excited for the annual Haddonfield Adrenaline 5k. My husband was looking forward to it, I was looking forward to it… and then the week of the race I realized that I hadn’t registered us for the sold out event.

*cue the sad trombone*

Yeah, somehow in my excitement for the race, I didn’t remember that we hadn’t signed up. We discussed it and I guess I thought I had. But alas, I did not.

As soon as I saw that registration was open for 2018, I immediately registered for us. Make no mistake, we WILL be there!

This was an impulsive decision. I’ve never run the Philly LOVE RUN before but I feel like I’ve run nearly every other Philly based half and therefore needed to do this one.

Of course, a few weeks after I registered for the half distance, a brand spanking new 5k distance was announced. So now I’m vacillating between wanting to stick with the half or seeing if I can switch to the 5k. Hmmm, what to do, what to do. I’m still mulling it over.

april

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Hot Chocolate Philadelphia 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 past year I celebrated my 40th birthday at the Philadelphia Hot Chocolate 15k. In 2018 I’ll be celebrating my 41st (and 6 day) birthday at the Hot Chocolate 5k!

And, what’s really, really cool is that many of my friends are going to be at this race too! Retired Scoot a Doot Chick, Bec, will be visiting and will be there; Past guest poster, Ana, just signed up as well.

Fellow BibRave Pros Joe, Sara, and Janelle will also be there!

If you want to sign up, use the code BRHCPHILLY18 and you can pick up a BONUS Hot Chocolate branded cap. You’re welcome! (Also, please comment and let me know so we can find each other!)

I’m returning for my 7th April Fools half marathon in Atlantic City in April as well. I’ve run this race since its inaugural year and I attained my PR this past year on the course!

It’s one of my favorite places to do training runs and races. Being that it’s tried and true, I love this race thoroughly. I can’t wait to return for another year of running!

This is another race that I’m returning to; this will be my 3rd time running the Run the Vineyards Heritage 5 Miler.

Rachel is registered to run it with me and it’s always a great time with her. I’m looking forward to getting out there and stretching my legs on this course. Also, I’m looking forward to chilling and having a glass of wine afterward. It’s all about balance!

And now for the portion in my schedule where I jump from APRIL TO AUGUST. I’m certainly that I’ll be filling up the months in between, I just haven’t yet.

august

Here’s a destination race for me – Vacation Races Elk Double. I’ll be taking a little trip across the country to join Jenn at her favorite race weekend!

I’m so excited for this for several reasons:

  1. JENN. I get my Jennifer! I haven’t seen her for far too long and I can’t wait! Not only that, but I get to spend 16.2 miles with her.
  2. Colorado. If you’ve been there, you know what I mean. If you haven’t been there, you should go!
  3. I’m bringing my family along with me! My boys are SO EXCITED for all things travel related but they’re really fixated on going to Colorado. Probably because of number 2.

So yes, I am really pumped for this and while I don’t want to rush time along or anything, I am very much looking forward to August!

I can’t wait to report back and let you know how all of these go. Plus, I’m looking forward to seeing what other races I add to the list!

What events are you looking forward to in 2018? Will I see you at any of these?

The Light Run

Back in October I boldly stated that I was done running any sort of race for the year. I think I truly meant it until I heard that the registration for The Light Run was open.

“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!” (name that movie!)

Along with my friend Beth, we registered on the spot!

The Light Run is a fun run co-sponsored by local running pals Good Day for a Run and MEAN GUY Running. The run is not timed and winds through the streets of Pitman, New Jersey. You get an ornament and a really great experience with a fun after-party at nearby Carolina Blue.

The cost for this? A mere $12 and if you’d like to, a donation of a toy at check-in that goes to local charities the Robin’s Nest and The Kids Caring Foundation. I’m pretty sure it sells out every year because who could resist a deal like that?

Since it’s not a closed course they ask that you stay mostly on the sidewalks and follow pedestrian laws. Once we started running we figured out where we should be in the pack and made our way through the fairly quiet streets of Pitman.

Every turn was clearly marked with a sign and cones and there were a few volunteers out on the course to wave runners in the right direction as well.

Most of my runs take place in the morning so it was a little weird for me to be out at 6:30pm, running a 5k, but it was also so much fun!

Beth ordered us Christmas light necklaces and I also wore my Tracer360 light vest, along with my Knuckle Lights. I’m so glad I had the Knuckle Lights on because there were a few areas where the sidewalk was heaved and without them, I’m pretty sure I would have tripped. #klutzstatus

Along with our lights galore, we also wanted to be comfy temperature wise! I actually love running in the winter weather but staying warm beforehand is always something I struggle with. I was fairly comfy in running tights, Pro Compression socks, a long-sleeved running shirt, a sub-zero jacket,  BUFF® hat and headwear, gloves, and um, more gloves.

Yes, I doubled up on the gloves and also added hand warmers in the mix too. I like keeping my hands warm and toasty.

We circled around the streets of Pitman, oohing and ahhing at the houses we saw along the way. There were so many pretty ones!

During the second half of the run, we went to the piece de resistance, the Hagerty Family Christmas Lights, which is in its 32nd year. I wasn’t expecting to see Santa there since it was a Wednesday but I guess there was a bit of magic in the air!

This was Beth’s first non-family 5k and I’m so glad that we got to do it together! It was lovely and as long as The Light Run exists, I’ll be out there in December running it (so remind me of that the next time that I say I’m done with running for the year, okay?).

Are you a fan of checking out holiday decorations and lights? Do you go by car? Walking tour? My family and I love to drive around and look at everyone’s decorations closer to Christmas too – it’s one of the things we always look forward to!

2017 Rewind in Races – part two

And I’m back! July through December were slightly less eventful than the first half of the year – mainly because summer racing isn’t that much of a *thing* around here. Or maybe, more accurately, it’s not much of a *thing* for ME.

July 2017 – Firecracker 5k

Remember in part one of this, I mentioned that my son Lucas occasionally likes to run with me? He decided that this was a good time to run again. Even though he had not run a 5k since… probably February when we last ran together.

This was more about running together with my kiddo than breaking any records. I was happy to be out there with him and he was, well, he was happy when it was over.

September 2017 – Vacation Races Shenandoah Half Marathon

Shenandoah Half Expo - Vacation Races

Oh my gosh, this was such a fun weekend from start to finish. My buddy Rachel and I took a road trip to Virginia for the inaugural Shenandoah half marathon. We knew that it would be a tough course but we also knew that we always have a lot of fun wherever we go, so we decided to just embrace the hills and roll with it.

This experience was exactly what a non-racing half marathon should be! Though we weren’t going particularly fast, the miles just flew by. The scenery was incredible, we chatted the entire way, and waved to the locals watching from their porches.

I’m registered for Vacation Races Elk Double with Jenn next year and I know that if it’s anything like this one, I won’t be disappointed!

Shenandoah Half Marathon finishers medals

We did it!

September 2017 – Rock ‘n Roll Philadelphia

This was my first race representing BibRave and I was so excited to meet many of my fellow BibRave Pros before the race began. I knew going in that this race would be more about having fun than anything else and as I started running how was I was feeling just solidified my plan to enjoy the run.

I loved this run because of the crowd during the first half of the race and then runners I met along the course the second half of the race. Philly is always a good place to run and this was no exception!

October 2017 – Run the Vineyards Destination Enoteca 5k

Running through a vineyard. Finishing with wine and music. What could be better? Nothing! This race and all the races that Run the Vineyards offers have been A+.

I ran this one with my friend, Erin, and we had a great time running but an even better time enjoying a cheese plate and wine afterward. Yeah, that’s right. I’m not ashamed to admit it!

October 2017 – Run Inspired 10k

Another BibRave race, another opportunity to meet a BibRave Pro friend, Ryan!

This race took place in the hills of Delaware and benefited Operation Warm, which provides winter coats for children living in poverty. It was a beast of a course but one that was so beautiful, I was happy and grateful for every step I took.

My family came with me to cheer me on and it was a great way to wrap my 2017 races.

I swore that was going to be it and that I’d be focusing on training for the winter months. I skipped the Philadelphia half marathon this year and I’m actually glad that I did because I was having some leg issues for a few weeks after this race.

I’m back in working order now and I had a friend that was interested in signing up for a local, non-timed 5k – The Light Run. It’s a fun run that supports a couple of local non-profits and I’m happy to be taking part!

Ornaments from last year’s run

Here’s to a happy, healthy, injury free 2018!

2017 Rewind in Races – part one

2017 has been a good and busy year for me, as far as races go! I hit a couple PRs, spent a lot of time with great friends, and was able to run my first Ragnar.

Now that we’re in December and I only have one fun run of the year left, happening next week, I’ve gotten nostalgic for the races of 2017. Let’s look back over the first six months, shall we?

January 2017 – The Chili Run

It’s difficult to find races in the colder months here in New Jersey. For the most part the ones, the winter months are used to get base miles in and prepare for the spring.

However, the Chili Run is a 2 mile jaunt through the town next to mine. Highlights of this race include seeing lots of familiar local faces (including running with my friend, Rachel), chili, really cute swag, and oh yes – running, of course!

I’m already signed up for the 2018 event and this year my husband will be joining in the fun!

February 2017 – Mad Eye Moody Virtual 5k

Jenn told me about the Mad Eye Moody Virtual 5k from Hogwarts Running Club and I decided to join her in running this one. After I told my older son, Lucas, about it, he wanted in on the action and decided to run with me for this 3.1 mile run.

Occasionally he gets run-inspired and that was the case this time – I think because it was Superbowl weekend. As always, we took the first mile too quickly and then we toughed out the second and third miles together. Even still, it was nice to have company and I was so proud of him, when we got the medal in the mail soon after, I gave it to him.

February 2017 – Fort Lauderdale A1A Half Marathon

This race was a destination race for me – my parents live in Florida and the timing worked out so that I could run the race and have a visit with them.

It sticks out in my mind for several reasons.

  1. There was a train that went through the course about a quarter mile in and we had to turn around and start the race again. (It was a really, really long train.)
  2. Despite the train, I had so much fun running this race. I realized early on that it was going to be super warm. It wasn’t anywhere close to my fastest race but I pet dogs, drank beer on the course, saw my mom multiple times, and just had a really nice time.
  3. After the race, the 2nd place finisher was called out as cutting the course. Even my non-running friends were talking about it and it just goes to show that cheaters never win… especially when social media is involved.

April 2017 – Hot Chocolate 15k

Two 40 year olds!

The Philly Hot Chocolate race was on my 40th birthday and I could think of no better way to celebrate than meeting up with Christina and running 15k (which is 9.3 miles, in case you don’t want to do the math).

We had such a fun race together and of course, after we celebrated with adding Bailey’s to our hot chocolate. Nothing better!

April 2017 – AC April Fools Half Marathon

This was my big PR – I shaved 8 minutes off my half marathon time to come in at 2:40! I was really proud because I put in the effort and the training that I needed to do it, plus I trained consistently on the course.

I’m already registered for the 2018 race and I’m hoping to once again be able to hit my best yet. I’m fairly certain that if I continue with my training and remain injury free (knock on wood), I’ll be able to do it!

April 2017 – Run for Rowan 5k

I was full steam ahead in April – running a race nearly every weekend! This one was at our alma mater, just minutes away from our home. We ran together and got to see all the changes that happened to the campus (that we can’t see from the road).

The weather wasn’t fantastic but it was a nice little 5k and the price couldn’t be beat at $20.

If they have this run again, I’ll be registering for it. Hopefully I can convince Jay to run again too!

April 2017 – Run the Vineyards Heritage 5 Miler

Kate, Brandi, and myself! We’ve been friends since our kids were in strollers.

I was able to hit a PR on this course too! With hills, sand, dirt, and road, I was really hoping that I would be able to come in at under an hour and thankfully, I was able to accomplish that.

The Run the Vineyards folks always put on stellar events, I enjoy running and volunteering with them. I’m already registered for the 2018 race; it will be my 3rd time running this race and again, I’d like to beat my time from this year.

June 2017 – Ragnar Relay PA

There are so, so many things to be said about Ragnar. It was 6 months ago and I’m still trying to process the event! I am so grateful that I was finally able to run a Ragnar and be with my teammates. I honestly don’t think if I’d ever do another one but I’m so glad that I ran this one with these people.

Can you believe that was only the first half of 2017?! I’ll be back tomorrow with the rest of the year.

Race Recap: Run Inspired 10k

With fellow BibRave Pro, Ryan (IRUNONBEER)

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Run Inspired 10k 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!

You know the song from Grease that goes: “I’ve got chills, they’re multiplyin'”?

I’ve decided to change that lyric to “I’ve got hills, they’re multiplyin'” in honor of the Run Inspired 10k!

Eating hills for breakfast, indeed.

The 2nd annual Run Inspired 10k in Winterthur, Delaware was held on October 15, 2017. The race benefits Operation Warm, which provides winter coats for children living in poverty. It’s a great cause and one that I was happy to support.

The start and finish were in the same location, and surrounded by the “race village”, which is where the Finishers Party was held. Bib Pickup could be done on Friday or Saturday at the Delaware Running Company or (as I opted to do) day of at the Registration tent for no additional fee.

At the bib pickup I was given my race bib, a long sleeved poly-blend women’s cut shirt, and a drawstring bag.

Parking was in a field, on a hill, overlooking the race village. There was also premium parking available a bit closer to the race village. The only issue was this year’s weather was rainy prior to the race, leaving the grass wet… which made for wet socks and shoes. Not ideal, but thankfully I prepared ahead of time by slathering my feet with 2 Toms Foot Shield.

There were 747 runners/walkers during this race (the 2016 inaugural race hosted 1,397 participants) and the management encourages both runners and walkers to participate.

Corrals are self-seeded with paces up to 10 minutes and then a “walkers” corral. A suggestion would be to extent the running corrals even further, as I know many (such as myself) employ the run/walk/run technique. The course was a bit tight at the beginning of the race and spreading paces out a bit further might assist with that.

As for the course, it was absolutely gorgeous! Hosted at the Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library, there was beautiful fall foliage and many things to look at along the way. From reading a previous review on BibRave, I knew that the course would be hilly (something that those from the area wouldn’t automatically assume because most of Delaware is flat as a pancake).

It was definitely a challenging course! I took advantage of the flat portions and the downhills as much as possible.

The volunteers stationed along the course and at the water stations were fantastic and encouraging. There were smiling faces everywhere. A portion of the course (1.5 miles) is along the road and it was clearly marked off with police officers directing traffic. I felt very safe.

The last push of the race was, unsurprisingly, uphill. It would have been very easy to be disheartened but my family was waiting for me and I could see them cheering. I usually don’t bring my family along to races because I fear they’ll be bored but with the knowledge of the Finishers Party, I knew there would be activities to keep them busy.

I returned to find my younger son’s face painted and my older son “tattooed”. They also loved winning prizes at the Operation Warm tent and were encouraged to keep playing, which is something I appreciate. And something my husband appreciated even more while trying to keep them entertained!

My older son saw me coming during the last stretch and ran on the grass beside me for the last two tenths of a mile. He was so excited and it was so great to have him there! As I crossed the finish line, I was given very cute medal. This race was not even close to my PR from last fall, but it was such a challenge, I was proud that I got it done.

Took my Eagle Creek Duffel along to carry the family’s stuff! Review to come soon.

There was a long chute in which I was able to grab a bottle of water immediately and get a good amount of snacks! They had popcorn, chips, soft pretzels, cheese curls, lemonade, and iced tea. It was a great spread, especially for a 10k. My kids had their eyes on my snacks immediately (and naturally, I shared with the kiddos).

Each finisher also got a drink ticket on their bib with their choice of either beer or wine. I opted for the Dogfish Head Namaste (and naturally, I shared with my husband).

The Finishers Party had food trucks, a musician, beer garden, vendors, and more. It’s unfortunate that the weather was overcast. Had it not been, I think we would have stayed longer. After sipping my beer and enjoying a few songs from the musician, we decided to pack it up and head back to the car.

Overall, it was a great morning and a race I’d consider returning to in the future. It was most certainly inspiring and Operation Warm is a worthy cause!

Unless another race comes along that really inspires me to sign up, the Run Inspired 10k was my last of 2017. Never say never, of course, but I’m looking forward to maintaining for a few months rather than training.

Race Recap: Run the Vineyards Destination Enoteca

The Run the Vineyards series, put on by a Good Day for a Run, is a favorite of mine. You might have noticed that I talk about them… A LOT. That’s because they are probably the most local to me race company and also, and this is important, because they are awesome.

I often volunteer for their events; it’s a great way to give back to the running community. I’ve also done the Heritage Vineyards 5 miler, twice. After volunteering through the summer and early fall – I decided that it was time to run and the 5k at Auburn Road Vineyards (Enoteca is explained here) worked out well with timing in my schedule.

With over twenty Run the Vineyards events, this race series has their races down to a science when it comes to preparing and having everything covered for their runners.

They keep the races manageable for the locations in terms of field size and parking. Packet pickup is either at the local running store (Mullica Hill Running Company) or race morning. And they always have FREE photos!

The weather wasn’t looking fantastic for race morning and for a brief moment, as I listened to a downpour of rain on the roof of my house, I even considered skipping the event. However, I had a friend that I was meeting up with and I’m not really one to let a little (or a lot of) rain scare me away. While overcast, the rain showers moved out for the actual race.

Thankful for Erin meeting up with me!

This is the third year this race has been run and it begins running through the vineyard (vines on both sides/grass) which leads to a dirt road. From what I understand the course was slightly different than the previous two years. I asked a few people who had run the race before and they liked this course better. We had the opportunity to run through two sections of vineyards, which was neat! There was a water station in the middle of the race, which we passed twice in case more water was necessary.

The t-shirts were long sleeves tech shirts although this series has a variety of options when it comes to shirts. I’ve gotten tech t-shirts, tanks, and long sleeves from them – depending on what race and what season I’m running.

Thanks to photographer Chad for this shot!

As you cross the finish line there’s a bottle of water offered to each runner, a KIND bar, and the Run the Vineyards wineglass. The results are immediately emailed to you, as you cross the finish line.

On each race bib there’s a tear-away ticket for wine from the host vineyard, putting the wineglass to good use right away! I went with the Good Karma red blend from Auburn Road vineyard. Erin and I grabbed seats inside near the musician, ordered a cheese plate, and enjoyed the morning after the run.

Run the Vineyards is always an occasion – it’s never rushed, it’s really easy-going and relaxed, after the running portion, of course. We got to watch the awards given out to overall winners (a bottle of wine and a medal), and age group awards (medals).

Overall, a great time, as usual. I’m already signed up for the 5 miler in the spring and I’m scouting out the races that fit into my schedule to volunteer at!

Tell me about your favorite local races. Have you ever run at a vineyard? What do races offer that make you return time and time again?